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Thursday, August 23 2012
Some of us have decided that life is too short to spend any time behind a lawnmower. Others decide that the real reason we have a mate is so that we can offer him or her the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and sunshine…to mow. Children can be the recipients of that very same opportunity, which will build character through hard work. Alternatively, a healthy lawn – especially a well-watered one in late August – provides an opportunity to keep the Evansville economy humming by employing a gardening service to keep it in top trim.
But for those of us who personally oversee our property’s greenbelt maintenance, earlier this month, CNN’s Money website put together a four-point tip sheet that caught my eye: it rounded up some of the best common sense lawn care ideas I’ve seen in one place. The author (Josh Garskot who wrote in @Money), claims that DIY lawn care keeps him handy and youthful. Although I could argue that a tall lemonade on the verandah might serve just as well, here’s a shortened version of what he came up with:
·         Edge twice. That is, turn the edger sideways to make a vertical slice, then do the regular horizontal trim (CNN even has a tip for precutting trimmer strings and keeping them at hand by attaching them with Velcro tape – but that’s a little too far into the weeds for me).
·         Let the pros fertilize. Seen as just too complicated to handle, CNN’s expert threw in the towel when it comes to trying to figure out those charts on the back of the bags. Recommendation: hire pros to fertilize (and aerate once a year). I concur.
·         Forget bagging clippings. Downside: since you probably remember the fact that you should never cut more than a third of the height of the grass, you have to mow often enough to follow through on that. Upsides: the clippings will be short enough that you can just let them recycle back into the soil. And your property will look great all the time!
·         Say goodbye to stale gas. Particularly after a long layoff, old gas can mean real arm-wrenching trouble getting a stubborn motor started. A few drops of fuel stabilizer is enough to keep mower and trimmer carburetors ungummed (and the air free of the bad language that can otherwise result).
            Lawns can be a real property value enhancer when they’re well maintained -- but the opposite when allowed to reach meadow length. And while we’re on the subject, I hope you will always feel free to contact me whenever you’d like to tap into my store of home maintenance referrals and ideas for keeping yourEvansville property at the top of the market. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 07 2010

If you want a yard that demands less time, money, and water, consider ground cover rather than a traditional lawn.

Americans have long had a soft spot for lawns. Turf grass covers nearly 47 million acres in the U.S., according to the Lawn Institute. But there’s plenty that’s not green about all that green. For starters, the average household dumps 60 gallons of water a day on conventional lawns. Toxic lawn herbicides and pesticides run off into lakes and streams. Gas-powered mowers spew pollution into the air. And then there’s all that time spent watering, weeding, seeding, sodding, thatching, and mulching.

If you’re looking for an alternative, consider replacing some or all of your high-maintenance turf with ground covers that form walkable “carpets,” and innovative grasses that require little or no water or mowing once established.

In turn, you’ll reduce the need for irrigation, stop washing harmful chemicals into the watershed, add depth and texture to your landscape, and spend your spare time enjoying your yard instead of manicuring it.

Creeping perennials, clover, and other ground covers

There’s a ground cover to meet most needs, whether you’re planting a pathway, a hedge, or a broad swath of green. They run the gamut of foliage textures and colors, and many have wonderful flowers. Some varieties are ground-hugging and feel delicious under bare feet. Others grow up to two feet tall, making them ideal as barriers or landscape punctuation.

Look for attributes that meet your needs: child-durable, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, shade-loving. Mixing them up is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also good for the landscape: Diversity increases resistance to pests and disease and reduces the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Here are some popular choices.

Creeping perennials: Tight to the ground, these plants are especially good for cushy green carpets. They keep out weeds and allow air, water, and nutrients to get to plant roots. Many work equally well in rock gardens or in crevices between stepping stones, in full or partial sun. These include mat-forming New Zealand Brass Buttons (Cotula squalida) and Scotch or Irish Moss (Sagina subulata), which isn’t a moss at all but a perennial that forms a cushiony blooming carpet.

Some, like Blue Star Creeper (Laurentia fluviatilis), which has tiny green foliage, bear up to heavy foot traffic. Creeping Jenny (Convolvulus arvensis) has an extensive root system that makes it quick to spread and tough to kill. That’s a good thing if you’re looking for a tough turf alternative but a problem if it creeps into beds where you don’t want it.

Besides being good creepers, many ground-hugging perennial herbs are often nicely scented, hardy under foot traffic, and even edible. These include chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), which has fern-like foliage and white flowers with yellow centers; Corsican mint (Mentha requienii), which thrives in shade, exudes a minty smell when trod upon, and is edible; and various thymes (Woolly, Red, Prostrate), which feature dainty flowers and work well between pavers or as a low mounding carpet.

Creeping perennials cost $6 to $10 per plant. A 15-by-20-foot area with plants 2 inches apart (for instant density) requires 300 plants. But if you’re patient enough to wait a year or so for them to spread, you can buy fewer plants and space them 12 inches apart.

Clover: Although clover has gotten a bad rap as a weed, it’s actually not a weed at all. In fact, a clover lawn (or, for high-traffic areas, a clover-grass mix) has many advantages. Sweet-scented, inexpensive, and quite durable, white clover (Trifolium repens) grows in any kind of soil, stays green even during low-water periods, and feels lovely underfoot.

Low-growing clover doesn’t need regular cutting, nor does it need fertilizer, but an occasional mow will encourage new growth and discourage bees. If you don’t mind the bees, consider letting your clover bloom, which benefits the bees and the environment. Clover is one of the least expensive groundcover options, costing about $4 to seed 4,000 square feet. 

Laura Fisher Kaiser writes about architecture, design, and sustainability. She is in the process of letting clover, moss, and creeping jenny take over what’s left of her Washington, DC, lawn.



Source: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/low-maintenance-lawn-alternatives-ground-cover/#ixzz0vvpgDUhM
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:55 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, September 16 2009
Anybody who will be selling a property in the spring should get a jump on curb appeal by working now on beautifying the lawn.

Here are some key tasks that will lead to a green and healthy yard in the next selling season:
  • Calculate the total lawn area to learn how much seed and chemicals are required.
  • Treat weeds with an herbicide.
  • Test the pH level and, if indicated, add lime.
  • Plant ground cover like pachysandra and hardy ferns in low-light or slopping areas.
  • Before preparing, seeding and fertilizing the rest of the lawn, consider whether there are areas that might be better candidates for stepping stones or another attractive alternative to plantings.


Source: Charlotte Observer, Nancy Brachey (09/05/2008) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009091103?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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