10 Lawn Care Myths You Really Need To Stop Believing

Updated: Nov. 01, 2022

When to fertilize, when to water, how short to cut the grass. You've surely heard one or more of these lawn care myths, but is there some truth to them? Read on to find out.

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Family Handyman

You Need to Water Every Day

Did you know your lawn can actually get dependent and needy if it has too much water? Instead of watering every day for 15 minutes, choose one day a week to water the lawn for an entire hour. Your lawn will be watered deeply, and it will be healthier and more drought-tolerant.

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Cutting Grass Shorter Means Less Mowing

It may be convenient for your time management, but your lawn certainly doesn’t like it. By cutting the blades too short, it’s an easier access to the dirt underneath to be exposed to the hot sun. This will cause browning and can even encourage the growth of weeds, diseases, or even insects when your lawn is drier and hotter.

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Lawn mower

Grass Clippings Lead to That Buildup

Thatch buildup doesn’t happen from leftover grass clippings but from excess watering and too much fertilization. Leaving grass clippings is actually great for your soil. It returns much-needed moisture and nutrients back to your soil. So stop wasting time bagging your grass (and overwatering your lawn).

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You Should Fertilize in the Spring

Even though stores have lawn fertilizer out ready for your lawn care activities, that doesn’t mean it’s the proper time to lay down fertilizer. Fertilizing in the spring will result in excessive growth (which means more mowing) and reduced rooting. Regardless of the species of your grass, lawns should be fertilized during the summer months when the grass is actively growing. However, a specific timeline of when to fertilize your grass also depends on your location. If you’re in a warmer climate, these grasses should be fertilized in late spring or early summer with another application in late summer. But if you’re in a colder climate, fertilizing should be done once in early fall. By using a “winter fertilizer” in early fall, this will feed the lawn enough to gear it up for a green spring. Six to eight weeks before the first frost is when to fertilize the lawn in fall.

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shutterstock_560254180 sprinkler watering the lawn new year's resolutions

Watering in the Evening is Best

The morning is actually better! If you water your grass in the evening, water can actually cling to the blades and start to form fungus. In the morning, there is usually less wind and the air is much cooler. As for specific times, “morning” is anytime between 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. Anything past that can be categorized as being the “middle of the day”, which water will evaporate too quickly (especially in the summer). For the greenest results, choose a weekend morning to water your lawn for an entire hour.

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Raking leaves
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Leaves Smother Lawns

Did you know that leaves are actually great for your lawn? Leaves have an organic matter in them that is great for your soil. It works as a natural fertilizer, helping your grass to grow the following year. According to Sam Bauer, a turfgrass researcher from the University of Minnesota, it can even suppress the growth of weeds as well. He recommends mulching the leaves by using a lawn mower (specifically with a specialized mulching blade, if you have one) over the leaves to cut them up. However, if you have huge piles of leaves on your lawn, it may be hard to mulch all at once (and yes, can smother your grass). Remove those piles until you have a good dusting of leaves around your lawn before mulching with your mower.

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well manicured front lawn flowers landscape landscaping green grass porch

Tonics Will Help My Lawn to Grow

Why drink beer when you can use it to grow your grass, right? Wrong! Don’t waste your beer on a grass tonic, because it actually doesn’t help your lawn at all. People have made the claim in the past that tonics including beer, cola, hydrogen peroxide, or even dish soap, can improve the state of your lawn. But it’s actually false! Sure these products can increase microbial activity and suppress insect pests, but it’s very questionable to use for a greener lawn. Instead, try these tips for growing greener grass.

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GoPPa Lawn Aerator Shoes
via amazon.com

Wear Aerator Shoes While Mowing

Sure, it’s a time saver, but it’s not doing an effective job of aerating your lawn at all. If you break down the math, you’re only going to be able to aerate about .04 percent of your lawn by doing it this way. In reality, your need to aerate at least 5 percent of your soil to effectively reduce compaction of your soil. This type of coverage will be difficult for just one person to do, which is why hiring a service may be your best bet.

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water from hose
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A Garden Hose is More Cost Effective Than a Sprinkler System

In theory, but not in reality. If you’re watering your lawn with a hose, you probably aren’t watering the lawn evenly. This leaves certain areas of your lawn thirsty, while others are overwatered. This not only causes brown patches in your lawn but can increase your watering bill if you’re not watering properly. Plus, with technology advancing, sprinkler systems can now help to conserve more water compared to before, leaving this theory in the pile of myths.

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Chewing Gum Solves a Mole Problem

It’s been said before that if you cover a mole hole with chewing gum, the mole will try eating it and choke to death, solving your mole problem. This is actually not true. Moles aren’t tricked into eating gum. And if you’re trying to fix the mole problem in the summertime, you may not see any type of results from this method for a while. Typically in warmer climates, moles tend to dig deeper to keep cool. If you have a mole problem, the best thing to do is set up traps.