Steps to Proper Lawn Care

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    Seed Selection

    • The type of seed you decide to plant in your lawn depends on your climate region, level of traffic and desired level of maintenance. Grasses are usually divided into warm-season and cool-season varieties, each of which is planted at a different time of the year. Some grasses, such as creeping bentgrass, are not suitable for lawns but make perfect selections for putting greens or other playing areas. Visit your county extension office to discuss the best grass for your particular needs.

    Soil Testing and Fertilization

    • Once you have determined the best grass for your lawn, it's time to test your soil and apply fertilizers. Do not apply fertilizer products without first obtaining a thorough analysis of your lawn's nutrient and pH levels. For best results, take samples in to your county extension. The soil test will tell you the exact levels of various soil nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient and is best applied in the fall. Fertilizer may also be required in the spring and summer.

    Irrigation

    • Eighty percent of summer water usage is used outside, according to the University of Missouri Extension. An efficient, properly installed irrigation system not only keeps grass healthy and green, it may also save on water bills. Before you plant your grass, decide what kind of irrigation system you will use. Above-ground systems such as oscillating, pulsating or turret sprinklers are ideal for restricted areas. Underground systems with moisture sensors provide convenience and water conservation for larger areas. Deep watering is more effective than frequent, shallow irrigation. Observe established lawns for signs of drought and underwatering, such as bluish-purple grass tips, folded or rolled leaves and browning.

    Mowing

    • Mowing is the most time- and work-intensive part of maintaining a healthy lawn. However, regular mowing encourages healthy growth and maintains the overall appearance of the lawn. For best results, always use a mower with sharp blades, since dull blades will shred and tear the grass leaves, which increases susceptibility to pests and diseases. The three primary rules when it comes to proper mowing practices are mow the lawn frequently, keep the grass high to encourage deep roots and return the grass clippings to the lawn as you mow.

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