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I know what you might be thinking… “Seriously, a yard work post? On a woman’s blog? In the midst of winter?? Have you lost your acorns?”
First off, I don’t know many women that take pride in the inside of their home but care nothing about the outside of it. Am I right? We like pretty plants and a lush lawn just as much as the boys do! Secondly, the biggest mistake homeowners make in their lawn and plant care is neglecting them during the winter months. So yes ladies, here’s a post about your lawn… in late November!
We live on 4 ½ acres right outside Fort Worth, Texas, with approximately 1 acre of that being manicured. We have Bermuda grass and approximately 750 square feet of flower beds with all perineal plants. My husband takes great pride in our lawn and, as the King of Googling, has researched exactly how to keep it darn-near weed-free and beautifully lush! All of this is no small feat considering the size of our lot and some other challenges, like hot Texas summers and being surrounded by fields of weeds on just about all sides.
Here are some of our scheduling and care tips, courtesy of my hubby:
- Mow regularly. Think of grass like a toddler. It is sensitive and doesn’t respond well to big changes! When you cut grass blades dramatically, grass goes into shock; this grass tantrum not only makes it not look as pretty, it also makes it less strong. Cut no more than 1/3” of the blade length at a time. Also, depending on what kind of turf you have (Bermuda, St. Augustine, etc.), your lawn will thrive best at a certain length. For our species of Bermuda, 1 ½-2” is optimal. Simple math: since out cut height is 2”, we (AKA my husband) do not allow our grass to grow higher than 3” before cutting. And, guess who doesn’t like to be mowed regularly? Weeds! So, by keeping your grass short and mowing/trimming regularly, you are strengthening your lawn and weakening weeds, helping your grass to choke those evil plants out! During fast growing seasons, like spring, this may mean mowing twice a week (hint to husbands: this may be a good time to talk your wife into a fancy new mower!).
- Prep your flower beds for extreme seasons. Your perennial plants may need special attention going into the winter months to help them survive. For example, we cut down our fountain grasses. We also trim back our Crape Myrtls and Rose Bushes, and pull out the dead foliage on our Daylilies. Do some research on your plants and see what you can do to best prepare them for the freezing months ahead. Also, before the first freeze and again before the heat of summer (for us in hot climate areas), it is a good idea to apply a fresh layer of mulch. This will insulate your root systems and protect them from the heat and cold.
- Irrigate properly. For our turf, we irrigate twice a week during growing season and hot months (so spring through fall), about .5” each time. Want an easy way to measure? Put an empty tuna can outside while you water. You should nearly fill it each week.
- Follow your schedule. When it comes to lawn care, timing is everything! Plant life cycles depending on the season, and so should your care regimen. Here is our month to month application timeline:
- Beginning of January – Weed Pre-emergent (AKA Crabgrass Preventer) with Potash (a potassium salt good for fertilizing; pronounced pot ash, not poe tash like I pronounced it at first…) (We use a 0-0-7/.86%)
- Beginning of February – Weed Pre-emergent with Potash (0-0-7/.86%)
- Beginning of March - Weed Pre-emergent with small amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (25-2-5/.86%)
- Beginning of April - Weed Pre-emergent with small amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (25-2-5/.86%) AND Insecticide/Fire Ant Control (we use a 3-month control)
- Beginning of May – Weed Pre-emergent with Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (28-3-10/50% Poly Plus SCU)
- Beginning of June – Weed Pre-emergent with Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (28-3-10/50% Poly Plus SCU)
- Beginning of July - Weed Pre-emergent with Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (28-3-10/50% Poly Plus SCU) AND Insecticide/Fire Ant Control (we use a 3-month control)
- Beginning of August – Weed Pre-emergent with Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (28-3-10/50% Poly Plus SCU)
- Beginning of September – Weed Pre-emergent with Potash (0-0-7/.86%) AND Weed Pre-emergent with small amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (25-2-5/.86%)
- Beginning of October – Weed Pre-emergent with Potash (0-0-7/.86%) AND Weed Pre-emergent with small amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash Fertilizer (25-2-5/.86%)
Keep in mind this schedule is what we had formulated for us by a professional for our Bermudagrass in our southern climate. Depending on where you live and what kind of turf you have, your schedule could look quite different. No matter your climate/turf, you will still need to stick to a schedule. Although the schedule can be burdensome, it is absolutely essential in having a beautiful lawn. The key to a weed-free lawn… a healthy grass!
Our friends at TruGreen, your local experts for a healthy lawn, has provided this awesome infographic to give some important tips and help remind you to care for your lawn this winter season:
For our large lot and special circumstances, we are able to keep with these products without breaking the bank. Buying a large bag with our company account at our local professional lawn supply house (some of them aren’t available at the consumer level) isn’t such a waste consider we will use it all fairly quickly, whereas if we lived on a smaller city lot, it would take us a long time to use up a bag.
Yes, keeping a pretty lawn is no small task. That is why many homeowners turn to professional companies to keep up with a regular routine and to know exactly what to put on what kind of turf and when. Did you know that you can sign up for TruGreen lawn care service now so that at the first sign of spring, TruGreen specialists will already have you inthe system and be out on your lawn before you might even know it's time to begin spring lawn care? For busy moms and professionals, it makes a lot of sense to hire a company like TruGreen, which has a reputation for maintaining healthy lawns. I can say if it weren’t for my husband’s zeal for all things grass, we would likely be on TruGreen’s client list!