When we bought a place in May, I became the person with the primary responsibility for lawn care for the first time in my life. Sure, as a kid, I mowed the lawn for my parents, but that was the extent of my involvement. I wasn’t affected by the price of gas or maintenance.
Now, it’s all on me. My father-in-law would mow for us until we got our own lawn mower, but would subtly remind us each week that we needed to get our own. Watering was a completely new experience for me. In NJ, the grass grows pretty well on just rain. If you tried that in Colorado, you’d have a dead lawn by the end of the month.
Because I’m frugal, I’ve been doing my best to get and keep the lawn looking presentable while spending as little as possible. Here are five ways I’ve learned to save money on lawn care.
Frugal Lawn Care Tip #1: Fertilize once in the spring
Use a time-release fertilizer once in the spring. Depending on the conditions, maybe again mid-summer. But fertilizing several times throughout the year is a waste of money. Plus, the excess nitrogen from the fertilizer just runs off into the water system causing algae and other problems.
Frugal Lawn Care Tip #2: Leave the grass longer
Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. This is usually accomplished my pushing a lever on the wheels, raising the body up. Taller grass actually needs less water. This sounds wrong, but it’s true. The roots of a grass are generally as deep as the grass is tall. When you cut your grass, it sheds off the excess root. So longer grass equals more roots for pulling water from the soil and storing it.
So tall grass will stay green longer with less watering. And since water costs money (unless you have a well, but still probably use electricity to power the pump), saving water saves money.
Frugal Lawn Care Tip #3: Don’t water wet ground
Everybody laughs at sprinklers running in the rain, but it still happens all the time. Even if it’s not raining, you may not need to water if it’s been wet recently. Find an inconspicuous place and dig a small, 2″ deep hole. If the soil is damp throughout the depth, then the grass doesn’t need water.
Watering wet grass is a waste of money, can lead to spread of fungal diseases, and is just bad for the environment.
Frugal Lawn Care Tip #4: Use a reel mower
When I finally appeased my father-in-law by buying a lawn mower (he was starting to joke about getting me a one for Christmas), I bought a reel mower. A reel mower is the old-school style lawn mower where the blades are spun by the manual pushing of the mower. Many people seem to have forgotten that this is how people mowed the lawn back before the internal combustion engine.
My using a reel mower instead of a gas-powered mower, you will never have to buy gasoline. That’s better for the environment and better for your wallet.
Frugal Lawn Care Tip #5: Know when to give up
The entire property on the west side of my home is in the shade of a neighbor’s tree. Grass just doesn’t grow that well. In a spot like that, you could spend hundreds of dollars a year trying to get it too look like rest of the lawn.
So I didn’t even bother. Instead, I’ve been putting in a spreading ground cover that requires little light or water.
Do you have any other tips for saving money on lawn care?
- Turf’s up: Maintaining a healthy lawn during drought (chicagolandh2o.org)
- How To Choose The Right Lawn Mower (answers.com)
- Lawn Care Tips During Historic Drought (fox4kc.com)
- Best Lawn Care Tips (answers.com)
- How To Revive A “Brown Lawn” (edshort.wordpress.com)
- Lawn Doctor Offers Five Quick Tips for Spring Lawn Care (prweb.com)