April is National Lawn Care Month, so the Professional Landcare Network wants to make sure homeowners correctly care for their lawns.
"Healthy lawns are not only beautiful, they have a positive impact on our environment," said network President Jim Martin. "They trap dust and dirt in the atmosphere and convert large amounts of carbon dioxide to oxygen. Lawns also provide a natural filtering system for rainwater as it soaks into the ground. Additionally, healthy lawns provide a cooling effect in summer months, which saves on energy costs. It is important to care for them."
With more than 30 million acres of lawns across the United States, the network offers these mowing tips:
- Give your lawn mower a checkup. Make sure that the blades are sharp and the oil has been changed. Be sure to drain last season's gas and use fresh gas.
- Don't scalp your yard. Don't cut your grass too short, particularly for cool season grass. Higher heights provide for a deeper root system and a lawn that is less likely to encourage invasive weeds. They also protect your lawn from scorching.
- Avoid mowing when the grass is wet. Mowing wet grass can encourage mold and fungus and will quickly dull your lawn mower blades and chew up your lawn.
- Change direction. Mow your lawn in a different direction with each mowing, especially with lawns of shorter grass types. Altering the direction ensures a more even cut since grass blades will grow more erect and will be less likely to develop into a set pattern.
- Don't compensate by overcutting. Never mow more than one-third of the grass leaf at a time. If circumstances arise that a lawn gets too tall and you just have to lop off a lot, do it in several mowings with three or more days between cuttings.
- Be safe. Keep children and pets away. Wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and eye protection. Never cut the lawn when it's raining, lightning or when grass is slippery. Do not push a lawn mower onto the pavement. The lawn keeps objects from being hurled at a high speed. There is no such protection on the pavement.
- Do your homework. Determine your grass type and the best height for optimal health. Also, read the operating guide for your mower. Make sure you understand all of its safety features before use.
- When in doubt, hire a professional. They are trained to keep your lawn healthy and they know how to safely operate equipment.
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