7 Lawn Care Myths Debunked

Keeping your lawn green, lush, and healthy might as well be a full-time job for many homeowners. It's a time consuming seasonal task that leaves many folks desperate for easy tips and tricks that will make for quicker and cheaper results. Beware, however, because not everything the your next door neighbor—or the Internet—advises is true. Even we've been taking in my a few of these thoroughly debunked myths before now, but we're setting the record straight once and for all.

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  1. Beer as Fertilizer

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    You've probably seen a number of “lawn tonics” circulating on the Internet claiming that common household products like beer or cola will effectively fertilize your lawn. Not true. The simple sugars in these drinks are, won't keep your lawn healthy; just like people they need complex carbohydrates to grow. Likewise the yeast in beer will not encourage healthy microbes to grow, but rather fungus. Don’t waste your time, or your beer, on this one.


    Related:  7 Extraordinary Household Uses for Beer

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  2. Wear Spiked Shoes to Aerate Your Lawn

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    You may have seen infomercials for spiked shoes that claim to aerate the lawn as you walk. Or maybe your buddy has told you to wear your golf spikes while you mow. Turf specialists advise aerating at least 5% of the soil surface to alleviate a compacted lawn, and that's not something you can efficiently accomplish with spiked shoes. Hollow-tine aeration is far more effective than solid-tine aeration, so your best course of action is to rent a core aerator or hire a pro.

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  3. If You Leave Grass Clippings on Your Lawn, You’ll Get Thatch

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    The widespread, but totally erroneous, belief that grass clippings left on the lawn creates thatch was debunked in the late 60’s by a study at the University of Rhode Island. They found that thatch is primarily composed of stolons, stems, roots, and rhizomes. Grass clippings, on the other hand, are mostly water and will break down quickly, returning nutrients to your lawn. So, feel free to mulch those clippings right back into the yard without worry.

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  4. You Have to Rake Leaves

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    This is the best news ever! No, you don’t have to rake the leaves on your lawn. While it’s true that a heavy layer of leaves can smother grass, a light or moderate layer of leaves can be successfully mulched back into the lawn, providing nutrients for the grass. Just run your mower over the leaves until they are sufficiently chopped up to pieces the size of a dime or smaller. And sell your rake at the next yard sale.

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  5. Control Moles With Chewing Gum

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    You cannot get rid of moles with chewing gum, castor oil, cod liver oil, tobacco, or any of the other things Joe, down the road, swears by. None of these methods will effectively kill moles, though it may appear to work. As weather gets hotter in summer, and the soil in your lawn gets drier, moles move from surface tunnels further underground, to a network of main tunnels and nests. Unfortunately, trapping is really the only effective way to control and get rid of moles.

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  6. Spring is the Best Time to Seed

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    Since everything is greening up in spring and rainfall is abundant, it seems a reasonable assumption that it’s the best time to start grass seed. Not necessarily true. Different grass types are best germinated at different times. Tall fescue, for example, is best started in fall, so it has time to get well-established before enduring the brutal heat of mid-summer. So, first check to see what type of turf grass you’re growing before investing your time, energy, and money.

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  7. Mow Seeds Back Into Your Lawn

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    Turf grass grows fastest in early spring. Many think that if you wait for the seed heads to develop, you can mow them back into your lawn to re-seed your yard. But the truth is that those seeds are not developed enough to germinate. It won’t hurt anything to mow those undeveloped seeds back into your lawn. But unless you wait several months to mow, you won’t get a re-seeding effect.


    Related:  No More Mowing—10 Grass-Free Alternatives to a Traditional Lawn

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