In order to help you on your way Lawnscience dispels 10 common lawn care myths. These helpful tips—like the perfect length for your lawn’s grass—might just make your lawn the envy of all your neighbours.
Myth 1. Lawns do not need fertiliser
Reality: Your lawn is made up of many little plants, and like all living things they require a food source. Soil is made up of rock deposits which are basically nutrients or food for the grass plant. Because we regularly cut our grass this process leads to nutrient loss. Therefore, we need to keep enriching the soil with replacement nutrients and that is basically the role of a good quality fertiliser.
Myth 2. Moss will just go away
Reality: Moss develops in lawns that are in poor condition which results in the sward, or cover of grass thinning.
Over the summer months moss may appear to retrench, but this is just a visible effect due to the warmth of summer. The only way to eradicate moss from your lawn is to first understand the fundamental reason why it developed in the first place, then treat the moss with a moss control product, scarify it out of the lawn and replace it by sowing new seed in the areas where the sward thinned.
In the UK’s climate, moss is a regular and reoccurring issue and needs regular monitoring.
Myth 3. Golf courses cut their grass short, so it’s a good idea to do the same.
Reality: Golf greens are created by the sowing of specialised types of grass that can withstand regular close mowing. The vast majority of domestic lawns are created using different mixes of grass, which cannot cope with regular close mowing.
Check the appropriate mowing height for your species of grass, or get a professional to do this for you, but in general mow to about one and a half to two inches and never cut more than one-third of the grass leaf at a time.
Myth 4. The products lawn care companies use are dangerous and more powerful than what a homeowner can use.
Reality: The products professional lawn care companies use cannot be purchased at the garden centre, they are only available to qualified professionals. These products are very strictly regulated by law and regularly tested to ensure their safety. Lawn care professionals undergo strict training to ensure that they are knowledgeable and competent to apply these products.
Myth 5. You should water a Lawn every day.
Reality: Overwatering damages lawns almost as much as lack of water. It is better to make sure you are wetting the entire root system of your lawn, and then allow the soil to dry to the point that it is only moist. In this way you encourage the root system of the plant to grow and develop. The only exception to this rule is on very sandy soils where water leaches very quickly after application.
Myth 6. The best time to replace the lawn is in the spring.
Reality: Creating a new lawn by sowing seed in the spring can cause problems, as heat sets in during the summer months and weeds compete for space. The best time to sow seed is in the autumn, when the temperatures are more consistent and rainfall is more prevalent.
Myth 7. You do not need to scarify your lawn, in order to remove thatch.
Reality: Thatch is a layer of dead and decaying organic material, including the crown, roots, and stems of the grass plant. Its removal from a lawns surface is beneficial as this thatch layer can cause problems due to reduction of water and nutrient penetration to the root zone and it ability to provide a great environment for the development of grass diseases. Regular scarification is beneficial for lawns, but it is important to understand when your lawn requires scarification and also the extent of the scarification required.
Myth 8. Remove grass clippings after mowing is essential to maintain a quality lawn.
Reality: There is a common misunderstanding that grass clippings create a build- up of thatch. Grass clippings consist mostly of water and rapidly decompose, returning significant amounts of nutrients to your lawn.
Myth 9. Lawns are not “organic.”
Reality: Lawns are quite often thought of as areas that don’t provide any environmental benefits. However, the truth is that they contribute a substantial amount of oxygen to the environment and help to keep areas cool in hot weather. They also provide a home for earthworms, fungi, soil microbes, and other life forms that coexist and make possible the lawns we all enjoy for recreation, sports, and aesthetics.
Myth 10. The application of lawn grub control is unnecessary in the UK.
Reality: Every year lawns are decimated by the effects of lawn grubs such as leatherjackets and chafer grubs. These tiny “eating machines” grow by literally eating the root structure of you grass causing it to rapidly die. The costs of protection is far cheaper than the repair cost after the damage has occurred.