Frequent light watering can actually weaken your lawn by encouraging shallow roots that are less tolerant of dry periods and more susceptible to insect damage. Wet grass can also burn in the hot sun and is vulnerable to disease from mildew and fungus.
Test your soil for dryness by digging your finger below the surface of the soil. Water only when the soil is dry to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. When watering, check to see that water soaks down 3-4 inches. This encourages deep root growth.
Watering mid-day will result in a high rate of evaporation and sunburned grass. Watering is most effective and efficient before the sun peaks, or at dawn, and hours before dusk. Watering twice a day should only be needed during the hottest months of the Season and with the second watering of the day being much shorter than the first.
Roots can maintain plenty of moisture even after several days without rain. Before watering, look for signs that it's needed: patchy areas, a general change in color or footprints that remain in the grass long after being made.
When mowing your lawn do not bag your clippings as these provide a natural way of helping your lawn increase the amount of moisture it retains. Also, as these clippings decompose they provide a natural fertilizer to your lawn.
If your lawn "fades" in the summer, don't panic. Grass becomes naturally dormant during hot, dry periods. It will revive quickly after a good rainfall or when the weather turns cooler.
One inch of water a week (rain plus supplemental watering) should be plenty. After heavy rains, you may not need to water for 10-14 days. Water very early in the morning. Never water when it's windy, rainy or very hot. Be sure your hose has a shut-off nozzle. Hoses without a nozzle can spout 10 gallons or more per minute. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure the timer or "controller" is set to water each landscape zone efficiently. Program the controller to operate according to the watering needs of your lawn or garden. Better still, install a rain sensor or soil moisture sensor that turns the system off if it’s raining or if moisture is present in the soil.
Determine the best sprinkler system to fit your lawn size and configuration. Install good quality sprinkler heads that provide a low precipitation rate and keep them in good repair. Check the sprinkler heads frequently for proper direction and even spray pattern. Studies have shown that automatic sprinkler systems often use 20% - 30% more water than hand-held hose watering. Applying the right amount of water is possible with a well-designed in-ground sprinkler system but it requires careful management.Effective watering will result in a healthy lawn that looks great and can withstand disease as well as seasonal and environmental stress.
Creating the right flower garden for you is greatly dependant on how much care and effort you wish to devote to the garden. Depending on the selection of flowers and plants maintaining an atractive garden can be hassle free.
There is a great article on nj.com that touches on some great points. You can read it here.
Take a look at some colorful suggestions for our area.
Looking for a little more privacy from the neighbors? Need to block out unwanted noise?
Forget expensive, unsightly fences! Instantly block out the neighbors, increase your property value, and benefit the environment all in one step.
And privacy is not the only benefit of these trees. Look for attributes like soil adaptability, pest and disease resistance, and cold hardiness from these fantastic privacy trees
Mulch can serve as a ground cover that reduces water evaporation from the soil and reduces the number of weeds that would otherwise compete with the plant for available soil moisture.
One of the best times to mulch is before the first snows or around the Thanksgiving time frame. Mulching at this time will protect roots over the Winter and provide better protection against the harsh Winter weather.
Yellow nutgrass is the problem "gass like" weed that will not leave your lawn without a fight!
If there is one persistent type of unwanted vegetation that is very difficult to control in most lawns it has to be the “grass like” weed named yellow nut sedge (aka yellow nutgrass).
This guy spreads rapidly each Season and as it grown in nutlets deep in the ground they are difficult to pull out. Unfortunately the only effective way of ridding of this guy is using herbicides.
If you are interested in a more in depth look at netsedge check out this great publication.
Rainwater harvesting is an innovative alternative water supply approach anyone can use. Rainwater harvesting captures, diverts, and stores rainwater for later use. Implementing rainwater harvesting is beneficial because it reduces demand on existing water supply, and reduces run-off, erosion, and contamination of surface water.
Rainwater can be used for nearly any purpose that requires water. These include landscape use, storm water control, wildlife and livestock watering, in-home use, and fire protection. Harvesting tanks can range in size and can be easily incorporated into your landscape.
Note: please check local ordinances as harvesting rain water may be illegal in your area. YEAH; we know!
The Ocean County Division of Solid Waste Recycling encourages backyard composting or mulching of grass, leaves and other garden vegetation. Composting is the natural process of decay or decomposition. It is nature's way of recycling organic material into a rich soil. While the composting process occurs naturally in forests, it can also be applied in backyards at minimal cost and effort.
Compost builds soil structure and fertility which conserves water. Compost improves plant health by suppressing soil and plant diseases, thereby eliminating reliance on toxic chemicals and pesticides.
Compost adds nutrients which increases the quality of foods.
Grass recycling is the natural means of providing nitrogen needed by lawns. Mulching mowers or blade adapters cut up grass finely, returning the clippings back into the lawn. This greatly reduces the need for harsh fertilizer applications. Grass recycling does not contribute to thatch problems. Thatch is caused by accumulated dead roots. Remember, the more you fertilize and water your lawn - the faster it grows, and the faster thatch accumulates.
Take a look at some of these great links that we think will help you in caring for your lawn and our environment.
Managing your yard as an ecosystem produces a healthy, balanced and attractive outdoor space with less effort, cost and maintenance. An organic yard uses biodiversity, ecological cycles and soil life to support healthy plants, animals and people.
Visit NOFA for a wealth of information about organic land care!