Posted on June 21, 2021 by Becca Quackenbush
Summer is almost in full swing in Southwest Montana, and it’s time to get your lawn looking its absolute best! We’ve gathered our favorite and local tips and tricks to help you with your Montana lawn care and landscaping needs.
One of the first few steps to having a successfully cultivated summer landscape around your house in the dry, semi-arid climate of Southwest Montana is choosing the right soil for the right task and how to properly water your different projects. Luckily, our local Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply has incredible advice on these topics! Innovation with these projects can make your life 10 times easier, but can also be fun and efficient in the process!
Choosing The Right Soil
Every home improvement store with a garden center will have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to the most simple ingredient in growing plants: dirt. However, each item does something different for the project! Soil science matters for what you intend on growing. Different soils will have different pH balances for the different plants that each require a little something different. Choosing the right soil breaks down into three different types: general-purpose, container and potted plants, and seed starting.
- General Purpose: ready-to-use soil that can be used just about anywhere. It comes with a very basic amount of additives needed for healthy plant life and slow-release fertilizers.
- Container and Potted Plants: the excellent alternative to finicky growing seasons, potted plants can be moved in and out of frost conditions or hail for that Montana growing season. Potting soil comes loaded up with extra nutrients that vegetables and flowers need to grow healthy, as well as moisture-retaining elements to help prevent the smaller amounts of soil from drying out quicker.
- Seed Starting: starting seeds at home can give you that added bonus of being able to be more adventurous on your landscaping and gardening while giving you more control over the short growing season we experience here in Montana. For those of you who have a newly built house with no landscaping, you might consider seeding over sod.
Proper Watering Techniques
You’ve picked out the proper soil for your lawn and garden, but how do you water correctly and most efficiently? Follow these five basic tips here:
- Water at the right time: the ideal time is between 4-10 am! The temperature is just right and you won’t waste water evaporating from the midday heat. Avoid watering in the evening, as wet lawns overnight are susceptible to disease.
- Use the right amount of water: the rule of thumb here is to apply half an inch of water twice a week. To figure that out, set out some empty tuna cans and time how fast it takes to fill them up from your sprinkler. Too much water too fast causes runoff and flooding, which can be harmful to the health of your grass. Not enough, well, we know how much our neighbors don’t like yellow grass!
- Know your soil type: different textures of soil will absorb water at different rates! Clay-based soil does not absorb as fast a sandy soil. Perform a soil test to find out what you’re growing with!
- Use the right type of sprinkler: believe it or not, the difference between oscillating and pulsating sprinklers will make a difference on your grass! While being gentle on new grass and seeded soil, oscillating sprinklers can be blown around for uneven disbursement with the wind. Pulsating sprinklers distribute water at a higher velocity over a greater distance helping with evaporation, but remember to use it with a more mature lawn.
- Give your lawn time to soak it in: watering your lawn for more than half an hour will cause runoff and puddling. Give your grass about the same amount of time you’ve been watering to absorb the water before you hit it again.
Taking care of your own lawn and landscaping can be a very rewarding experience! However, when it comes down to intense projects and complicated installations, it’s best left to the experts. Moving across the country or even from a different climate can affect the success of your lawn with what fits your vision. Local nurseries will know the best setup for the different native and non-native plant species that will thrive in your backyard paradise. Give them a call today!
Your Local Nursery Experts
Big Sky | Wildwood Nursery
Bozeman | Cashman Nursery & Wagner Nursery
Ennis | Nature’s Beauty Landscaping
Livingston | Rosedale Gardens
Your Local Landscaping Gurus
Big Sky | Blanchford Landscape Group
Bozeman | Solstice Landscaping
Ennis | Nature’s Beauty Landscaping
Livingston | Litchfield Landscape Designs