Lazy Man’s Guide to an Epic Idaho Lawn
You can call me lazy but I’m not one of those crazy people who gets a thrill out of yard work. I don’t consider myself a slouch, but I can think of a million things I’d rather be doing than mowing my lawn. That said, I feel a sense of responsibility to my neighbors to have grass that’s at least somewhat decent-looking, and weed-free. In the end, I'm always looking for how to get the best-looking lawn, with the least amount of effort.
For years I struggled with keeping up a nice-looking lawn until I did a little research and listened to some people who really know their stuff. When I did, maintaining my lawn became less of a headache. Now, I’m spending the least amount of time maintaining my grass, but it’s never looked more on point.
Here are some layman’s tips to keep up an epic Idaho lawn, even during a drought.
It’s not all about the watering
Obviously, grass needs water to grow, but it doesn’t need to be watered every single day. In fact, if you water your grass every day, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Watering daily means that your grass won't have to push its roots deeper into the soil to get water, leaving you with shallow, weaker roots. You’re better off watering on your scheduled watering days, which is typically three days a week, in most Idaho cities. You might want to increase the watering duration in sections of grass that see the most direct sunlight, but reducing your number of watering days will force your lawn to push its roots deeper into the soil, strengthening them.
Pests - Grubs in Idaho are a real pain in the rear
Idaho has a number of pests that are trying to kill your grass. Grubs are probably one of the more stubborn and once they infiltrate, they spread fast. By the time you realize you have a problem, they’ve infested a greater area than you might realize.
This is the stuff that I’ve been using to keep grubs and other grass-eating bugs at bay. It'll kill them now, but the key is applying before grubs take hold, as a preventive measure. Depending on the weather, I usually apply in late March or early April. I’ll do it again mid-summer or if I see an area I suspect might be struggling. You can tell the difference between grass that’s simply dead, vs being eaten by grubs by pulling the grass out of the ground. If you can lightly pull out a handful of grass with little to no resistance, and the grass doesn’t have any roots, then you most likely have grubs. You can confirm your suspicions by digging out a small cross-section of the lawn and you’ll see them.
I used to really struggle with weeds. It was a weekly if not daily struggle pulling weeks and spot-spraying. This is when I finally started listening to people who know a lot more about this than I do. Now, this is going to sound like a paid ad for D & B Supply, but it’s not. D & B Supply is not sponsoring this content, nor do they have any editorial control over what I’m writing… In fact, if and when they see this, they’ll be reading it at the same time that you see it. It just so happens that I’ve had excellent customer service there and every time I’ve listened to their lawncare reps, I’ve had nothing short of great results.
Use 2-4-D on your Idaho lawn to kill weeds and prevent future growth
There are a few different varieties and the concentration varies, but this is the stuff that was recommended to me. And I’m not constantly spraying to keep weeds at bay. Depending on the weather, I typically spray once, in mid-April, and again in mid-summer. But yeah, I’m only spraying about twice during the season. Occasionally, I might have a trouble spot in a particular area so I’ll spray a bit more but it’s usually not an issue. I don’t mess with pump sprayers, I like to use a sprayer that you attach to a hose. Note: These are chemicals, so be sure to wear gloves and follow label directions for safety.
Fertilize: Idaho soil doesn’t want stuff to grow
Idaho is a dessert, right? So, I use this stuff to fertilize my lawn that the folks recommended at D&B. I fertilize about once a month and alternate between the 16x16x16 and Soil Buster. (If you can't find these exact brands, just ask a rep and they can point you to an alternate label). Both seem to contain the stuff our soil is lacking and the latter claims to break up clots to improve water penetration. Always follow label directions.
I use a cheap spreader/thrower like this one, and the application usually takes only about 10 minutes for both my front and back yards. I usually do it after I mow on a day when I’ll be watering later in the evening.
Disclaimer: I hope this helps you but I’m not a lawn expert.
When I lay it all out, it might seem like a lot of work, but it only adds about 10-15 minutes to my weekly mowing routine once every few weeks. Once I started this routine, I found that I’m fighting bugs and weeds less and enjoying more free time not doing yard work.
Remember, I'm not an expert... these are just some tips I've accumulated over the last couple of years that are saving me time and effort maintaining my grass. Do you have lawn care tricks that are working for you? I’m just as interested in your routine as mine, so feel free to comment if you’ve developed a routine that works for you.