Lawn Care tips 11 min

Uploaded by USEPAgov on 21.04.2011

People love lush green golf course lawns. You can have that kind of a lawn without affecting
the environment if you are smart about doing it.
It is critical actually for everyone to be concerned with what they do on their property.
Any kind of changes that you are making to your environment starts with an understanding
of what an impact individual environments have.
A lush green lawn around a home is beautiful. But many homeowners struggle with weeds bugs
and erosion on their properties. These problems could be a sign your lawn isnt getting what
it needs to stay healthy. We are going to follow five Master Gardeners as they share
their tips for a great lawn with several homeowners. These tips will help you get a healthy lawn
too while limiting the use of chemicals and protecting the environment.
The first thing you need to do is to test your soil to see if the pH is correct. Regardless
of how much fertilizer you put on its not going to do anything because it needs the
right pH for it to absorb the nutrients. So that is what the testing is all about.
When you are doing a soil test you want to make sure that you do a randomized sample
throughout your entire yard. You take those composite little samples and mix them in a
bucket and then bring just a cup of that sample and put it in the soil test bag and you can
take it to any of your local extension agencies and they can send it off for you.
They will mail you back the composition of your soil.
We will be able to tell you exactly how much fertilizer of what strength and whether you
need lime whether the soil is too acid too base.
Three inches is basically an optimum height for cutting your lawn.
The idea is the taller the top the deeper the roots.
If you cut your lawn too low then you are going to have a lot of exposed soil and that
is where the weeds will start to germinate. Oh okay.
So by cutting your grass a little bit higher you are helping to shade the roots. It retains
some moisture. It also helps absorb like the groundwater better.
The other thing is to make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp.
If you start seeing brown edges on your edges of your blades of grass or ragged edges on
your grass blades that is usually an indication it is dulling.
When you do cut your grass what do you do with the clippings?
I dont collect them. Good good you just leave them?
I just let them there. That is a great way to add organic matter
right back to your grass. The grass clippings have nitrogen in them
so you are putting nitrogen right back into your lawn and nitrogen is one of the nutrients
that grass needs to establish growth and the green color and everything else.
You need to do deep waterings less frequently then and that will help your roots.
If you do water then we always recommend you get an inch a week if its getting it by rain
or if its getting it by you watering it that is all that counts. Always try to do the watering
in the morning if you can before 10 oh clock because that lets the grass dry out during
the day and you dont have wet grass overnight. If you have your grass always wet you are
going to have fungus problems. In the summer around here because of the high
temperatures and the sporadic rainfall like we are talking maybe July and August we recommend
that people allow their lawns to go dormant. Just let them turn brown. By the time you
get a rain or two in mid-September or later most of the lawns should green right back
up. Generally we dont like to put down insecticides
and pesticides unless there is a problem. The weeds is clover a problem to you or does
your lawn have to be all grass? Or you know clover is green.
People going down the road 30 40 miles per hour they cant tell if the lawn is green.
They have no idea. So try to accept what nature provides you.
Your perennial flower bed right here I mean you are introducing good insects to help combat
the bad ones that are going to be attacking your lawn.
But for insects and grubs like Japanese beetles we like to make sure that there is actually
a problem. If you suspect that you have Japanese beetles the grubs are the ones that are hurting
your lawn. You take about a foot square piece of soil and dig down about a couple a few
inches and then just peel it back just like sod and count how many grubs you find. And
if you find six or more grubs in a square foot you have got a problem. There are pesticides
that will control Japanese beetles but its got to be done in usually I think its July
for it to be effective.
Another area we want to talk about is fertilizing. Now what do you do for your lawn?
Well we havent done any fertilizing for a while.
Okay. Thats not a bad thing actually because you are right on the water and with the kind
of lawn that you have if you fertilize this a lot of it would probably wash off into Greenwood
Creek. One of the studies showed theres more pollution from fertilizers from homeowners
lawns than there is from agriculture. Just because you live in the center of town and
dont have much of a yard and cant see any stream that water that comes off your property
is going to wash down a road and eventually into a storm drain and eventually into one
of these waterways. Fertilizers can harm the environment because
they can create a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus and runoff into the bay and create algae growths
which create dead zones. What we are looking for are fertilizers that are not water soluble
because the water soluble fertilizers mostly your synthetics have a tendency to run off
as soon as they are hit with water. I would apply them right after it rains not right
before. I think again you know with the amount of rain that we can get in one storm you know
a lot of this can just whoosh off it goes. And when you have a slow release its going
to take its time going down and its actually better for your lawn. When you have the quick
release you are just going to get spurts of growth but you can get too much growth and
not enough root establishment. Whereas when you have the slow release you are going to
get a better root establishment along with the growth and you are going to have a longer
period of time frame where you have a nice continuous growth and green.
The best time to fertilize is in the fall. Probably between oh mid September to early
November sometime in there. And we recommend that you dont use more than one pound of actual
nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn but an alternative to that is just using compost
or leaf grow. Dont get it on hard surfaces. Concrete doesnt grow any faster if you got
fertilizer on it. The other thing that could be a problem with
lawns sometimes is that the soil over time becomes increasingly compacted.
There is a machine that comes and it goes through your yard and its got spokes on it
that go through and they pull all these plugs out about every oh about every four inches
and it breaks up. It looks messy for a day or two but it breaks up and that gradually
dissolves right back into your soil base. But it will help aerate so that that the roots
below can get oxygen. The other thing that we want to see in a yard
is some attention to controlling runoff from your property.
This has all the makings of a site thats going to have erosion problems.
Now that I think about the topography of our back yard it definitely you know the slant
has become a little more accentuated than it used to be.
And you know with your concern for the stream thats nearby and for the river you want to
keep all the sediment on your own property. I notice that at all of the most of the corners
of your house maybe not all of them you have got rain barrels so that helps to filter out
the debris from the roof before it gets into the watershed. Rain gardens are designed to
slow the runoff of water. Rain gardens can be any size. You can locate
a rain garden off of your downspout for example and it can be just you know maybe just 10
by 10. So this rain garden here takes all of the
water from this downspout. Yes. And it pours.
What you are doing essentially is taking the water from here slowing it down holding it
until it filtrates into the ground. By planting native plants they adapt to the
area so when you get rain they can absorb the water and the pollutants. But if you dont
have rain they are not going to die.
We hope you enjoyed learning some of the tips and tricks to grow a healthy lush lawn this
season while protecting the environment. For more green tips check out our website at
and look for programs in your local area. Thanks for watching and remember green practices
make a healthy lawn.