Preventing Common Lawn Care Errors

patchy lawnThe hobby of gardening and lawn care seems to attract the full gambit of people from neophytes, who learn from their experiences, to experts, who have gained the knowledge due to years of hard work and research. However, what all these people have in common is that they are human. Like it or not, we humans some times make mistakes and that holds true for everything including lawn care and gardening.

The neophytes, who are just beginning to learn, may believe that they committed a mortal sin if they over fertilize the lawn. Experts may be somewhat taken aback, then take steps to assure it doesn’t happen again.

What follows are some examples of the most common lawn care mistakes and how the experts prevent them.

Over Fertilizing

Lawn care maintenance plan calls for the fertilizing of the lawn at least a few times during the year. So there is ample opportunity for mistakes to be made. These errors include applying too much fertilizer, applying fertilizer too often, doing it at the wrong time or applying disproportionately on part of the lawn that is in shade.

Much of the damage caused by these mistakes can be minimized if you use organic or traditional fertilizers.

In addition, you want to select fertilizers that have the proper amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You want to make certain that there is a proper balance of the nutrients in the fertilizer you use. It is suggested that one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet is a proper application. If you are using fertilizer with a high-rate of nitrogen, then you can use less fertilizer.

Check the outside of the bag of fertilizer to determine what the ratio is of each of the nutrients. There are three numbers. The first number represents the ratio of nitrogen; the second number is the rate of phosphorus; and the third number is the percentage of potassium. Suggested ratios are 3:1:2 or 4:1:2.

As to when to fertilize, experts say spring (May) and fall (September, October, early November).


An overwatered lawn is vulnerable to poor rooting and thatch buildup and these problems can then lead to worse.

Some experts recommend that you let your lawn start to experience mild drought during the early days of summer. This, they say, will increase rooting. If footprints remain after you walk over the lawn or the grass becomes a darker color, then the lawn is experiencing drought stress. That’s the signal that it is time to water.

Experts recommend that a lawn should get about 1-inch to 1.5-inches of water per week. Make certain that the moisture is getting down to the roots, spread the water equally and prevent flooding or missing spots.

Mowing The Lawn Too Short

Cutting the grass to short can cause diseases in your lawn. You can prevent this by setting your mower’s cutting height at 2.5-inches to 3-inches.

Maintaining Lawn in Shaded Areas

If your property suffers from too much shade, then maintaining a lawn will be difficult. Lawns that don’t get enough sunlight are thin, weak, and of poor quality. You can get some relief from shade-tolerant grasses, but they still need sunlight.

Trimming trees and shrubs can help in getting more sunlight to the affected areas. It is also suggested that you mow grass higher (about 3-inches) and fertilize areas in the shade less because too much nitrogen can cause damage. Experts say that about one to two pounds per 1,000 square feet will suffice.

According to some experts, no matter what you do there just may be too much shade in an area for grass to grow. In these circumstances, you may want to use groundcover as an alternative.

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About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.