5 tips for a healthy lawn from Orioles' head groundskeeper

Orioles head groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen offers these tips to keep your lawn lush and green.

Remove lawn clippings. Clearing the clippings from your lawn after regular mowing is a good habit to form. A continued build-up of clippings on your lawn can promote disease, block sunlight from reaching the growing turf bed and begin to decompose the grass underneath.


Be consistent. Maintaining a good turf grass can be as simple as regular, consistent cutting, watering and fertilizing. Although it depends on your type of grass, mowing should take place once or twice per week during the growing season. An irrigation system is best for watering, but during a normal summert, rain can be sufficient for your grass to thrive.


Test the soil. Performing a soil test can tell you a lot about your lawn and help diagnose how you should care for it. It allows you to determine any deficiencies in your soil or an overabundance of a particular nutrient, which can be helpful figuring out the proper balance of water and fertilizer.


Aerate annually. Healthy root systems are key to keeping a lush green lawn. Aerating your lawn yearly helps incorporate healthy amounts of oxygen into the soil and promotes deep, strong roots. You can use anything that can puncture the top half-inch of the grass layer — a spiked shoe, a drill with a half-inch drill bit, an aerator machine rented from a local garden center — to help air movement in the soil.


Mow the right way. Improper mowing techniques are by far the most damaging practice to home lawns. A home lawn cut to the height of 21/2 to 3 inches is ideal because it's not too tall or too short. Higher grass could start to lay over and block sunlight and lower grass can die more easily. Mower blades should be routinely sharpened, too. Clean-cut blades of grass limit the pathways for disease and fungus to enter your lawn.

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