A properly maintained lawn is a statement in of itself, an advertisement to the rest of the world that this home is your utopia, your suburban Narnia. Exaggeration aside, nobody wants their lawn looking half-dead, with brown-looking, wilted patches of grass leading up to what most people will assume is a ratty-looking house on the inside. First impressions are important, and properly maintaining your lawn will ensure that first-time visitors will regard you and your property with favor.
That being said, the practice of good lawn maintenance is hard work and fraught with pitfalls for the uninitiated. If certain things aren’t avoided, you may find your home looking like the Marsten house from Salem’s Lot: and most people want to avoid being known as the neighborhood vampire. Or worse, you may find that your health is put at risk, as using certain lawn-care brands can lead to being exposed to harmful chemicals.
If you’re interested in keeping your lawn clean, vibrant, and healthy, read on, and make sure to avoid doing these four things.
1. Mowing Your Grass: Practices and Pitfalls
Few think about the actual practices undergirding their mowing, and even fewer think about the semi-permanent impact those practices will have on their lawn. In general, avoid cutting your grass too short, as longer blades of grass will keep your soil moist and fruitful for longer.
Shorter blades of grass can also expose the soil if cut too short, and they produce less food for the ground on average, meaning while you think your lawn looks prim and proper, it’s going to expire sooner.
Also, be careful not to mow your lawn in the same direction every time. The pattern in which you cut needs to be changed as often as possible, as doing the same thing repeatedly can lead to your grass being angled and the design being established in the grass itself.
2. Don’t Over-Do ANYTHING
Overfeeding and overwatering your grass can cause a variety of negative effects, ranging from chemicals spreading into groundwater and the land itself requiring more water to stay healthy. Make sure you feed and water your land in proportion to what your lawn actually needs, and avoid the anxious impulse to pile more and more on. These things take time.
3. Don’t Procrastinate on Mowing
Mowing is a pain; always has been, always will be. But letting the grass grow too much can be just as much of a problem as cutting it too short, especially if you’re going to try and mow down an overgrown lawn all at once.
Aside from tall grass hiding harmful insects and rodents, the taller grass gets used to absorbing more and more resources; when it’s cut suddenly, the resultant shock can shorten its lifespan. Letting your grass grow out too much, while tempting, is one of the things you should never do to your lawn.
4. Don’t Use Harmful Chemicals on Your Lawn
Round-Up is one of the most popular weed-killers out there, commonly used in suburbs and agricultural farms across the nation. The problem is, Round-Up has chemicals in it that suffocate the ability of plants to produce the materials it needs to grow, killing plants and weeds alike without distinction.
And, unfortunately, aside from doing irreversible damage to your lawn, it can also significantly harm the people using it: there are active lawsuits against Round-Up by consumers who have gotten lymphoma as a result of using that product.
Bottom line? Do your research on the products you use for your lawn.
Common Sense is Your Best Friend
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of the things you should avoid while seeking to maintain your lawn properly. A couple of things I might have added might include spraying your yard with 2-4-5 Trioxin or making sure you’re seeding the right kinds of grass.
But common sense will be your closest ally in growing an award-winning lawn: ask yourself if you’ve done the research on that product you’re about to spray on your grass, or if you think the mower is set to cut your grass at the right length. Before long, you’ll have the fairy-tale lawn of your dreams.