During the summer heat that will inevitably hit our Texas towns this summer, you should take these simple steps we found on RichSoil.com to protect your lawn and landscaping:
Lawn care in a nutshell
Set your mower as high as it will go (3 to 4 inches).
Water only when your grass shows signs of drought stress and then water deeply (put a cup in your sprinkler zone and make sure it gets at least an inch of water).
Fertilize with an organic fertilizer in the fall and spring. I recommend the Ringer brand.
Have the pH of your soil professionally tested. Add lime if it is below 6.0 and gardener’s sulfur if it is above 7.0.
How much top soil do you have? See how deep a shovel will go into the soil. How deep can you dig a hole in one minute? Four inches of topsoil will make for an okay lawn. Eight or more inches of topsoil will make for a great lawn.
Now for the verbose details on lawn care:
A little knowledge makes it so damn near anything can qualify for the “cheap and lazy” label. Including lawn care. Organic is just a bonus.
The key to the lawn care game is competition. You want to make things favorable for the grass and unfavorable for the weeds so the grass will choke out the weeds. Naturally.
Lawn care must do: mow high
There is a fight for sun. If the grass doesn’t shade the weed, the weed will shade the grass. Sun is food. Food is strength and life. Shade is weakness, disease and death. Grass will shade the weeds only if it is tall enough. The shade of tall, dense grass turf will prevent essential light from reaching most weeds and, will aid in the destruction of new baby weed seedlings (such as the notorius dandelion). Read more here
Lawn care must do: water infrequently
This will force your grass roots to go deep into the soil. Deeper than most weed roots. As the top few inches of soil becomes bone dry, the weeds and weed seedlings up there die while the grass still enjoys moisture from a little deeper.
Shallow, frequent watering encourages “thatch” (the grass propogates with above-soil runners (like strawberry runners) rather than rhizomes under the soil – there gets to be so many runners that they weave a mat that chokes out water and air). Since the roots are in the top inch or two of soil, a hot day will quickly dry the soil and much of the grass will brown. Weeds and weed seedlings looooove a daily watering. It’s just what they need for a good start.
Two methods to tell when it is time to water:
The grass will start to curl before it turns brown. When it starts to curl, that is the best time to water. Anything after that is time for “intensive care watering” (water half an inch, wait three hours and water an inch).
Take a shovel and stick it into the soil about six inches. Keep the sun to your left or to your right when you do this. Push the handle forward. If you can see any moisture, wait. If it’s all dry, water. If you can’t get your shovel to go into the soil this deep, you need more soil. Read more here
Lawn Care Fertilizer:
Grass is a nitrogen pig. Legumes (such as clover and black medic) can get their nitrogen from the air (remember that the air we breathe is 80% nitrogen!). So, when you see legumes taking over your lawn (clover, medic, etc.), you know that your soil is nitrogen poor.
If your lawn needs fertilizer, sprinkle a little Ringer lawn fertilizer in the spring and fall. Why this brand? Well, there is nothing scary in the ingredients list; it is a very slow release fertilizer without salts; the company appears to have passions well aligned with my own; and it works great.
If your lawn is in serious need of fertilizer, use a third of what the package recommends every three weeks in the spring and fall. Otherwise, use half of what the package recommends at the beginning of spring and the beginning of fall. Read more here
Read the entire article here
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