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Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fix-It Chick: Springtime myths debunked

March 20, 2014

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Myth 1: Spring is the best time for seeding. Grasses planted in the spring often lack the ability to develop a strong root system before the heat of the summer hits.

Fact: Fall is the best time to plant seed.

Myth 2: Get a head start by sowing seed before spring.

Fact: Grass needs moisture, warmth and sunlight to germinate. The random freezing and thawing of pre-spring weather will hinder germination. Plant seed when outdoor temperatures are expected to remain above 50 degrees for a minimum of 10 consecutive nights.

Myth 3: Water lawns daily.

Fact: Frequent watering promotes disease, facilitates weed growth and creates unhealthy root systems. Water green lawns once a week with no more than one inch of water.

Myth 4: Put down pre-emergent early to prevent weeds.

Fact: Excessive rainfall, weekly watering or any disruption to the soil inhibit a pre-emergent’s ability to restrict weed growth. Most weeds germinate when soil temperatures rise above 50 degrees. Apply pre-emergents when the forsythia bushes are blooming.

Myth 5: Leaving grass clippings on the lawn causes thatch to build up.

Fact: Grass clippings break down quickly and contain one-third of the basic nutrients necessary for a healthy lawn. Take advantage of this free fertilizer by mowing regularly with a mulching mower.

Myth 6: Cut grass short to reduce the number of times you need to mow.

Fact: This is partly true — grass cut short is much more likely to die in the summer heat, so you won’t need to mow it. Keep grass mowed to a height of 2 to 3 inches and only mow away the top third of the grass blade. For lawns that have grown too long, cut one-third of its height, wait a few days, and then cut the grass again. Mowing lawns on a regular basis will make turf thicker and healthier.

Myth 7: Fertilizing means you have to mow more often.

Fact: Without the benefit of crop rotation and other nutrient building activities, lawns quickly deplete the soils nutrient reserves. Proper fertilization will make a thick and lush lawn, not a taller and faster growing one. Determine the lawn’s proper fertilizer needs by testing the soil professionally. Apply the recommended nutrients to maintain a healthy lawn.

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