Thursday, March 27, 2008

Frugal Spring Lawn care tips

Now that we are in the early stages of spring, there are plenty of things to do to prepare your lawn for the coming weeks. For the month of March, we will focus on several lawn care topics of interest: Compost, Irrigation, and Mowing

Compost

Organic compost is one of the easiest and most environmentally friendly ways to treat your lawn. At this point in the season, you should take great care not to apply any fertilization too early, which can lead to overwhelming growth while the weather is still cold and can cause stress to the turf. However, compost comprised of clippings from mowing your lawn can be gathered together and applied to your lawn later in the month or even at the beginning of April. Besides grass clippings, virtually any organic material can be used for compost.

The two key points when using compost are: 1.) Apply the compost so that it can make its way down into the turf and does not remain on the grass blades 2.) Water your lawn after you've applied compost, to activate the compost microbes and wash them onto your soil.

Irrigation

Have you ever wondered why your neighbor's lawn looks so green all the time while it's a struggle to maintain your own lawn? Perhaps your neighbor has a permanently in-ground irrigation system. Irrigation is key to maintaining a constantly green lawn and can help move your lawn to its greenest potential, especially during the growing season. Irrigation, if done correctly, can help you save time and even conserve water because of the control you have over the amount of water, and when and where your lawn will receive water.

Installing an irrigation system yourself is definitely a doable project if you plan accordingly and acquire the right equipment. However, it will be a lengthy project that can consume several of your weekends, depending on how large your lawn is. For irrigation equipment and drip irrigation supplies, you can either purchase or rent them from any modern hardware store.

If you are unfamiliar with irrigation systems or it will be your first time to install one, the best thing to do would be to contact a professional to guide you through the irrigation system process. A badly installed irrigation system can cost you over the next several years on needed repairs or revisions to the system.

During the planning stages for your irrigation system, it would be a good idea to get some advice from a knowledgeable person on the topic. For high-pressure systems, it is very difficult to plot exact spray patterns. Having a consultant on hand can help you determine specialized sprinklers and emitters for specific lawn needs. The technology of drip irrigation is constantly changing and it would be a good idea to talk to someone who knows the trends.

For March, you should irrigate your lawn about twice a week (unless it has been raining). Lawns are that over-irrigated can be more prone to pests, lawn diseases, or even promote a shallow root system.

Mowing

Once your lawn turns green, it is time to mow. Make sure you have the lawn mower blades set at an appropriate height from 3/4 to 1 inch, keeping in mind that it may vary depending on the type of lawn you have. How often should you mow? For March, mowing your grass once a week should do the trick.

Keep in mind that cutting your grass less than once a week while the grass is actively growing can result in the immediate loss of a large quantity of leaf. This can come as a shock to the grass and may encourage an open turf prone to moss and weeds. Maintaining a consistent mowing schedule is also beneficial.

If you find that your grass has grown tall after coming back from a trip, you should tip it at the first cut and reduce the height at the next cutting a few days later. After that, you can resume your normal and recommended height for cutting.

March is the best time to begin mowing your lawn and by starting now, you can cultivate your lawn and keep the grass blades looking fine.

Fran Phalin is a homeowner and freelance editor/writer on things that work and is based in Austin, Texas. Fran has worked successfully with the guys at ABC to get her lawn care problems resolved.

ABC Pest & Lawn offers a comprehensive solution for lawn care service for you which includes mowing and edging.

3 comments:

Rachel @ Master Your Card said...

As good as these tips are, I found the best way to save money with regards to a lawn - don't have one! Mine was tiny and I didn't even have a mower when I move din to my house so I just dug it up and gravelled it.

Jerry said...

The nice thing about organic (self-made) compost is that you have SOME insurance as to what is going into the stuff you grow. Rachel is selling a good point, though - when we moved to our current house, there was no lawn (but a lot of plants and gravel walkways between them!). It was one less thing to worry about.
Jerry
www.leads4insurance.com

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