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.
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.
Having a Great Yard is Easy with the Right Lawn Care Equipment
In any big project, having the right tools is key to your success. This is certainly true when you set out to have a really great lawn. There is a basic set of equipment that you need to work with virtually every week as you perform the maintenance not only to make your yard healthy, green and growing but to trim it so it looks great and gives your home that “curb appeal” that is so valuable. While the tools of the trade of an expert lawn keeper are not exotic, you do want to invest in quality because you are going to be using them a lot.
The backbone of any good yard equipment garage is a reliable and versatile lawnmower. Now the style and size of mower you will need is entirely dependent what kind of mowing challenges you have ahead of you. But no one tool will have more scope of work to do than this machine in that your lawnmower routinely covers every square foot of the yard. So the impact of this important piece of equipment is pretty powerful when you stop and think about it.
For most average sized yards, your standard push mower is a good choice. But there are a lot of choices in brands and extras you can choose from. Now in the current environment of fuel economy, its easy to take a second look at electric lawn mowers and other alternatives like that. They are viable alternatives but you must take into account that you don’t want to have to drag a power cord around the yard. And the alternative is to mount a heavy battery on the mower, which is cumbersome. Overall, the regular gas using mower is the most efficient and well developed type that will last the longest. And it doesn’t use that much gas if you keep it in good repair.
Of course, for a large yard or acreage, you will probably look at a riding lawnmower or some form of tractor. But even in push mowers, there are various mechanisms for assisted pulling. Many of them work with gear systems so the engine turns the wheels for you. The problem with these types of mowers is maneuverability. If you need to turn and move the mower around quite a lot, you will constantly be disengaging the gears to take over the controls. And if you are always doing that, it was not really worth the extra expense those mowers bring with them to have a feature that just gets in the way.
Along with a good mower, you will need a reliable trimmer to take care of the areas where the mower will not reach. You should look to stock some saws that you can use easily to take care of low hanging branches or things that fall to the lawn if you have a lot of large trees on property. A spreader is a handy tool to keep because applying weed killer and fertilizer is ritual you will repeat several times each year. Along with these basics, you should build a good supply or hoses and watering equipment and even a shovel or two and some rakes to keep the yard trim and free of debris year round. With this arsenal of tools, you can keep your yard looking good spring, summer, fall and winter and then turn around and do it all over again next year.
Going Green with Organic Lawn Care
The motto of the green movement is to think globally but act locally. To begin to live as environmentally conscious citizens of the planet, we must look at every aspect of our lives to find ways to “go green” and live in a way that protects our environment. And there may be no more appropriate place to go green than in how we take care of the biggest expanse of “green” you have which is the your lawn and how you care for it.
Our love of surrounding our homes with a lush green environment with many healthy and blooming flowers and plants in a way reflects our love of the natural world. So your desire to make your lawn a showcase is not at all against the principles of living green at all. The key is for us to find ways to perform that lawn care that is organic and natural and that will not harm the environment as we work to create that vision of the perfect lawn that you have in your head.
A very simple way to encourage a more organic and natural lawn is simply to let it grow longer than you might have otherwise. By allowing your yard to get longer and taller, it will fill in and that extra amount of grass above the ground generates more oxygen and is generally more organically sound. You can still get the look you want in your yard with a tall stand of grass. And a little known fact is that if the grass it taller, the roots are deeper which means they can find moisture better. That means your grass will be even healthier taller than if you trim the grass short.
Taking good care of your lawn mower is another way to make sure the act of caring for your lawn is environmentally conscious. The simple maintenance step of having your lawnmower blade sharpened or getting a new blade each year is a step that can do a lot for the health of the grass that lives in your yard. A sharp blade cuts the grass cleanly whereas a dull blade tends to damage grass which leads to injury and disease. Therefore using a sharp blade means a better cut to your yard, it also means healthier grass which is less prone to brown spots and illness as well as being environmentally conscious.
When the time comes to get a new mower, switching to an electric mower from an internal combustion engine cuts down on the emissions that your mower puts off as you cut the grass. It is a bit more of an effort to cut the grass with a power cord behind it but you can actually get mowers that work from a powerful battery. While the mower will be heavier, it will be cheaper to operate and the extra exercise will do you good.
Most of the natural steps you can take to a more organic approach to taking care of your lawn also make a lot of sense in terms or economy and being a good lawn owner. And by being environmentally conscious, you are taking one more step toward thinking globally and acting responsibly at the local level in how you care for your yard.
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.