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shutterstock_124439149Keep your yard healthy while conserving resources with these tips from Tamson Yeh, turf and land management specialist from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County in Riverhead, New York.

WATER LESS: Typically, watering your lawn once or twice a week—between midnight and 8 a.m. when the grass is in its natural dew period—is enough. To make sure you’re watering properly, stick a butter knife in the grass. If the soil that sticks to it comes out smeary, you’re watering too much; if it’s pow- dery, it’s not enough.

KEEP YOUR CLIPPINGS: After mowing, “return grass remains to your lawn, leaving them on the surface,” says Yeh. The leftovers help support the health of the soil, acting as a fertilizer.

DON’T TURN TO PESTICIDES: Even if you’ve got lots of crawlers, Yeh doesn’t recommend pesticides. Instead, focus on the reason why the bugs showed up—like overfertilizing or watering too often. (For example, lots of European crane flies are likely the result of over-moisturized soil.) Once you spot and tackle the issue, the bugs should naturally go away.

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