1. Try Homemade Lawn Tonics
Some “my-grass-is-greener-than-yours” lawn growers achieve great success with homemade lawn tonics made from ordinary items. If you want to learn how to get a better lawn, add any of the following ingredients to the reservoir of a 10- or 20-gallon hose end sprayer and water your lawn with the mixture every three weeks or so. Adding 1 cup dishwashing liquid each time will help spread the solution more evenly and make it stick to blades of grass.
• A 12-ounce can of non-diet cola or beer. The sugar in both stimulates microbes that help to break up the soil.
• 1 cup corn syrup or molasses. See note on sugar, above.
• 1 cup household ammonia. Ammonia adds nitrates, the primary ingredient in most fertilizers.
• ½ cup mouthwash. The alcohol in mouthwash kills bacteria and spores and helps deter some pests.
2. Recycle Your Grass
Take a cue from public parks and golf courses and “grasscycle” when you mow your lawn – which means leaving clippings on your lawn when you finish. Just mow often enough to make sure no more than one-third of the length of the grass blades is lopped off each time. The resulting clippings serve as beneficial mulch and keeps yard waste out of community landfills.
3. Oil Your Mower Blades
Spraying lawnmower blades and the underside of the lawnmower housing with aerosol cooking oil or WD-40 will keep cut grass from building up in your mower, so whip out a can and spray away before you rev up the machine.
4. Try Panty Hose on Your Power Mower
Believe it or not, yes. A few layers of panty hose (or, alternatively, two fabric softener sheets) will protect the air intake opening on your power mower – specifically, the carburetor intake horn. Just cut the material to size and secure it to the horn with duct tape.
5. Turn a Kiddie Pool into a Garden Pond
Think it’s too expensive to install a small decorative pond in the corner of your lawn? Not if your liner is a child’s plastic wading pool. To start, dig a hole to the depth and diameter of the kiddie pool, and make sure the pool sits flat on the bottom of the hole and its top is level with the lawn. To allow drainage during heavy rains, punch holes in the sides of the pool. Now position the pool in the hole and pack dirt around the sides. Layer the bottom of the pool with a 50/50 mixture of coarse sand and peat moss, and place flat stones around the top edge to camouflage the pool’s plastic lip. After using a garden hose to fill the pond, set pots of water plants inside – marsh marigolds, Nymphaea (water lilies), royal ferns – and your pretty new garden feature is complete.
6. Shoo Off Skunks and Raccoons with Camphor
These two furry pests like to raid your lawn at night for grubs, worms, and insects, especially after a rain. The evidence they leave behind? Little round holes. To make your lawn unattractive to the foragers, sprinkle the grass with camphor crystals – an all-natural alternative to toxic moth crystals.
7. Three Temporary Trunk Protectors
If you have any fragile tree seedlings that would suffer if you accidentally rammed one with your mower, wrap them up before you mow. Wrap slender trunks in bubble wrap or several sheets of newspaper secured with masking tape or duct tape. An old towel pinned with two or three large safety pins will also work. All three wraps are a snap to put up and take down.