Great lawns do not just happen; they take work and ongoing care. Things like lawn disease and thatch can ruin your lawn and will take time and effort to fix. But there is a way to prevent diseases and thatch buildup from damaging your yard. Here are some tips from local lawn care professionals on how to stop these threats before they become a major problem:
Plant grass that is resistant to disease in your area
Some grasses are hardier than others, and less susceptible to lawn diseases. The best choice will depend on where you live. In addition, if you plant a cool-season grass in a warm-season climate, or vice versa, the grass will not as thrive as well as it could. The US National Arboretum has a great resource to help you figure out what type of grass grows best in your climate and weather conditions.
Fertilize your lawn properly
A healthy lawn getting all of the proper nutrients is less susceptible to lawn diseases. So make sure that you have your lawn fertilized on a regular basis, but not too often – excessive fertilization can actually promote certain diseases. The exact number of times you will need to fertilize your lawn is dependent upon a variety of factors, including your climate, local weather conditions, type of grass, and season.
Water regularly, but in the morning
Lawns are more susceptible to diseases when they are wet. So instead of watering frequently and shallowly, which could encourage not just lawn diseases but weed growth, make sure to thoroughly water once a week, with at least an inch of water, and in the morning. To know that you are watering the lawn enough, do the tuna can (or cat food can) test: put those types of empty cans in multiple areas around the lawn. When you have watered enough, the cans will be full. Watering deeply but infrequently can help keep disease away.
Test your soil’s pH level
Making sure your lawn’s soil keeps on the correct pH level can help keep your lawn healthy. If testing shows deficiencies, the deficiencies can be adjusted before they cause serious issues – and before lawn disease starts. Your local Lawn Doctor can test your soil’s pH levels and balance them accordingly for you.
Remember the rule of thirds when mowing
Mowing regularly is an important part of keeping a lawn lush and thick. But it is important to not cut off too much. If you “scalp” your lawn – cutting off too much grass – you can make the lawn more susceptible to disease. Remember to never cut off more than one-third of the grass height at one time. This will ensure that too much is not cut off. Also, make sure that the lawn mower blades are sharp – dull blades can cause damage.
Have your lawn aerated regularly
Lawn aeration is a process of putting circular holes in the soil to treat soil compaction that could restrict your roots access to nutrients, water and oxygen. Being unable to reach these much needed nutrients is the number one cause for thatch buildup and a number of other different lawn problems. Aeration helps grow stronger roots that can help eliminate thatch buildup and lawn disease. When it comes to when to having thatch on your lawn, aeration may need to be done at least once a year; in many areas, fall or spring is the time to do so.
Use a dethatching rake
In addition to using lawn aeration to get rid of thatch, you can also use a special rake on your grass. This dethatching rake can help eliminate the thatch buildup and keep your yard safe.
Some key factors to consider before dethatching:
- Do not remove the entire thatch layer
- Do not dethatch in wet weather conditions
- Dethatch during late summer season into fall
- Consider balanced pH level when dethatching
In summary, a healthy, lush lawn will keep disease and thatch away. By following these tips, you can be on your way to protecting your yard and preventing threats like lawn diseases and thatch buildup.