Knowing What Your Lawn Needs
Just as you need food to survive, so does your lawn. There are, in fact, sixteen needed elements for a lawn to survive and thrive in green glory. Most of these elements are a part of nature and need little from you to help your lawn’s success. Others, however, definitely need your attention and should be attended to.
Don’t dash out to the store just yet to get a complete fertiliser kit and a thousand pounds worth of stuff you probably won’t need. First, let’s get to know your lawn and why it needs these things and how you can provide them for it.
Nitrogen is one of the most talked about and least understood element in lawn care. Everyone knows what nitrogen is and that plants need it, but that’s about the extent of their knowledge. Just because a fertiliser or spray has nitrogen in it doesn’t mean it’s getting to your lawn in the way your lawn needs it. Did you know that nitrogen is what gives grass it’s green colour? It also naturally helps fight off pests and bugs. Nitrogen is absorbed through the root system, not the atmosphere, so spraying it on your lawn doesn’t always have the desired effect.
Potassium and Phosphorus are often overlooked outside of our health food diets. Since you can’t feed your lawn bananas and milk is too expensive to be pouring onto your grass, you need a way to transmit these two important ingredients to your lawn. Lucky for us, a huge portion of most fertilisers is these two ingredients. These are natural leechers, so they get into the soil readily if introduced correctly.
Beware of the cheaper fertilisers as they’ll often have a bad mix of these three ingredients, along with a few other things for good measure. The measurement of how much of each is in a fertiliser will usually be given as three numbers, separated by dashes (e.g. 30-10-10). That’s the percentage of each of the three elements, in the order they’re listed here. So 30-10-10 means 30% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium, with the balance made up of other materials.
This can be a quick guide to what the fertiliser will be good for; example: heavier on the potassium is a good winterising blend for colder climates. And always keep these chemicals safely stored away in your shed or out building
Before you can choose and spread a fertiliser, you’ll need to know a few things about your soil and its needs. First, is your soil hard, soft, or somewhere in between? Does it have a high or low pH level (acidity)? You can test this with simple test strips available from any garden store. The three major kinds of fertiliser are spread in different ways and will work best in different conditions as well. So if you choose pellets, sprays (liquids), or synthetics vs. naturals, you’ll need to know how you’re going to get it onto the soil underneath the grass.
Once you have a result from a pH test or know what your soil needs, it’s time to pick a fertiliser to match.
Granular (spread) fertilisers are the most popular because they’re so easy to use. If you choose this method, you should be aware of a couple of things. First, they work better with short grass so the fertiliser can get right to the soil. Second, they should be spread in the evening so they have time to settle in under the grass blades (this prevents fertiliser burn). Make sure it’s spread evenly on the lawn and that you don’t water for at least a day. This allows the granules to settle in and do their thing. It also allows the natural moisture of the grass to work on the grains and loosen them up. Watering right off may wash away much of the nutrients before they can absorb into the soil.
Liquid fertilisers are harder to spread, but usually much more beneficial to your lawn thus they are highly recommended by many lawn care advice references. Spray them liberally, early in the morning or later in the evening, so they can soak in before the sun gets to work on them. It won’t take long, though, so burn isn’t as much of an issue here. Over doing it is, however, so don’t soak the lawn down, just get it sprayed well. Follow the directions on the mix.
Synthetic or naturals is a choice you’ll have to make as well. Natural fertilisers are easier on the environment and possibly your pets and children, but can have an odor and may not be as easily applied. Synthetics are faster and usually cheaper, but not always better either.
Whatever you choose, fertilising your lawn and knowing its needs to thrive will make for a greener, healthier, more beautiful lawn overall!
Buying A Lawn Mower For Your Own Lawn
The lawn: for some its just a weekend chore, others however think of it as a great escape. Like it or hate it, it has to be maintained and that means buying the right lawn mower to get the job done. Which lawn mower you choose depends on the size and grass density of your lawn as well as your budget and the features you need.
Size and density: The size of your lawn determines the size of lawn mower as well as well as the type. Lawn mowers generally fall under two categories reel and rotary. If your lawn is 1,000 square feet (100 square m) or less you may want to choose a manual reel. However, if your lawn is large, consider getting a riding mower.
Grass density: You should consider the thickness of your lawn when buying a lawn mower. It will help you determine the blade and rotary type. If your grass is a soft bladed type, not Bermuda or Saint Augustine, then consider a reel mower. A plastic blade can be used for gardens where there is no risk of your mower blade being damaged by mowing a brick or large stones.
Catcher or thatcher?: If you want to catch the clippings of your lawn choose one with a rear mounting catching. If not, then consider a thatcher mower. It cuts the grass into small pieces and then blows them down into the lawn for a fertile covering.
Low maintenance: Most people want to spend more time caring for their lawn than their lawn mowers, so here are a couple low maintenance options for you to consider when buying a lawn mower.
-Rotary types are easy to operate and sharpen. They also tend to be inexpensive. -Self-propelled mowers are when the motor turns the wheel. These are good for slopes. Front-propelled types are easy to operate.
Go Green: Many people prefer petrol mowers for their power; however, they pollute and are noisy. If you want a more environmentally friendly option, consider an electric mower. When buying an electric lawn mower find out if the cord length is enough for your lawn. They usually tend to be a 100 feet (30 m) in length. If you opt for a cordless model, be sure to check the battery length. You want to get through at least one mowing before it dies.
When buying a lawn mower also keep these considerations in mind. Can you maneuver it? This is important if you have to mow around trees or shrubs. Is it too heavy? Light lawn mowers are easy to maneuver and handle without comprising quality. How easy is it to start the mower? How easy is it to raise or lower the cutting height? Is there a switch to shut off the blade?
Buying the right lawn mower for your lawn is essential to maintaining a health, lush lawn. This will enable you to enjoy the appearance when sitting in your delightful summer house
Is The Best Riding Lawn Mower Right For You?
I can remember a time when all lawn mowers were of the push along type, they were hard work to use and believe me when I say that mowing your lawn was a real chore that could take up half your day. As technology has improved and the cost of equipment has come down, a powered lawn mower is now within the reach of virtually everyone; which is just as well because if your lawn is any size at all, a powered lawn mower is an essential piece of equipment to keep your garden looking great.
If your lawn is small or has many difficult obstacles to get round, then your choices are limited to a decent push along mower, or an electric hover mower. Both of these will do the job more than adequately, but on a very warm day you will build up a real sweat pushing your mower. The best option if you are in this situation is a small hover mower such as the Flymo in the UK or the Eastmans Hover mower in the US. They are relatively cheap to buy, very easy to use, and will work virtually anywhere on any type of terrain.
If you don’t like the sound of a hover mower, then your only option is a manual lawn mower. Get some help choosing a model you are comfortable with, from an expert at your local yard equipment store.
If your lawn is much larger and you have enough spare money to spend, you can buy yourself a really cool ride on lawn mower or garden tractor. This type of mower requires little or no physical exertions, is very easy to operate and will mow your lawn much quicker than any other type of machine. This type of mower is the Rolls Royce of the mowing world, and there is no cooler way to make your lawn look great.
Whatever the size of your lawn, you will need a grass trimmer to keep the edges of the lawn neat, and for cutting round fence posts, awkward obstacles, and trees. However expensive your ride on mower is, your lawn will look half finished unless you pay some attention to the edges as well. Grass trimmers are inexpensive pieces of equipment, easy to use, and are a good investment to give you that manicured professional look.
When you are buying a lawn mower of any description, I would always recommend finding yourself a reputable local dealer. Your dealer should be an expert on the equipment they sell which should give you the piece of mind to know that you’ve chosen as well as you could.
Creating Maintenance Free Lawns
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a beautiful lawn that hardly ever needed to be watered, cut, trimmed, or weeded, you’re in luck. It’s not just the wishful thinking of a lazy gardener. You can in fact, create a lush lawn with just those specifications, as long as you start by planting the right thing.
So what’s the right thing? Ground covers. Grass will eat up water like crazy, and constantly need to be trimmed, weeded, mowed, and fed. A lush grass lawn is actually a monster just waiting to suck up all your time and energy, while running up your water bill in the process.
In contrast, by planting low growing ground covers which flourish in your area naturally, you’ll eliminate a lot of your day to day lawn care chores. Now the key here of course, is to select a ground cover which will thrive in your area naturally. When the ground cover is native to your gardening area, it will often do quite well on whatever amount of natural rainfall you get. Sometimes you’ll need to give it a bit of extra water of course, such as during a drought or when the new plants are first becoming established in your garden.
Once the plants take hold however, they should be able to live on their own with very little attention from you. And many ground covers will naturally spread themselves out over time, which is quite helpful when you need to cover bare spots or choke out annoying weeds.
This is actually a common characteristics of a ground cover plant, and it’s part of why they’re called this. Because they grow outwards on their own, and cover the ground surrounding them.
Like plants and flowers though, not all ground covers are the same. Some will be quite low growing – reaching heights of just three to five inches. Others of course might grow as tall as ten inches when left untrimmed, and this can create a wonderful naturalised look in your yard.
Some ground covers will create flower clusters while others may not seem to create any flowers at all. Some will have lush, dark green foliage, and others may look pale and silverish instead.
Knowing what you want as an end result for your garden will help you decide what to plant for your ground cover. If for instance, you like a somewhat wild and natural look, you might choose to plant a ground cover which grows a bit taller than others. If you know that will cause you to want to trim it down though because it looks unkempt, take a look at the lower growing ground covers instead.