Seven simple ways to save money on yard care

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1. Take good care of lawn mowers and other outdoor power equipment.

Tuning up lawn mowers and other equipment dramatically improves efficiency and performance, prevents costly repairs and extends the life of equipment.

Replace key parts such as the air filter, spark plug, fuel filter and oil. Add fuel stabilizer to fresh fuel. Always have a sharp lawn mower blade in place; dull mower blades tear grass, leaving a yellow hue over lawns.

Check outdoor power equipment for damage before every use and replace parts as needed. Pay attention to changes in performance.

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2. Use water wisely.

Not only is it wasteful to water your lawn multiple times per week, it hinders growth and makes the lawn the more vulnerable to disease by keeping the root system close to the surface. Water your lawn once weekly but for an extended period to enable greater saturation.

3. Choose perennials instead of annuals.

Consider planting perennials (plants that grow every year) instead of annuals (plants that die at the end of the season). Perennials provide considerable time and money savings. After a few seasons, perennials can be moved or divided up throughout your yard, making them a wise investment.

4. Plant native and drought-tolerant plants and trees.

Contact your local university’s horticulture department about vegetation recommended for your region. Native plants and trees are more likely to thrive without significant watering. Your local garden center may also have recommendations about plants and trees that are known to be drought tolerant and do well in your region.

5. Turn grass clippings and other yard waste into nutrient-rich compost.

In lieu of bagging or blowing lawn clippings, use a lawn mower mulching blade. It will cut the grass clippings, making a layer of fine, free compost for the soil. Note, however, that some lawn mowers may not have this capability.

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Wood chippers can be rented from garden centers to turn tree and shrubbery debris into wood chips for garden beds.

6. Turn high-traffic lawn patches into pathways.

Don’t waste water and seed year after year repairing thinned or bare patches of your lawn that get used as walkway from your home to your driveway. Consider creating a stepping-stone pathway instead.


7. Purchase new trees and shrubs in early fall.

You can snag trees and shrubs at clearance prices when nurseries and garden centers clear inventory. For most regions, early fall is a fine time to plant them, as there is still plenty of time for the root systems to take hold before the ground freezes.

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