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The Front Lawn Index

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

As many Americans are being forced by the troubled economy to tighten their belts, it can seem frivolous to spend money on something such as lawn care. But taking care of your lawn doesn't need to be an all or nothing proposition. Just because you can't drop a couple of bills on fertilizing, overseeding, aerating, and the like doesn't mean you have to give up on your lawn altogether. Investing time and common sense in your lawn instead of cash can yield just as healthy a return.

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Sometimes, Less is More

If you have an irrigation system, money-saving tip number one is to turn the system controller off. You can manually turn the system on to water when your lawn needs it, and lower water bills by not watering when it doesn't. Don't water if it has rained recently. Water less often when temperatures are relatively cool. And when you do water, water heavily, early in the morning (before dawn is best), so that your lawn's roots get thoroughly saturated, and as little water as possible is lost to evaporation.

And Sometimes More is More

Your grass will be healthier if it is allowed to grow taller, so consider mowing only once every two weeks. Watering less will cause your grass to grow more slowly, so you should be able to do this and still maintain an attractive lawn. Allowing your grass to grow more and longer will also make it more resistant to weeds.

Weed the Old-Fashioned Way

Letting your grass grow longer will make your lawn resistant, but not immune to, weeds. When they do appear, pull them instead of spending money on chemical weed killers. Do this after watering, when the ground is soft, and pull slowly so the weed's root will come out whole. If you have areas that have been wholly taken over by weeds, you can use boiling water to kill them, but be careful so that you only cook the weeds, not your grass. (Boiling water is even more effective for weed control in driveway/sidewalk cracks and planting beds.)

Feed Your Lawn With Leftovers

Instead of spending money on fertilizer, start composting your organic waste. Compost is rich in nutrients, and makes your soil more hospitable for grass. It's also free.

It's hard to justify pampering your lawn when it is suddenly difficult to pamper yourself or your family. But your lawn doesn't need pampering. Providing common sense care is all it takes to keep you grass healthy during tough times.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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