I’ve had quite a few people message me about their own DIY lawn care this week since I posted a picture of my own lawn on Twitter.
I made that post specifically because I was having a little online discussion with some other guys in the lawn care biz, and almost every single one of them made the claim that they “didn’t have the time” for their own lawn.
I have to say, that – to me – is nuts.
If you’re going to be a “subject matter expert” in lawn care, then you need to (in my opinion) be able to put your money where your mouth is.
At any rate, since so many folks in both Fayetteville and Hope Mills (North Carolina) wrote to me wanting to know my “secret”, here’s what I did to get my lawn to where it is today:
Type of Grass
Now, there are quite a few grass types that flourish down here in the Fayetteville, Hope Mills, and Raeford areas, but the type that I personally like the best is Zoysia.
I’ve plugged my lawn with the “Meyer” variety of Zoysia several times over the years (which is the only way you can get a Meyers Zoysia lawn – either plugs or sod – seed is not available anywhere for that variety).
The plugs are slow growing, but will eventually take over and push out just about anything down here, to include Centipede (probably the most popular grass variety in my area), with one exception – Bermuda.
Bermuda Grass – My Eternal Enemy
Now, I know there are some folks out there who absolutely LOVE Bermuda grass, and that’s fine.
I agree when you shower it with attention (and fertilizer, and water, and lots of mowing),it can look great, but MAN is it NEEDY.
Couple that with the fact that – like a bad weed – it is almost impossible to get rid of the stuff.
There was one section of my yard (about a 10 x 20 foot patch) that had what I would call “invasive” Bermuda (put down by our former neighbor right along our property line).
The Zoysia I had plugged there was having a tough time crowding out the Bermuda, and because Bermuda needs so much more water/attention, that section of the year always looked worse than the rest.
In the end, the only solution that worked was to literally kill off EVERYTHING in that 10 x 20 foot section (Three applications of Roundup, about 10 days apart).
I ripped out all the old turf, and sod that whole section with Meyer Zoysia from the awesome local turf farm – Carolina Turf Farms (not a plug, by the way – these guys probably wouldn’t even remember me, as I only bought two pallets of sod, but the quality and prices were awesome).
Milorganite (the Lawn Care guy’s secret weapon)
Once I had eliminated all the grass species that I DIDN’T want, the Zoysia was free to take over the lawn, which it did….very, very slowly.
One thing that helped, however, was when I discovered what is truly me “secret weapon” to neighborhood lawn domination – Milorganite Organic Fertilizer.
Let me tell you right now, folks. If you are going shopping this weekend for fertilizer….walk right past all the chemical stuff from the major manufacturers (most of which costs a fortune, by the way), and walk right up to the stuff called “milorganite“.
Milorganite is an Organic fertilizer made in Milwaukee out of (you guessed it) reclaimed wastewater.
Yuck, right? I thought the same thing, but I tried it anyway…and man, am I glad I did.
The great thing about Milorganite is that, not only is it vastly cheaper than all the chemical fertilizers out there, it is IMPOSSIBLE to burn your lawn with it.
Did you read that? I’ll say it again – it is IMPOSSIBLE to burn your lawn with Milorganite. You could back up a dump truck of the stuff to your yard, spread it around, and your yard would just soak it right up, converting it to fertilizer as it needs it.
Even better, it’s usually about 12 bucks for a 36lb bag. I use 3 bags every 4 months on my lawn, and that is all the fertilization I do, period (yeah, those of you paying for those “lawn treatment” services are getting hosed).
Weeds – How to make them almost NEVER show their ugly heads
Alot of people have trouble with weeds, and there are so many schools of thought out there about how to control them that if I were to say “this is the right way”, I would be bombarded with counter arguments.
Instead, this is MY way for dealing with them (which, again, produced the lawn you see above…so, you know…there you go):
- Apply weed Pre-Emergent in the Spring (around late February, early March for the Sandhills Area) and the Fall (I never, ever, ever, use a “weed and feed” product.)
- “Spot Treat” the few that get through with “Weed B Gon Max for Southern Lawns” (read the label to make sure it is safe for your grass type, but if you’re in the Sandhills of NC, I’m almost positive it will be)
- That’s it. Your lawn will do the rest.
Last but not least – Water your doggone lawn, will ya?
Nothing makes me shake my head more than when folks in my neighborhood tell me they’ve been trying to get their lawn to “look good”, and when I ask them what their watering schedule is, they look at me like I have two heads.
Here’s the deal North Carolinians….if our state is not in a drought (and as of this writing, no county in the state is) then you should be deeply watering your lawn every other day.
How much is “deeply”? Half an hour.
The fact is, there is no magic way to have a green lawn without irrigation, and that means regular watering, plain and simple. Yes, that means you’ll have a higher water bill (or not, if you’re lucky enough to have your own well), but that is just part of the price of DOMINATION.
For the record….my water bill goes up about 60 bucks a month in the summer, but it is more than worth it to me.
That’s it. Lawn Care is Simple, No?
Look, folks. My business is Lawn Care in the Fayetteville, Hope MIlls, and Raeford areas, so I see literally hundreds of lawns every year. There are folks that “say” they want a lawn like mine, and there are folks that actually do something about it.
Which one are you?