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Lawn Care Tips

Lawn Care Tips

We all want a beautiful looking yard, but also one that is safe for our families, friends and pets to enjoy. Here are some tips to learn how to have both and protect the environment at the same time.
(published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Preventing Weeds in your Lawn

Weeds move into lawns when conditions favor their growth over that of turf grasses. A healthy lawn will be able to endure drought, diseases and pest infestations better than a stressed lawn. Healthy grasses can also compete better with undesirable weeds.

Promote lawn health by mowing and watering properly:

Mow at a 2.5 -3" height. Taller grass develops deeper roots, an advantage during dry spells
Water deeply once a week. Lawns need about an inch of water a week. Supplement with irrigation only when necessary
Water early in the morning
Water at a rate that the soil can absorb
To control the spread of broad-leaf weeds, try using corn gluten, a non-toxic corn by-product. Apply at the suggested rate in the spring (when forsythia is blooming). Corn gluten will not kill existing weeds, but will prevent new ones from germinating each year that it is applied, and it adds some nitrogen to the soil as well.

Preventing Weeds in Garden Beds

For newly planted beds a two to three inch deep layer of mulch will help keep weeds down until the plants grow and shade the ground. Take care to keep mulch away from the trunks of trees and shrubs as this encourages certain pest problems. Shredded leaves can also be used as a temporary mulch. They will decompose and enrich the soil.

A "living mulch" of ground covers and/or low perennials planted beneath trees and shrubs will add beauty and shade out annual weeds.

Help for Tough-to-Weed Areas

Weeds often take root in between pavers or stones used for walkways and patios, as well as in cracks in asphalt or concrete. Manage weeds in these areas with a highly acidic spray to kill the above-ground portion of the plant.

The commercially available sprays are typically made with vinegar or lemon juice either alone or in combination with herb or citrus oils such as thyme and orange. These sprays work well on annual weeds. Pouring boiling water over the weeds is also an option. Killing perennial weeds with either method will take repeated applications to exhaust the nutrients stored in the root.

Copyright © 2015 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Department of environmentalcertified arborist 

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