A Successful Lawn Care Schedule Goes Year Round
It isn’t difficult to begin to plan for how you will take care of your lawn at the growing season comes along. As the grass begins to become green in the spring and you begin to see things to be done like attend to weeds, the desire to get out there weekends and take care of it is something you and all of your neighbors experience. The truth is, however, that the best way to do a really good job of caring for your lawn is to have a schedule that goes year round and to attend to the needs of your living yard in every season of the year.
Of course as you might expect the winter months are going to be less active where what you are doing for your yard does not call for you to be out there cutting and fertilizing it every weekend. That is why the winter months are good times to get the maintenance done to your lawn mower and to prepare for the more active months in the spring. It is also a good time to inspect the yard to see if there are places where you will be seeding or working to help the grass fill in when the grass comes to life in the spring.
Depending on your climate in the deep winter, your main objective may be just to get ready for spring and to try to minimize the damage from freezing. That means trying to keep from walking or using equipment on a frozen yard to cut down on braking the grass stalks before they can regenerate in the spring. If your climate is milder or if you have those occasional “Indian summers”, it is always good to get a maintenance mow in to clean up the fallen leaves and to open up the yard for further growth in the spring. You can also “aureate” the soil by walking the yard down with spiked shoes on during the late fall or days when the weather is milder. This allows oxygen to get down into the soil which encourages irrigation and growth year round.
Late winter and early spring then is the time to get out ahead of the other things you don’t want in your hard. So starting early with a good pre-emergent weed killer along with some early spring fertilizer gives your hard a head start on coming in full with less interference from weeds. This is also a good time to get out there with the rake to get up any remaining debris from the fall and winter. The raking can also stimulate the soil which encourages growth.
The schedule of yard care is pretty much well understood for the spring and summer months with a continuous routine of mowing, fertilizing and weed control. When fall comes along, then you should think about post emergent to prepare the yard for the winter and to cut down on the viability of weeds taking root in the milder fall weeks. By continuing to have a plan for care and maintenance of your yard month after month, you cut down on the work of lawn care when things get active again next year. And in doing so your lawn stays healthier and more productive year round.
A Successful Lawn Care Schedule Goes Year Round
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.
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.
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.