Want a Beautiful Landscape? Good Maintenance is the Key.
Whether you do your own lawn and garden maintenance or have a crew do it for you, knowing how to maintain your plantings the right way goes a long way. By following a few simple guidelines, and adding in the following tips to your organic maintenance regimen, you’ll save time and have a better looking landscape.
Did you know height matters when it comes to keeping a healthy lawn? A lawn that is too short will lose more moisture, which will increase your water bill. When you mow too short, you can also damage the physical structure of the lawn and allow more weeds to germinate. A lawn stressed from over-mowing can become more susceptible to pests, diseases, drought, heat and cold.
A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than ⅓ of the grass height at each mowing. That means you’ll probably need to set your mower higher than you’re used to. When you take off more than ⅓ of the grass blade, you can also cause excessive thatch buildup. Be sure not to mow your lawn too much!
To allow lawns to absorb more sun, retain more water and shade out weeds, mow at this height:
- Bermudagrass should be mowed to 1 ½” to 1 ¾” tall
- St. Augustine can be mowed to 3-3 ½ ” tall
- Tiff mowed to 1” tall.
Blowing: Does your maintenance company use blowers?
You know how too much of a good thing can cause problems? That’s how we feel about blowers. While blowers are useful for quickly cleaning off hardscape surfaces, they can cause big problems for your lawn and landscape shrubs when used on green areas Blowers, over time, can cause severe soil compaction in your lawn and landscape beds. They also blow topsoil away, exposing plant roots.
While occasionally using a blower in your landscape can be useful, it should not be a weekly practice. It’s much better for your lawn, groundcover, shrubs and trees for you to hand rake leaves and compost them – and mulch leaves on the lawn using a mulching mower.
Feed the soil:
The best way to ensure your lawn will look great and your landscape planting stay healthy is to feed your soil. Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants. Extra water or synthetic fertilizer can’t make up for poor soil long-term. A healthy population of soil microbes will keep your soil oxygenated and provide nutrients for your plants. Adding compost, earthworm castings and other organic amendments will improve the health and bioactivity of your soil. Over time, as your soil health improves, you’ll find your entire landscape will need less maintenance. More on soil health here.
Dead soil = dead plants.
Mulch added to landscape beds not only looks great, but it helps conserve valuable moisture. In winter, mulch protects plant roots from cold temperatures. In summer, it helps cool down the soil. Mulch also deters weeds: Weeds can quickly spread from landscape beds into your lawn, so suppressing them is important.
Whether you maintain your landscape yourself or have a service do it for you, these are a few tips that can improve the overall health and look of your lawn and landscape.