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 Products That You and Everybody Else Can Live With
Any trip to the lawn care section of Wal-Mart or your local hardware store will bring home dramatically that the variety and quantity of chemical fertilizers and other products to take care of your yard is pretty overwhelming. So the natural question that has to come to mind especially in our current world where “green” considerations enter into every aspect of daily life is, “What will all these chemicals do to the environment?”
If you have become accustomed to asking that question about most of your purchase decisions as many of us have, you have made the transition to the motto of “think globally, act locally.” The very act of walking down your yard with a spreader and watching those granules of chemicals spew across your land makes you wonder if what you are giving to your grass is good for the rest of the world.
For one thing, many lawn products such as fertilizers and pesticides are not at all good for pets or wildlife. How often have you looked out your window after a big application of fertilizer or weed killer and watched the birds land in your yard and eat things from the ground as they always do. Watching nature in your yard is one of the joys of having a home. But if you suspect that you might be poisoning nature as those birds innocently find things to eat in your yard, that takes a lot of the joy out of what you are doing.
You may also have pets to think about. Try as you might, if you have a domestic dog or cats and they go outside ever, they will chew on the vegetation out there. Taking some small quantities of grass or leaves helps their digestion. That assumes, of course, that what they are eating is natural and not coated with life threatening poisons intended for weeds or to fertilize the grass.
It is with these concerns in mind that many of us have turned to natural alternatives for fertilizers and other lawn products. Just as you are “going green”, so are many of the industries that sell products for the home. And what better place to “go green” than in your yard where you are working hard to make your grass grow green and healthy and to create your own tiny example of a healthy environment.
So look for products that specifically state that the chemicals are organic and that they are safe for pets and wildlife alike. Yes, those products are out there and you can look to see this category of lawn products become more evident as the green movement picks up steam. You might have to pay a few more dollars for fertilizers and weed control chemicals that are in harmony with the environment and are safe for Fido or Fluffy to taste. But in the end, a strong environment and a healthy yard for the birds, your animals and even your children to frolic is what “home” is all about.
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.