It’s spring, and that means it’s time for your lawn to come out of hibernation. But you may not have as much money to invest in your lawn as you did last year. Luckily, with a little strategizing you can cut costs and still achieve the lush lawn of your dreams. Here’s how to do it:
1. Water Efficiently
Over-watering your lawn can actually do more harm than good by encouraging the growth of fungus and exacerbating disease. Additionally, using too much water can run up your water costs and deplete watersheds. It’s best to only water your lawn when it needs it. Some types of grass require more water than others, so check what’s appropriate for your lawn. Limit watering to the early morning hours before it gets too hot. This will make sure the water gets to the roots of the grass rather than evaporating. Skip watering if there has been a big rain. If you have automatic sprinklers, reprogram them after the rain so that you don’t double water.
2. Add Mulch to the Lawn
Mulching your grass clippings back into the lawn can provide valuable fertilizer. The clippings add nitrogen to the lawn as they break down. Additionally, they help add to your lawn’s water retention so that you can water less. You’ll need a mulching lawn mower to cut the clippings into small enough pieces, however.
3. Maintain Your Lawn Mower
Proper lawn mower maintenance makes for a healthier lawn. Lawn mowers require oil changes and air filter cleanings, but the most important part of lawn mower maintenance is blade sharpening. A dull blade can damage the grass and make it more vulnerable to disease. It will end up costing you more to treat your lawn if it gets sick. Additionally, having a dull blade will make your mower’s engine have to work harder. You should sharpen your lawn mower blade at least three times per season, or every five mowings. A sharpener usually costs less than $10.
4. Fertilize Wisely
Too-frequent or incorrect fertilizing can waste money and may be harmful to the long-term health of your lawn. Before you fertilize, buy a soil tester from your local garden store to see what your lawn really needs. Alternatively, you can take a soil sample to your local agricultural extension office to be tested for about $10. A soil test keeps you from buy the wrong fertilizer and tells you when to fertilize. Early spring is a good time to do a soil test. Tip: Make sure the soil is dry when you collect it. Wet soil can throw off the test.
5. Fill in Bald Spots
If your lawn has bare spots, that’s probably where you’ll find weeds growing. Weeds will not only make your lawn look bad, they will also cost out in pricey weed killers. The thicker your lawn, the easier it will be to keep it weed free. Determine the best type of grass for your region (i.e. cool season versus warm season) and sow the seed thick enough to prevent bare patches.
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