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Lawn & Garden

First-time homeowner

We just moved in and the lawn is pretty brown. I have no idea what kind of grass it is (we live on Long Island, NY) - how should I begin to take care of the lawn?
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Posted 2015-04-06T21:33:54+0000  by MMD123 MMD123
On Long Island you likely have a cool season grass that's probably a mixture of different grasses - Bluegrass, Fescue, and  perennial Rye.  As their name implies, cool season grasses do best in cool(er) weather (spring and fall) and depending on temperature and rainfall will turn brown and go dormant (not die) in hot summer months.  Do you have any greening?  It should be starting to get warm enough that the grass should start coming back.

There's a few of approaches to caring for grass:

  • Find the guy with the best looking grass in the neighborhood and ask him what he does.
  • Hire someone to do the fertilizing, weed control, bug control, etc. for you.  That might not be a bad approach for the first couple of years.  Then any issues become the company's problem, not yours.  Talk to neighbors and see who they use.
  • Do it yourself.  Scotts and other companies pretty much have a program to follow. 

A few other suggestions:

  • Don't cut your grass too short.  Cool season grasses should be cut to 2 1/2" to 3" and don't remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade in any one cutting.  Keep your mower blade sharp (which means sharpening it a few times per season depending on the size of your yard).
  • Water deeply but infrequently.   Water only in the morning.
  • Use fertilizers with a high percentage of slow release nitrogen.  Nitrogen promotes green growth, which looks nice but too much isn't good for you grass either.
  • Use your local county extension service.  They're going to be familiar with grasses and soil types in your area.
  • Do a soil test.  Your local county extension service can help there too.
Posted 2015-04-06T23:27:09+0000  by Adam444
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