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The Right Grass for Your Lawn

Most lawn grasses can be classified as warm season or cool season grasses. Cool season grasses do better in humid, northern climates, while warm season grasses do well in hotter, dry climates. Before choosing the right grass for your lawn, choose among the varieties that thrive in your climate. This will give your lawn its best appearance all-year round, with less chance of dying or becoming discolored.

Cool Season Grasses
This grass type is well adapted to northern climates, growing vigorously in both Spring and Fall, though it may brown during a hot Summer. These are often sold as a blend of several different varieties of the same or similar species, for example, the Kentucky Bluegrass. They can also be sold as a mixture of several different species, like Fine Fescue. Growing a blend or mixture is the normal course of action when seeding a lawn. If one variety doesn't thrive or dies from disease then odds favor one or more of the others taking over and growing in its place.

Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Fine Fescue are the most common types of cool season grasses. The newest strains of Kentucky Bluegrass stand out from their predecessors, as they are now very resistant to disease, and will keep their fine, textured looks without needing too many resources. They are also drought tolerant.

Fine Fescue includes several different Fescue varieties - Creeping Red Fescue, Hard Fescue, and Chewings Fescue - and are mixed in with Kentucky Bluegrass. This mix thrives in both shade and drought.

Perennial Ryegrass is the main grass in cool season mixes. It will germinate quickly and wear well.

Warm Season Grasses
This type of grass does well in southern climates, and has adapted to hot weather, actually going dormant when temperatures become too cold, like near freezing. Zoysia is best able to handle the winter, and is sometimes grown as far north as Pennsylvania. It stays brown in regions where the winters are cold, and is slow to become green in Spring. Though it's a dense grass it's only somewhat tolerant of the shade, and is grown best in areas with a lot of sun.

Bermuda Grass is best grown in the Gulf Coast states, where water sources are abundant. Wearing well, it stays green longer than the other warm season grasses. It also does well in the southern regions of the West Coast. In the southern parts of California it can be started from seed alone, but in the cooler mid-to-northern parts it can only be started from sod sprigs.

Another good choice for the coastal South is St. Augustine Grass. Coarse and adapted to humid coasts, it's not very tolerant of cold weather shade. On the other hand it can handle copious amounts of sun and foot traffic.

A good looking lawn will contain a combination of different grass types, each contributing its own strengths and weaknesses. When choosing your grass mix, look at what proportion the different varieties are mixed to together to determine which one will meet your lawn and landscaping needs best.

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Know Before You Mow

Keeping a healthy looking lawn makes your home look enticing and gives you a sense of pride when seeing it. If you are new to home ownership there can be a lot of questions that come to mind when first attempting to mow your lawn. What should the blade height be set at? What is the best pattern to mow? Are grass clippings harmful to your lawn? Below we're going to take a look at the best answers to these questions.

Adjusting Blade Height
Each mower, whether you ride it or push it, will have multiple height settings to ensure you get the best looking cut for your law. Picking the right height allows for a healthy lawn that is more resistant to disease, insects, and droughts. It also provides a healthy root system that greatly reduces weed problems.

As a general rule of thumb you should cut off one-third of your lawn's present height. This will ensure that your grass is long enough to resist potential hazards and will save you from having to bag grass clippings. Try adjusting your lawnmower to around what seems like one-third of the current grass blades and mow a small section of your lawn. Keep adjusting as necessary until you get the one-third height you are looking for, then proceed to mow your entire lawn.

Proper Mowing Patterns
While there are some extravagant law mowing patterns, like zig-zags and multiple spirals, many people aren't going to take that much care in mowing their lawn. For typical homes the choice comes down to two options, mowing in rows or mowing in a big spiral. The most general rule to follow when deciding how to mow your lawn is to not move over the same patch of grass more than once. You want efficiency when mowing your lawn. If you tend to use a riding mower it can more difficult to make precise turns, and can leave uncut patches. Use your common sense and come up with a method that works best for the equipment you have. You can always cut it differently next week.

Leave Or Remove The Clippings
This is such a common question in the lawn mowing industry, and many people have differing opinions. The choice is really up to you. If you follow the one-third rule of cutting your lawn above, you won't need to worry about grass clippings. In fact, it's more beneficial to leave them on the lawn as they will return valuable nutrients to the soil. Grass clippings do act like a fertilizer. They both contain phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, so essentially you're saving money by using the free grass clippings as compared to buying fertilizer. It is a lot less work to leave the clippings lay.

There are a couple of cases where picking up the clippings is a more ideal solution. If your lawn has a disease or fungus spreading it's a good idea to collect the clippings. There are bags that fit on a push-behind lawnmower. Riding motors tend to have sweeper attachments that will pick up clippings into one big collection bin.

Some people do prefer to collect their clippings to use them on a compost pile or as mulch. This works fine, however, be sure to not use clippings after you recently applied weed killer to your lawn. This could create a problem with your compost and areas where you spread the mulch.

By following these simple best practices your lawn will be healthy and green all year round.