I used to look down upon New Year’s Resolutions. 365 days of commitment? No, not happening. I’ve had a revelation. It doesn’t have to do with giving up chocolate (impossible) and it doesn’t have to do with going to the gym everyday (let’s get real people), it actually focuses on my lawn and landscape. Yes. Instead of making myself better in 2023, I am resolving to make my lawn and landscape the best it can be. You’re welcome hibiscus bush that refuses to bloom. It’s your year.
Join me. Follow the steps outlined and see your lawn and landscape blossom (no pun intended).
Break It Down
How many times have you thought to yourself: “I am going to tackle my entire yard”, then you get started, noon rolls around and you feel like you got nothing accomplished, but exhaustion and heat stroke? It has happened to all of us. Think of your lawn in segments, instead of as a whole and set a schedule. Pruning the shrubs on the east side of your home on week one, then moving to the south side to pull weeds on week two and so on, until you’ve cared for all sections in your lawn. We have 365 days to work with; don’t try to knock out your entire lawn in one day. Think small, manageable areas and you’ll be very pleased with the progress you make and the beauty of your lawn and landscape.
If you’ve been slacking on monitoring you lawn and landscape and you’ve opened an all you can eat buffet for pests, 2023 is the time to kick them to the curb. We are not perfect and our lawns are not perfect, therefore they will be plagued by an unwelcomed guest at one point or another, but don’t let them stay. Monitoring your lawn and landscape for pests, disease, critters and weeds can give you a head start. By spotting those terrible, orange caterpillars (Syntomeida epilais Walker) before they munch away your entire oleander bush, you can manage the problem.
Water, Don’t Drown
When was the last time you checked your irrigation for accuracy? Caught ya. Also, the sidewalk does not need to be watered, so let’s fix that. You will need to evaluate your irrigation, note where it is hitting, how long it is running and if any areas are flooding. This step isn’t a quick process and will probably take multiple adjustments (patience required). There is a science behind irrigation. In order to maximize the effect of irrigation, the proper amount of water, must be applied at the proper time. Watering your lawn like you are creating a man-made pond is bad. Luckily, adjusting sprinkler heads is easier than you think. First, determine whether you have a stationary spray head or a rotor nozzle. At the top of a stationary spray head nozzle, you will find a small radius adjustment screw. Align the nozzle to keep the spray on your lawn. If your sprinkler head is a rotor nozzle, you will need to properly set the spray arc and radius. This controls how far the irrigation head turns and how far it will spray. Remember, this is a process. Continue to check you irrigation throughout the year as sprinkler heads can shift on their own, if hit by a lawn mower tire or the tire of a vehicle.
Hungry + Angry = Hangry: Plants get it too
When was the last time you ate? What about your plants? Plants need food too. That hibiscus bush mentioned earlier wants to bloom, but it needs the help of fertilizer to do so. Now that you’ve identified your hibiscus’ hunger, imagine how many other plants in your landscape need fertilizer. Most nutrients can be found in the soil, but many tell tale signs begin to show on the plant itself. Look for yellow leaves, brittle leaves and branches or slow growth. When plants do not receive the fertilizer they need, they become weak and susceptible to disease or pests. You can fight unwanted guests by fertilizing your plants, which helps them develop stronger defense mechanisms.
Out With The Old, In With The New
I’ll be the bearer of bad news: That tree, covered in moss, with its roots showing, isn’t going to make it. Perhaps you didn’t give it the attention it deserved in the past, pests had a field day with it and now it is hopeless. Go ahead and get rid of it. Now that you are taking on a new role monitoring and maintaining your landscape, your plants will have a better shot a life. Luckily, when working with our landscape, we get a lot of second chances. If you want to plant a new tree, 2023 is the time to do so and don’t forget to pay attention to it.
Enjoy Your Oasis
As much as you crave air conditioning after working in the yard, it is also nice to enjoy the hard work you’ve put in. Hang a hammock, build a stone fire pit or install a brick paver patio and enjoy the paradise you have created, where you can relax and reflect on how your lawn and landscape has transformed.
Stay Active Outdoors
Surprise: While you have been working to improve your lawn and landscape, you have actually been improving yourself too. According to WebMD.com, working on your lawn and landscape is where you can really burn calories and build strength. Heavy yard work, which includes landscaping, moving rocks and hauling dirt can burn 400-600 calories per hour. Pulling weeds and planting flowers in your garden can burn 200-400 calories per hour, while mowing the lawn (yes, push mowing) can burn 250-350 calories per hour. You can thank me later.
You thought New Year’s Resolutions weren’t for you. Me too. By following these simple tips, your lawn will be more manageable, healthy and happy. Plus, you’ll have an outdoor oasis to sit back, relax and reflect on how you will resolve to make your lawn and landscape even better in 2023.