Putting Healthy Conditions First

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Set up a healthy environment, and you'll have much less trouble with your lawn. Proper lawn-growing conditions include the following:

  • Good soil: Lawn grasses need soil that's loamy, fertile, and fairly high in organic matter. Too much clay inhibits root development; the roots can easily be overwatered or compacted. Too much sand creates a soil that dries out too fast and doesn't hold nutrients well. Get a soil test to see whether your soil will have to be modified or replaced (see Chapter 16 for details). If the soil is poor, you're better off fixing that first.
  • Enough sun: The best place for a lawn is in full sun.
  • Proper varieties of lawn grasses: Choose a seed mix that's adapted to your particular climate. Include several varieties of grass that adapt to slightly different growing conditions. If you have shady areas, include some shade-tolerant varieties.
  • Minimum competition from neighboring trees: Tree roots are shallow and extensive (See Chapter 9). They find lawns quickly and suck the life out of them. The lawn is small and weak compared to the trees, so it loses the battle. Place your lawn as far away from trees as you can.
  • Adequate water: Be sure you have enough pressure and volume to operate a sprinkler system (see Chapters 7 and 8 for details), and take community watering restrictions into account. If you're on a well or other private water supply, find out whether there's a consistently adequate supply of water.

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