The summertime months are a time for beaches and backyard hammocks. But let this summer checklist for yard care serve as a reminder that there is still plenty of landscape maintenance to be done during this period. Performing these yard care tasks effectively and efficiently will help ensure the safety of you and your property, save you money, and free you up for the finer pursuits in life.
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Keep the Lawn Green
The demands of lawn maintenance can be a constant nuisance. And if your grass should die, it can be costly to replace. One way to achieve peace of mind is by applying lawn fertilizers on a set schedule. You'll also save time and energy by practicing effective weed control, having a good mower that's kept in tip-top shape, and using that mower properly. But that's just the beginning of smart lawn care, which also includes selecting the right grass type, watering the lawn properly, and removing thatch.
Incidentally, if you find all of this off-putting (especially the idea of using chemical lawn fertilizers), maybe you'd like to dispense with the lawn (at least on some portions of your property) altogether and start a garden from scratch. If so, the first step would be to get rid of your grass in the easiest way possible.
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Tune up Your Lawn Mower
Let's assume you do want a nice lawn, despite the bother. No matter how faithfully you follow lawn-care tips, lawn maintenance will be a major hassle unless your lawnmower is running properly. Happily, do-it-yourselfers can save money and perform a lawn mower tune-up, themselves. A lawnmower tune-up consists of three easy steps.
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Sharpen Your Mower's Blade
Along with performing a lawnmower tune-up, one of the best things you can do to ensure that your mower does its job right is to sharpen its blade as needed. You'll probably have to do it every other month or so during the mowing season. You have several choices in equipment to choose from.
If what you care most about is saving money, go manual and use a simple hand file. Dremel tool owners can buy an attachment kit to make the job easier: It offers a guide to help you file at just the right angle.
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Control Moles and Voles
You may want a great-looking lawn, but your mole and vole neighbors may have other ideas altogether. If you want to have things your way, then you need to stop the moles and voles. A positive identification is the first step, as moles and voles look rather similar to the untrained eye but are not controlled in the same way. Moles can be trapped, poisoned, or discouraged with repellents. The best way to beat voles may be to grow vole-resistant plants.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Another pest to worry about during the summer is the groundhog. If you grow only ornamental plants, try to take the path of least resistance and simply grow plants that groundhogs usually don't eat.
But that's no solution if you have a vegetable garden. In this case, you will have to take measures such as fencing the critters out or repelling them.
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Drought is another enemy of lawns. Some erroneously think irrigation systems are a wasteful component in lawn maintenance. But it depends on how you program them. The frugal can save money on their water bills in the long run through watering lawns with irrigation systems if they ensure the settings are at their most efficient. And there's no question irrigation promotes easier yard care.
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Plant Drought-Tolerant Perennials in Sunny Areas
Of course, other plants beside your grass have water needs, too. To make your life easier, make sure that your sunny areas are planted with plants that are meant to take a lot of sun. Use plants that can stand up to hot, dry conditions and you can achieve a low-maintenance landscape that still looks appealing, providing plenty of flower color. There are many examples of plants that resist drought, including several that offer great beauty, too.
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Plant Shade-Tolerant Plants in Shady Areas
You may have a shady spot on your property that always looks bare because nothing you plant there seems to like all that shade. But some plants do thrive in the shade. Don't let those shady spots on your landscape go bare another year: Plant them with shade-tolerant plants. Shop around this summer for shade plants you like, then plant them after the worst of the August heat has subsided.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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You are not helpless against the West Nile virus. Use mosquito repellents when you work outside. More importantly, gear your yard care to mosquito control: Take away breeding habitats for mosquitoes. That means common-sense sanitation, plus eliminating areas where water would puddle. There are some unlikely sources of standing water that you may never have thought of.
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Ticks can be dangerous. One method of addressing this danger is spraying to kill ticks. But because Lyme disease is spread specifically by deer ticks (which, in turn, are often spread by deer), another tack you can take is to limit deer incursions, thereby limiting deer tick infestations, as well.
To achieve this, plant deer-resistant plants. If the deer don't come to eat, there's that much less chance of your being bitten by a deer tick. Planting deer-resistant plants also saves you money, lest your garden become deer-food. An example is the Carol Mackie Daphne (Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie').
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Prepare for Fall Plantings
Don't wait till fall to think about displaying fall color on your property. You need to plan for fall color in the summertime if you wish to save money. Your first act should be to get annuals on the cheap and nurse them along till fall arrives. There are many plant choices for fall color, including some you may not think of at first.
Lyme Disease. CDC.