If you’re only going to be gone for a week or less, you can probably leave your lawn as it is and come back to it looking the same. But if you’re going to be gone for two weeks or more, there are certain lawn care tasks that you have to accomplish before you tear off the driveway and head to your destination.
Your lawn probably won’t die if you leave it without lawn care for a few weeks, but chances are, its health is going to start to decline at least a little bit. That said, it’s best not to take any chances, so here are some of the things you have to accomplish for your lawn before leaving for vacation:
1. Mow the grass
Mow your lawn at the last minute to maximize the time between mowing. If you can do this right before you leave, that’s great, but if you can’t, mow the lawn at least a day before. Alternatively, have someone else do it for you if you’re too busy packing or finalizing your itinerary to go outside and cut grass.
However, avoid mowing the grass too short. Some homeowners are inclined to do this so that their grass doesn’t grow too long before they come back from vacation. Don’t make the same mistake. Cut no more than a third of the total length of the grass blades. Setting the blades too low can lead to bald spots on your lawn due to the grass dying, which can eventually lead to weed invasion if not addressed right away.
2. Check the sprinkler system
If you don’t have a sprinkler system yet, right before taking a vacation is the best time to hire a sprinkler system installation service. This way, you don’t have to ask or pay someone else to keep your lawn hydrated while you’re gone. Furthermore, you can ensure that your lawn is receiving just the right amount of moisture, thus preventing under- and over-watering.
On the other hand, if you already have a sprinkler system, check if it’s working correctly before you leave for vacation. If it’s malfunctioning and not going off, you may risk coming back to a severely dehydrated lawn.
3. Hire lawn care service
Whether it’s a lawn care company or a person you know (e.g. a friend, a family member, a neighbor, etc.), consider hiring someone that can take care of your lawn while you’re gone. This is especially important if you’re going on vacation for more than two weeks, more so if you had not time to accomplish lawn care tasks before leaving.
Aside from aesthetic reasons, keeping your lawn well-kept is also crucial for your home’s security. Criminals target houses that look unoccupied, which means that letting your lawn become neglected is like inviting robbers into your house.
To increase your home’s security, it’s also a good idea to ask the person you hire for lawn care services to get rid of signs that can tip off criminals that no one is home, such as packages, newspapers, and mail that is left in your mailbox or doorstep.
4. Address pest problems
If you have a pest problem on your lawn, it’s best to get rid of it before you leave. For example, if you spot any weeds, pull them out by hand or use a selective herbicide to kill them off. On the other hand, if you have bugs and larger pests, call a pest control service or go the DIY route by using insecticide or laying down traps around your lawn.
Moreover, it’s important to check for pests before leaving even if you are sure that you have no pest problems. You never know when pests can start to lurk in your lawn, and getting rid of them early on is the best way to prevent the problem from growing.
5. Trim the branches
Get an arborist to trim overhanging branches on your property, especially those that are closest to your house and if a storm is coming your way. Even if the branches don’t fall off or cause damage to your house while you’re gone, you at least get the task out of the way so that you don’t have to deal with it when you get back home. And if a storm does happen while you’re away, you can rest assured that the branches aren’t going to damage your house.
When leaving for vacation, preparing the exteriors of your property is just as important as preparing what’s inside. So, if you want to avoid coming home to lawn problems after a fun and relaxing vacation, ensure that you accomplish this checklist before your departure.