These days, most people don't think the world is flat or that the moon is made out of green cheese. But it's surprising how many still cling to certain lawn myths. In the interest of saving you some time, money, and effort, we'll expose a few popular myths here.
For some reason, people have thought that cutting grass very short is a great way to help it through the winter. Not so. You can leave it at its summer mowing height. However, if you have cool-season grass and you're worried about grey snow mold, cut it to about 2 inches on your last cut before winter (2 1/2 inches for tall fescue).
Aerating is hard work that requires expensive machinery. Fortunately, you may not have to do it. Aeration is helpful when your lawn has a lot of foot traffic that compacts the soil. Also, if you have a lot of thatch, or if you need to amend the soil, you may want to aerate. If not, save yourself some time and money, not to mention an aching back.
Somebody made a lot of money with this one. If you spread gypsum on your lawn, you'll end up with some very nice pebbles, but not an aerated lawn.
Lime helps balance the ph level in soil. Unless you find out what your soil's ph level is by a professional soil lab, don't bother. Granular lime is effective when the soil ph is less than 6.0%. It's more effective when you mix it in with the top 5 inches of soil. In an established lawn, you first have to aerate with plugs every 1 to 1.5 inches apart. You may need to put lime in your vegetable garden or flower bed depending on your soil test.
While it's true that dead leaves can smother grass, raking them isn't the best solution. Dead leaves are mainly carbon. When you chop them up with your lawnmower and follow up with a fall feeding of Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Lawn Fertilizer, worms and microbes turn the leaf litter into soil. That saves you a lot of work. See our video on leaf mulching.
In most cases, grass clippings are good for your lawn. They help replenish nitrogen back into the soil without causing thatch build-up. Grass clippings give you trouble when grass is long and you're cutting more than 1/3 off, when the grass is wet, or you're about to overseed. Otherwise, save yourself some effort and leave the clippings where they fall - unless they fall on the sidewalk or driveway. Then you'll want to sweep them up.
Wrong. Grass seed varies by weed content, disease resistance, and intended use. Also, grass seed has been developed that's resistant to heat and drought, but still grows lush and green. Scotts® Thermal Blue Grass Seed is an example. You'll find it in Scotts® Turf Builder® Heat Tolerant Blue Grass Seed.
Spring takes second place. Fall is the best time to plant grass seed. Fall's lower temperatures, warm soil, sunshine, and increased rainfall all add up to excellent conditions for growing grass.