Wilsonís Garden Center - Lawn Care
Lawn Care Ė Country House
Wilson’s has the right grass seed for a beautiful lawn for you. The best time to sow grass is in late August to late September. Lawns can be started at other times but need extra care to keep the area watered until the seed is established.
Establishing a New Lawn
- Have your soil tested if possible. Your local county extension service can help you with this. Make plans for necessary grading and the addition of soil amendments and topsoil according to the recommendation.
- Choose the proper seed for the site. Use a sunny mix for full sun locations; shade mixes for shade and a blended mix for those areas that are not full sun or full shade.
- Work the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Rake so the soil is level providing a crumbly (not fine) top layer. Remove any stones.
- Spread your seed according to the package directions. Lightly cover the seed with soil or Bumper Crop Soil Conditioner. Apply the starter fertilizer at this stage, as well. (Do not use regular lawn fertilizer, which is high in Nitrogen, great for when your grass is growing, but not for sowing!)
- Lightly straw the area, 1 bale per 1000 square feet is about right. You may get some of your straw (wheat or oat) growing also. Don’t worry, mowing will eliminate them later.
- Water lightly and frequently (3 to 4 times per day) using a fine spray. Keep the area moist, not wet and do not let it dry out. Once the seed germinates and gets off to a good start, gradually reduce the watering to a normal schedule.
- The lawn may be cut when it reaches 3 inches. A complete fertilizer may be used 6 weeks after seedling emergence. Herbicides may be used after 3 cuttings.
Reseeding an Existing Lawn
- Mow the existing lawn short without scalping.
- Rake the lawn to remove thatch and debris. The more soil you expose without stripping away the turf the better. The seed must reach and contact the soil for success.
- Spread the seed. After spreading, lightly rake the turf to allow more seed to fall into the grooves created by your seedbed preparation.
Usually there is enough thatch and existing turf to act as a mulch. If not, a light covering of Bumper Crop or peat will do the job.
- Apply the starter fertilizer.
- Try to keep foot traffic to a minimum and follow the same principles for watering, mowing and fertilizing as in establishing a new lawn.
- A well-planned fertility program is a basic part of proper lawn maintenance. Lawns that are under-fertilized tend to be thin with poor color. Lawns that are over-fertilized, especially with high levels of soluble nitrogen fertilizer, tend to have thatch problems and are more prone to insect and disease damage.
- The goal of a good fertilizer program is to produce a reasonable amount of top growth, but not at the expense of root growth or carbohydrate storage. A good root system is the key factor to a healthy lawn.
- Most lawn experts agree that fertilizers with N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus), and K (Potassium) analysis ratios of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 (or ratios in that range) are acceptable for use on any lawn. An example of this would be a fertilizer bag with a 21-7-14 ratio. The fertilizer should also have at least one-half of its Nitrogen in a slow-release form.
- The best time to fertilize your lawn is when it’s actively growing and in need of nutrients. Lawn fertilization is truly the case of a little occasionally is good, but a lot at one time is bad for the grass.
- The Greenview Company takes a lot of the guesswork out of fertilizing. By following their 4-step program, a regular feeding is ensured throughout the growing season.
Step 1 Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer: Feeds and greens for a fast green-up after winter. Prevents crabgrass all season.
Step 2 Weed Control Plus Fertilizer:
Kills weeds completely. Feeds and strengthens lawns.
Step 3 Insect Control with Fertilizer:
Feeds and strengthens lawn against heat and drought. Kills and protects against bugs.
Step 4 Lawn Fertilizer:
Protects and strengthens for a better spring lawn.
- For those wanting a more “earth friendly” approach in greening up their lawn, the Espoma Company offers an all-organic Nitrogen fertilizer for the lawn with the analysis of 18-8-6. Bradfield Organics also offers an organic alfalfa based lawn fertilizer with a 3-1-5 analysis.
- Always follow the manufactures instructions for proper application rates and instructions. Most cases of “it didn’t work!” are due to operator error and not following the instructions.
The two most important aspects of mowing are proper mowing height and proper mowing frequency.
- Selecting the correct mowing height depends primarily upon the species of grass in the lawn. Most Ohio lawn grasses should be kept in the range of 2-3 inches tall. Mowing to keep the grass at its best growing height will increase your lawn’s density and attractiveness, and reduce lawn care problems.
- Higher mowing heights favor deeper grass roots, a greater number of roots and an overall healthier grass plant. Grasses cut at a low mowing height can not sustain the rate of photosynthesis necessary to produce enough food to maintain a healthy plant. The short mowing height weakens the grass and increases its susceptibility to weed invasion, disease and injury from drought and summer heat.
- It is a good idea to raise the cutting height in the summer months by an additional ½ inch to provide more shade to the lower portion of the grass plant. This also increases the leaf area available for food production.
- No matter what kind of grass you have, there is a simple “rule of thumb” to follow when mowing. Never remove more than one-third of the leaf surface each time you mow. So if you have a lawn of Bluegrass which is best kept at 2 inches, the best time to mow is when it reaches a height of 3 inches.
- Removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at one time results in an open, stemmy appearance of the lawn, weakens the grass plant, reduces root growth, and leaves significant clipping debris on the lawn surface.
- Mowing will normally be required more often in the spring and fall with a frequency of at least once a week.
Other Mowing Considerations:
- Keep the lawn mower blades sharp! A dull blade will cause injury to the grass plant and produce stress, which in turn increases the possibility of insect and disease problems.
- When you use the “rule of thumb” you don’t have to collect the grass clippings. They decompose quickly and put nutrients back into the soil. It’s a built-in fertilizer program every time you mow! Contrary to popular belief, the grass clippings do not create thatch and by leaving the clippings on the lawn, they are kept out of landfills, another environmental benefit!