Outdoor Maintenance

Outdoor Maintenance

Now that we are going outside and enjoying our outdoor spaces again, there are several cleanup and maintenance tasks that are often done at this time of year, and traditional wisdom, as is often the case, may lead you astray, so we thought we would add our two cents.

Turf Management

Most lawns in Oklahoma are Bermuda grass. It grows well in our climate and has an acceptably long life growth cycle to fit our seasons. It is also readily available, easy to start from sod and inexpensive when compared with other grasses.

Prevalent wisdom has dictated for years that a Bermuda lawn be “scalped” (cut to earth) at the beginning of each season. This job is often done haphazardly, removing nearly all of the growth from the last season, and leaving your lawn open to attack from weeds, which hate thick Bermuda turf, but love open spaces.

Remove no more than half of your old growth, to prevent the weeds, but still give your roots a boost.

Deck Care

Two common practices for wooden decks and fences are equally problematic and should be avoided. After Winter, most wooden fences will have a silvery gray color, due to weathering. This gray layer can be brightened through the use of a power washer, or chemical deck brightener to give you a nice bright fence.

Let’s start with chemical brighteners, or “deck cleaners”. Check the label, if your cleaner contains chlorine, or other bleach, rethink. These “hot” chemicals damage wood fibers similar to slight burns, weakening the wood and taking years off of your deck’s usable life. As well as being harmful to plants that the brightener comes in contact with.

Pressure washers, used on the lowest setting, can help to reduce grime, brighten appearance and do little or no harm. The problem comes in when they are used on their highest settings to really give the deck a good cleaning. This weathers the wood equivalent to many days of windy wet weather in just a few minutes.

So, choose a natural deck cleaner, free from bleaching agents with a  push broom to scrub, or power washer on the low setting for best results. Or, stain your deck for a better color if the gray offends you, this will prolong your deck’s life, and give you the aesthetic results you want.