By Jaymi Curley | Editor & Writer
Aeration: Aeration involves using a tool or a machine to puncture the soil. By loosening the soil under a lawn, aeration incorporates oxygen into the soil, helps water to penetrate, and improves both drainage and the absorption of nutrients vital for turf growth. Many years ago, home lawn enthusiasts would sometimes wear golf spikes and walk across their lawns to accomplish aeration, but this method is not recommended, as golf spikes are not long enough to accomplish effective aeration. There are several types of lawn aerators now available, from walk-behind models to tractor-pulled designs, and the spikes can be up to a foot or more in length.
Pre-emergent: Pre-emergents are chemicals applied in early spring and early fall to prevent unwanted weeds and grasses from germinating. These chemicals are especially good at controlling annual summer weeds like sandbur, goosegrass, and crabgrass as well as winter weeds such as chickweed and bluegrass. Pre-emergents are considered imperative in lawn maintenance.
Germination: Germination is the growth of a seed into a seedling plant. Effective seed germination depends on four factors: temperature, water, oxygen, and light. Each of these factors must be as close to optimal as possible for the seed to mature into its seedling stage, and the variations of each component are linked to the atmosphere present in the plant’s native habitat.
Mowing: Mowing involves using a tool or a machine to cut turf in order to maintain it at a specific height, usually for appearance. While various grasses flourish best at varying heights, in general the rule applied to mowing is the “one-third” rule, which states that no more than one-third of the height of the grass should be removed in any single session of mowing. While grass clippings were once thought to choke lawns, modern lawn experts recommend returning clippings to the soil rather than raking and bagging or mowing with a bagging attachment. When the mower is used at the proper mowing height, the clippings produced are small enough to filter easily down through the turf to the soil surface and decompose rapidly.
Sod: Sod is grass that is grown primarily to establish a lawn in a short time, rather than waiting for grass seed to germinate and mature. Sod is made up of mature grass over a layer of soil and is bound together by the root system of the grass. Depending on the climate in which it is grown, sod can be harvested anywhere from ten to eighteen months after it is planted. Typically, sod is sold in square slabs or in rolls. While significantly more expensive than the amount of grass seed required to cover the same area, sod has the advantage of instant ground coverage, making it the primary choice for most builders and landscapers. In addition, small pieces of sod can sometimes be used to quickly repair damaged areas of lawns. With proper preparation and application, the sod can blend in seamlessly even with previously seeded turf.
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