Lawn Care Advice

"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.