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Towards a Less Needy Lawn

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To reduce lawn care, follow the tips below. (Illustration taken from the Web. Attribution unknown.)

Don’t let lawn care take over your summer. Here are a few simple tips to reduce (enormously) its maintenance:

  1. Remove the lawn in spots the lawn mower simply can’t reach: at the base of walls and fences, around trunks, on narrow strips, or anywhere else where you find you need to use the string trimmer for the finishing touch. Put in mulch or groundcovers instead. Using a string trimmer for touch ups can practically double the time you spend mowing!
  2. Leave the grass clippings on the ground to decompose and return to the soil, thus feeding your lawn … and saving you time on both raking and bagging and fertilizer applications.
  3. Don’t water during a drought. That will force your lawn into summer dormancy. Sure enough, it will at first take on a grayish tinge, then turn yellow, but it will revive when the rains come back. Not only will you save the time you would have invested watering, but a dormant lawn needs no mowing!
  4. Do mow regularly (it’s hard to get out of that one!), but cut the lawn back by no more than a third at any time, ideally to a height of about 3 inches (8 cm). Mowing short weakens the grass and allows weeds to settle in, while mowing high gives a denser, greener lawn. The choice should be obvious!
  5. Finally, learn to tolerate a few weeds in the lawn. Herbicide treatments weaken lawn grasses and leave them susceptible to insects and diseases and as for hand weeding … there’s just no end to it! And who said a lawn had to look like a golf green anyway?

Take it easy this summer. Slow down and enjoy your garden… and don’t let a needy lawn spoil your pleasure!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “Towards a Less Needy Lawn

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