Cincinnati, Ohio, is in the mid-Ohio River Valley. It has a temperate climate that is suitable to cool season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Tall Fescue and Fine Fescue. Warm season grasses are not recommended for Cincinnati due to its cold winters. Common lawn weeds in southern Ohio include crabgrass and dandelions.
The most important element of lawn mowing is the to cut grass to the proper height. Cutting the grass too short restricts the amount of sunlight to the grass leaves, drys out the topsoil, and reduces the depth of grass root systems. Most cool season grasses that thrive in the Cincinnati area prefer a cut height of 2-3 inches. Never mow the grass more than one-third of the grasses mature height.
Fertilize the lawn during the fall months when weed growth, drought and heat are minimal, allowing the turfgrass roots to extend wider and deeper. Fertilizer provides specific nutrients to the topsoil including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, at a preferred ratio of 4-1-2. Apply 7 to 12 lbs. of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet during the fall.
Ohio lawn topsoil should have a slightly acidic pH value of between 6-7. Lawns with a pH value of below 6 will benefit from a lawn lime application. Lime is applied over the topsoil and is gradually dissolved into the soil, raising the soil's pH value over time. Having a topsoil analysis preformed on your lawn will give you the current pH value and the recommended amount of lawn lime per 1,000 square feet.
Thatch Control and Aeration
Thatch is a layer of lawn trimmings between the base of the grass stems and the topsoil. Over-fertilization is a common reason for excessive thatch buildup (one-half inch or more), which weakens the overall health of the lawn by restricting the flow of moisture and nutrients to the topsoil. De-thatch your Cincinnati-area lawn every couple of years.
One solution to the problems caused by heavy thatch is core aeration. A mechanical aerator is pulled along the grass to pull small, cylindrical plugs from the sod. Aerate the lawn at regular intervals during the growing season, at least once a year, as a preventive measure.
Cincinnati lawns are at highest risk for drought damage during the summer when excessive heat and extended dry conditions can cause considerable stress on cool-season grasses. During periods of prolonged heat and drought, water the lawn during the morning and at infrequent intervals. Deep, infrequent irrigation is the best method of watering the grass root system.