The exterior of a home can be a real asset - or a real liability - when trying to resell a property. Keeping the lawn well-maintained and green is especially important at this time, and sellers are often keen on dumping chemicals and pesticides to ensure their lawn looks healthy and green.
But there are other ways to keep your lawn green while being more "green" yourself. And that means avoiding the use of harmful or toxic chemicals on your yard - better for Mother Nature, kids, dogs and wildlife in your neighbourhood. (Not to mention, if you live in the country, how bad chemical weed klilers are for well water!)
Mow High, Mow Often
Frequent mowing enables a thicker and deeper root system to develop and will create more resistant grasses. Leaving the grass a little bit longer will also help curb weed growth.
Consider switching to an electric or manual reel lawnmower. Modern day reel mowers are much more lightweight and easier to use then older varieties, and they are much quieter than their gas-powered counterparts.
If you find you need to stick with your gas-powered machine; change the oil, clean the air filter, sharpen the blades and remove debris from the air passages around the engine regularly to help keep it running most efficiently.
Periodically adding organic mater like compost, manure or grass clippings helps to replenish the natural nutrients into the soil and lessens the amount of fertilizers necessary. A mulching lawn mower can help add nitrogen back into your lawn naturally and easily without any extra work on your part.
Having your own compost pile can allow you to cheaply and effectively nourish your lawn by adding a thin layer of compost to the entire lawn once or twice a year. The pH of the soil should be between about 6.2 to 6.5 for optimal growth. Adding limestone (powder or peletized) to the soil at of around 50 lbs per 1,000 sq. feet or wood ash anytime the ground is not frozen will help to decrease the acidity of the soil.
Nothing a Little Corn Gluten or Vinegar Won't Cure
Curb weeds by removing them and spraying any leftover root systems with a vingear solution. The vinegar will kill the grass as well, so be careful where it is sprayed. Most dandelions can be managed early by mowing the plants before they go to seed (before they get the white whispy flowers early in the season).
You can also try adding corn gluten meal to the entire lawn during seed germination in early spring. This is considered a "pre-emergent" solution since it prevents roots from forming during seed germination and will prevent any additional new growth from occuring.
Rebecca Sargent is a sales representative with Century 21 Home Realty Inc. based in Waterloo, ON.