Having a lawn can be a high maintenance commitment for your yard, but it doesn't have to be. As a landscaper, my yard tends to be the last yard I get to work in, but the expectations for a good looking yard are high. So, I make the most of every opportunity I get. And in the fall, I get the most return for my efforts.
Every plant needs the right combination of light, water and nutrients, lawns are no exception. The problem is, too many people think this all has to come in the form of frequent watering and application of fertilizers and weed killers. Not true! That approach is costly, not only to your pocketbook, but to the environment.
If your lawn is accustomed to such a routine, you will need to gradually transition to a more beneficial schedule and application rates until you can get down to watering only once a week, when needed, and applying fertilizer and weed killers once a year. Fall is when your lawn is most active - extending its root system and sending out new shoots that will sprout next year. Now you know - if you were to only apply fertilizer once a year, the best time is between Labor and Thanksgiving (Halloween, if you have a cooler and dryer fall).
What should you do the rest of the growing season?
- Mulch your clippings instead of bagging them
- Mulch your leaves in the fall instead of raking and bagging them
- Water deeply and less frequently (I usually recommend 0.5"/week - set out a container to determine when your watering system has provided 1/2 inch and set your timer accordingly)
- Increase your mowing height to help retain the moisture and shade weeds to keep them from sprouting and growing
- Enjoy more free time with all the time-saving steps for lawn care