What's growing on?

What’s wrong with my lawn?

I met with a homeowner last week about the condition of her lawn. She and her husband had been trying to do their own lawn care applications for several years and just were not getting the results they were looking for. She asked me what they were doing wrong and if other home owners make these same mistakes?  I assured her they did, and it dawned on me maybe I should share this experience with others. So I created a short video and decided I would follow that up with this blog. I hope it is informative for you and if you have more questions shoot me an e-mail. The top issues we see are:

1. Mowing too low - We can improve the quality of our fescue turf simply by raising our mowing height and ensuring our blades are sharp. Fescue turf performs well mown 3 to 3.5 inches tall. Mowing this high promotes a deeper root system. (Read improved drought tolerance) You also need to mow often enough that you are not removing more than 1/3 of the plant at any given time. Mowing too close and not often enough stresses the plant by removing the food producing leaves. The plant has to grow new leaves before it can grow roots and store food. After mowing too low for several years you will find more weeds, disease, insects and typically weaker stands of grass.

Dull Blades- Dull blades rip and tear the grass resulting in a ragged blade tip, giving the lawn a brownish tint after mowing. (Unattractive) The ragged cut doesn’t heal as quickly, stresses the plant and opens it up to potential disease attack. Using sharp blades improves the cut quality, disease resistance and overall appearance of the final product.


Also studies have shown you can increase the fuel efficiency of your mower 20 to 25 percent by using sharp blades. The recommendation for homeowners is to sharpen blades 2 to 3 times per mowing season.


2. Soil P.H. – The absolute best starting point as you embark on your lawncare journey is to take a soil sample. The soil sample contains a lot of good information but the part usually most beneficial is the soil P.H. reading it provides. Optimum range to grow fescue is 6.0 to 6.2. As the P.H rises above or drops below that optimum range, the nutrients in the soil become increasingly more and more unavailable to the plant. (Read that you can fertilize and not see results.)

3.No Commitment to a lawncare program – A common misconception is that you can do a few treatments and your lawn should be great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. It generally takes 2 to 3 years of consistent treatment to really turn a neglected lawn around. Ongoing treatments are then necessary to keep it really healthy and thriving.

4.Treatments out of sequence- One of the most unfortunate things I see is consumers who spend money on lawncare products and use it in a manner that works against what they are trying to accomplish. For example, I’ve seen people decide to re- seed in the spring and also put down a pre-emergent to control crabgrass. The pre-emergent will keep the crabgrass from coming up, unfortunately it will also keep the desired grass from coming up. I once heard someone say “lawncare is not rocket science, but doing the right things at the right time.” I could not agree more. There are definitely limited windows of opportunity to do lawn care activities to obtain the desired results. If you miss that window of opportunity or do things out of sequence, the chances for success are greatly diminished or not even possible.

5. Not seeking professional help- In the absence of available time, equipment, or knowledge sometimes the best bet is to call “The Man”. Most reputable lawn care companies have the knowhow, time, equipment, proper licensing and staff to deliver correct, timely applications to your lawn.                  I hope this has been informative. As always, we are happy to help. For more information, just give me a call. 336-516-2271 or Tim@livinglandscapes.net

Tim Walker

Posted 172 weeks ago