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Lawn laws

Lawn laws
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Whether you have a green thumb or not, it’s easy to maintain a blissful, barefoot-worthy backyard. For starters, avoid these no-nos.

Don’t remove grass clippings

Don’t remove grass clippings
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Leaving grass clippings on the lawn after you mow can cause thatch problems, right? Nope! That’s a myth. Turns out, grass clippings can actually help with the overall health of your lawn. And (bonus!) that means less work for you when you mow.

Don’t skip aerating

Don’t skip aerating
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Most lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are planted over a fairly skimpy layer of topsoil. Over time, lawn mowers, pets and football games compact the soil, making it difficult for air, water and vital nutrients to penetrate to the grassroots. Your challenge: to restore healthy soil conditions that nurture your lawn. To loosen and aerate the soil, rent a power core aerator. They’re available at rental centres, plus some hardware stores and garden centres.

Don’t use a dull mower blade

Don’t use a dull mower blade
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Dull mower blades rip through the grass blades instead of slicing them cleanly, and that stresses the plant. You can always tell a lawn that’s been mowed with a dull blade because it looks brown on the top. Get on your hands and knees and you can actually see the damage. Be sure to sharpen your mower blade each season to keep your lawn in good shape.

Don’t water every day

Don’t water every day
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Did you know your lawn can actually get dependent and needy if it has too much water? Instead of watering every day for 15 minutes, choose one day a week to water the lawn for an entire hour. Your lawn will be watered deeply, and it will be healthier and more drought-tolerant.

Don’t forget to dethatch

Don’t forget to dethatch
The Family Handyman

Thatch is a layer of slowly decomposing grass stems, roots, clippings, and debris that accumulate at the soil surface over time. It can build up in your lawn and virtually choke it to death. Excessive thatch build-up is commonly found in lawns that have been overfertilized or overwatered and have never been aerated. Thatch build-up of 2cm or more will restrict water and nutrient penetration into the soil (think thatched roof) and can harbour disease organisms that can increase the need for pesticides. Slice open a section of turf. If the thatch is more than 2cm thick, take action.

This is what you need to know about composting in 2020. 

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Don’t give up on shady areas

Don’t give up on shady areas
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Growing grass under shade trees isn’t easy, but one key to success is choosing the right shade grass species and planting method for your region. In cool-season areas, you’ll get a better result using seed rather than sod. Sod is grown in wide-open fields under conditions that favour sun-loving grasses. Garden centres will have grass seed mixes formulated for shade. Late summer and mid-spring are the best times to establish cool-season grasses in shady areas.

Don’t wait too long between mowing

Don’t wait too long between mowing
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If you came back from a holiday and didn’t arrange to have the grass mowed while you were away, don’t try and mow it down in one day. Cut off some of the length and then wait a couple of days and mow again. This will cause less stress on the grass. You may need three passes depending on how long the grass grew.

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Don’t cut grass too short

Don’t cut grass too short
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Every grass type has an optimal cutting height, and you’re better off on the high side of that height. Here are a few reasons: The grass blade is the food factory of the plant. Short blades just can’t generate as much food as long blades. Long blades also shade and cool the soil. That means weed seeds are less likely to sprout, and you won’t have to water as often because water won’t evaporate as fast. Not sure what type of grass you have? Take a sample to a garden centre for identification.

Don’t mow in the same direction every time

Don’t mow in the same direction every time
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Instead, mow in a different direction every time: front to back, back to front, diagonal, etc. Repeatedly mowing the exact same way will cause the grass blades to grow at an angle, and you may develop permanent tracks from the mower wheels.

Here’s what to grow for an impressive winter garden. 

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