Longtime MUD members may be familiar with the inventory of Container 2 (the garden tool container). You step in and your nostrils are filled with the scent of gas and lawn clippings and you prepare yourself to shimmy past the long row of lawn mowers to get the exact right tool for your project. It’s no surprise that Container 2 is probably the busiest container in the spring and summer (although Container 3 with the tillers is a close second). As summer rolls along you may be looking for some shortcuts in the constant cycle of mowing, watering, and general lawn care tasks. Read on for a few tips to make lawn care less of a chore and maybe give you a little more time for all your other summer DIY projects.
1. To mow or not to mow?
You may have heard of “No Mow May” as a way to support pollinators in the spring when there are fewer flowering plants but how effective is it really? I’m sure bees and insects appreciate the few extra dandelions in your yard but there are other ways to really make a difference not just for pollinators but for soil health too! Consider adding diversity to your lawn in the form of clover or other flowering ground cover to attract beneficial insects all spring and summer. The diversity will also support soil health by improving soil compaction, adding nitrogen back into the soil, requiring less water, and being more resilient in high traffic areas. Come check out the bee lawn at MUD or learn more from the Missoula County Department of Ecology and Extension (formerly the Missoula Weed District).
2. Which mower is the best mower?
Are you a fan of Bill Murray? Or maybe your favorite is the Green Hornet? And no, I’m not talking about movies – those are a couple of our favorite lawn mowers at MUD! Members who come back week after week often have a favorite but likely the most popular mowers of all are the electric ones. Unfortunately, lawn mowers are one of the worst contributors to CO2 emissions but an electric lawn mower is a great alternative. They are lightweight, can still power through most yards, and battery operated ones are charged using MUD’s solar panels. We hope to keep adding more and more electric options to our fleet but for now you may need to grab Miss Molly, Cinnamon Bear, or another gas powered friend for your lawn clipping needs.
3. No more mowing – how to remove sod
Put down the shovel and come get the right tool for the job at MUD! Depending on what your end goal is for the space you may want to use a tiller to loosen up the soil or borrow the sod cutter to remove the grass in nice big chunks. Remember – work smarter not harder and ask a MUD tool librarian what they recommend to get the job done and check out our online inventory to see what is available.
4. The grass is always greener…when you go organic! We know that some people like to have and need their lawn. It can be a major part of backyard BBQs, slip and slide contests, badminton tournaments, and more. But we also know that the best way to care for your lawn is using organic methods. Our friends at Grow Safe: Non Toxic Missoula put together an excellent, FREE guide on how to care for your lawn using organic methods. As they say, “Organic lawn care is a way to grow beautiful lawns by building healthy soils. These soils contain countless living organisms that support the growth of vigorous grass that crowds out weeds and discourages pests and diseases. Organic lawn care works with nature, using carefully selected fertilizers and compost as well as effective mowing, aeration, and seeding.” Go green and grow green!