When it comes to taking care of your lawn, there are four basic buckets that all of the tasks you put on your to-do list can fall into:
- Absolutely necessary
- Good idea, but probably not vital
- Bad idea, but probably not horrible
- Don’t do this!
It’s Bucket #4 we’re going to be digging into today. Here are five things we highly advise you don’t do to your Pensacola lawn:
Working with old, broken equipment
If you want your lawn to both look great and thrive, you need to use quality equipment when caring for it, and you need to keep that equipment well maintained.
That means making sure your lawn mower’s blade is sharp so it actually cuts the grass blades rather than tearing and shredding them. The same goes with any sort of trimming or pruning tools you’re using on the grass or shrubs — make sure blades and cutting surfaces are clean, straight, and sharp.
Giving the mower an adequate tune-up each year will also ensure it keeps running consistently throughout the season so you don’t end up failing in the next category.
This category can cover a lot of points, but it basically involves ignoring the best practices of proper lawn mowing in favor of doing whatever’s easiest at any given time. This can include:
- Mowing the grass too short
- Letting it grow too long
- Mowing at the wrong time of day
- Mowing at the wrong time of year
When grass gets cut too short (more than ⅔ of the blade is removed) it can do lasting damage to the plant. Even if the scalping itself doesn’t kill your lawn, it leaves it far more vulnerable to damage from insects and diseases, and infiltration by weeds.
Obviously, letting it grow too long increases the chances you’re going to end up removing more than ⅔ of the blade when you finally get around to mowing it, so it makes the first problem even worse.
Choosing the wrong time of day to mow usually involves mowing early in the morning when the grass is still wet or during the hottest part of the mid-day when the sun beating down on your newly mowed lawn can scorch the blades and the roots.
Once the growing season ends, your Pensacola lawn needs the opportunity to go dormant for the brief winter season. If you’ve artificially extended the growing season through fertilization and end up having to mow after the weather’s gotten cold, it can be extremely stressful and even deadly for your grass.
With an automated sprinkler system, it’s tempting to set it on a timer and just let it water your lawn every day or every few days on schedule. However, if you’re not routinely adjusting the schedule based on the time of year and the weather we’ve been having, you’re most likely watering the lawn too much.
Your Pensacola lawn needs a maximum of 1-3” of water every 2-3 days during the hottest part of the growing season. That total includes any rainfall we get, and it’s going to be less in the early spring and late fall when the temperature is lower and the lawn gets less direct sunlight. If your irrigation system is watering the lawn for an hour or two every other day, the lawn is getting far too much water.
Too much water can create optimal conditions for lawn diseases and promote weed growth. Excess watering can also cause any beneficial treatments you’ve applied to be washed away or diluted to the point that they’re no longer effective.
Incorrect application of lawn treatments
Fertilizers, herbicides (weed killers), and pesticides are all potent lawn treatments. In the wrong hands, they can do damage to your lawn, and, more importantly, they can harm any people or pets who come into contact with the lawn. In extreme cases, they can even cause environmental problems if excess chemical makes its way down into the ground water.
All of these lawn care treatments are sold with plenty of fine print on the packaging that warns about these dangers and usually provides detailed instructions for applying and storing the substance safely. Unfortunately, many people may skip don’t read that information, which can lead to dangerous situations. Be sure to read and follow any label instructions exactly when considering lawn care treatments.
Going it alone
If you’re not in a position to avoid these issues consistently throughout the entire lawn care season, your best bet in all these scenarios is to get help from a professional lawn care company. Here in northwestern Florida, we enjoy a long growing season, but that also translates to dedicated lawn maintenance.
By working with a Pensacola lawn care company, you can:
- Ensure the equipment used on your lawn is always in top working order.
- Ensure the lawn is getting mowed at the right height, consistently throughout the season.
- Receive ongoing advice regarding an optimal watering schedule.
- Allow a professional to handle lawn applications so you can be sure it’s being done safely.
- Relax and enjoy your beautiful lawn rather than being overwhelmed by all it takes to keep it that way.