Tips for Lawn and Landscaping Care
1. Feed regularly
Maintaining a healthy lawn or beautiful garden involves regular feedings. A healthy lawn is able to absorb and use water more efficiently and recover from drought quickly once water becomes available. Plants must receive nutrients to produce foliage, flowers and fruit.
2. Water Wisely
Remember, pumping water requires power. Rely on rainfall for watering lawns and gardens as much as possible. Before watering, watch for signs of lack of water such as dry soil or wilting. For your lawn, the time between needed irrigation is up to 20 days for heavy, clay soils and about 5 days for light, sandy soils.
3. Mow High
Set your mower to its highest appropriate setting. Longer grass blades promote deeper roots that help retain moisture. Mow St. Augustine and buffalo grass at 3 inches, 1 inch for Bermuda grass and 2 inches for centipede and Zoysia grass.
4. Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn
Recycled grass clippings return organic matter and nutrients to the soil. It’s an easy way to save clean-up time and improve your soil quality. Leaving the clippings on the lawn doesn’t cause thatch build-up, but it does make lawns healthier. Soil organisms recycle the clippings into free fertilizer.
5. Keep Fertilizer on the Lawn
Sweep fertilizer and grass clippings off driveways, sidewalks and curbs and back onto your lawn. Making it a habit protects rivers, lakes and streams by keeping nutrients on the lawn.
6. Choose the Right Plants
Pick easy-to-grow plants and lawn types that are well adapted or native to your region. Avoid plants with known pest problems.
7. Be “Green” in Your Yard
Use a push mower, which, unlike a gas or electric mower, consumes no fossil fuels. If you use a power mower, a mulching mower helps further reduce grass clippings.
8. Compost Your Food and Yard Waste
Doing so reduces the amount of garbage sent to landfills.
9. Apply Mulch to Your Yard and Garden
Use mulch to help moderate soil temperature and retain moisture during dry weather, reducing the need for watering. Learn all about mulch, plus free sources of mulch, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at nrcs.usda.gov/feature/backyard/mulching.html.
10. Plan Your Landscape Wisely
Choose plants that are low maintenance and require less water and fewer pesticides. In some parts of the country, lawns use two to three times as much water as other plants and can result in 50 percent more water waste from evaporation, runoff, over-spray and over-watering. Learn more at the Regional Water Providers Consortium’s Web site, conserveh2o.org/outdoors/landscapes/plants.
Reference: Volume LXIII, Number 5, March 7, 2010 Rural Arkansas Magazine.