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There are one million acres of lawn across the country. Many homeowners aspire to having a lush, green lawn as the showcase of their properties. The front lawn can make a statement and indicate to passersby the property owners’ personalities and design preferences.

Lawn care takes some dedication and hard work, but there are certain ways to cut down on the amount of effort required to maintain a landscape. By employing a few different shortcuts, you can have a healthy, lush lawn without spending all of your free time cutting the grass or pruning the trees.

* Stop weeds at the start. Weeding is one of the most time-consuming parts of maintaining a lawn. Weeds can proliferate throughout the lawn if not addressed in a timely manner. Once weeds take root they can become a nuisance, so it's best to treat weeds before they even have a chance to sprout. Apply a pre emergent weed control product as soon as possible in the spring and then reapply it about three months later to ensure weeds are eradicated. That equates to much less tedious lawn maintenance during the season.

* Plant a urine-resistant grass. Having a dog and maintaining a lush lawn has always been a particular conundrum for homeowners. Dog urine is high in nitrogen. While nitrogen, when applied in the correct ratio, can be a lawn-growth stimulant, in the large concentration that occurs in pet urine, it causes the grass to dry up and burn, resulting in bare spots. Replanting with urine-resistant grasses can help cut down on the level of damage to the lawn from your own pet or pets that happen to make potty stops on your property. The grasses most resistant to urine tend to be perennial ryegrasses and fescues.

* Wake up and water. Watering in the early mornings saves time and energy in the long run by fostering a tougher, more drought-resistant lawn. If you water early in the day, less water will be lost to evaporation. Limit watering to a few times per week, and less if you have had adequate rain. Avoid watering at night, which can expose the lawn to bacteria and attract insects.

* Mow when the lawn is dry. It's not advisable to mow the lawn when it is wet. Slippery conditions can not only make it more dangerous to push a mower, but also slow down the time it can take to tackle the chore. The mower blades can become clogged and coated with wet grass clippings, necessitating stopping and starting the task. Another thing to consider is lawn diseases spread more readily through wet clippings. Stick to mowing when the lawn is completely dry.

* Let clippings fly. Mulching mowers, or those that just distribute clippings on the lawn as you go, can be healthier for the grass. They will serve as fertilizer and redistribute nutrients to the lawn as they breakdown into the soil. According to "The Organic Lawn Care Manual," leaving clippings on the lawn will fulfill about 25 percent of fertilizer requirements. Plus, you save time bagging up clippings.

* Mow less often. Raise the mower's blade so that the grass is longer in between cuttings. The taller grass will shade the soil and block weeds from germinating. It also helps improve soil moisture retention.

* Don't cut corners. Adjusting a landscape design to have arches and curves can reduce the time it takes to mow and edge a property. Hard corners in a landscape will require more time to keep straight and pristine.

Caring for a lawn can take less time and effort than you think.


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