You’ve moved into the new home of your dreams and can’t help but admire how the freshly sodded yard compliments the architectural detail on the exterior of your new home. You’ve been given basic instructions from your homebuilder’s Superintendent on watering the yard to keep it alive though the scorching heat of Charleston summers… but you want to go above and beyond to ensure that your new lawn thrives and maybe puts you in the running for “yard of the month” with your new homeowner’s association. Follow these rules from Houselogic ‘s landscaping experts to ensure that you don’t accidently kill your yard with too much love and affection. We all know it’s easy to grab the wrong fertilizer or accidentally kill your entire yard instead of just the weeds!
- Follow product instructions. Directions are there for a reason, use them! Whether it’s on properly applying fertilizer or laying siege against invading insects, lawn products typically involve specific chemicals that are meant to be used in exact doses and with exact methods of application.
- Don’t misuse fertilizer. The main key with fertilizer is to not get carried away & overdo it, more is not always better. An excess of fertilizer has an adverse effect on plant growth and can cause the plants and grass to burn and die. It’s also important to prevent any excess from running into waterways such as the pond behind your home. Be sure you’re using the appropriate amount and refer to #1, follow the listed directions and don’t skip any preparation steps. Be careful to also keep an eye out for season-specific fertilizers as they are designed to accomplish different things at different times of the year. You’ll also want to know what type of grass that you have and research when the optimal time is to feed it, some grasses prefer being fed in cooper temps while others prefer warmer weather.
- Water the grass deep enough. Watering the grass seems like a pretty basic concept but it actually can require more strategy than you might imagine. The key is to water it so that the soil underneath the grass is truly moist, ideally so that it is moist six inches deep. This requires more consistency than just spraying the yard here & there until you can see that the grass is damp. Use a shovel to insure that the moisture has made it’s way a full six inches deep. Check about every fifteen minutes the first time that you water your lawn, this will give you a sense, give or take, for the average amount of time that will be required. If you have a neighbor with a nice lush lawn it can’t hurt to take notice of how often they water and follow their lead.
- Avoid cutting the grass too short. Trying to save time by cutting your grass short and mowing less frequently could potentially cost you your yard and way more time re-establishing your grass. Grass needs leaves to conduct the process of photosynthesis and generate the food it needs. If the blades of your grass aren’t long enough it can starve and turn brown. You need to keep your grass at a minimum of two and a half to three inches.
- Go easy on the weed killer. Applying weed killer to your whole lawn in attempts to take out the pesky dandelions and clovers and actually take out all of your grass as well. Limit weed killer to isolated areas and try other methods of removal such as weeding or pouring boiling water on the offending plants.
- Trim limbs & branches the proper way. There is nothing wrong with trimming bushes to keep them away from your home or fence line. But be sure that you’re cutting at the appropriate point. Look for the intersection where the branch joins the tree and locate the little bump there. You want to leave the little bump and cut write above that. The bump, referred to as the “tree collar” will help the tree heal where it was cut.
- Space plants a safe distance apart. Sure, grouping your plants together can help them look lush and well-developed but it can backfire in the long run. Plants need room to grow and truly mature in order to achieve the look you are after. Plants that are too close together compete for sunlight and nutrients and ultimately may not survive. The nursery or home store where you purchase your plans will likely have guidelines for planting. You also need to keep in mind how wide trees will get once they’re matured and make sure you are accounting for that space-wise.
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