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Plan your garden now with time saving tips in mind

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Plan now to implement some time saving tips to keep your garden more maintenance free this summer.

If you fertilize your lawn once this spring during a wet period, the fertilizer will go down into the soil and the roots will reach down after it.

The roots of overfed lawns are shallow and dry out easily. When you water, water deep, but not frequently. (Use a trowel to dig down just past the roots to check for dampness.) Wait to see the grass blades wilt before you water again. The roots will grow deeper and the grass will be able to withstand dry periods much better. You will have a healthier and less demanding lawn.

If you mow your lawn frequently and remove only a little off the tips of the blades each time, you can allow the cut blades to remain on the lawn and continue to add nutrients and humus to the soil and thus keep your lawn healthy with less work and expense.

If you don’t have grass growing right up to the trunk of your trees and shrubs, but have a layer of mulch around each clump of trees or shrubs, you will have better looking plants as well as less work when mowing. Keep your lines curvy and flowing so the mower never has to make sharp turns. You can sell your trimmer at a garage sale if you maintain this practice. A little work making your mulch beds now will save you a lot of frustration in the hot months to come.

Use ground covers in hard to maintain areas, such as a slope or small island patch of soil. Ajuga, Bugleweed, Mondo Grass, Creeping Rosemary, Large Leaf Periwinkle (Vinca major), Periwinkle, Vinca (Vinca minor) are groundcovers that are attractive and deer resistant, and grow well here in Southeastern N.C. Groundcovers prevent erosion, shade out weeds, and don’t require mowing. Once planted, they are basically maintenance-free.

By using a soaker hose or a drip system to water your plants, you will save water and ensure the water goes directly to the roots where it is most needed. Sprinkling overhead loses water to evaporation and gets the leaves wet. It can lead to disease problems.

Sometimes if the foliage is very dense, the water cannot get to the roots at all. If you must use an overhead sprinkling system, you can save water and keep your plants healthier if you set the timer to water early in the morning. You will lose less water to evaporation and allow the foliage to dry during the day so there is less chance of disease or fungus problems.

After a rainfall is the best time to weed, as they can easily be pulled out by the roots. If you place several sheets of newspaper down, wet them and then cover with two inches of mulch you will have few weeds. Spread compost over your beds in the spring and use organic mulch to constantly improve your soil and you will enjoy beautiful and healthy plants. A healthy, low maintenance garden will give you more time to relax in your hammock and enjoy the birds and butterflies that will flock to your lovely garden.