Have you ever wondered why you can walk through a neighborhood and each and every lawn looks different? It’s as if they have their own personalities, perhaps they reflect the personality of the person that is caring for them. Or perhaps the homeowner has good intentions but has just made a few mistakes along the way.
Here are 5 of the Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make – The Lawn and Landscape Edition.
Reading and Not Following Directions
This more accurately could also be titled – reading and misunderstanding directions. Some people think they don’t need to follow the directions that are on the product label. Maybe they have used the product many times before or used a similar product, or they simply don’t want to take the time to read the label.
However I feel that more people actually read the label and just don’t understand what they need to do, labels can be very confusing. The best example of this might just be the following…
A granular weed and feed fertilizer states on it’s label to apply the product “when grass is wet to enable the granules to stick to the weeds for best control of the weed you wish to control”. What does this mean? It means you will need to either you get up early when the grass is wet from dew or you will need to water your lawn before you apply the product.
No or Wrong Protective Equipment
Unfortunately I am guilty of making this mistake more often than I would like to admit. And as the saying goes, now I’m paying for it.
No perfect plant or lawn is worth losing the use of your hands, eyes or hearing. So always take the time to get the proper safety equipment for the task you are doing. Here is a list of the minimum pieces of equipment you need.
- Safety Glasses
- Hearing Protection – ear plugs or muffs, and no the headphones that came with your iPhone won’t do the job.
- Heavy sole shoes or boots – NO tennis shoes or running shoes.
- Heavy or Gardening Gloves
- A Wide Brimmed Hat to protect you from the sun
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Insect Repellent
- Tall Rubber Boots
Wrong Grass Type for your Area
I’ve seen many lawns that could be fixed simply by the homeowner using the correct grass for the area they live. Bluegrass is a favorite of homeowners and it can give you the nicest looking lawn, if it’s grown where it gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Otherwise look to use other grass types like creeping and tall fescue. Better yet use a commercial blend designed for your location. And stay away from Zoysia grass unless you are in the deep south, just my personal preference.
Using the Wrong Equipment/Using Equipment Wrong
It’s really important to use tools the way they were intended. As home owners, we all want to get our work done quickly and easily, but a lot of times, it’s more important to get it done safely and correctly.
I was going to separate these two but after thinking about it they are best talked about together. When you use the wrong equipment for the job or use it wrong you cost yourself time and can do more harm than good to the plant. A bad cut on a tree can cause the tree to get a disease or insect problem and it could die. Then you have the added expense of removing and replacing the tree.
Not Maintaining Equipment
When is the last time you washed your tools? It doesn’t matter if it’s hand tools, power tools on up to your push mower and lawn tractor. Everything should be washed occasionally. Growing up I didn’t understand this but my father did. I think it had something to do with the era that he grew up in that they were taught to take care of their equipment so you have it for a long time.
Even though we live in a throw-away world tools cost money and when they are taken care of they just work better and last longer.
So here are some guidelines…
- Wash and clean your hand tools at the end of everyday that you use them. This also helps to prevent the spread of diseases among plants in your yard.
- All other pieces of equipment should be cleaned at least 3 times a year. Before you use them at the beginning of the season, the middle of summer and before you store them away for the year. Just remember more is better here so if you are so inclined you can wash your equipment as often as you like, some people wash their mowers after every mowing.
If you don’t already have an extra set of blades for your mower make getting a set a priority. Then get in the habit of changing your mower blades after every 10 to 12 mowings. More often if you have sandy or rocky soil. Just doing this will make a huge difference with how your lawn looks.