Angie's List: Summer Lawn Tips

ANGIE'S LIST -- Even though your annoying neighbor does, it can be hard to find the time and energy to maintain a perfectly manicured lawn.But don't get discouraged.In today's Angie's List report, three simple tips to a healthy summer lawn.

The grass can be greener on your side, but it takes hard work and dedication. Sadly, our lawns can't talk and tell us what they need. But if they could talk, our lawns might explain how we're killing them without even knowing it.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated lawn care pros what top three things your grass wants you to know:

1. Stop drenching me: Don't go crazy with watering, but don't slack off either. Set your irrigation system on long intervals less frequently rather than short intervals more frequently. Don't forget to adjust your irrigation system accordingly throughout the year. A general rule is to water an inch per week during the active growing season.

To determine watering depth, place an empty tuna can near your sprinkler and let it run until the can fills with water. Over-watered grass appears yellow or light green and you might notice dark green or brown veins in the leaves. It's best to water in the morning to help prevent disease by reducing the amount of surface water on the leaves.

2. Quit cutting so close! Although trimming your grass as short as possible seems like a good way to save time, it really creates more work in the long-run. Giving your lawn a buzz cut puts stress on the grass, exposes the roots and soil and reduces its ability to fight off pests and weeds. When soil is exposed, weeds become more prominent and thrive.

The weeds then compete with your grass for nutrients and water. Lawn care pros say you never want to mow your grass shorter than 3 inches, and you should never cut more than a third of its total height at once. Adjust your mower height and let the grass grow a little longer between mowings.

Keep your mower blade sharp for a clean and even cut. Also, mow in a different direction each time to avoid creating ruts.

3. Fertilize the right way: Fertilizing is worthwhile in any climate but a necessity when the soil lacks nutrients. The most important ingredient in fertilizer is nitrogen which is vital for the continued growth of thick and healthy grass. Incorrectly applying fertilizer will quickly turn your lawn from green to brown. A broadcast spreader will ensure even application.

Too much fertilizer in one area will kill your grass, so never pour it directly out of the bag. High-nitrogen fertilizer is ideal for spring because it promotes lush growth, but applying it in the middle of the summer when your lawn is dormant can kill the grass

.Angie's List Tips: Hiring a pro• Hey, you need help! If you've thrown the whole kitchen sink at the lawn and nothing sticks, it might be time to start over. The answer to your lawn problems could be that you're doing too much and it may be time to seek the help of a professional.

• Check out my lawn: Don't hire a company that won't inspect your grass before starting work. Make sure your technician measures the size of your lawn, understands your grass type and takes note of existing damage. Get everything in writing before you hire.

• Be careful overusing pesticides! Pesticides can be essential to preventing infestations and disease but should be used with great caution. Some pesticides are very harsh on a lawn. Most states require licensing and certification for the commercial application of fertilizer and pesticides.

To check licensing laws in your city, please visit the Angie's List License Check Tool.

• Beware of the quick cure! Each lawn is a unique, growing plant, and even lawns side-by-side in the same neighborhood may need different treatment. Recovery will depend on a number of factors. Stay away from a company who claims to work miracles.

• Watch out for a low price! Be wary of treatment companies with flashy ads that sound too good to be true. If the price is extremely low, expect an aggressive upsell.


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