If you’re like many of your neighbors in the Raleigh, NC, metro area, you’re overconfident about your knowledge of lawn care. In a nationwide survey for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 68 percent of Americans felt good about their lawn care know-how. Yet many of those same people were uncertain about the basics, such as how often to water a lawn.
We’re here to help make you smarter about lawn care. Here are four lawn care tips for homeowners in the Raleigh area.
1. Get to Know the Grass.
If you already have lawn, make sure you’re aware of what type of grass you’ve got. If you’re looking at cultivating a new lawn, it pays to know which grass types perform best.
In Raleigh and the surrounding Piedmont region, a cool-season grass called tall fescue might be your best bet.
Tall fescue “is a reliable performer and easily started from seed,” the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service says. “It is the best grass to plant if you want a year-round green lawn.”
Other cool-season grasses that work well in the Raleigh area are a Kentucky bluegrass/tall fescue mix and a Kentucky bluegrass/tall fescue/fine fescue mix.
Warm-season grasses that are suited for the Raleigh area are bermuda, zoysia, centipede, St. Augustine and bahia.
“Cool-season grasses grow well in the cooler regions of the northern United States and the warm-season species are best adapted to the warmer regions of the southern U.S.,” according to the United States National Arboretum.
Raleigh sits in what’s known as a transition zone, where both cool-season and warm-season grasses can thrive.
2. Gauge the Water Situation.
To encourage root growth, water your established lawn to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, the extension service says. Typically, 1 inch of water per week will get you to that point.
However, that 1 inch of water shouldn’t be applied during one irrigation session, the extension service says. Instead, half an inch of water every three to four days should do the job in most cases.
“Water should be applied only when a reasonable portion of the lawn shows signs of moisture stress,” the extension service says.
The extension service recommends using cans or a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn is getting over a certain period of time (like 30 minutes). For more information, visit http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/extension-gardener-handbook/9-lawns.
Keep in mind that different watering guidelines are in place for new lawns. For more information, visit http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/extension-gardener-handbook/9-lawns#section_heading_6625.
3. Set Your Clock.
If possible, water your lawn early in the morning, the extension service suggests. This reduces water loss through daytime evaporation and decreases the risk of water-triggered fungal diseases.
4. Choose the Right Height.
No matter whether you’re doing the mowing yourself or you’ve hired someone to do it, your lawn should be cut to a height that’s best for the grass type. Here are mowing guidelines from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service:
- Bermuda — 0.75 to 2 inches
- Bahia — 2 to 4 inches
- Centipede — 1 to 1.5 inches
- Kentucky bluegrass/tall fescue mix — 2.5 to 3.5 inches
- Kentucky bluegrass/tall fescue/fine fescue mix — 2.5 to 3.5 inches
- St. Augustine — 2.5 to 4 inches
- Tall fescue — 2.5 to 3.5 inches
- Zoysia — 0.75 to 2 inches
For more information about services and pricing LawnStarter offers, visit our Raleigh lawn care page.
Top photo: North Carolina State University