Monday, April 12, 2010

Lawn care in Cleveland Heights & Shaker Heights reflects our lifestyle

Our yards and gardens are reflections of our personalities lifestyles and beliefs. When I drive through different communities, both local and afar, I find it interesting to note how lawns are cared for and the role they play in peoples’ lives. Locally I’ve either worked on or visited thousands of lawns over the last twenty odd years and I’ve seen the range from neglected pastures to manicured trophies.

 It ‘s funny how the importance of a healthy, functional lawn became a greater priority to me once we put up a swing set for my son. I suppose it’s only natural that as we go through life stages our lawns shift in accordance with these priorities.

 When I get called out to visit a homeowner about their lawn, it’s not surprising anymore when I hear they don’t mind the weeds. Growing up in Cleveland Heights and working for many of my neighbors I learned at an early age that a “weed” in one person’s garden is welcome in another. A weed can quite simply be defined as a plant out of place. Whether we choose to accept or reject these plants in our yards and gardens is a personal choice. What most people want, like me, is a healthy lawn.

Weeds, or other pests, in and of themselves are not necessarily unhealthy for the lawn. The problem becomes when weeds, or pests, take over in greater quantity than is acceptable for the homeowner and either the lawn becomes unsightly in their opinion or even worse potentially unhealthy for the turf because the weeds compete for the same available water and nutrients.

For those of us with lawns we can almost all agree that we want a healthy lawn. Disagreement may come in the form of how we go about creating a healthy lawn and whether or not some amount of pesticides (e.g. herbicides for weeds, insecticides for insects) will be used. Controlling pests in the name of a healthier lawn is necessary at times, but ultimately the homeowner will decide their comfort level. 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies focus on long-term prevention of pests by building a healthy ecosystem, using methods that are least harmful to the environment. Pesticides are applied in such a way to pose the least possible hazard by targeting the selected pest and are only used as a last resort when other controls are inadequate. The focus is on building a healthy lawn by using all other means available, and balancing this with their tolerance for pests, their vision for the lawn and their budget.

Practically speaking achieving a healthy lawn is more about the overall management strategy and less about controlling pests. Often pesticides are thought of as the silver bullet to make a lawn healthy, when in fact they only remove the pest that is most likely present because the lawn is not healthy to begin with.

 A healthy lawn comes from a blend of activities and this spring is the ideal time to get your lawn into the desired shape that meets the needs of your lifestyle. Get started with a spring clean up so the lawn can dry out and breathe. Healthy soil is the building block for your lawn. Adding and replacing organic material, like you do in your gardens with compost, is vitally important. Aerating will help to alleviate compaction and get air into the soil helping roots to grow deeper and make for a more robust and drought tolerant lawn. Proper watering, fertilizing and mowing play important roles Spot seed thin and bare areas to prevent weeds from taking over.

With the demands placed on our time it can be challenging to keep up with the needs of our lawns. Like many things in life, waiting only makes it worse. Get out early this spring and focus on the building blocks of a healthy lawn.

1 comment:

Annie Monie said...

But once the grass has covered your lot enough, you need to change your fertilizer. Usual lawn care requires only about four fertilizer applications every year. Usually after every two months during the growing seasons. It is important not to use too much though, because excessive fertilizer would make the grass conducive for fungus growth and weaken the grass.

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