4 Basic Tips on Getting and Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

1. Fertilize your lawn. This should be done once a year and in the fall is best. Fertilizing too often encourages rapid grass growth which in turn makes grass plants more susceptible to disease and insects. Do NOT use high-nitrogen fertilizer. The highest percentage of nitrogen you should ever apply is 10 percent. It’s true that the nitrogen will make your grass grow quickly but it will also cause it to be very weak. It will become more vulnerable to drought and disease.

2. Start mowing at the highest setting on your mower- 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Taller grass is healthier grass. It keeps the soil cooler, keeping it moist longer. It shades out weed seeds, preventing them from sprouting. By doing this it promotes deeper root penetration which is the secret to drought resistance.

3. Never apply pesticides, insecticides or fungicides. All of these products kill living things such as good microbes and earthworms that naturally aerate soil and keep it richer. By observing the previous steps in this plan, there will be no need for such chemicals. Healthy grass is much tougher and less likely to succumb to disease and insect damage.

4. Grass does not need to be watered during long dry spells. If you want to keep your lawn green all summer long, water deeply but infrequently. It is better to run the sprinkler for an hour once a week than for 10 minutes a day. You want to encourage roots to grow deeper. If the soil is dry below the roots they won’t go down.