UACES Facebook Maintaining a Healthy Lawn
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Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

Searcy, Ark. – Expanses of weed-free, perfectly groomed grass do not occur naturally; they require careful attention and consistent care.  Along with the routine demands of mowing and watering, other periodic tasks such as fertilizing, aerating, and dethatching are also necessary to keep the grass green and healthy.

There are a wide variety of lawn mowers available, so choose the one that best suits your needs.  Sharpen the blade yearly and keep the lawn free of debris that might dull the blade or be thrown out of the mower’s chute.  Before starting the engine, adjust the cutting height. 

Lawn clippings can be bagged, but short clippings left on the lawn decompose to a natural fertilizer.  Modern mulching mowers, which have a special blade and a fully enclosed deck, chop clippings fine to speed decomposition.  For a finished appearance, crop around posts and other hard-to-reach areas with a power trimmer, and use an edger to cut a small, narrow trench along flower beds and sidewalks.

In summer, when high heat and lower rainfall slow the growth of grass, you will mow your lawn less often but water it more.  A thorough watering perhaps once a week is preferable to frequent light watering, which can inhibit the growth of deep roots.  Control the amount of water the lawn receives by setting your sprinkler for the correct intensity and area. 

Grass does not, of course, live by water alone.  To replace soil nutrients, fertilizers must be added.  The timing depends on the type of grass.  Always sweep excess fertilizer from sidewalks and driveways onto the lawn to prevent run-off into storm drains.

Even in the best-kept lawn, a few weeds will show their ugly heads and must be dug up or destroyed with a selective herbicide that kills weeds without harming the grass.  Some weed-killers wither parts of the plant they touch.  Others are systemic: they are absorbed into the plant, destroying even the roots.  Weed killers can be applied directly to isolated weeds or they can be sprayed over an entire area that is badly infested.

The University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.  For more information you can contact your local county extension service, you can also follow Sherri Sanders on Facebook @UADA.WhiteCountyAgriculture .

By Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Rd. Searcy, AR 72143
(501) 268-5394


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.