A large lawn doesn't have to dominate your home maintenance schedule. With the mowing tools available today, big lawns can be conquered faster than ever. Lawn care expert Dan Dorn offers the following six tips that will help you save time on your lawn maintenance this season, regardless of the size.
* Mulch grass clippings -- Not only does mulching save time from not having to stop and empty clippings, but it also eliminates the time and costs associated with clipping disposal. Plus, mulching makes the finely cut clippings available to the turf for nourishment, which reduces the turf's reliance on applied fertilizers for nutrients.
* Don't over fertilize -- "Though they add a greener, more lush appearance, applied fertilizers also increase the turf's growth rate," Dorn says. "Fall is the single most important time to fertilize, as it infuses the turf with the nutrients it needs to survive the winter, and start strong in the spring. If you're applying fertilizer four times per year, you will save significant time by reducing that number to one or two applications each season. When combined with the nutrients that mulching returns to the turf, that amount should be plenty."
* Choose the proper tools for the job -- Dorn says that the larger, more open lawns common to acreages and farms require a larger, more productive mower to get the job done quickly. Specifically, an increasing number of homeowners are finding that a commercial-quality zero-turn riding mower, with its "turn on a dime" capability, can be a significant time saver.
* Choose the efficient route -- Before you start to mow, it's important to mentally divide the lawn into a number of segments that allow you to mow for as long as possible, with as few obstructions as possible. This minimizes the number of momentum-robbing turns and increases overall cutting speed.
* Invest in quality -- Dorn says that commercial-quality zero-turn mowers, which are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use by professional landscape contractors, offer an increased level of power, durability and cutting speed that consumer-quality mowers can not match. In addition, commercial mowers' increased fuel capacity means fewer stops for refueling.
"Not only is a commercial zero-turn mower a more productive machine, it's also likely the last mower a homeowner will ever need to purchase."
* Maintain equipment properly -- Critical to any mower's durability and reliability is adherence to the manufacturer's recommended service schedule. Preventative service such as regular oil and oil filter changes, air filter service and spark plug replacement keeps mower engines performing at peak levels, with more power and torque to help make quick work of big cutting jobs. For more information on how homeowners can save time managing their large lawns, visit www.exmark.com.