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    Know How to Mow continued...

    Longer grass is better for your soil, since it provides more shade and helps the soil retain moisture. It also makes it more difficult for weeds to grow.

    To mow your grass at a longer height, you may need to adjust the blades on your mower, since many are adjusted too low. And while you're looking at your blades, make sure they're sharp. Mowing with dull blades can tear and injure your grass.

    It's also a good idea to mow often, cutting no more than one-third off of the grass at one time. And those short clippings? No need to bag them. You can save time and money by simply leaving them on the grass to recycle nitrogen.

    Use Water Wisely

    All lawns need water to grow. But most are watered too often and with too little water. Although each type of lawn has different watering needs, a good rule of thumb is to water only when needed, and then to water deeply, with about an inch of water.

    If you use a sprinkler, you can tell when you've watered an inch by putting a few cans of the same size around the watering area. Then time how long it takes to fill them with an inch of water and use that as a guide. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation are more cost-effective than sprinklers, however.

    It's also a good idea to let the lawn dry out in between watering. When footprints remain in the lawn after you walk on it, it's time to water. The best time is in the early morning, when the water will be absorbed instead of evaporating. Watering in the evening may lead to mold or diseases.

    And if a green lawn isn't important to you, you can choose to water an established lawn just once a month during dry periods. Any areas that turn brown will come back in the fall.

    Lawn Care: Pest Control

    When pests do appear, many experts agree that integrated pest management (IPM) is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to control pests. Basically, this means using holistic ways to treat pests when possible, such as mowing your lawn higher to shade out weeds or planting more disease-resistant types of grasses or plants, and only using pesticides when needed.

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