The Right Lawn Care Supplies Make for a Healthy Lawn
Taking care of a lawn is not extremely complex. The simple tasks of mowing and trimming the yard are so routine that everybody who has property does it or has a service take care of it. Even the next level of taking care of weeds and providing for the other needs for your lawn is entirely achievable by the average home owner with the purchase of affordable supplies that are available at any corner garden or hardware store in season.
Even during the off seasons of fall and winter, you may find yourself laying in supplies of pre-emergent to spread on your lawn and water in. This is a specially developed formula that can go a long way to keep down the amount of weeds and encourage grass growth in the spring. By watering pre-emergent into the soil, the chemicals will retard the ability of weeds from germinating from seeds in the soil. When spring comes then, the weeds cannot even get a start and you have stopped the propagation of weeds from year to year. Pre-emergent that you put out in the early spring also encourages growth in your grass so your lawn gets a good start when springtime begins the cycle of growth.
If you are starting to plan your purchase and storage of chemical supplies for your lawn, you have some decisions to make. You can get some good deals buying in bulk but you will have a storage issues. You really don’t want to leave bags of open fertilizer and weed killer outside to expose to the elements. That can ruin your stock which defeats your purpose. But if you have a secure shed that can hold a dozen or so large bags of various chemicals, you can buy in bulk. Most lawn care chemicals do not have a serious shelf life so a big bag or several big bags can last for years as you use out of them as needed.
The summer brings the need for weed killers and/or fertilizers and what you need to put out may change by the month. You may need broadleaf weed killer one month and crabgrass killer the next. Other chemicals that may be needed to control pests such as insecticides, grub control supplies to discourage moles and ant or termite control chemicals all might need to be stored as you go.
Similarly, the types of fertilizers you put out may change throughout the growing season depending on where your turf is each month. In late winter or early spring, weed and feed works well so you don’t have alternate weed killer and fertilizer. As the growing season takes off, you will want fertilizer that encourages rapid growth and thickening of your yard so new sprouts do well and existing grass turns your yard into a think lush grass carpet. Then as the summer continues, fertilizers that cause the grass to become greener are appropriate.
Learning the cycles of your lawn from late winter through the spring growth through a busy summer and then into the fall and winter months as well is a big part of knowing in advance what supplies you will need. If you can buy and store them as you go, more power to you. But just having a good annual schedule of supplies means you will be stocking up in time for each need and that means your maintenance will be on time and effective throughout the life of your yard.
The Right Lawn Care Supplies Make for a Healthy Lawn
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.
New Lawn Care Means Getting It Right the First Time
It doesn’t happen very often but if you are looking out of the windows of your new home at a plot of bare dirt because you decided to establish your new lawn yourself, you might feel a little intimidated. But this is a rare opportunity to lay down a superior lawn from the very beginning. And that strong start may be the beginning of a lawn that continues to grow in lush and full each year and that resists disease and weeds even better than average lawns.
You made the right decision if you decided not to let the builder put in the lawn. Builders are not master gardeners and while they would put in a lawn that would probably grow, they are not going to look at this project in terms of a decades long investment in your yard. They just want to get the job done as cheaply as possible so you will sign off on the job so they can move on to the next job. But by keeping this job back until how it is done passes your scrutiny, you can make sure that before the first seed is dropped or piece of sod is unrolled, the soil was prepared and everything is as it should be.
Many times, there will be preparation of the soil to be done. This is a perfect time to have the soil evaluated for acidic levels and to determine that it is rich enough to support a strong yard. If not, you can have lime treatments done and do other remedial work to the soil before the grass goes down. You can also turn the soil and smooth it out as well as add compost and other rich nutrients so your new grass will have a great bed of soil to start its new life with.
You also have a lot of choices about what kind of grass to put in. The choices will impact the look and the health of your yard. This is a good time to make it your passion to learn all you can about how different varieties of grass do in your part of the country and how they would fit on your plot of land. Some grasses such as Bermuda grass are tough and spread well but it loves the open sun and lots of heat. If you have a shady lot or you don’t get that much heat where you live, look at other grasses more adaptable to where you are.
All of this preparation will serve you well. Also, consider whether to go with a seed based installation or sod. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Seed will probably give you a more assured installation and sometimes sod comes with weeds already started along with the grass. But seed takes a lot of watering and care in the first months of yard life so be sure you are prepared to make that kind of commitment. If you do and you have done your preparations well, you are assured of a beautiful lawn that will take root and continue to be healthy and make your home look beautiful for many years to come.
Lawn Care Advice for the Smart Home Owner
“Don’t work harder. Work smarter.”
That is an adage from the business world that is also pretty good advice about how to approach the management of our lawns. We can do all the right things by buying good tools, quality fertilizers and weed killers and setting aside time each weekend for lawn maintenance. But along with devotion, some wisdom about how to go about the art of lawn care is necessary to be successful.
A good example is how you use your lawnmower. Just rolling it out of the box and starting to mow is not the smart way to use this tool. You must adjust it and use it purposefully so each mow accomplishes the goals of the season your yard is in. For example, in the early spring after the yard has sat idle for several months, it is a good move to bring the mower out and put it on the lowest setting and mow a lawn that is not active. It seems silly but “scalping” the grass removes the extraneous material from the grass seedlings as well as cleans the soil around the grass to make early growth more effective.
As the season continues, keep raising the height of the blades every 3-4 weeks until you are finally leaving your grass blades standing about three inches tall. This may seem like a shaggy grass but if you mow faithfully each week, it will be long but well groomed. The rule is for any plant that the depth of the roots matches the height of the plant above the ground. So if you let your grass get longer in the summer months, it will develop deeper roots and gather moisture and nutrients more easily at that depth.
Also, be sure to keep your mower in good repair. A well tuned machine uses the gas you in it more efficiently and produces less smog, which is good for the environment. But by putting your mower in the shop early in the season, the mechanics can make sure there are no leaks of oil or gas that could get down into your turf and kill sections of your lawn. They can also make sure the blade is balanced to cut evenly for the entire span of the blade which is crucial for a smooth cut each time.
Consistency in maintenance is the heart of any good lawn care program. Along with a routine of mowing, maintaining a disciplined watering schedule keeps your lawn on a steady diet of moisture that is critical for growth. Also, use a scheduled but restrained discipline for weed control and fertilizer. Apply applications every 2-3 weeks alternating weed killer and fertilizer but do not exceed that schedule or you will overwhelm your grass. If the weeds need more work than this schedule can provide, pull them by hand. This kind of attention to detail and discipline from you as a homeowner is the smart way of managing your yard and it will reward you with the healthy turf that you want to surround you throughout the year.
Going Green with Chemical Free Lawn Care
Finding ways to apply the principles of living green and in harmony with the environment isn’t always easy. That is because over the decades, we have come to depend on chemicals for so many things. From washing our clothes and cars to killing weeds in the yard, there is a chemical product for just about everything. So if you want to go organic even in your lawn care, it is going to take some adjustments and some getting used to.
One basic adjustment might mean a fundamental change to what we see as a “weed”. Many of the “pests” that we always fought in our yards actually produce lovely blooms in a natural state. Dandelions are an example of a “weed” whose only crime is not being grass. But the dandelion produces a lovely flower that many of us associate with the coming of spring and summer.
That said, you no doubt will have some objectives with your yard that include elimination of some weeds or objectionable vegetation. One great way to battle unwanted life is simply to give superpowers to the life you want out there and that is your grass. There are a number of organic recipes for fertilizing your lawn that you can use even before your grass springs to life each year. By getting on a regular program of fertilizing and maintaining your yard, your grass will have all it needs to become strong, resilient, and able to resist disease and even battle weeds directly.
Grass is notoriously greedy for land. That is one of the things we like about it. So if you do your part to make your grass strong and ambitious, it will crowd out weeds. By also maintaining a good mowing schedule, you will be giving your grass one more weapon to fight bad things that might compete for land, water and sunlight. Grass actually prospers when mowed whereas weeds are damaged by regular mowing. So that act of mowing which to you is just another step to make your lawn look good is also a very effective weed management program.
Of course, there is a very old fashioned method of weed control that has pretty much gone by the wayside in our new chemical driven world. It is tremendously effective, totally in step with the principles or living green and being one with the environment. And if it is done right, it can even be a family bonding event. That is just getting out there with hand held digging tools, shoves and rakes and pulling the weeds by hand.
Nothing kills a weed more effectively than being extracted from the earth root system and all. The remnants of the weeds can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and you get some exercise to boot. It might lead to some sore muscles every so often but one thing you have to say for the old fashioned of manual weed control in your yard and that is that its green and it works.