The weather during the winter season can be harsh and unpredictable, exposing your lawn to extreme conditions. In most parts of the country, lawn grass goes dormant in the winter. While your lawn may not require quite as much work during these colder months, it shouldn’t be ignored completely. A good winter lawn care plan can help ensure your grass is lush and green come spring. Check out these winter lawn care steps to make sure your lawn is healthy this spring.
1. Plan Ahead
Preparation is key to maintaining a healthy lawn not only in winter, but year-round. Have your winter lawn care plan in place early so that you can keep an eye on the weather forecast and have enough time to put your plan into action before the first frost hits.
In the south, cool season grass is often used to overseed lawns to ensure green grass throughout the winter months. Sprinkle cool season seed over your lawn using a spreader, making sure to apply evenly to avoid clumps later. Drag a rake over your lawn to break up any clumps of soil and to help cover the seeds and then water with a garden hose. Afterwards, make sure to keep your soil moist and don’t let it dry out.
Just before the first frost is the best time for lawn aeration. This gives the turf time to breathe before the grass goes dormant. This also helps to relieve any compaction that may have built up during the spring and summer months. For small yards you can use a spade to take out spikes of soil to make holes. For larger yards you can use a manual or motorized aerator.
The best time to fertilize your yard is right after you aerate it. This allows the grass to receive the vital nutrients it needs to get ready for winter. The grass roots then absorb and store these nutrients during the winter months. When spring rolls around, these stored nutrients are used to kick start growth. Fertilizer can be applied with the same spreader you use for overseeding. Make sure to only apply the recommended amount as too much fertilizer can burn your grass. After fertilizing, water the lawn lightly to wash the fertilizer off the grass blades and onto the soil.
5. Clean and Store
Leaves can often pile up during the fall but this can be detrimental to the health of your lawn. An overabundance of leaves can cause the lawn to suffocate before winter dormancy sets in. The leaves can also become too wet, leading to disease of the grass. If the leaves aren’t too thick or wet, they can be mulched with a mower to recycle their nutrients back into the soil. If the leaves are thick, wet, or matted, rake them up and remove them promptly. Also make sure to remove any lawn furniture, debris, toys, or spare logs from your yard as these can smother the grass, lead to disease, or even invite pests into your yard.
6. Avoid Lawn Traffic
When the grass is covered with frost or has gone dormant for the year, try to avoid walking too much on the lawn. Grass can become weak if the same path is walked over too many times. Consider installing pavers or walkways that can be used to traverse the lawn instead of walking directly on the grass.
Preparing your lawn for winter can be tedious and time consuming. If the idea of doing all this preparation seems daunting, contact a professional lawn care company who can provide you with a free lawn care analysis and set you up with a comprehensive lawn care plan to ensure your yard stays lush and green through every season of the year.
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The landscaping and the fresh coat of paint are often the first impression for a person buying a new construction home, and the green, lush lawn truly completes the exterior package. Getting the new sod to its healthiest point can take a lot of time, patience, and maintenance. With the Northwest Lawn Care program, our trained teammates look after the care and potential of the new lawn to get it to look and feel its best.
Here is our Lawn Care program, broken down by season, which helps your new homeowner’s lawn be the one of their dreams.
During the winter months, maintaining the lawn can make the difference in starting the Spring and Summer out properly. We will apply products to fertilize and manage the growth of weeds and root development during the winter months to create a good foundation for the rest of the year.
SPRING & SUMMER
Each lawn is unique. Our lawn care experts are able to analyze each lawn to determine what it needs at the right time of its growth. During the Spring and Summer months, as it warms up, the team will apply a pre and post emergent weed control and high-potassium fertilizer. The pre and post emergent weed controls allow us to tackle weeds before or after they take root, while the fertilizers focus is turf growth.
We apply a lime treatment for the lawn before the winter months. This treatment helps the lawn’s overall growth in the next year and is essential for regulating the PH levels in soil. During each step of our program, we’ll communicate with the homeowner about their best watering and mowing schedule to ensure proper growth and lawn health!
The overall 8-Step Lawn Program allows our team to help properly grow a green, talk-of-the-neighborhood type lawn. Due to the unestablished sod placed during new construction, patience and care from a professional team will help create a successful new lawn. For a new homeowner, they can see the difference after the first year compared to their neighbors.
If you’ve been considering what premiums to offer a new homeowner, Lawn Care could be what your new construction package is missing. Find out more information on our lawn care options, including aeration and fire ant control, here.
We’re deep in the “dog days of summer,” the hottest time of the year. With high temperatures and dry weather, your lawn and plants can start to suffer. Follow these summer lawn care tips to ensure your lawn continues to thrive before falls comes knocking on the door.
Proper Water Techniques
Try to water your lawn early in the morning, preferably between 5 AM and 9 AM. The sun is not yet at its highest point so your lawn will have time to absorb the water. As the sun rises, it will dry the blades of grass.
Prepare for Fall Seeding
Take the time to remove any weeds in your yard. This step will alleviate some of the extra work once fall weather rolls in.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration is key to a healthy lawn. It helps cut down on thatch (the brown straw-like organic material that you find around the base of grass), encourages the processes of water, oxygen, and nutrients transferring into the soil, and assists with healthy root growth.
Take Advantage of Heavy Rainfall
August falls in the middle of hurricane season. Take advantage of the heavy rains/storms predicted for your area and fertilize your lawn.
During these days of high heat, it is important not to worry. Brown or yellow spots on your lawn during this time of year are going to happen. What is key is the communication between you and your licensed lawn care company. If you have concerns regarding the health of your lawn, relay them to your lawn care professional. They can look at your lawn maintenance schedule and work with you to set up a lawn care service that addresses your concerns and ensures your lawn is healthy year-round.
Has your vibrant green lawn suddenly become tainted with yellow spots? These yellow patches on your lawn can be the result of several different factors. If you’re wondering what’s causing yellow spots on your lawn, wonder no more! Whether you have a small yellow patch or a large swath of yellow, here are a few reasons why, along with some ways to fix them.
Excessively hot weather or having areas of your lawn completely exposed to full sun all day can dehydrate the grass pretty quickly. This heat stresses your lawn, causing damage and discoloration.
One solution to dryness is to water the turf more frequently and deeply, early in the morning if possible to allow the water time to dry over the course of the day. You can also consider reseeding in the fall to repair significant damage.
Your lawn can get excess nitrogen from two sources: overfertilizing and dog urine. Nitrogen is a chemical that enhances green leafy growth and is a necessary nutrient for a lush, healthy lawn. Too much nitrogen, however, can cause chemical burns to grass roots and a change in the pH of soil, leading to yellowing grass.
Dog urine also contains a high concentration of nitrogen and can cause burn spots on your lawn. Urine spots are often yellow bordered by greener grass because the diluted edges of the urine actually feed the grass (like fertilizer) while the more concentrated center of the urine spot burns the roots and causes the discoloration.
The best way to minimize damage from excess nitrogen is to prevent it in the first place. Use caution when fertilizing and make sure to water it in deeply when applied. If damage has already occurred, water the patch immediately to drain it and then water everyday for a week. Put in compost to replenish any lost minerals. If the grass is already dead, put sod over the area and reseed it the following season. Train your pet to urinate in other places and not go to the same spot repeatedly. Water any urine off your lawn immediately to minimize damage.
Most turf diseases that cause your lawn to have yellow spots are fungal. Temperature, thatch, and moisture levels all affect your lawn’s susceptibility to fungus. Some of the most common fungal diseases include fairy rings, snow mold, fusarium, and smut.
To help prevent fungal disease, make sure your lawn is dethatched and aerated. Try to water in the early morning hours so the moisture has time to evaporate throughout the day and not sit overnight. Make sure to also rake up any clippings, debris, and leaves to prevent moisture from being trapped underneath.
Nutritional deficiencies can lead to discoloration of your lawn. Nitrogen and iron are two of the most common deficiencies that cause yellow spots on your lawn. Nitrogen deficiencies cause leaves to turn yellow-green or yellow and your lawn will have stunted growth. Large collections of clover are also common in nitrogen-deficient lawns. Iron deficiencies will often cause the younger grass blades to turn yellow but don’t usually cause stunted growth. A soil test can indicate the deficiencies.
Once the nutrient deficiency has been identified, treat it with a nutrient specific plant food or fertilizer.
Discoloration of your lawn can also be caused by small insects chewing on grass roots causing damage. One way to check for this is to get a magnifying glass, part the grass blades, and thoroughly inspect the thatch for larvae or insects. Pest damage to grass is usually caused by younger pests and not adults.
Once you have identified the pests that are damaging your lawn, use an insecticide formulated for that pest to treat. Reducing thatch, irrigation, and proper fertilization can also help reduce pest populations.
Physical damage from frequent walking on the lawn can cause soil compaction where the soil gets packed so close together that the pores are too small. This restricts the roots and keeps them from spreading. Water and other nutrients also can’t penetrate the densely packed soil.
To help loosen the soil, aerate your lawn with either a core aerator or a rake. Follow the aeration with grass seed, fertilizer, and a layer of loam. Try to keep heavy traffic off the lawn. If that’s not possible, consider installing a walkway or stepping stones in high traffic areas.
Now that we’ve identified some of the reasons your lawn has yellow spots and ways to fix them, how can you restore the vibrant green color? Here are some other tips to bring your lawn back to life.
- Thin out trees so plenty of sunlight can get to the area (without allowing full sunlight exposure all day)
- Maintain sharp mower blades and only mow when the grass is dry
- Improve drainage of your lawn
- Rake up any excess grass clippings and fallen leaves
- Fertilize as recommended and watch for weed competitors which can deplete resources from your lawn
- Utilize a professional lawn care service that can provide you with a free lawn analysis and lawn care plan
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Spring can be a busy time for lawn care. The weather is highly unpredictable, plants are just emerging after the winter cold and can be tender and delicate, and the soil is thawing from the winter freeze. Taking the appropriate steps early in the season can help ensure a lush, green lawn throughout the rest of the year. Check out this step-by-step lawn care guide to help get your lawn ready this spring.
1. Get Rid of Weeds
A few weeds in your lawn are inevitable. These can be pulled by hand or with a handheld weeder or hoe. Make sure to pull them out completely, roots and all. If you have an abundance of weeds, use an herbicide directly on the offenders or apply a weed and feed product to the entire lawn. If dandelions are a problem, they can be sprayed with diluted vinegar. Crabgrass can be treated by raising the mower blades higher and watering less frequently.
Thatch is the matted accumulation of organic debris that collects between grass blades and roots. Thatch can cause dead patches in your lawn and open spaces for weeds to proliferate. Inspect your lawn for signs of thatch. Thatch can be removed with a thatching rake or a power dethatcher. Recovery from dethatching takes about 3 to 4 weeks.
Inspect your lawn to see if aeration is needed. Dig a 1 square foot section of your lawn and examine the roots. If the roots don’t extend deeper than 2 inches, your lawn needs to be aerated. Make sure to water the lawn for 1 to 2 days before you aerate. Use a core aerator over the lawn once. After aeration is done, apply compost or sand over the entire lawn.
4. Reseed and Overseed
Before applying any seed, check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to make sure what seed works best for your lawn. In early spring or fall, overseed with a cool season grass (rye, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass) and overseed with a warm season grass (Bermuda or Zoysia) early in the summer. To get an even application apply the seed with a broadcast seeder. Water the seed to help it establish.
A healthy lawn is denser, making it better able to resist weeds. When mowing, only remove about 1/3″ off the top of the grass. Set your mower deck height so that the grass is about 2-1/2″ to 3″ tall. Taller grass helps shade out weed seeds and prevents them from germinating. Try alternating your mowing pattern by mowing at a 45 to 90 degree angle from your last mow. This helps prevent soil impaction and helps grass grow upright. Also make sure to keep your mower blades sharp.
6. Water and Fertilize
Watering provides adequate moisture to grass, especially during times of heat or drought. If possible, try to water early in the morning when the air is cooler so there is less evaporation. For warm season grasses, spring is the ideal time to apply fertilizer when the lawn is actively growing (approximately 6 weeks after the last frost). Cool season grasses benefit from fall fertilization.
7. Mulch and Clean
Spring is the best time to clean up any leaves, twigs, and other debris left over from winter. Edge your beds, trim back dried branches on shrubs, and replace the mulch.
8. Call a Pro
You always have the option of calling a professional lawn care service to help with your lawn maintenance throughout the year. Proper analysis, treatment, and timing are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn. Lawn care professionals are experts in all aspects of lawn care and use technologically advanced products for your lawn. Click here to request a free lawn care analysis and get started with your professional lawn service today.
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8 Steps to a Healthier Lawn
Summer is a very stressful time for your lawn. The combination of the beating sun and heat, increased foot traffic, water deprivation, weeds, and pests can be detrimental to the health of your lawn. Because of this, Americans spend about $8.5 billion on lawn care services each year. No matter how much you spend, these factors can combine to leave you with yellow patches or even turn your grass brown under the heat and stress of summer. A brown lawn doesn’t necessarily mean dead grass, though; cool season grasses go dormant in the summer, turning brown as a defense mechanism against the heat and turning green again when they are revitalized in the cooler weather of fall. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to ensure a lush green lawn despite the heat. Check out these lawn care tips to keep your grass green this summer.
Mow high in the summer months. Grass should be left about 3 inches tall as this provides more shade for the root system and keeps it cooler in the summer. Leaving the blades taller also encourages the grass to develop stronger, deeper root systems. Mowing should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the peak daytime heat. Make sure your mower is kept in good repair, as well. A poorly maintained mower can do more damage than good to your yard. Make sure mower blades are sharpened – dull blades tear the grass versus cutting it which can leave brown tips on the grass blades. Make sure the oil, filters, and spark plugs are changed, as well.
Know when your lawn needs watering. You can usually tell grass is ready for a drink when it turns a bluish-gray color or if it stays matted down when you step on it rather than springing back up. Be mindful of how often you water, as well. Be mindful of any drought restrictions in your area before you water. Watering should be done consistently and deeply once or twice per week rather than a shallow watering daily.. Your lawn only needs 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week to keep its green color. Water early in the morning so that your lawn has time to dry out over the course of the day. Watering in the evening leaves dampness in the soil overnight that can lead to fungal disease. Don’t water your lawn with hot water. Don’t leave your garden hose out with water in it as this water can get hot enough to scald the grass blades in your lawn. Always empty your garden hose after each use; if you forget, make sure you flush the hot water out before you start watering.
Cool season grasses go dormant in the summer so you should wait to fertilize those in the fall. Fertilizing in the summer can trigger new growth which will ultimately turn brown. Warm season grasses should be fertilized every 6 weeks. If this causes your lawn to grow too quickly, switch to a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content to slow the growth. Using a mulching mower can also help to naturally fertilize your lawn by recycling the nutrients in grass clippings back into the soil. Fertilizer should be applied evenly and judiciously. Too much fertilizer can also turn your lawn brown.
Maintaining your lawn can also help preserve its green color in the summer. When your pets do their business on the grass, they are essentially over-fertilizing that area with the additional nitrogen in their urine. If you notice yellow or bare patches where your pets often go, overseed them to keep them in good repair. Summer also brings extra foot traffic on your grass. Heavy foot traffic, especially on wet soil, can lead to soil compaction which prevents air from getting to the grass roots. Try to avoid walking on the grass as much as possible.
CALLING THE PROS
While the tips above can help keep your lawn green in the summer heat, sometimes assistance is still needed. Proper analysis, treatment, and timing are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn. A professional lawn service like Northwest can provide you with a free analysis of your lawn’s current condition to determine an effective treatment plan; lawn fertilization; treatment for insects that cause damage to your lawn, including grubs, chinch bugs, and army worms; existing and preventative weed control with post emergent and pre emergent herbicides; a year-round service schedule for the healthiest, greenest lawn possible; and a service guarantee to come back in between regular scheduled visits, if needed, at no additional cost to you. Contact us today for a free lawn care analysis.
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