Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Make My Lawn Look a Little Less Awful

The weeds are winning...

I'm a gardener, not a lawn-guy.

I'm passionate about trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, but turf generally bores me (and strikes me as ultra-wasteful, but that's a rant for another day).

On the other hand, I'm not necessarily happy having a lawn that's totally overgrown by weeds. And I do recognize that some of those weeds will spread or reseed into the garden beds (where I'll have to pull them out).

So ... my question to you fellow gardeners is what, if anything, do you do to maintain your lawn?

Yeah, I could hand-pull these weeds, but not their hundreds of brethren on the rest of my property. (Tried that in previous years. It's a Sisyphean task that led to only heartache -- and backache!

I'm thinking...

1) Overseed next month

2) Possibly spray some broad-leaf herbicide if/when we get a relatively cool, dry and non-windy day.

3) Put down some organic fertilizer in November to help the grass build its roots

4) Spread some pre-emergent herbicide (i.e., Preen) next spring. Preen's manufacturer recommends spreading its product around the time you see forsythia trees start to bloom. (I don't know if that works everywhere. But there are certainly enough forsythias around my neighborhood that it should serve as a suitable clock here.)

5) Preen's supposed to work for about 8 weeks, I think. So I was thinking I'd possibly spread some more Preen in early summer next year and then call it a day.

What do you think of this plan? I hate to use herbicides in the garden, but after years and years of pulling weeds by hand on my 3/4-acre lot, I can tell that the weeds will win (are winning) if I don't intervene.

I should note that I'm not looking for artificial monoculture perfection. I've no problem with the lawn being 10% or even 25% weeds, but right now I think the weeds are in the majority and aiming for total domination.

(I don't spray any herbicides or put down any pre-emergent chemicals in the garden beds themselves. The shrubs, perennials and annuals seem to do a pretty good job of outcompeting the weeds, and I don't mind hand-weeding whatever weeds do pop up in the beds. But I don't see any way that the turf will ever be able to outcompete the weeds.)

I'm interested to hear how you approach weeds / lawncare on your own property? Any tips (especially from Southern gardeners dealing with the same typical summer heat/drought issues that we get in Tennessee)?


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