Common Lawn Questions

jjfrisco(8a TX)January 1, 2013

Q: How high should I mow my grass?

Q: How should I water my lawn?

Q: Should I mulch or bag my clippings.

Q: Will mulching contribute to thatch?

Q: What is the best cultivar for my lawn?

Q: How do I level a bumpy lawn?

Q: How do I get rid of weeds?

Q: Which is better, spike or core aeration?

Q: Can I overseed my lawn and still apply a pre-emergent for weeds?

Q: How high should I mow my grass?

A: You should mow the grass at the highest setting on your mower or at least 3 inches. Each time you mow, you should cut no more than 1/3 of the grass height. Note: There are exceptions for some warm season grasses such as bermuda centipede, and bentgrass that grow more dense at lower mower settings.

Q: How should I water my lawn?

A: You should water deeply and infrequently. The goal for most lawns is 1" per week, and it is best if that is delivered "all at once" instead of over several days.

Q: Should I mulch or bag my clippings.

A: Mulch in most cases. Mulching returns nutrients to the lawn, as well as organic matter. It also helps to retain water. Sometimes it may be helpful to bag if you have an annual weed infestation which is setting seeds, or if your grass has gotten extra long between mowings.

Q: Will mulching contribute to thatch?

A: No. Thatch is caused by roots growing near the surface. Mulching helps to deter thatch by helping with the decomposition process.

Q: What is the best cultivar for my lawn?

A: Check ntep.org for cultivar performance by state or post here and someone will help you decide.

Q: How do I level a bumpy lawn?

A: You can fill in low spots with a one quarter inch layer of topsoil or sand. You may have to gradually fill in a low spot to avoid smothering the grass. Another alternative is to lift the sod with a shovel, fill with sand or topsoil, and replace the sod.

Q: How do I get rid of weeds?

A: Annual weeds that grow from seed can be prevented with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide (CGM for Organic) prior to seed germination. There is also a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent many perennial type broadleaf weeds. After the weeds appear, you can apply a post-emergent herbicide or pull the weeds by hand.

Q: Which is better, spike or core aeration?

A: Core aeration is preferred because it removes small cores of dirt to ease compaction. Spike aeration can compress some types of soil and add to compaction issues. However, spike aeration is best for sandy type soils.

Q: Can I overseed my lawn and still apply a pre-emergent for weeds?

A: The majority of pre-emergents prevent germination for all types of seeds. A newer pre-emergent under the name Tupersan is a selective pre-emergent that can be used at the time of seeding to prevent weed seed germination and allow grass seed germination.

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