Best practice is a business buzzword used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things. A “best practice” is defined as a method or technique that has consistently shown superior results and is used as a benchmark. In addition, a best practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered. More recently, the term “smart practice” has come into vogue, as it seems to offer more leeway into veering away from standards and toward solutions that are unique to your particular situation.
Just as in business, there are best practices and smart practices in lawn service. Below we offer a quick summary of the ones we have found to work well for our Houston area clientele.
Basic Lawn Service
Because of our climate, Houston lawns require mowing and trimming weekly in the months of March through October and bi-weekly from November through February. We see two types of mowers most often: 1) rotary lawn mowers are most common in Houston because of the prolific use of St. Augustine; 2) Reel Lawn mowers are used on zoysia, Bermudas and 419 Tiff.
Over-seeding with winter grass, also called rye grass, is a great way to keep your beautiful lawn grass all through the winter. The local temperature range normally dictates that winter rye seed can be spread in early to late October. It is important to know, however, that rye grass has some disadvantages. For example, the rye grass can compete with the St. Augustine grass (one of the most popular grasses planted in Houston) for space and nutrition, which makes it very difficult on the St. Augustine in the spring.
Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems
Water long and less often to get deeper water penetration, which helps the root systems. It gives you a more drought- resistant lawn and saves money. In the fall and winter, water in the late morning to reduce standing water that encourages fungal growth.
Irrigation systems are machines that break down and need repair, so a quarterly inspection of any system is a great idea. It also saves water from unknown leaks which is important for the environment and your pocket book. This is especially true for large or commercial properties.
The Rest of the Story
- Recommended fertilizers: organic, semi-organic, fast release, slow release, winterizer and low salt.
- Another good lawn service practice is the use of insecticide and fungicides to help control infestations.
- Lawn aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. Core aeration is a recommended practice on compacted, heavily-used turf and to control thatch buildup.
- Dethatching is a process of removing thatch (excessively thick grass) with a machine or by hand. This regular maintenance item allows water, nutrients and fertilizer to sink down to the root levels to promote healthy growth.