Lawn & Yard Care
Maintaining lush, healthy grass is no easy feat. Every lawn brings with it a unique set of challenges, but there are some key tips that all homeowners can follow to improve their spaces. We’ve outlined some practical answers to some of the most frequently asked lawn maintenance questions so you can get growing great grass.
It’s a popular myth that watering your lawn at night will prevent water evaporation and therefore conserve water. The problem with this water-cooler talk is watering at night makes your lawn susceptible to disease. Evening watering will cause droplets to cling to your grass, which can lead to lawn diseases like leaf spot. The best time to water your lawn is between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., when it’s light outside but the weather is cool. This will help your grass absorb the maximum amount of water. If you’re worried about missing an early watering session, set up a Water Timer so you know you’ll always be watering at the right time.
Generally, you should give your grass half an inch of water twice per week—one inch total per week. If you can leave footprints in your grass, you need to water more frequently. Find out how long it takes your sprinkler to deliver a half-inch of water by putting out a straight-sided container during a watering session. Then measure the water level with a ruler.
When you’re ready to water, choose your method wisely to conserve water. The Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler is great for watering uniquely shaped lawns. Easily adjust it to create a customized watering path, or water in a full circle. You may also consider a sprinkler with a wind-resistance feature, like the Adjustable Length Wind-resistant Rectangular Sprinkler, which will lower the height of its spray during breezy weather for watering without waste.
Your seeding schedule depends on your location. Lawn-care professionals divide the continental United States into three turf-grass regions:
It’s important to know your zone because seeding at the wrong time could limit grass growth for an entire season. Watering is critical when starting new seeds. You’ll want to water daily until the seeds germinate and become established. Set a timer for seven or eight minutes—no more. You’re not trying to water deeply; you only want to moisten the seeds. Too much water will cause them to wash into clumps, leaving bare spots.
If you’re looking for a natural solution to troublesome weeds, pulling is easier with a little water. Just let your sprinkler run for a few minutes over the weedy area before you get to work. Another idea? Cut weeds to the ground over and over until they run out of steam. A third option is to smother the area with black plastic, cardboard or a thick layer of newspaper. Once you’ve cleared an area of weeds, cover it again with a thick layer of mulch to prevent new ones. For weeds that creep up in driveway cracks, pour boiling water or vinegar on the affected area. Keep in mind not all weeds are bad and in fact many such as dandelions, red clover and sorrel are edible. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
One option to prevent unwanted pests is repelling them naturally with other plants. The practice, known as companion planting, suggests certain plants benefit from each other when grown in close proximity. Nasturtiums, alliums, borage and basil are among the plants that have pest-prevention perks. Grow borage near tomato plants to thwart tomato hornworms, and plant basil for versatile protection from aphids, flies, mosquitos and spider mites. Another beneficial plant is rosemary, which will protect your vegetable garden from carrot flies and cabbage moths. Nontoxic insecticidal sprays and traps, such as beer traps for slugs, also work well. If you do find pests in your garden, promptly remove infested plants, but don’t throw them in your compost pile because you’ll risk recontamination.
Dealing with moles? These critters will wreak havoc on your well-manicured grass if left unmanaged. There are a few natural remedies worth considering. One is deterring moles with plants they don’t like, such as daffodils, marigolds and alliums. Another strategy is to attract mole predators. Build or buy a nest box and place it high in a tree to attract owls—which naturally prey on moles. After a mole infestation, keep your lawn in good condition. Mow regularly, and don’t let your lawn get too soggy from watering. You can avoid sogginess by spreading short watering sessions throughout the week, rather than watering in long, infrequent bursts.
It’s never too early to start planning for spring. With your lawn questions answered, you’ll be ready to get growing as soon as the weather is right.
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