Grass Clippings to bag or not to bag?

Rule of Thumb
Grass clippings do not contribute significantly to thatch accumulation on lawns.
The Don't Bag It lawn care plan can save the homeowner time, energy and
money, and reduce the amount of waste going to our landfills. The principle is
simple -
return clippings to your lawn. By leaving your clippings on the lawn
and allowing them to work their way back into soil, you can realize these
benefits and still maintain a beautiful, green lawn.
In fact, grass clippings contain valuable nutrients that can generate up to 25
percent of your lawn's total fertilizer needs. A hundred pounds of grass
clippings can generate and recycle as much as three to four pounds of
nitrogen, one-half to one pound of phosphorus, and two to three pounds of
potassium back to the lawn. These are the three most important nutrients
needed by lawns and commonly supplied in lawn fertilizers. The other good
news is that grass clippings do not contribute to thatch (an organic debris layer
between the soil and live grass) since grass clippings are 75-85 percent water
and decompose readily.
Why, then, do many homeowners bag grass clippings? Basically, it is a personal
preference and habit most homeowners have acquired. Another reason is that
bagging does ensure that no clippings remain on the lawn to detract from lawn
quality and aesthetics. Proper lawn care practices will usually eliminate surface
clipping debris and ensure a successful
Don't Bag It program.

                                                  Thatch?

Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves and roots
of grass that develops between the green grass and the soil surface. The
overall effect of a thatch layer is an unthrifty lawn that does not respond well to
management practices and is easily injured when conditions are optimum for
growth.
It is assumed that the return of grass clippings to the lawn will increase thatch.
This is not true. Grass clippings are about 75 to 85 percent water and
decompose readily. Thatch is formed from grass parts more resistant to decay
like roots, stems, nodes, crowns, etc
                      
                            
 How should I water my lawn?

A major detriment to lawn attractiveness during the summer is a lack of soil
water. During the hot, dry periods, growth of most of our lawn grasses will cease
and the grass will turn brown and go dormant if supplemental water is not
provided. The dormant grass is in a resting stage and will normally revive with
favorable moisture and temperature conditions in the fall. Lawn attractiveness
is, however, lost during dormancy, and weed growth, which detracts from the
appearance of the lawn, may be greater. Dormant lawns will not normally need
to be mowed.
During the driest period of the summer, our lawns usually will require about one
inch of water every week to stay green and growing. Lawn sprinklers usually
need to be set for at least one to two hours per spot to apply one inch of water.
One inch of water will typically wet a soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
Overwatering and/or frequent watering will stimulate excessive top growth and
the need for more frequent mowing. Lawns watered too frequently also tend to
develop shallow roots, which may make them more susceptible to pests and
heat-drought stress. Water infrequently (weekly) and deeply (six to eight
inches) with one inch of water each time.
The best time to water is early morning, so less water is lost by evaporation.
The worst time to water is in the evening because the lawn stays wet all night,
which encourages disease development.
Rule of Thumb
Water infrequently (weekly) and deeply (one inch of water per time) when
necessary.
All these Questions were
answered by the Ohio State
University Horticulture and crop
science program.
© Copyright 2007-2013 A Cut Above Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC All rights reserved
Protect your home and peace of mind while you travel


July and August are peak vacation months, a time when you can set aside
your workaday stresses and set off with the whole family on a journey to
experience different sights, sensations, and cultures. But while you’re
preparing for a well-deserved getaway, burglars are getting ready to go to
work—and your home just might be on their summer itinerary. That’s why it’s
so important to make home-security planning an integral part of your vacation-
preparation routine.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make your home less attractive to
burglars so you can have peace of mind and focus on fun and relaxation while
you travel:
Don’t broadcast your departure!
We’ve become conditioned to posting every aspect of our lives on social
media these days—a fact that is not lost on burglars. Broadcasting on
Facebook or Twitter that you’re planning to be out of town—or, worse, that
you’re currently partying in Aruba or camping in Yellowstone’s back country—
is an open invitation to tech-savvy thieves. Share your travel plans only with
trusted family and friends—but never through a public forum. Similarly, never
leave an outgoing voicemail or answering machine message announcing that
you’re out of town.
Stop home deliveries
Newspapers piling up on the porch and mailboxes brimming over with letters
are tell-tale signs that no one is home. Stop newspaper deliveries and
arrange for the post office to hold your mail while you’re on vacation. Or,
arrange to have someone retrieve these items every day so they don’t attract
attention.
Take a critical look at your landscaping
Burglars prefer to work “undercover”—that is, where it’s difficult for passers-by
to see what they’re up to. Overgrown bushes and other landscape plants
located near home entrances provide the perfect level of concealment. Also, a
tree growing close to the home can serve as ladder that a nimble burglar can
utilize to reach a second story window or balcony. Well in advance of your
departure, inspect your landscaping with a critical eye and, if necessary, trim
back shrubs and trees so your home is more visible and branches don’t
provide convenient access. Also, if you’re going to be gone long enough that
your lawn will need mowing, arrange for a trusted person or lawn service to
attend to this chore. A neglected lawn is yet another sign that burglars look for
when assessing potential targets.
Arrange a house sitter
Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to check on your house on a daily
basis to make sure newspaper and mail deliveries have actually been stopped
or to retrieve delivered items, to water plants so they don’t wilt and advertise
your absence, and to check your home and property to make sure nothing
appears out of order. A house sitter can also open and close curtains and
shades to make the home look occupied (curtains and shades left closed all
day long are a giveaway). If your neighborhood has a block watch program,
consider participating in it. That way, you can rest assured that several people
will be keeping an eye on your home while you’re away and you can return the
favor for others.
Don’t forget the driveway
It may seem insignificant, but the absence of a vehicle in your driveway for
several days is just one more sign that can confirm to burglars that your home
is unoccupied and invite a break-in. If you have a second vehicle, park it in
the driveway (locked of course) rather than in the garage. Or, invite a
neighbor to park there while you’re gone.
Use lights and timers
Light may very well be the number one deterrent for burglars for two
reasons—a well-lighted property makes it difficult to operate undetected and
interior lights suggest that the targeted home is occupied. Sure, burglars know
that people leave lights on even when they aren’t at home, but why take the
risk when there are easier targets out there? The use of light timers is a great
way to create the illusion of someone being home—made even more effective
if a television or radio is also set on timer so there is sound as well as light
emanating from the home. There are even programmable timers that provide
for some variation in the pattern so that the lights don’t come on at precisely
the same time every night. A clever home owner could arrange for lights to
turn on and off in different rooms of the house at different times so it looks like
people are moving from room to room. And don’t forget to light the outdoors,
too. Photosensitive outdoor lights that turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn
can help illuminate your property and deter burglars. Also, it’s relatively easy
and inexpensive to replace a porch light or other door light with a motion-
sensing lamp that will turn on and light up the entryway when someone
approaches.
Lock it up!
Last but certainly not least, be sure to lock all doors and windows before you
leave. This may seem painfully obvious, but a significant percentage of
burglaries involve no forced entry whatsoever—the burglar simply enters the
home through an unlocked door or window. So, double check those locks
before you depart! If you have a sliding glass door, secure it not just with the
lock but also by placing a metal or wooden rod in the track. And don’t leave
spare keys outside under the welcome mat, in a potted plant, above the door
frame, or in one of those artificial hide-a-key rocks. Burglars are well aware of
all the hiding places people tend to use for spare keys. Remember, your
objective when developing a home-security plan is to avoid presenting a soft
target to burglars. No method is completely foolproof, but if you follow these
steps, there’s a good chance thieves will think twice about breaking into your
home and move on to greener pastures.