As a Master Gardener with Larimer County, I am back at it taking refresher classes and getting excited about spring. Recently, I blogged about hummingbirds. Today, I want to share some quick and dirty ways to have a beautiful, healthy lawn and trees. Know that diseases rarely get a foothold in healthy plants that are not stressed.
With that in mind, do not over or under water your lawn. There is no formula (one rule for all) because the amount of water depends on the type of grass, the amount of sun, shade or wind and other variables. Put some jars or cans out in your lawn to catch water so you know what you are spraying on. Ask the wonderful volunteer experts (my husband is one of those) at CSU www.coloradostateuniversity.edu to do a water audit for a nominal charge of $75. Do not water during mid-day or when it is windy. Do not over fertilize (it runs off into sewers contaminating our water supply.) Aerate twice a year (Easter and Halloween) and punch many, many holes. The holes should be two inches apart. If you hire a service, make sure they do way more than one pass. Leave the plugs on the lawn. When you mow, never, ever cut off more than one-third and leave the clippings on the lawn to mulch, decompose and recondition the earth under the grass. If you bag your clippings for landfill, you are throwing money away.
Never plant trees too close to anything. Would you make your infant son sleep in a crib his whole life? No. Trees grow big. The roots of trees do not grow deep into the earth like a carrot. They spread out for long distances in a shallow manner. The roots need water and air; if a tree is surrounded by concrete, it is going to be STRESSED. Do not water next to the trunk (unless it is a twig) – water around and beyond the drip line. Do not allow a tree to develop two leaders (main trunk). Prune one off. Need a new tree? PLANT A TWIG AND WATCH IT GROW BIG. Seriously, in a few years the twig will establish and catch the big, expensive tree who is struggling to get established because its root ball was cut to a fraction of what it needs to support itself. I wish I had known this five years ago when I bought five huge trees to put in my labyrinth.
Okay, gardeners, tree-huggers and lovers of the outdoors, have fun and let me know if this advice was helpful.