Getting in Tune with Nature through Natural Lawn Care
Maybe one of the biggest pleasures of having a lush, green yard surrounding your home is that sense of being at one with nature. Even if you are not an environmentalist, it is in our nature to enjoy being in the middle of grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. That contact with nature keeps us grounded and at one with the world we live in. So it makes sense as much as is possible to get in tune with that part of nature that is growing in your yard. Grass that grows on your property may look like a very civilized carpet of green. But it is still naturally growing vegetation and the more you learn to encourage its natural strength, the stronger your grass will be to resist weeds and disease and the better it will look.
The best place to start your plans for a strong and natural lawn is in the type of grass seed you use as the base of your turf of grass. If you start shopping for a grass type that will do well and provide the look you want in terms of color and thickness, you will find that the varieties of grass seeds is pretty extensive. Before you pick a grass seed to nurture for your new lawn, it is always best to get some advice from experts on your local climate and how certain seeds do well in the soil types in your community and how they respond to temperatures you can expect throughout the growing season.
Many grasses do well in cooler temperatures but begin to thin out when the heat of the summer sets in. Bermuda grass, which is a very popular seed, grows slowly in the spring and fall but thrives on full sunlight and heat. Picking a good grass seed can be tricky if you have a lawn that has partial shade and some land that is exposed to sunlight. Many lawn owners opt to go with a Bermuda type turf for exposed parts of the yard and a shade seed or seed blend for the covered areas. While this will result in a full yard overall, it could be that the where the grasses change over will be obvious as the type of turf and the color changes between the two types of grass.
Also, keep in mind how you use fertilizer and weed killer so you are giving your grass what it needs and doing so naturally with as little introduction of unnatural chemicals as possible. Pre-emergent chemicals work in step with the natural cycle of both grass and weed growth by giving your dormant grass good nutrients to start out strong when the growing season starts. This takes advantage of the natural tendency of grass to choke out weeds in order to take over the ground space. If you also apply a pre-emergent weed control that does not just poison the weeds. Instead, these chemicals hinder the germination of weeds before they come out (hence pre-emergent) in a natural way which gives the advantage to your grass seeds.
By thinking herbal and organic in all aspects of your lawn care, it is entirely possible to grow a vibrant lawn with strong color and do so without contaminating the water tables or using damaging chemicals. Your yard will be stronger and healthier and you will feel better about your support of the environment as well. That is a good combination.
Getting in Tune with Nature through Natural Lawn Care
Finding the Best of Your Towns Lawn Care Companies
The decision to turn your lawn care over to a professional operation is often the right choice and it could be driven by a lot of factors. Perhaps your work keeps you too busy to do a really good job with your yard. Or the yard you own has some problems that a year with a professional service might address. Whatever the reason, the first step is picking the right company and then going from there.
You should have your consumer awareness radar working well when you begin to interview companies to do your lawn care. Before you open the phone book or even start your search, you must know for certain what you want from your new lawn service. Any lawn maintenance company is going to come to you with a laundry list of great things they can do for you. And they are going to come to that first meeting ready to sell you everything on the menu.
You cannot blame businesses who make their livings providing lawn services for being aggressive like that. It is how they make their livings so they have a right to try their best. But if you have a detailed work order ready for them when they come to do their estimate, they will notice how organized you are and look to earn your business based on what you want not on what they can suggest. This is the number one best first step toward making sure you get a lawn service that is a perfect fit to your needs.
The integrity and business value of the company is worth checking as you would with any company that you were going to engage for an important contract. So check them out with the better business people and get a full analysis on their viability as a business as well as how long they have been in business and any recognitions they have received for their work. In fact, if you are close to a decision and you can arrange to get a tour of their facilities to get a good feel for their equipment and the depth of their ability to provide you service, that can let you know which of the companies you are looking at are in the best position to meet your lawn care needs.
Along with their background and creditability, the professionalism and training of their employees is important. You may see a different representative of the company each time they come out to work with your lawn. You want to feel secure that each one of those workers knows what they are doing and knows your lawn and what needs to be done.
Probably the most powerful decision making factor will be the recommendation of other customers of any lawn care business you might engage. If that recommendation is from a friend or neighbor and you can see the good work in how great their lawn looks, that is a powerful proof that this is the lawn care service for you. But by putting each company through scrutiny and knowing what you want from the successful company, you are more assured that you will be happy with who you select.
Fertilizing Lawn Care Is Just Part of a Total Lawn Maintenance Program
There are a lot of good reasons to maintain a healthy and strong yard. You want to do it because you have pride in your home and if your yard is green and lush and has been well maintained, you can have people over and really let your home become a showcase for entertaining. You may be preparing your home for sale and it must look its best. Or you might have no other ulterior motive to growing a healthy lawn than the joy that being surrounded by a lush green carpet that is bursting with life brings. But there are some maintenance items to take care of to make sure you keep that stand of grass well fertilized and free of disease and weeds.
The actual step of putting out fertilizer on your yard is far from difficult. Fertilizer is sold in many easily accessible retail outlets from your local hardware store to a nursery to even your grocery store or Wal-Mart. The lawn experts at your greenhouse can make sure you match your goals with the fertilizer you buy and that you buy enough but not too much. Then it is just a matter of spreading it evenly on your lawn and watering it in and you are all set.
There are things you can do not only to make the fertilizer more effective but to provide natural support to your lawn so it draws it’s nutrients from the environment. Aerating the soil once a year is a way to open up the soil so not only is there more room around the soil for the movement of worms and other necessary life forms but air and water can get into the soil which makes it richer and more supportive of the grass above.
Also, put a priority on raking and keeping the soil under your grass free of debris, leaves, sticks and other things that fall into any normal yard. This miscellaneous clutter makes it more difficult for your grass to spread plus anything foreign in your lawn introduces potential for disease. By doing a thorough raking of your yard before fertilizing, you open the soil up so the fertilizer can easily be watered into the soil where it can get to the roots of your grass easily. This one step alone can increase the effectiveness of your fertilizer tremendously.
The more you do to make every inch of your ground smooth, clean and ready for fertilizer, the better each application of nutrients will perform for you. Its a worthwhile habit to walk down your property and fill in any holes with good topsoil and add seed where bare spots occur before fertilizing. Then with diligent watering, your lawn will fill in full and lush because you used the unbeatable combination of good fertilizer and tender loving care.
Being Smart in the Use of Any Lawn Care Product
If you walk out in your garage, you probably have dozens of bottles of different products you may have bought over the years for your yard. The lawn products industry does a good job of convincing us that we need to spray something on our yard for just about any yard related correction we need to make. And the outcome is you often find yourself overrun with half used bottles of everything from broadleaf weed killer to sprays to kill grubs that might (or might not) be eating the roots of your grass and attracting moles.
This is not to say that these various products are not effective because they may very well do exactly what their labels say they will do. But no product can replace your judgment and wise decision making about how to use different products so you not only do what is best for your lawn but do so in an environmentally responsible way. Being smart in what products to use on your lawn and how to use them just makes sense and if you have a plan for each potential problem, you may not have to buy so many lawn chemicals which will make your garage easier to manage as well.
A good example is weed control. The purpose of weed control is twofold. First, you want to get rid of weeds because they look terrible in your lawn and you don’t want your yard to degenerate into a wild field. Secondly, you want to discourage weeds so they don’t crowd out your grass and take away valuable water, nutrients and sunlight from the vegetable life you want to see thrive on your property.
The chemical approach to handling weeds then is to kill them. Broadleaf weed killers are good for some of the problem weeds because they cause the weeds to wither and die which leaves room for healthy grass to spread and grow into the available space. However, whenever you spray a liquid weed killer on your lawn, the potential for damage to the root systems of trees or that the toxins will kill desirable non-grass plants like flowers or bushes is a real concern.
So one way to head off the problem before it starts is to do your lawn treatment in the early fall and then the late winter by putting out a pre-emergent product which does not kill weeds. Instead is simply prevents germination of weed seeds that are lying dormant in the ground. When the weeds cannot germinate and grow into mature plants, that gives your grass the chance to grow and spread with the aid of the limited application of fertilizers. This is smart weed control and an approach that takes care of the problem before it really takes over your yard.
You can use some common sense and wise advice from your local expert gardeners that you can find working at one of the better greenhouses in your community to devise a smart plan for handling just about any lawn related problem. You may still find yourself using chemical products to get a problem area under control. But by being smart before you buy, you are using the right chemicals and not just anything that you find that will only clutter up your garage even further.
Some Easy Lawn Care Tips for a Healthy Happy Yard
Unlike taking care of your house or your car, the unique variable in caring for your yard is that it is alive. That stand of grass is just as much a living thing as your dog, your cat or you for that matter. And like all life forms, it requires the basics of life which is food, water and in the case of plants, good sunlight. But unlike your kids or your dog, the tips you need to keep your yard happy and productive are very easy to do if you just take the time on a regular basis to give your yard some tender loving care.
Just as you would not think of letting your animals or kids go without water, water is the heart of a good program to take care of healthy grass. Of course, you can water a yard too much. But if you run the sprinkler on the yard for a half hour or so or until the water begins to run off, you will see the results in a rich green turf. The best time to water is the morning because more of the water is absorbed by the grass before evaporation takes its toll. A terrible time to water is late at night because that can cause fungus problems.
Each year there is some maintenance that you can do that will help your yard be in tiptop shape when the summer is upon you. All lawns go through changed and need help getting back to what you want in a lush, full spread of grass. So inspect your grass as the season ends to determine where some remedial work might pay off before the next growing season gets going.
By clearing out any areas that have become bare, you can seed that ground at the end of the growing season, which gives the seed the winter months to settle in. Do your routine watering which you should cut back slowly as your grass begins to go into hibernation. But that watering will help the new seed “set” to be ready to sprout in the spring. You can also use some quick start fertilizer if you want to see sprouts right away. But if the soil has been fertilized and has some nutrients in it, that isn’t always necessary.
Other annual or seasonal activities that you should plan into your yard maintenance plan are fertilization and aeration. Aeration involves creating small holes in your yard to create room for air and living things to move under the surface. These natural elements in the ecosystem must be able to access the root system to provide vital nutrients to your grass’s root system. Aeration may be as simple as walking every foot of your yard with spiked shoes on so the soil is opened up for further growth. There are specialized tools and services for aeration so consult with your local greenhouse on what is commonly needed for your soil.
By keeping up on the weed and feed and weekly and monthly maintenance, you can assure that your lawn will be healthy and green when the season is in full swing and you really want it to look good. And you feel good because you have learned to take good care of it just like you do everything involving your family and your home.