Your lawn might not look as awesome as the turf at Kauffman Stadium or Arrowhead Stadium, but you can aim high, can’t you?
To be the chief of your lawn (blatant Chiefs reference) and the king or queen of your neighborhood (blatant Royals reference) in the Kansas City, MO, area, follow these five lawn care tips.
Not a DIYer? Visit our Kansas City lawn care page to let us handle your yard work.
1. Figure Out How Much Water Your Lawn Needs.
During the summer, when your lawn needs the most water, your lawn will require 1 to 1½ inches each week from irrigation or rainfall, University of Missouri Extension says.
Jared Hoyle, an assistant horticulture professor at Kansas State University, says that during the spring, you should give your lawn some water but let it “stress” — by letting it go a week or two without water — to prepare it for a dry, hot summer.
Photo: Dean Shareski
“Otherwise, if we just continuously water the grass, it won’t grow deep roots for summertime,” Hoyle says.
Here are University of Missouri Extension’s weekly watering recommendations for specific grass types:
- Perennial ryegrass — 1½ inches when the turf is green, 1 inch when the turf is dormant
- Kentucky bluegrass — 1.2 inches when the turf is green, 0.7 inches when the turf is dormant
- Tall fescue — 0.8 inches when the turf is green, half an inch when the turf is dormant
- Zoysia or bermuda — Half an inch when the turf is green, 0.2 inches when the turf is dormant
- Buffalo — 0.3 inches when the turf is green, 0.2 inches when the turf is dormant
2. Choose the Proper Time for Watering.
University of Missouri Extension says the best time to water your lawn is 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
“During this time, the water pressure is highest, disruption of the water pattern from wind is low, and water lost to the atmosphere by evaporation is negligible,” the extension service says.
Watering in the early morning also reduces the odds of lawn diseases that flourish when there’s lots of water on the grass.
The extension services recommends avoiding irrigation in the middle of the day and during windy conditions, when water reaches its peak evaporation.
3. Pick the Right Mowing Height.
Since there are different lawn grasses out there, it should come as no surprise that there are different mowing rules for each type.
Here are University of Missouri Extension’s mowing recommendations for grass height:
- Tall fescue or fine-leaf fescue — 3 to 4 inches
- Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass — 2½ to 3½ inches
- Zoysia or bermuda — 1½ to 2 inches
- Buffalo — 2½ to 4 inches
“It is always best never to take more than one-third of the grass blade off at any one time,” says Ward Upham, coordinator of K-State’s horticulture rapid response center.
4. Be Smart About Fertilization.
George Toma, the retired groundskeeper for the Chiefs and Royals, suggests fertilizing your lawn in the fall. If you do it just once a year, the target date should be around Sept. 1, he says.
“A lot of people [are] locked up in their houses all winter and then they go out there and start doing a lot of things in the spring. You have to do it in the fall. That’s Mother Nature’s time,” Toma tells American Profile.
5. Check Your Community’s Rules.
Around the Kansas City area, some communities have enacted ordinances that dictate how long your grass can be.
In Overland Park, KS, for instance, you’ve violated city ordinance if your grass grows taller than 8 inches. If the owner of the lawn has been slapped with a violation notice but still hasn’t cut the grass, the city will order that it be mowed at the hourly rate charged by the contractor and will tack on a $100 city fee. Other fees and fines are possible.
Top photo: ActiveRain/Shannon Lyon