Spring is finally here on the West Coast and it's time to consider lawn aeration with lime application. Aeration allows more water and oxygen to reach the root zone; and lime should, in theory, lower the soil pH levels.
If you don't do anything to your lawn, definitely aerate it once a year.
If your lawn is small, consider using a hand-aerator tool. If your lawn is larger, renting a machine is the way to go; or hiring a professional landscaper.
With February we finally got real winter weather so let's remember the beautiful January we had and the colour we saw in the landscape. The new season isn't too far away so let's just get through this early February cold spell.
Please visit my West Coast Landscape Professional website to read my latest blog about Argentine farmworker Fabian Tomasi. It's a sad case of what happens when people are exposed to agrochemicals at work.
Fabian would give speeches to local kids and at the end he would ask them to not forget him. We can do that for him.
Reel mowers are a great choice for home owners with smaller lawns where gas-powered machines would be overkill. I'm seeing more and more reel mowers, even on sites maintained by professionals. It turns out, some home owners love getting out and cutting their own lawns outside of their regular maintenance days.
Why reel mowers?
They're cheaper than big gas or electric-powered mowers and require very little maintenance. I imagine the occasional lubrication and sharpening will suffice.
They're also lighter and, this is crucial, they don't emit any harmful pollutants unlike their gas-powered cousins. (You never have to buy gas.)
They also give you great exercise and a feeling of accomplishment.
If your residential lawn is small, then reel mowers are a great choice.
Today I had to deep edge a long line of boulevard trees and it occurred to me that we can create a lot of magic with just one tool.
The problem with the picture below is that there is no definition, no tree well to capture water and nutrients; and no way to keep machines from getting too close to the tree trunk.
So grab your spade and create a small tree well around your tree or planted bed. Make sure the spade hits the soil at 90 degrees. Remove all grass and weeds from the new tree well, including excess soil.
Never pile soil up high over the tree trunk. Reuse it elsewhere or put it in your green waste. Why? Because soil piled over the tree trunk like a pyramid will create a moist environment where it isn't supposed to be moist. Diseases can develop as the wood rots, animals move in, and adventitious roots can pop out from the covered trunk. As they grow and get thicker, they can girdle the tree and essentially choke it to death.
Use a spade in your garden to create some magic, like deep edges.
When the weather holds, like it did on New Year's Eve 2018, you can perform easy clean-up tasks in your garden. You can rake up any remaining leafiness and compost it, use it to cover your perennial beds or put it in green waste.
Weeding is also nice to do when the soil is easily workable. Cultivate your beds and rake up any debris.
Thank you for visiting Green First! Landscaping and may 2019 be your best year ever, both personally and for your garden!
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I see this all the time in the landscape. People correctly position their mower wheels right next to the curb and cut their lawns. All season!? Mowing like this creates deep grooves, or ditches, in the lawn which isn't good. It detracts from the nice, uniform green lawn space we expect.
What's the solution? Stop putting your mower wheels right against the curb. Move your mower over a little bit. Yes, it means that you'll have a bit more to line trim later but it's a small price to pay.
The boulevard pictured above is mowed correctly north-south along the longest line. But small residential lawns can be mowed east-west and diagonally, so don't be shy. Never let deep grooves develop in your lawns. It looks awful.
Don't be a slave to your mow lines.
I found this today in a book I was listening to. It pays to read lots. I love this poem!
Philip Larkin (1922-1985)
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.
I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:
Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
It happened to me yesterday for the first time this season. As I walked through a garden gate, the sweet scent of Sarcococca humilis hit me. And you will notice the scent first because the small white flowers aren't very showy.
If you don't have any Himalayan sweetbox in your garden, definitely consider getting some this season. The sweet scent is amazing in the middle of winter when nothing much is happening.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT