© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

The Four Secrets

As spring transitions into the depths of the summer, I transition from bagging while I mow, to simply letting the clippings lay where they fall. To me, this is one of the four secrets to a great early summer lawn.

Don’t Bag – I’m always amazed at how much those brown bags of lawn clippings weigh. In the spring I bag while I mow as the lawn simply grows too fast and now bagging leads to clumps of decaying grass in the lawn. These clumps generate heat, block the sun, and tend to kill the live grass underneath. But when the sun gets warmer and spring showers cease the lawn slows it’s growing, the blades of grass hold less moisture and instead of throwing hundreds of pounds of clippings I return them to the yard to decay, fertilize and mulch the lawn.

Sharp Blade – Dull blades rip as much as they cut, and the jagged tips of grass they leave behind turn brown, are most susceptible to disease, and tend to dull down the vibrant green of the grass just enough to make a dingy difference.

Whack the Weeds – Warm season weeds like nutsedge and crabgrass love the heat, and in a head to head battle with bluegrass or fescue the weeds always win. When the weeds win they push out the grass, and when the first fall frost kills them lawns are left with bare patches. Keeping the weeds at bay is a season log hobby, er, I mean chore.

Cut it High – The next time you walk or drive through your neighborhood, look at the color of the lawns. Some will be brown, some yellow, some light green, some dull green, and some a dark, vibrant green. I guarantee you that the greenest lawn in your neighborhood was cut slightly longer than all of the rest. The neighbors who flank me are busy. As such they don’t want to mow as often, and so they set their mower so it skims the topsoil. As a result the lawn looks dull and lifeless. Cutting even a few quarters of an inch higher makes for healthier greener grass. And throughout the summer, maybe I’ll mow a couple more times than my buzz cut neighbors, as they’re short grass grows far faster and more raggedy than my moderately tall blades. Oh, and one more benefit, tall grass soaks up sunshine and takes up more space, leaving less real-estate for weeds to grow.

Follow these four tips and you’ll be well on your way to the best August lawn of your life.

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