Lawn maintenance is a task that some homeowners still choose to handle themselves. It seems simple enough. Anyone can mow the lawn, right? Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. Landscaping is a skill just like any other, requiring knowledge and specific techniques to get it right. Lack of such knowledge can lead to unhealthy lawns, dead spots, and sometimes permanent damage to a lawn.
Although anyone can technically take care of their own lawn, many people still prefer to rely on professional landscape companies because they offer the specific knowledge it takes to create a beautiful lawn and to keep it healthy each season. Many critical mistakes are committed each year by well-meaning yet ill-prepared homeowners who take on lawn maintenance themselves, and here are the 8 most common landscaping mistakes to avoid.
1. Mowing Too Short
Cutting your grass too short can cause stress and shock, which then disrupts the ability of the grass to grow. Most landscape companies typically set mower height to 2.5-3 inches and preferably never remove more than one third of the grass at a time.
2. Improper Fertilizer Applications
A lawn needs fertilizer to be healthy, but there is so much that can go wrong when fertilizer is applied by an individual with little experience. Most synthetic fertilizers contain nitrogen. With the right doses, nitrogen can help your lawn look great. However, if you over fertilize or unevenly fertilize (applying too much to some areas), nitrogen can actually burn your lawn. Landscape companies understand the proper procedures and have the right fertilization tools required for equal spreading.
3. Poorly Prepared Soil
When you think of landscaping, you probably think of the grass you see, but the soil underneath is equally important. Landscape companies prepare soil with a variety of techniques, including adding organic matter to create the right nutrient combinations and aerating the soil to allow for better air, water, and nutrient penetration.
4. Timing of Cultural Practices
Just like most things in life, timing is everything when it comes to landscaping. Aeration, fertilization, weed control and other tasks must be performed at the right time for optimal impact. Good landscape companies have this down to a science.
5. Wrong Type of Grass for Location
There are many species of grass and each has different needs when it comes to amount of light needed, the best temperature for growth, and the ideal soil type. That’s why planting a grass that requires full sun in a shaded area is a recipe for disaster. Determining grass type is also tricky because multiple species of grass may be needed in the same lawn.
6. Ignoring Thatch
Thatch refers to stems and roots that haven’t decomposed and gather near the soil surface. Because thatch accumulates between the new green grass and the surface of the soil, it can prevent grass from growing properly and developing deep roots. Landscape companies dethatch and aerate to promote healthy growth.
Water is a great thing for your lawn – in the right quantities. Overwatering prevents grass from developing a deep root system (which will help the lawn survive when water is limited, such as in a drought) and also promotes the growth of unwanted thatch. Proper watering techniques, as used by experienced landscape companies, require a knowledge of when and how much to water.
8. Dull Mower Blades
A lawn mower is designed to cut your grass evenly and cleanly. However, dull mower blades will actually tear the grass instead of making a clean cut. Torn grass ends up looking dry, which can then lead you to overwater and over fertilize. Sharpening mower blades can be a dangerous process, but landscape companies have experienced professionals to do so safely.
The interesting thing about landscaping mistakes is how interconnected they are and how easy it is to get into a vicious cycle that ends in disaster for your lawn. Knowing these mistakes can help you avoid disaster, but you also have to understand how these things work together as a system. While anyone can do their own lawn maintenance, it’s also easy to make some big mistakes. For this reason, many home and business owners turn to professional lawn care services like Top Choice Lawn Care.