It's Time to Put a Few Popular Lawn Myths to Rest
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.
Myth #1: Mow Your Lawn Extra Short Before Winter
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).
Myth #2: You Need to Aerate Your Lawn Every Year
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.
Myth #3: Gypsum Aerates Your Lawn
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.
Myth#4: Always Apply Granular Lime on Your Lawn in the Fall
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.
Myth #5: Always Rake Leaves off Your Grass
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.
Myth #6: Always Use Your Lawnmower's Grass-Clippings Bag
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.
Myth #7: All Grass Seed is the Same
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.
Myth #8: Spring Is the Best Time for Seeding
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.