Janet Cramb & Company/LAER Realty Partners

Posted by Janet Cramb on 4/21/2021

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Every homeowner wants a beautiful lawn devoid of dandelions and unsightly brown patches. Unfortunately, hiring an organic lawn care service isn't always in the budget. However, there are some easy things you can do to manage and improve your lawn without breaking the bank or harming the environment. You can care for your lawn without poisoning the water table if you use safe methods to discourage pests and weeds. You'll boost the beauty of your grasses and gardens while allowing helpful organisms such as bees and earthworms to flourish. Use these four tips to give your lawn a boost:

1. Aerate Your Lawn Regularly

Roots need air, water and nutrients to grow strong and lush. This is why it's necessary to aerate areas of your lawn that have become compacted over time. This is especially important for newly constructed homes with lawns that are still trying to recover from the shock of heavy machinery. Early spring or fall is the best time to aerate soil because it allows time for new growth before the change in growing seasons. You'll want to wait for a drenching rain before you begin.

You can rent a lawn aerator from your local home supply store. You can even use something so simple as a pitchfork. Poke it into compacted areas and wiggle the handle back and forth to create large holes. Save work by choosing only the most compacted areas of your lawn for aeration.

2. Mow Your Lawn Frequently

Allow grass to grow to approximately 3 inches before mowing, then strive to maintain that ideal height. By mowing often, you'll generate short clippings that won't need raking. If you allow them to sink down into your soil, they'll become a natural source of food that acts as organic fertilizer.

You'll also want to sharpen the blades on your mower regularly. Dull blades damage grass blades, making them more susceptible to disease and infestation.

3. Water Your Grass Efficiently

Over watering your lawn may be just as damaging as allowing it to dry out. For best results, only water when you can see footprints in the grass. But when you do water, water deeply and thoroughly. Do your best to plan around the weather by making allowances for wet days instead of sticking to a rigid schedule.

4. Use Lawn Chemicals Sparingly

If you take good care of your lawn, it will defeat weeds naturally. Most weeds that infest lawns thrive on neglect. So if you pay careful attention to maintaining a lush, green carpet, you've already won half the battle. If you do decide you need the help of pesticides or fertilizers, shop from the organic section of your home supply store. You can even make your own using ingredients like boiling water, vinegar or salt. These common household materials kill weeds without leeching toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the ground. For fertilizer, start a compost pile in your backyard and feed it regularly with vegetable clippings, leaves, coffee grounds and more. As it decays and turns to compost, you can spread it in thin layers on the weakest parts of your lawn to green them up beautifully.

If you keep up with your lawn in an eco-friendly way you'll see a natural resurgence of beneficial wildlife such as beetles, honey bees and earthworms. These creatures will help you keep the soil aerated and discourage harmful pests.

Posted by Janet Cramb on 9/5/2012

With warmer weather comes greater lawn-care responsibilies. If you want your yard looking top-notch this spring, then adequate hydration is key to keeping your lawn green, healthy, and growing. During warmer months, your lawn should be soaking up about an inch of rain a week to ensure adequate root hydration. Unfortunately, New England doesn't always provide rain like clockwork. When this happens, it's up to us to guarantee our lawns the proper amount of water. A good sprinkler system will keep your lawn hydrated and happy. But before you run out and buy a few old-fashioned sprinklers, take a moment to consider other options, like a time-controlled sprinkler system. While they are more expensive, they take a lot of the guesswork out of your watering. Below, I'll list the various types of sprinklers and sprinkler systems, and the types of yards they are most effective in. Fixed Sprinklers - Ideal for small lawns, shrubbery, or ground cover, these sprinklers spray a fan of water in all directions at once. This type of sprinkler is also very useful in areas that are hard to reach with conventional watering methods. Impact Sprinklers - These sprinklers spray a jet of water that gets slightly interrupted every few seconds, causing water to cover more ground, and effectively mimicking natural rainfall. These are the types of sprinkers that make the "clicking" sound that we are used to hearing. While not as widely used as they once were, they are still in use in many lawns that are too cumbersome and large to be taken care of by a fixed sprinkler. Another great advantage of the impact sprinkler is its resistance to clogging, which makes it the ideal candidate for homes that use well water. Drip Hoses - These are ideal for long strips of lawn, raised vegetable or flower beds, and irregularly-shaped lawns, with the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. Because of evaporation and runoff, most sprinkler systems use more water than they need to. Drip hoses release water directly into the ground, putting water where its needed most; the roots. The drip hose is generally laid out in a pattern, and waters your lawn and garden through small holes spaced throughout the hose. The water pressure generated is also very low, which adds a bonus to people who live in areas where water use may be restriced in the drier months. In-Ground Sprinklers - While this option will cost more to install, the aesthetic benefits of an easily-concealable irrigation system cannot be denied. In-ground systems can vary from simple layouts with fixed times, to sophisticated systems that utilize many different types of sprinklers, and operate on a need-for-water basis. If you were to decide to install the system yourself, you'll first need to obtain the layout of the pipes and lines in your property before digging your ditches. Doing the installation yourself will generally save you about 60% in total costs, but will require a fair amount of work on your part. For more information on how to self-install an in-ground sprinkler system, as well as pricing, please visit the following link. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,641780,00.html