As a lawn care company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, there are questions our customers ask pretty frequently. Over the years, a few questions about having a lawn in Lancaster have been asked more than others. In this blog post, we’ll answer your frequently asked questions about watering your lawn, how high to mow your grass and what kind of gas to put in your lawn mower.
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We have had good rain and reasonable temperatures, so why is my lawn stressing right now?
Since about the third week of June 2019, lawns in the Lancaster area have been showing a lot of stress. The number one reason right now is a lawn fungus called Red Thread. It is extremely widespread in our area at this time.
Red Thread’s symptoms are usually visible as circular patches of pink grass. Red Thread can usually be treated with a dose of high nitrogen fertilizer.
The good news is that Red Thread will probably go away when your lawn dries out. And this fungus does not usually kill your lawn. This fungus generally only grows on the tips of the blades of grass. Your lawn should look normal again when the ground dries out and the new growth comes in.
How high should I mow my lawn?
It seems that every list of frequently asked questions has something about the mowing height. As such, we didn’t want to include it on this list. But it is a most frequently asked question, so here it is!
Simply put, you want grass blades to be long enough for two main reasons. First, if the blade is slightly longer, then each blade provides a little shade for the root of the plant next to it. Thus, during the hot days of summer, there’s less moisture evaporation because the sun isn’t baking the ground where there is a slight bit of shade.
Second, and following the same principle, the longer blades will not only shade the roots next to it but also will keep weed seeds in the shade and make them less likely to thrive. Longer grass tends to keep weeds out better then short grass.
In the early spring you should mow grass at 3 inches. By June 1st, we raise our mower blades to 3 1/2 inches to keep our lawns looking as green and thick as possible through the heat of the summer.
In late fall, you can mow your lawn shorter to help remove leaves or to have it looking short and neat all winter. You can even lower your blade down to 2 3/4 inches during the fall.
Tip: Keep your blades sharp. Torn grass is much more susceptible to fungus and disease than blades of grass that are clean-cut.
How much should I water my lawn during the summer?
This is another question that appears on every FAQ list, so I would rather leave it alone. But again, it seems to be a question that’s often asked. So, here it goes.
When you first seed a lawn, you want to keep the seeds moist. The goal is to have the seeds neither sitting in water or drying out. Either extreme makes it very difficult for seeds to germinate. So, newly seeded lawns need to be watered morning and evening for 15 to 20 minutes for the first 30 or 45 days while the grass grows in.
But after a lawn is established, watering needs are completely the opposite. You want to soak the lawn for long periods of time only once every 4 or 5 days. You want the lawn to get soaked so that the water seeps down 2 or 3 inches deep below the roots. This will help the grass roots go deep and will protect the lawn from burning up in the heat of the summer.
During the heat of the summer, it is best to soak the lawn every 4 or 5 days for a couple of hours. And if you get a 15-minute thunderstorm on a summer afternoon, do not consider that your weekly watering. Most of that rain ran off, so you didn’t get much watering in 15 minutes. Probably.
What kind of gas should I be use in my lawn mowing equipment?
This is a very important question.
There have been many studies showing that using a poor quality gasoline is causing over 70% of engine damage to lawn mowing and trimming equipment. Most small engine repair mechanics will tell you that the percentage is much higher than that. And this is nothing new; we can remember having this conversation with our mechanics almost 20 years ago!
The short answer is that Ethanol-based gasoline will absorb water from the surrounding atmosphere. If you are running that mixture through your machines, overtime, you’re causing damage.
We strongly recommend buying Ethanol-free gas. Yes, it’s is more expensive. Yes, it’s harder to find, although it is becoming easier to find at newer gas stations.
But in the end, we have found that this more expensive gas saves us money on repairs and maintenance to our machines in the long run.
Related: Lancaster’s Ultimate Guide to Mowers