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Lawn care in Southern California

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Courtesy of Gerald Burke

(Read caption) I think that a neat and well-kept lawn makes any home more attractive.

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Despite publicity from folks who don’t approve of lawns, I think they add a great deal of beauty to our SoCal landscape. I’m not sure that I favor huge one-acre lawns, but a tidy lawn on one or two sides, or the front of a dwelling enhances the beauty of the landscape and makes any home more inviting, in my opinion..

Every home we’ve ever lived in had a lawn. Even when I was away in the service and my wife lived in a small rental house, there was a little patch of lawn out front, miserable bermudagrass though it was, brown in winter, but decent looking from March through December. And she kept it mowed with a small push-type reel lawn mower, but I suspect she never fertilized it.

When to fertilize

Here in the land of fruits and nuts, even the lawn needs some fertilizer, and April and May are a good time to apply it, before really hot weather starts. In the desert areas such as Blythe, Barstow, or Palm Springs, May can be a little late for fertilizer, but if you didn’t apply it earlier, do so and then again in late fall.

Every fertilizer manufacturer says its product is best, but in truth, they’re all good, and for the lawn, what it appreciates most is around at least 10 percent nitrogen, the first number on the bag of fertilizer. You can spread granular fertilizer by hand, but that doesn’t spread it evenly, and a good drop spreader, or one that you turn a crank and it whirls the product onto the lawn, will do a more even job.


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