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When the grass is greener: Tips to create a lawn worth bragging over

Posted August 3

Yards in the Triangle haven't struggled for rain this summer, but a quick dry spell can do some damage.

Keeping your grass green can be a lot of work, but Consumer Reports experts say it doesn't have to be a constant battle.

The first key is cutting technique. Don't cut grass too short. Lawnmower decks should be at least 3 inches high, experts say.

"Taller grass has longer roots. Those roots gain more moisture down in the soil," Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk said. "And the taller grass actually shades the area around the ground and reduces evaporation."

Another way to keep things green is to set mowers to mulch rather than bagging the clippings. Clippings decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

When you're done mulching, clear your mower of leftover grass, because buildup can reduce air flow, which is essential for cutting longer grass.

Another must is a sharp mower blade.

Consumer Reports says to get blades sharpened at the beginning of the grass-mowing season and then twice during it.

“A sharp blade is most important because it makes a very clean cut on the grass, while a dull blade whacks the grass, stresses it out, and it will turn it brown," Sawchuk said.

Finally, don't give grass too much water. An established lawn only need about 1 inch, including rainfall, each week.

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