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Lawn Care Basics: 4 Keys to a Pest Free Lawn

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Lawn care basics pest free lawn

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The basics of lawn care, are also the basics for lawn pest control and prevention.

Lawn pest problems? A healthy lawn is the best way to prevent pests. If you do these things right, you will be able to create an environment which will discourage pests, and lower your need for pesticides.

These are the basic components of lawn care:

Mowing.

Mowing is the one thing that if done properly, will yield the best bang for your buck. If all the other things are done reasonably well, this will make your lawn an oasis.

Make sure that you start with a good mower, with sharp blades. Sharp blades cut the leaves of grass more smoothly, lessening the chance for disease, and adding to the overall appearance. A dull mower blade makes for a ragged cut, and makes mowing harder for you and your mower.

You should mow as often as possible, at least once a week during the growing season. The more frequently you mow, the smaller the clippings, so they become easily available for your lawn to recycle into nutrients, and organic matter. If you bag your lawns clippings, you are taking away as much as sixty percent of the lawns fertility, and depriving your lawn of organic matter and other benefits. Avoid bagging like your lawn depended on it. 

Frequent mowing discourages pests, disease and fungus, and helps your lawn grass to grow laterally. There are many other benefits as well.

Cultivating.

Cultivating is something that doesn't have to be done as often as the other items on our list, but it is highly important.

If you have a thatch problem, or compaction problems, aerifying, or verticutting will aid in keeping your lawn in good condition.

If your lawn is in need of renovating, cultivation is essential. Top dressing is a separate subject, but I mention it here because cultivation and top dressing are usually collaborative efforts. Cultivating twice per year will have a positive impact on your law, and more frequent cultivation in high stress areas can work wonders.

Fertilizing.

Getting the right nutrients, in the right amounts to your lawn is important. For the best fertilizer, follow the directions above about mowing, and don't bag your clippings. Of course, you will want to add more fertilizer, so start with something like one pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet of lawn space per application. Three applications per year should be sufficient.

You will need to adjust this to the needs of your particular lawn. Most common lawn grasses can be fed as much as two pounds per thousand square feet, per application, but at the higher rates, you can expect a spike in growth.

Some fertilizers use sulfur coated "urea formaldehyde" as a nitrogen source. The sulfur coating slows the release of nutrients, allowing for more time between applications. You can use these at higher levels, less frequently. If you use regular fertilizer, smaller doses at more frequent intervals are recommended.

Irrigating.

Keeping your grass healthy requires making the right amount of water available. Too little and it desiccates, to much and it will languish and invite fungus and disease. I am not going to go into the details of precipitation rates, or other boring facts, but you should watch your lawn. If it is soggy two hours after watering, you should probably back off the water a little. If it is dry at a depth of one inch, you should increase the watering.

The best pest control.

By paying close attention to these four key components of lawn care, you should have a virtually pest and disease free lawn. Proper lawn care is the best pesticide on the planet, and it is a lot safer and less expensive than the alternatives.

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