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The best ways to reduce problems in your yard and garden

Art of Homegrown Happiness

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Courtesy Lance Ellis, EastIdahoNews.com

We all want a gorgeous yard, but having that outdoor oasis of beauty requires lots of time, energy and just plain work.

That’s discouraging for many people, and it’s why projects or gardens often get neglected, stay half-finished, or just plain never get off the ground.

So what can you do?

Take a look at the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish, and then start taking small sequential steps to accomplish it. One of those steps is to implement a low maintenance approach to your yard and garden. This method of low maintenance and low input landscaping is accomplished in the small details of how you go about planning, maintaining and making changes to your yard.

To start, always stop and consider if there is a better or more effective way to do this job, and if you can’t come up with anything yourself, ask an expert who could give you some tips to get another approach. There is no real reason to work yourself to death over a landscape.

Courtesy Lance Ellis, EastIdahoNews.com

Here are some simple tips to help decrease the workload in your yard.

  • To decrease pest issues in your lawn and garden, create an ecosystem with plant diversity. Certain plants attract certain insects, and planting all of one kind of plant could create a buffet for a very destructive insect. So instead of only planting petunias in your flower bed, try mixing sunflowers, geraniums, lobelia, cosmos, or whatever else so you have a diverse group of plants. In the bigger picture for your entire yard, it is better to create a good mix of plants such as evergreens, deciduous plants, and herbaceous plants so that the likelihood of a disease or insect outbreak is decreased.
  • Maximize the health of your plants. Insects are naturally drawn to plants under stress and can infect or infest a plant easier when it is weakened. Adequate moisture, light, nutrients, and other beneficial environmental aspects will give your plant a natural strength and defense against unwanted issues and can reduce the amount of work you have to do in pest and disease control.
  • Protect your beneficial organisms. In your garden, you have good guys and bad guys regarding insects. Unfortunately, when using many chemicals, you are not only killing off the bad guys, but also the good guys as well. This why it is important to choose the most environmentally sound option available when dealing with pest issues. Rather than thinking the first thing you need to do to resolve a pest problem is to find a chemical and spray something to resolve it. Instead, take a moment and do some research, ask an expert, and see if there is any other option that may preserve beneficial bugs while knocking down the unwanted intruders.
  • Create a soil that is healthy and provides an optimum growing environment for your plants. You want a soil that drains well, yet has adequate water retention so that plants are not drying out too quickly. Where possible add organic matter annually to help loosen your soil, add nutrients, and improve the overall soil structure. A soil test can also be beneficial if problems are persistent and remedying it will help to give you a healthy plant that requires less specialized care.
  • Choose plant material that naturally does well in your area. Putting in plants that are not capable of surviving the climate or soil type, (or will struggle for years before dying a miserable death) is not only challenging but also a waste of time and energy. Do your research on your particular location, and choose plants suited to where you live.
  • Water appropriately, meaning in the right amounts and at the right times. Newly planted trees, shrubs, and seedlings will require more water more often as they do not have their root systems established, and are more apt to dehydration stress than older plants. Do your watering early in the morning, as this allows for greater water penetration into the soil, with less evaporation and water loss.

Courtesy Lance Ellis, EastIdahoNews.com

Courtesy Lance Ellis, EastIdahoNews.com
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