Now that Oklahoma has warmer, it’s time for local residents to roll out their mowers and take care of their lawn.
During spring, it’s a good idea to trim the grass to about an inch and a half to remove dead grass and bring more sunlight to the surface. Once the summer heat sets in, homeowners can raise their mower blades and take a little less off the top. However, if the grass gets too long, it will grow at different heights and may leave brown spots or create dormant areas as not all of them are getting the appropriate nutrients.
To improve the health of a lawn, fertilizer can be used to supplement missing nutrients. However, Garrett Ford, an agricultural educator with the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County, recommends performing a soil test before applying fertilizer to shipyards.
“That’s just so you don’t put too much fertilizer on,” said Ford. “Lawn manure is easy to carry away. All of that stuff will run away and make its way into the water table and will definitely find its way into the watershed so it can cause some environmental problems there. “
The OSU expansion office will provide ground tests to local residents and advice on sampling. If the test calls for fertilizer, Ford said getting a lawn going for the year is definitely helpful.
Just as it needs sunlight, grass also needs a lot of water to look good. Landscapers can determine if their lawns need water by walking on them. If the footprints don’t go away quickly, the blades of grass don’t have enough moisture to pop back up. Watering grass in the morning hours can produce the best results as cooler temperatures and lack of wind allow the water to penetrate the soil and be absorbed by the grass.
Watering a lawn is not always necessary, however, as grass can survive without moisture for weeks when it becomes dormant. When the rain returns, the grass will return too.
Ventilation is another step in lawn care.
“It’s a pretty common practice on sports fields and golf courses,” said Ford. “They’ll be aerating lawns almost annually. Usually you want to do this in the spring as well. There is a ton of gear for this that you would drag behind a lawnmower and it actually aerates the ground. “
Lawns that vehicles or small equipment drive on can compact the soil under the grass. Perforating the soil with aeration allows more water, air, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots, making them stronger and deeper.
There are several ways to aerate a lawn. One way is to poke holes in the ground with spikes. Some people use spiked vent sandals that can be strapped to the bottom of their shoes. There are also aerators that remove a small earth core from the yard.
Homeowners don’t have to do this on their own either, as the OSU Cooperative Extension Service is ready to help them get the most out of their lawn.
“Come with questions about the Extension Office or give us a call if there is any uncertainty,” said Ford. “We’re here to help.”
The OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County can be reached at 918-456-6163.