Sooner than you may realize the sound of snowblowers will slowly be replaced by lawnmowers. If you’re going to be walking behind – or riding – one of those lawn mowers, you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your lawn in good shape.
There are some things you can do to reduce your lawn maintenance costs this summer – and they all have to do with the prevention of things that can impact your lawn’s growth and health.
When considered collectively, the costs to keep our lawns in pristine condition are staggering.
Per the National Gardening Association, DIY gardening is a $36.9 billion dollar industry, with “74 percent of all U.S. households participat[ing] in lawn and garden activities in 2016…” and that “the average amount spent per household was $407.”
While this may not be reflective of your costs, there’s no reason why you should pay more than necessary to enjoy a beautiful green lawn this summer.
Consider implementing some (or all) of the following tips to save on your lawn care costs this season.:
Save on water costs
This may border on sacrilege for some green lawn enthusiasts, but it’s possible to water your lawn less and still have a green, healthy lawn.
By looking ahead. Has the weatherman forecast your rain chances at 60% or more in the next day or two? Go ahead and cut your grass and let the rain water your lawn for you.
If you’re required to water your lawn because of homeowners association requirements, etc., then only do so when you see the grass starting to curl at the top – this is an indication that it’s under stress and will soon begin to brown.
To give your lawn a good, deep soak, begin by placing a small container (about 6 ounce capacity) under the sprinkler and let it run. When the can begins to overflow, look at the timer on the sprinkler, then move it to another area of the lawn, letting it sit for the same length of time you noted earlier.
Repeat until you’ve covered the entire lawn.
Unless you’re in a drought, rains can help supplement so that you don’t have to do this very often.
The best time to water is before the heat of the day; anywhere from 5 to 10 am works best. Although it might seem like a good idea to water at night, it’s not; it can cause pest and disease problems and doesn’t give your lawn water when it needs it the most.Save both fuel and time mowing
Mow less often
Depending on where you live, letting your grass get a bit taller means you’re mowing less often which is an automatic reduction in costs.
This might mean you only mow once per week or once every two weeks, so use your grass length to determine when it’s time to mow, not the calendar.
Feeding your lawn
Give your lawn the nutrients it needs without spending a fortune.
- – Use a mulching lawn mower. Not only does the cut grass vanish within a day, it provides nutrients for the grass and offers some protection against water evaporation.
- – Keep a compost bin. While typically used with a garden, fresh compost can also be used to keep your lawn healthy.
Avoid costly pesticides by reducing weeds to start with.
Test your soil’s PH with a kit you can purchase at any gardening store, or do the following:
- – Collect soil from an area of your lawn, putting a couple of spoonfuls in two separate containers.
- – Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to one cup. If it fizzes up your soil is alkaline, and the pH is between 7 and 8.
- – If it doesn’t fizz, then add distilled water to the other container until the soil is muddy. Then add 1/2 cup baking soda. If it fizzes, your soil is acidic, with a pH that’s probably between 5 and 6.
- – If there are no reactions at all from either sample, your soil is neutral with a pH of 7.
- – The best pH for grass is at around 6.5…dandelions in your lawn probably means your pH is high – at around 7.5.
Both gardener’s sulfur and lime dust are less expensive than many fertilizers and weed killers. If your soil’s pH is above 6.5, dust your lawn with gardener’s sulfur. If your pH is lower than 6.5, use lime dust.
Pull those weeds that remain by hand, but if you’ve addressed your soil’s pH issues, there should be fewer weeds.
Go with synthetic
Finally, many homeowners have left natural grass behind in favor of artificial lawns. The technology for creating astroturf has changed a lot over the years, providing natural looking grass that will last for years and require little maintenance.