A Short Rant
For many years, I’ve struggled to do the right thing by my Bermuda grass lawn. It seems like every month during the “green grass” season – and, even during the off season when the grass has turned brown and gone to sleep – I’m buying some high-priced hodgepodge of “essential” ingredients to ward off weeds and make my lawn greener than a golf course!
I was barraged with “weed and feed”, pre-emergens, post-emergents, specialty weed treatments, spring treatments, summer treatments, fall treatments, winter treatments, Turf Builder, UltraGreen, Signature Series, etc.
Your head starts to spin with all the different N-P-K variations of fertilizer: 32-0-10, 29-0-10, 34-0-4, 30-0-4, 21-3-7. And, this fertilizer list is only getting started!
I could go on, but, you get the point, I’m sure!
Of course, they ALL had to be brand name products – the knockoffs weren’t famous enough, I guess.
I would wager that I had been spending between $500 and $1,000 a year – closer to the higher number – on all these high falutin’ lawn “must haves.”
But – ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
I drew a line in the sand and said…
“I’m not going to do this anymore! There has to be an alternative that is easier on my wallet.”
And – I’m here to tell you that, after exhaustive research – and, a long conversation with my neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer – I’ve discovered that there is a far less expensive route to obtaining the same objectives.
Enter The Solution!
I never realized how straightforward and uncomplicated the remedy would be. It was trouble free – almost effortless.
I found out you don’t need off-the-wall brand name specialty fertilizers – with and without weed killers.
You just need a good weed killer – plus, a common, everyday 10-10-10 fertilizer.
I’ve been through every weed killer known to man. And, the best, most effective one I’ve found is Spectracide Weed Stop – with Crabgrass Killer. I buy the concentrate “for lawns” – and a couple 32 ounce bottles of the stuff will last me almost the entire year.
Shake up the bottle, then mix half a cup of it to a gallon of water and dump a couple gallons into a garden sprayer. I use a Chapin 3 gallon sprayer, but, I also have a Chapin 2 gallon sprayer – for days when I am a little lazy and don’t want to lug around 3 gallons of weed killer.
Once in the early pre-spring – January or February is best – or, early March at the latest – and once in the fall, I spray the entire lawn with a dose of Weed Stop – whether or not there are weeds growing. This catches weeds I may not see and weeds that are just thinking about popping up.
I always have a dedicated sprayer containing a Weed Stop / water mix “at the ready” for a quick “spot spraying” when belligerent weeds decide to bravely start popping up in my treated Bermuda grass lawn.
Nurturing the Lawn
I use 10-10-10 fertilizer in both my lawn and my backyard garden for a basic all-around fertilizer. It’s low-cost and easy to get. Sometimes, the fancy shmancy fertilizers have to be ordered special. Then, you have to wait 3 to 5 business days before you can pick them up from the local home improvement store.
Any 10-10-10 fertilizer will do – the cheaper – the better. Most of the time, a 40 pound bag will cost less than $10.
With my favorite Scott’s broadcast spreader, I’ll distribute fertilizer across my lawn 3 times a year – in the fall before the lawn goes to sleep – in the early spring as the lawn begins to wake up – and, in the early summer before it gets too hot.
The kicker is that granular fertilizer needs to be watered in so it doesn’t blow away into the neighbor’s yard. After all, I don’t plan on paying to fertilizer any yard but mine.
So, there are several options.
- Water it in with a garden hose or sprinkler. But, then, you start bloating your water bill.
- I choose to wait until it rains. Then, I load my broadcast spreader with fertilizer, cover it with a lid, put on my rain coat, and go walkin’ in the rain. I just don’t do a Gene Kelly – I was never much good at Singin’ In The Rain. I would probably get warned for disturbing the peace. (I don’t even sing in the shower. Marty says it’s cruel and unusual punishment – as she hurriedly puts in her ear plugs!)
It Could Not Be Any Straightforward Than That
You now have the formula for a great lawn. And, my yearly cost is now around $50 per year! That’s a far cry from the “almost $1,000” expenditures I used to make annually – in years’ past!
Can’t beat that with a stick!
Jed And His Wife, Millie – The Lawn Mowing Story
While my neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer, was giving me the straight dope on lawn weed killers and fertilizers, he related another of his famous tales to me – from his days on the farm.
Jed said that life on the farm was always hectic and fast paced – and, that he had to force himself to make time to mow the lawn around his house. Matter of fact, he said, his wife, Millie once tried to give him a strong hint that the grass was getting too high and needed to be cut.
Jed went on with his yarn…
“I was coming back from milking the cows one day and, I saw Millie – down on her knees on the front lawn with a pair of scissors.
She was clipping the grass by hand with what looked like the smallest pair of scissors I’d ever seen. I could tell that she thought she was being extra brainy as she tried to make her point that I needed to make some time to run the lawn mower over the yard.
Well sir, I sat down behind her and watched her just a clippin’ away at that grass – snip, snip, snip. She knew I was watchin’ her because every once in a while, she would peek at me sideways to see if I was still there.
After 10 minutes or so, I got up and walked into the house for a couple of minutes. When I came back out, I walked over to her and handed her a toothbrush.
I told Millie that, after she was done cutting the grass, she should make sure that she sweeps the sidewalk and the driveway, too!
That night for dinner, I had cold cereal!”
Ole’ Jed had me in stitches. I never know when he’s actually serious. But, in this case, I hoped he wasn’t!
Comments and emails are welcome. Hope you enjoyed the read.
Jim, the Lifelong Gardener