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Tips to save time on lawn maintenance

If it feels as though your entire weekends are spent mowing, trimming and watering your lawn, there are steps you can take to speed up your lawn care routine.

Automate

How many times have you forgotten to water your lawn – or worse yet, over-watered it? You can eliminate the guesswork (and the grunt work of dragging hoses around your yard) by installing an automatic sprinkler and drip irrigation system that is based on your specific landscape, characteristics and geographical region.

A well-designed system ensures peak efficiency, which means you’re only watering your lawn when necessary. This is great for your grass and plants – and for your pocketbook.

New technologies are making it even easier to optimize a watering plan for your lawn, as they can be controlled from the comfort of your computer or from a handheld remote you can take into your backyard.

Maintain your equipment

Keeping your mower properly maintained will save you time all season long.

For walking mowers, a good maintenance routine is as follows:

• Carefully check blades for sharpness.

• Make sure the cutting deck is clear of clippings. Cooking spray on the underside of the deck will make a new mower easier to clean.

• Check pull cords to ensure they aren’t frayed.

• Check that attachments are connected and working properly.

• If you use your mower infrequently, fill the tank with a fuel stabilizer.

• Periodically change the oil and perform air filter maintenance.

Less is more

It’s tempting to cut the grass as frequently as do your neighbors. But where mowing is concerned, less is more.

You can prevent weeds from taking over your lawn by letting your grass grow out a bit, as longer grass supports a deeper root system.

If you cut more than one-third of the grass length, you will have clumps of clippings that lie on top of the lawn, slower decomposition, and a less attractive, bristly appearing lawn

Keeping grass longer also allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis, which results in healthier plants. In addition, taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. You can use this fact to eliminate up to 20 percent of the mowing you do annually, an average savings of about eight hours a year, not to mention the savings of gasoline and wear on equipment.

When you do cut the grass, be sure you’re using great time saving equipment. A model with great maneuverability will give you greater control around landscaping and obstacles.

With all that time saved working on your lawn, you’ll have more time to kick back, relax and simply enjoy your lawn instead.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer) rsalter@jg.net, Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer) agregory@jg.net, Frank Noonan (copy editor) fnoonan@jg.net and Cathie Rowand (photographer) crowand@jg.net.

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