Lawn maintenance 101

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Summer days mean lots of sun, fun and hopefully a yard that will hold up to the weather as well as outdoor gatherings. Most people want to have a nice lawn all year, but this is true especially during the summer months here in Colorado when we spend more time outside. Two of the main focuses for homeowners this time of year include summer projects and weed control. The following are some tips for keeping your lawn healthy and looking great throughout the summer months.

Watering Your Lawn

Proper watering is important to maintain an attractive, healthy lawn, but water is also a valuable resource that shouldn’t be wasted. Efficient water use on lawns makes a significant contribution to water conservation, as well as helps your lawn get the most out of it, while still remaining healthy. Some of the guidelines below can help you to water your lawn more efficiently:

  • Avoid frequent, shallow watering. It encourages a shallow root system, which makes the lawn more susceptible to drought and grub damage.
  • Watering too deeply should also be avoided. Over watering causes the soil to become poorly aerated and increases the lawn’s susceptibility to disease.
  • When the lawn needs water the grass will take on a dull green or yellowish color and the blades will begin to fold or roll. Footprints will also remain visible after the lawn is walked on.
  • The best time of day to water is in the early morning. Less water evaporates if lawns are watered when temperatures are cool and winds are calm.
  • Late afternoon and evening watering also reduces evaporation losses if winds are calm, but tends to encourage disease because the grass stays moist all night.
  • In most situations sprinklers are the most effective way to water lawns. A good system will provide even water distribution to all the grassed areas and have adjustments to control the flow of water.

Prune and Plant

An easy way to spruce up your yard is to plant colorful flowers and plants. Pruning the existing landscape will also keep everything looking healthy and encourage growth year after year. Keep in mind that some trees and shrubs are best cut in certain seasons. During the summer, it’s best to prune azaleas, lilacs, magnolias, mountain laurels, hawthorns, forsythias and flowering crabapples. If you want to plant a garden of flowers, consider daylilies, purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans.

Landscaping

Of course, some of us just don’t have the time to plant and tend to our gardens. Some people also want or have to conserve their water use. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful and inviting outdoor space to hang out in and enjoy.

Rock gardens typically contain drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants, and the rocks themselves offer a decor that never needs to be watered or tended to in any way!

Mulch is also one of the unsung heroes of low-maintenance landscaping. It’s highly portable, malleable and, for certain types of mulch, you can even make your own. If you have a problem area for which there seems to be no other solution, mulch might be your answer, especially if you need a quick and easy solution. An application of mulch can reduce your watering needs significantly. Mulch also suppresses weeds, making yard care much easier.

If you are more ambitious, try adding an ecosystem to your backyard with a garden pond. This can be done in a lined pit or aboveground and can be the home to different types of fish or aquatic plants.

Weed Control

During the hot summer months the weeds in the areas outside of the lawn can be very aggressive. If they are getting out of hand where you cannot keep up with them by hand weeding, you could try an organic alternative weed control. The nice thing about these is that it only kills things that get their foliage coated with it, so if you have bulbs underground, or tree roots nearby, it will not move through the soil to injure nearby plants.

Whatever your plans are for your yard this summer, the main thing is that you get outside and enjoy the space you live in. Whether you put a couple plant pots on your deck to brighten up the entry, or you decide to put in a pond and rock garden, your yard should be a welcoming place you relish hanging out in.