Maintaining Healthy Lawns (WFAA Channel 8)

Maintaining Healthy Lawns

The weekends are typically a time when most of us catch up on yard work and the perfect time to start maintaining healthy lawns. A properly maintained lawn can increase your home’s value, reduce your energy costs, and help you burn calories.

In our latest segment on WFAA Channel 8, Denise Hickey from NTMWD and Patrick Dickinson from Texas A&M AgriLife are back for some great ideas on how to maintain a healthy lawn, especially in the Texas heat.

What is most important when it comes to lawn care?

A great lawn and landscape can increase your home’s value by 10-15 percent. By using the best management practices from Water University, you will manage your summer water bill, save money on fertilizers, and use water more efficiently.

Get your soil tested.

Before you apply fertilizer, test your soil to find out what, if anything, your lawn requires. It only costs $10 to send a soil sample in and have it analyzed. Knowing exactly what kind of fertilizer your yard needs will save you time and money.

Mow the right way.

It’s hard to break bad mowing habits, but using proper mowing techniques will help hold moisture and nutrients for your lawn.

  • Raise your mower height. Taller grass shields the roots from the harsh sun and helps the soil retain moisture.
  • Never scalp your lawn. This exposes your roots and dries out your soil.
  • Mow more frequently. Taller grass means more frequent mowing, but it also means a healthier lawn.
  • Never bag your grass clippings. Let the grass clipping decompose on their own to enrich the soil.

Maintain your trees.

Trees can help lower energy costs by providing critical shade for your home. Good trees are the most valuable plant in your landscape. Here are few tips to help maintain your trees:

  • Work with the trees and not against them.
  • Do not over prune or remove trees.
  • Plant native and adaptive around trees.

Learn when to water and when to wait.

It is important to only water the lawn when needed. Texas A&M AgriLife has an easy to use irrigation tool,, that analyzes local weather conditions to determine how much water is needed each week. Subscribers will receive a weekly text or email with details about how much to water, if at all.

Another option is to purchase a smart irrigation controller that also uses local weather conditions. Homeowner’s water bills increase in the summer once they start watering, so only watering as needed can really help keep the water bill manageable.

Water deep and infrequently.

The key to success for water your lawn is deep and infrequent watering. Grass and tree roots will grow deeper where there is moisture. Deeper root systems make for a more drought and heat tolerant plant.

When watering your lawn, use the technique we call cycle and soak. Set your irrigation controller to run in a series of watering cycles, let the water soak into the soil in between the cycles. When you do water, make sure it is before 10:00 AM or after 6:00 PM to avoid wasting water through evaporation.