Everyone’s looking to save a few extra bucks. Dishing out money on lawn care services and applications can add up, so knowing the best needs for your lawn is valuable.
Test your soil and find out the exact amendments that your soil needs to feed your plants. Some amendments like lime and sulfur are fairly inexpensive, yet can make a big difference in your overall appearance of your lawn.
Lime and sulfur adjust the pH of the soil which makes the other nutrients that are already in the soil more available to the plant. By applying phosphorous and potassium that your soil test recommends, you are only spending money on the nutrients you really need. A healthy lawn is less apt to have disease and will recover from any insect damage quicker.
Kill winter weeds now while they are young and easy to kill. The longer you wait, the harder they will be to kill, and often will take more applications to kill them. Extra applications mean more time and money on your part.
Read the fertilizer bag carefully. The less the bag price does not necessarily mean the better deal. If you have a bag of 16-00-00 for $20 and a bag of 35-00-00 for $40 with the same nitrogen source and the same amount of slow release, in the same size bag, which is the better deal? The 16-00-00 is going to cost $2.50 per 1,000 square feet to put out a pound of nitrogen. The 35-00-00 is going to cost $2.29 per 1,000 square feet to put out a pound of nitrogen. On a 10,000-square-foot lawn, you could save $2.10 by using the 35-00-00. Don’t be fooled by the bag price, look more at the content of what is in the bag and how much will be needed to get the job done.
Look for fertilizers that are high in slow-release nitrogen. Plants can only eat so much nitrogen at a time. What they don’t consume goes back into the atmosphere as atmospheric nitrogen or leaches down into the ground past the root zone of the plant.
Organic forms of nitrogen are slowly released and help the soil food web as well as the soil structure. Slow-release forms of nitrogen cost more; however, they can feed your grass over three times the length of time of a fast release product. Slow-release fertilizers reduce problems of disease, thatch and insects if applied correctly. Some examples of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers are: organic, nitroform, sulfur coated urea, methylene urea, IBDU, XCU and other coated forms of nitrogen.
Manage your water sprinkler system to best conserve your water use. Over-watering can cause problems with fungus and lead to a weak, shallow root system for your plants and turf. Over watering is considered one of the top problems in homeowner landscapes.
When buying a fungicide or insecticide, be sure to look at the required rate and interval of application. Some products may have a lower price, but if you have to apply more product, more often, you really haven’t saved money—not to mention your time.
Now more than ever, it pays to get good solid horticulture advice from local professionals. Putting out the correct products for your situation, will save you money over just willy-nilly buying products at stores and hoping for the best.
If you don’t want to take care of your lawn, hire a professional.
Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply, 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Or visit at possumsupply.com.