Proper Mowing is the Heart of Responsible Lawn Care
Maintaining a lawn takes a little bit of tender loving care every so often. The great thing about a healthy and well cared for lawn is that once it is established and doing well, it pretty much takes care of itself. A strong stand of grass will actually choke out weeds just because it is protective of the ground and sun space the grass uses to grow and thicken. For the most part, your lawn gets what it needs from the rain, an occasional watering and the soil. And if you give it a little fertilizer every once in a while, that helps things along as well. But you don’t need to do that more than couple times a year because you can do as much damage over tending your lawn as neglecting it.
The one routine maintenance step you should plan to work on probably around once a week depending on growth is mowing the lawn. It sounds like this is just a basic step to keep the lawn from looking ragged and to keep the neighbors satisfied. But mowing does a lot for your yard to keep it healthy as well. Grass is unique among wild vegetation because it thrives on being mowed. The cutting stimulates growth and spreading. If some or all of the cuttings get down into the soil, that provides mulch for nutrients.
But maybe most valuable is that weeds do not thrive on mowing. When you cut off the heads of weeds, they do not have that upper growth to gather sunlight and produce spores for reproduction. The weakened weeds are then easy prey for aggressive grass sprouts to crowd them out of your yard. In that way, mowing is a natural form of weed control. This is why early in the season, mowing low works because not only does it encourage grass growth but it sucks up much of the residue, which prepares the turf for new growth. In addition, you want a relatively clean grounds early so the fertilizer you put down to jump start the yard can get down to the roots.
But as the summer progresses, lawn experts call for raising the blades of your mower so you are cutting the yard higher and leaving it somewhat longer than earlier. This encourages root growth. And the deeper the root system, the better your grass becomes at finding water and nutrients. The more well established your yard will be which helps it survive the dormant months ahead.
The court is out on whether to catch your grass or to allow the cuttings to go into the soil for mulch. In general, you will get some residue from mowing even if you catch and that is probably sufficient mulch. If you allow too much mulch, it can become a “thatch” which restricts airflow and even water penetration to the roots of your grass. So be smart in how you approach even this basic task of mowing your lawn so you are doing so in a way that encourages long term growth and health for this important part of your property.
Proper Mowing is the Heart of Responsible Lawn Care
Lawn Care Lime for the Health of Your Lawn
Lime treatment is a very common method that is used to control the acidic content of the soil of your yard. The increase in acidic content of an average yard’s soil is a natural occurrence that happens whenever you have come out of a period of increased rainfall. But the use of compost for fertilizer or even the use of commercial fertilizers that are high in acid can offset the balance in the soil. So if you suspect that is what is happening to your yard, a lime treatment might be in order.
The first step to find out if you have an acidity problem is to buy a testing kit for your soil. Any fine nursery or garden department of a department store would have a kit for you to take home and get the process started. The instructions are easy to follow and in the end, you will at least know if your soil is high on acids or alkaline. If you detect a higher acid content than the instructions recommend, that is when a lime treatment may be in order. Be sure you know what you are looking for. A little consultation with the master gardener at your garden center can help you learn more about the process.
Before you can plan to treat your soil for lime, you need a more complete evaluation. This is done by sending a sample to a lab for a more in-depth testing. The yellow pages or an internet search will tell you where to find one. The cost is reasonable and you will get a detailed report that will give you all you ever wanted to know and more about the chemistry of the soil of your yard. But the important thing is you will also get a recommendation with details of how much lime to apply and that is what the real value of the testing is to you.
There are a number to types of lime you can choose from that your master gardener can recommend. Some of the mixes also are high in magnesium. The value of the lab test of your soil is that if you find out that you also need to apply magnesium, you can do that at the same time. Application of lime to the soil is a project so go into it knowing that. You will need a rototiller to really work it in so it might benefit you to contract the work done if you don’t have the machinery or are uncomfortable with working it.
You can add lime to your soil at any time when vegetation is growing so you would avoid the winter months. But follow this process and don’t apply the lime unless it is called for or you can cause more problems then if you had not put it down at all.
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.