Grass Control

Written by Jared Vincenti
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The appearance of your lawn will be based equally on your planning and your maintenance. A well-designed lawn will look wild if untended, and the most religious upkeep can't save a poorly designed landscape. Thankfully, you can plan for the amount of maintenance, and be sure to keep your lawn looking under control. An effective lawn mower will be your most important tool, so buying one made of sturdy materials can make the job easier by requiring less overall maintenance.

Setting up for Success

The most important thing about planning your lawn will be the type of grass you choose to sow. Most homeowners prefer perennial grasses that do not need to be replaced each year, but not all perennial grasses are the same. The growing pattern of the grass you choose is what will play the biggest part in shaping your lawn's look. In addition, not all types of grass require the same degree of maintenance.

There are two basic patterns in which grass can grow. Blade grasses like fescue and bluegrass grow upward in from a main vertical stem. The grass has relatively weak roots, but is attractive because of the even appearance. Runner grasses, like St. Augustine and Bermuda grass, grow in clumps from nodes on a long system of runners--rooted stems that form the base of the lawn. Runner grasses have very strong roots and spread eagerly between areas.

If you are worried about keeping your lawn under control, it is best to go with blade grasses. These are simpler plants that will not spread as aggressively as the runner grasses, and are much easier to contain. The downside is that blade grasses do not fill in bare patches by themselves--but grass seed is relatively inexpensive, and bare spots can be quickly patched with new seeds.


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