6 Bad Habits to Avoid for a Healthier and Better Looking Lawn

When it comes to lawn care, there are many misconceptions floating around. We're here to help put an end to common bad lawn care habits. Good cultural practices will lead to a healthy and beautiful lawn!

1. Mowing too short

Many people tend to mow their lawn short because they believe it will keep them from mowing as often. However, they don’t realize they are actually hurting their lawn and its ability to grow healthy.

      • One reason is that shorter grass doesn’t shade the soil, allowing the sun to dry it out. Imagine you were as small as an ant walking through a lawn on a hot summer day. If that lawn is cut too short, the grass blades wouldn’t be tall enough to protect you from the hot sun. Not only can this cause your lawn to thin out, but because weeds can only grow where there is room, you are also providing space for grassy and broadleaf weeds! However, if the grass is cut tall, it would be like walking through a dense forest. The grass blades would shade you from the damaging sun, helping to prevent thinning in the lawn.
      • The length of the grass blade directly affects the depth of the root system. The roots can only grow as deep as the grass blade is tall. Deep roots are important because the soil is drier the closer it is to the surface. Meaning the deeper roots, the more access they will have to water.
      • Due to the increased surface space of taller grass blades, the plant is able to absorb more sunlight giving it the energy it needs to turn water and carbon dioxide into glucose. This is a critical part of photosynthesis and directly contributes to the health and strength of the plant.
      • Experts recommend a mowing height of 3.5 to 4 inches.

2. Bagging lawn clippings

If your lawn is mowed correctly, there is no need to ever have to bag your lawn. When mowing your lawn, you should never remove more than one-third of the grass blade in any one mowing.

3. Mowing with dull mower blades

It can be a hassle to remove your mower blade to have it sharpened or switch out for a new one. However, the benefits of mowing with a sharp blade are numerous, as are the consequences of mowing with a dull blade!

CONSEQUENCES of Mowing with a Dull Mower Blade

      • When mowing your lawn with a dull mower blade, the mower tears the grass blades rather than cutting them. This results in jagged-looking grass that appears discolored. Due to the damage caused to the grass blades, it now must work harder to recover from the cut. This also can leave your lawn susceptible to lawn disease. And not to mention the added wear and tear that you put on your lawnmower. It puts unnecessary strain on the motor when your lawnmower has to work harder to cut the grass.

BENEFITS of mowing with a Sharp Mower Blade

      • When your lawnmower has a sharp mower blade, it creates a clean cut. Grass that is cut with a sharp blade will recover from a cut more quickly.  This helps the grass grow healthy, allowing the grass to fight off the chance of lawn disease. A healthy lawn can also help keep out pesky weeds and unwanted grasses.  Keeping a mower blade sharp can also prolong the life of your lawnmower.

4. Not watering your lawn

      • Many homeowners don’t water there their lawns because they think it’s too expensive to water all the time. The truth is, your probably watering too much if watering your lawn is making your water bill sky-rocket. Lawns in Central Indiana only need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week. That is about the equivalent of watering your lawn for 30 minutes twice a week. If mother nature is kind enough to provide you with enough water, then you don’t need to water.

5. Watering your lawn too much

      • On the other hand, some homeowners water their lawn every other day or even daily! This is a BIG NO-NO!! Over-watering your lawn can sometimes have worse consequences than not watering at all. Over-watering causes the lawn to have a shallow root system. Like a sunflower turning to face the sun, your lawn’s root system will grow deeper to seek out water. However, when your lawn has a consistent source of water close to the surface, there is no need for the roots to grow deeper in search of the water it needs. Lawns with shallow root systems are more susceptible to disease, insect damage, and weeds. Not to mention, it’s a waste of time and money.

6. Not Fertilizing your lawn

      • The key to a strong and healthy lawn is the proper amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t provide turf grass enough of these critical nutrients. This is where a fertilizer program comes in. Without consistent lawn fertilization, your lawn isn’t going to be able to thrive or look its best.
      • It’s a common belief that you shouldn’t fertilize your lawn during the hot summer months. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, I would agree with this. Not because your lawn doesn’t need to be fed, but because using a store-bought fertilizer in the summer will increase your chances of damaging your lawn. On the other hand, when correctly applied, summer fertilization is beneficial to your lawn. Professional lawn care companies have fertilizer with special additives not found in store-bought fertilizers. These additives slow the release of the nutrients, allowing the lawn to be feed during periods of high temperatures and help keep your lawn strong, healthy, and vibrant.
      • Lawns that are adequately fertilized are less susceptible to weeds, turf diseases, insect damage, and soil erosion.

For more simple steps to improve your lawn, check out our printable Turf Tips Guide for seasonal lawn maintenance practices.

Lawn Pride serves all of Central Indiana, so if you live in Indianapolis, on the northside (FishersCarmelWestfieldZionsville, and Noblesville), Westside (AvonPlainfield, or Brownsburg), the eastside (Greenfield), or on the southside (Greenwood) – click the link to get your free lawn care estimate today!