Desert lawn care is a unique practice that requires specific skills and knowledge. Learning the best lawn practices for New Mexico and the Southwest climate will help you obtain the yard you’ve been working towards. Whether you have a gravel yard with scattered desert floral, or a grass lawn—there are things to be aware of in order to maintain them.
1. Weed out the weeds
Living in New Mexico (or any part of the Southwest) means that, sooner rather than later, you’re going to have a weed issue. Keeping up with weeds is an essential part of desert landscaping. A common issue for New Mexico lawns is having weeds pop up through grass. Luckily, there are actions you can take to prevent this. First you will want to identify what kind of weeds are plaguing your lawn (crabgrass, dandelions, etc.). To be safe, consider taking a sample of the weed to a local greenhouse to make sure you choose an effective treatment. There are grass-friendly pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides designed just for this. After your rid your lawn of the weeds, be sure to keep up with a steady weed-prevention regimen.
2. Water efficiently
Keep in mind that you do not have to water your lawn every day. Over watering can cause your grass to grow too quickly and can lead to fungal diseases as well as brown patches. On the other hand, if you do not water your lawn enough, it may become brittle and eventually die. To avoid both of these issues, make sure your sprinkler system is watering your lawn at least three days a week. Also, watch your sprinklers while they’re running to make sure your lawn in getting full coverage, and adjust each sprinkler as needed. Ensure that you follow your city’s watering restrictions, and abide by any policies set by your H.O.A. or community committee, if applicable (learn more about the regulations in Arista’s Las Cruces communities, Sonoma Ranch and Metro Verde).
3. Use mulch (or a mulching lawn mower)
Mulch provides added moisture and nutrients for your lawn and moderates soil temperature around roots, thus alleviating plant stress. Mulch can also help prevent weeds from growing and erosion from occurring. Using a mulching lawn mower makes this easier because it will create a fine mulch and disperse it for you as you mow. If you do not have a mulching lawn mower, a mulching blade can be purchased to replace the standard blade of any mower. Or you can simply buy a bag of mulch and spread it by hand.
4. Set your mower blade to the highest setting
As we mentioned above, water efficiency is important in the desert, but this does not mean you can’t have a lush green lawn. The pros know that when you mow, leave your grass somewhat tall to provide shade for the roots which preserves moisture. This will help reduce watering frequencies. Cut the grass too short and it will dry up much quicker. Now that we’ve reviewed some basic desert lawn care, we hope these tips will help you work with the New Mexico environment to create a beautiful outdoor space that you and your family can enjoy.