|Landscaping & Gardening Information|
Basic Lawn Care - Mowing, Scarifiers, Aeration, and Watering Tips
The arrival of summer heralds a time of increased wear and tear for the average garden lawn. Children's yard games, barbecue parties, outdoor sports and generally more activity in the garden means your lawn is set to come in for something of a beating and without a little TLC is likely to start showing more than a little worse for wear. Stomp all over any living thing and it doesn't respond too kindly but with a little help, your lawn can remain looking great all through summer and beyond!
For a lusher, healthier, faster-growing lawn you can't beat a bit of fertilizer. Test your soil type and choose a fertilizer to compliment this for best results. Most lawns will benefit from around three to four fertilizer applications through the year, with the first around a month before the start of the growinf season to give your grass a kickstart and then up to three more with approximately a two month gap in between applications can give good results. You can either spread the fertilizer by hand if you have a smaller lawn area to cover or use a specialist spreader tool for more even coverage, using a drop spreader for small lawns or a rotary/broadcase spreader for bigger areas.
After fertilizing it is generally a good idea to water-in the fertilizer or plan on adding fertilizer before an expected rainfall unless otherwise stated in the usage instructions. The important thing with fertiliser is to follow the manufacturer guidelines and not be tempted to over-do it. An excessive application of fertiliser is not a good thing and can lead to fungus, over-growth and weakness. Keep to the guidelines and you'll get that lush, thick green grass you wanted.
If you live in a hot climate or dry region, and particularly during the summer months then regular watering of your lawn is important. The best time to water a lawn is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to achieve the best results. Avoiding evening watering is advised as soaking grass over night can increase the risk of lawn diseases and mid-day watering when the sun is hottest increases evaporation and water wastage. Excessive watering is also something to avoid and ensure if you use a sprinkler you do actually get out there and move it around rather than allowing large puddles to form whilst other regions of the lawn area remain dry. Too much surface lying water can starve the roots of oxygen and lead to the same symptoms (leaf rolling) as lack of water.
It is important to know when to water rather than just watering because you think a lawn needs watering. There are a few basic tests you can do to know if your lawn needs irrigation. Look for leaf rolling and curling and the slightly blue/purple tinge which comes when grass is being starved of moisture. Also, try the foot print test. Stepping on a healthy lawn should see it spring back into position quickly but if your lawn is slow to react then it's time to add more water.
The key thing to remember here is that the object of mowing a lawn is lawn "mowing" not lawn "scalping"! To take good care of your lawn you need to make sure you are mowing with sharp lawn mower blades so you cut rather than rip at the grass and ensure you do not set the blades at too low a level as you do not want to cut it back lower than is recommended for your particular species of grass. Cutting too low on a regular basis is the easiest way to do lasting damage to your lawn.
If your lawn has become too overgrown then do two or more passes with your mower rather than trying to take it right down to a desirable length straight away and never cut grass when it is wet. Grass clippings may be left or raked as you please if you do not have a lawn mower with a grass collector. Left clippings do not automatically lead to thatch, this is only occurs when there is too much dead organic matter to be broken down and a few clippings actually add nutrients back into the soil.
Edges are something lawn mowers can not handle but a simple pair of long handled shears will make short work of tidying them up. Strimmers are a simple solution for cutting around obstacles such as trees and immovable garden structures.
Aerating Your Lawn
Grass is a living thing and like all living things it flourishes better when it is able to breath easy and get easy access to food and water. Aeration of your lawn is important as it allows water, oxygen and fertilizer to penetrate more easily through to the roots and improves drainage. If your garden is being regularly used then the ground will begin to suffer from soil compaction. When this happens, drainage is reduced and it becomes more difficult for roots to dig down deeper into the soil. The natural activities of earthworms and other subterranean insects and wildlife help break up the soil but compacted earth can always do with a helping hand.
Basic lawn aeration is very simple to achieve with the help of a simple garden fork. Just drive the fork into the earth at regular intervals to do the job. For bigger garden areas or for more effective aeration you can buy or hire specialised lawn aeration tools which are basically spiked or bladed rollers either motorised or hand driven.
An aerator should be used in the autumn months to loosen compact soil after its summer beating.
Dethatching and Scarification
Scarifying or raking your lawn to remove dead and decaying matter which may choke and hinder water and nutrients reaching the soil is an essential part of a good spring and autumn lawn maintenance routine. Raking removes thatch, the accumulation of dead and decaying organic matter like leaves and old grass clippings from around the base of the grass stems. This scarification improves drainage and enables increased amounts of water and air to penetrate down to the roots as well as reducing the chances of lawn disease occuring. Before detatching a lawn you should ensure there is no moss growing there as this process will only help spread the moss around. Kill the moss first with a specialised moss killer found at good garden centers and then scarify the lawn. Scarifying a lawn may be performed manually by raking whilst for larger lawns it might be recommended to use a power lawn scarifier machine which can be hired or bought for the purpose.
Removing Worm Casts
Worms are the gardener's best friend...unless your lawn is your pride and joy. Worm casts are those unsightly piles of mud which appear on the surface of your lawn and left to their own devices may encourage moss and weed growth. Removal is simple during dry weather, just wait until they are dry and brush or rake them away but during prolonged wet periods you may just have to put up with them. Use of acidic fertilizers may discourage worms from coming to the surface but for most gardeners just consider worms are your friend, they help aerate the soil and drag organic matter from the soil surface into their burrows thus making the soil a richer growing environment.
Article copyright Mark Falco, webmaster of ukgardeningsupplies.co.uk where you can find lawn care and gardening equipment including lawn mowers, lawn scarifiers, garden tools and lawn care accessories available for UK delivery.
Reproduction of this article is permitted so long as this resource box is included, it remains unchanged and all links remain active and clickable.
Gardening with Bamboo
Myths and facts A misconception about bamboo is that they spread like wildfire. This is not entirely true as only a some species of bamboo will be invasive. Spreading, however, can easily be controlled if it becomes a problem. Many people also think that bamboos will die when the temperature falls below freezing. This myth is also false.
Patio Accessories ? Complete The Great Outdoors
Patio accessories can range from small to large and of all types of materials and styles depending on your garden décor. Outdoor entertaining on the patio or backyard has skyrocketed in the last few years as people are treating their patios as outdoor rooms. Homeowners want to extend their homes, and adding accessories on the patio is one way to turn the indoors out. A patio accessory can be just about anything. Some ideas to enhance your garden and add decorative touches are: wind chimes, decorative flags, weathervanes, bird baths, houses, feeders, garden stakes, planters and more. These are only a few of the thousands of things you can choose to add some decoration to your patio. You could also splurge on thick plump pillows on a wrought iron love seat. What about decorative rag rugs with ticking stripes for patio seat cushions? Fabrics along with your accessories make for a wonderful splash of color. I choose to keep to the same color palette that I have in my house. It only makes decorating sense to me to just keep the palettes going outside. I don't like the look of having one distinct color inside and then a completely different color outside. Flow is the rule indoors, why not outdoors too? Keep the color flow going with your furniture, and then add a pop of an unusual color with your accessories. If you aren't sure about the lime green or the hot pink, just add a little of it until you see if you want more.
Gardening is Good Therapy
Many of us garden just for the sheer joy of it. But did you know that all over the country the healing aspects of gardening are being used as therapy or as an adjunct to therapy? Although this might sound like a new concept, garden therapy has been around for decades. For example, the Garden Therapy Program at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, and in regional hospitals in Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Rome, Thomasville and Savannah, has been helping people for over 40 years through gardening activities known as social and therapeutic horticulture. So what exactly is social and therapeutic horticulture (or garden therapy)? According to the article "Your future starts here: practitioners determine the way ahead" from Growth Point (1999) volume 79, pages 4-5, horticultural therapy is the use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met. "?Therapeutic horticulture is the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plans and horticulture. This is achieved by active or passive involvement." Although the physical benefits of garden therapy have not yet been fully realized through research, the overall benefits are almost overwhelming. For starters, gardening therapy programs result in increased elf-esteem and self-confidence for all participants. Social and therapeutic horticulture also develops social and work skills, literacy and numeric skills, an increased sense of general well-being and the opportunity for social interaction and the development of independence. In some instances it can also lead to employment or further training or education. Obviously different groups will achieve different results. Groups recovering from major illness or injury, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems, older people, offenders and those who misuse drugs or alcohol, can all benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gardening as presented through specific therapy related programs. In most cases, those that experience the biggest impact are vulnerable or socially excluded individuals or groups, including the ill, the elderly, and those kept in secure locations, such as hospitals or prisons. One important benefit to using social and therapeutic horticulture is that traditional forms of communication aren't always required. This is particularly important for stroke patients, car accident victims, those with cerebral palsy, aphasia or other illnesses or accidents that hinder verbal communication. Gardening activities lend themselves easily to communicative disabled individuals. This in turn builds teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence, while encouraging social interaction. Another group that clearly benefits from social and therapeutic horticulture are those that misuse alcohol or substances and those in prison. Teaching horticulture not only becomes a life skill for these individuals, but also develops a wide range of additional benefits. Social and therapeutic horticultures gives these individuals a chance to participate in a meaningful activity, which produces food, in addition to creating skills relating to responsibility, social skills and work ethic. The same is true for juvenile offenders. Gardening therapy, as vocational horticulture curriculum, can be a tool to improve social bonding in addition to developing improved attitudes about personal success and a new awareness of personal job preparedness. The mental benefits don't end there. Increased abilities in decision-making and self-control are common themes reported by staff in secure psychiatric hospitals. Reports of increased confidence, self-esteem and hope are also common in this environment. Prison staff have also noticed that gardening therapy improves the social interaction of the inmates, in addition to improving mutual understanding between project staff and prisoners who shared outdoor conditions of work. It's interesting that studies in both hospitals and prisons consistently list improving relationships between participants, integrating with the community, life skills and ownership as being some of the real benefits to participants. But in addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked. In most studies, participants noted that fresh air, fitness and weight control where prime benefits that couldn't be overlooked. Although unable to pin down a solid reason, studies have shown that human being posses an innate attraction to nature. What we do know, is that being outdoors creates feelings of appreciation, tranquility, spirituality and peace. So it would seem, that just being in a garden setting is in itself restorative. Active gardening only heightens those feelings. With so many positive benefits to gardening, isn't it time you got outside and started tending to your garden? Next time you are kneeling in fresh dirt to pull weeds or plant a new variety of a vegetable or flower, think about the tranquility you feel while being outdoors in your garden. Let the act of gardening sooth and revitalize you. Soak up the positive benefits of tending to your own garden. If you have someone in your life that could benefit from garden therapy, contact your local health unit to find out more about programs in your area. Not only will the enjoyment of gardening help bond you together, but it will also create numerous positive mental and physical benefits for both of you. So get gardening today for both your physical and mental health. You'll enjoy the experience so much that you'll immediately thank yourself.
Science Cant Explain Everything!
You will know that if you have spent at least some time reflecting on the world around you, some things cannot be explained in purely scientific terms. Armies of scientists and researchers swarm in labs around the world trying to take the mystery out of every bit of wonder we witness.
If you look closely at the natural landscape, you'll never see a large area populated by a single species. Why then would it make sense to plant a single crop in a field or in a section of your garden? It doesn't. Companion planting makes a lot of sense.
Wildlife in Winter Ponds
This may seem contradictory, but you want to leave a little bit of debris in the pond when preparing it for winter.
The Heralded Teak Furniture Manufacturer: Kingsley-Bate
With an average lifespan of 75 years, teak wood has long been commended as the ideal choice for outdoor furniture. It has qualities unlike any other wood in its ability to withstand the rigors of adverse climates, yet weather attractively.
A Beautiful Rose Is Natures Gift
Roses are one of natures most beautiful and splendid gifts. Roses come in a variety of colors and scents, from deep, deep red to the brightest yellow. The many pedals on roses offer a texture and fullness to roses that far outshine any other flowers. Black roses, red roses and white roses have all been used in historical writings. Even Sherlock Holmes paused from his busy work while solving the case of "The Naval Treaty" and said, "All other things ?are really necessary for our existence?But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
Pressure Washing Decks
A beautiful wooden deck, properly maintained, can add greatly to the aesthetic and resale values of a home.
Granite Flexible Preformed Rock Ponds
More than just a Preformed Pond
Easy to Grow Roses
There are many different types of roses. If you are new to rose gardening, then it is wise to choose varieties of easy to grow roses to begin your rose garden. Some roses require constant attention and caring for while others require none. Roses come in varieties of high maintenance to no maintenance. Most roses, though, do require a certain amount of time to get started and to care for adequately. Minimal care roses that produce maximum results are ideal for beginners or those still somewhat new to rose gardening. Not only will it teach you the basics without working you to death, it will also encourage your gardening experience, perhaps leading you to take on other rose types that are a little more challenging to care for.
Feeding the Hummingbirds
Early in May here in west central Wisconsin, I can count on seeing a Ruby Throated Hummingbird hovering in front of my kitchen window, flitting back and forth, as if to say, "there was a hummingbird feeder RIGHT HERE last year. Where is it?"
Fuchsia (named after Leonhard Fuchs, a 16th century German botanist) is a genus of over 100 species of shrubs and small trees. Although there are four New Zealand native species (colensoi, excorticata, perscandens and procumbens) and one from Tahiti, the vast bulk of the genus occurs in Central and South America.
5 Secrets to Growing Beautiful Roses
A rose is a rose is a rose - and there are few things in the garden more beautiful. There are 5 secrets I want to share that will help you to grow healthy roses.
The bright yellow flowers of the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) are easy to mistake for the cowslip (primula veris). Both are widespread over Europe, Asia, and the U.S. However, the cowslip is a denizen of fields and pastures while the marsh marigold inhabits sloughs and stream banks.
Tidy Your Garden Up Cheaply
Recently I got involved with gardening. Preior to that, all I use to do was mow the lawn when it overgrew. However, nowadays, I enjoy making my garden looking beautiful and like to share my success with others.
How To Build A Waterfall
The number one, most asked question that I receive about water features is "How do I build a waterfall?"
All about Tulip Gardens
As the curtain of winter lifts, tulips are one of the first flowers to take the spring stage. As the last drifts of snow seep into the soil, these bright signs of spring dance in the sunlight. However, you don't have to wait for spring to grow tulips. Whether it lies in a bed, under a shrub, in the crevices of a rock garden or in a container, a tulip bulb is an underground flower factory just waiting to "spring up" from whatever soil it occupies.
Hummingbird Nesting Facts
Every spring the United States and Canada are blessed with the presence of humming birds migrating north to make a home for their coming young. They come from Mexico and South America in search of a cooler, more suitable climate to nest and have a family. Picking the right location for a nest is critical to the survival of the bird's young. Finding just the right spot is only half the battle, however. Next comes the actual construction, and for a pregnant humming bird it proves to be quite difficult a task.
Selling Your House? Trim Your Shrubs!
Shrubbery and other greenery that has an unkempt appearance can often be misconstrued as a sign of neglect, and gives a bad impression of your house overall. Prospective homebuyers who see shrubbery that has not been well maintained may not even be aware of their observation, but it will have an impact on the way they view your property as a whole.
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