Ever wondered how your perfect neighbor down the street has a top-notch lawn at the beginning of every spring? Maybe the guy is a former landscaper at Augusta National Golf Club. Or maybe he sold his soul in exchange for the best lawn in your whole county, annually.
I’m sure you’d like to believe one of those possibilities. But most likely, the man simply stays on top of his yard work during the winter time. He is prepared. His reward is not struggling during March and April in order to get his Bermuda lawn back under control.
While you are missing your kid’s ball games and skipping lake trips to fight off all manner of weeds, “Mr. Yard of the Month” has plenty of time to relax and enjoy his property.
So let’s continue your streak of terrible yard experiences each and every year. Use these tips to make your spring lawn care as miserable as possible, or avoid the satire and follow these laughable statements as what to easily not do.
You know deep down that your Toro mower is not designed to be a wood chipper. But you just can’t help yourself. So keep leaving those fallen tree limbs and branches all over the yard.
Even if you don’t want to destroy your mower deck and blades, surely you enjoy picking up limbs on the first sunny day in April, right? It sure beats a trip to your favorite hiking trail.
Pro tip: It would be a good idea to prune any weak looking limbs during the winter so they don’t add to the fallen branches. Also, protect your eyeballs and prevent concussions. Go ahead and trim those limbs you’ve banged your head on for the past decade.
Photo: Flickr / Paul Johnson
For me, there is nothing better than saving money with low effort. I don’t like handing hard-earned cash over to the mower repair shop.
But since you want to cause yourself plenty of stress when the flowers bloom, don’t dare winterize your lawn equipment.
- Don’t crank the mower until the day you need to mow.
- Don’t bother buying much-needed fuel additives.
- Leave grass clumped under the deck and around wheel bearings.
- Roll the dice and leave that $3000 zero-turn mower unsheltered for three months.
- Keep that old ethanol-laced gas around to make sure you visit the repair shop in May.
Pro tip: A couple of repair guys told me that ethanol resulted in about 80 percent of their work.
Nobody has time for fun in the sun come May. Keep yourself busy with nonsense like cleaning out those gutters full of November leaves. Sure, you could have cleaned them out easier when they were 100 percent leaf material. Now they are wet and resemble potting soil as they decomposed over the winter. Have fun with the rubber gloves.
And most lawn procrastinators will toss the gutter debris right on the grass. That’s a great way to kill off spots of turf as the debris weighs down the young blades of grass.
Since you like testing yourself, let those lawn pests build up for a fight. No need battling a few ants when you can let them form an army over the winter.
Pro tip: Fire ants may be coming to your area soon. They are found in 17 U.S. states currently and only cause $1.2 billion in damage each year.
Don’t bother using these tricks to get a jump on lawn pests:
- Use organic insect killers like Diatomaceous Earth. It doesn’t depend on certain temperatures to work. And it is not toxic. This specific product works by cutting the tiny insects as they crawl over the fine, chalk-like material.
- Walk your property each week to look for turf damage done by moles, grub worms, or chipmunks.
Your neighbor with the lush lawn likes pre-emergent herbicides to keep weeds away. But you wouldn’t want to bother with that in the winter. You have better things to do, like watch 23 meaningless college football bowl games.
Pre-emergents work gradually so they are used by homeowners with patience. Guys who don’t use them end up using post-emergents all spring and summer. It’s a giant time-suck!
Photo: Flickr / danielle_hp
Leaves in the flower beds may look festive in the fall, but not in December. It’s a miserable chore to get those soggy leaves out of mulch beds in March. Dry leaves can be blown easily with a blower in the fall. But be prepared to get your hands dirty and blistered with a rake once they have been in the beds for three long months.
A proper lawn guy would wait no later than mid-November to clean those flower beds up. You want to have a neat yard when the family visits on Thanksgiving anyway.
Buy every Tool
It can cost you a pile of money to buy yard tools that you only use once per year. Do you really need a 10-foot extendable gas-powered chainsaw very often? It would be a good plan to get together with five of your buddies from the neighborhood and create a tool co-op. This setup allows you all to use each other’s tools. Most homeowners don’t need ten different lawn tools. Share and save money.
By the way, this is another way to stay connected to your neighbors. Flying solo is unhealthy mentally. Be the lone wolf and enjoy the misery. Or join the pack so you can break your tool addiction.
Winter time is a good opportunity to adapt to “The Great Outdoors” of your backyard. If you can come up with ways to enjoy the patio when it’s really cold, then you can enjoy the days in April – September with less than perfect weather. Storms and cold fronts also come in the warmer seasons.
But if you love misery, just stay piled up on the couch all winter. Don’t give any thought to the ways you can heat the patio with a chiminea, natural gas heater, or a simple DIY fireplace. Your pasty skin will be your reward.
Mowers are Tough
Since you treat your mower like a tank when in use, you can do the same while it sits idle before spring. It would be a waste of time for you to inspect the tires, right? You never ran over any debris last year I’m sure.
Pro tip: Even with tough “no-flat” type tires, you may have wheel bearings that get dirty and need greasing.
And mower belts last forever, don’t they? They must be in great shape even after chips of limbs flew around the belts with your patented wood-chipping style! And since you’re not a mower repair expert, belt replacement will eat up half of your Saturday in early spring.
To make your mowing take longer and damage your grass, don’t even think of sharpening the blades after your last cut in the fall. Just do your usual… buy new blades once you see chunks of metal missing (unsafe… do not do!).
Those tips should make your life pretty tough when spring pops up. Maybe you learned this vicious cycle from your dad. You must think it’s a rite of passage to struggle in the springtime with mowing, lawn pests, and running to Home Depot every day.
It is not!
Just take a look at “Mr. Yard of the Month” as you drive by this spring. He’s laying up in his hammock, sipping a cold one, and teaching his dog to fetch. He’s also found time to coach his daughter’s softball team to a 5-0 record. And I bet he walks around barefoot on that awesome lawn for the heck of it.
There’s still time for that to be you. All it takes is some attention to your yard when the weather is not so perfect. For additional reading on how to actually take care of your lawn and prepare it for the spring, here a couple resources: