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.
Although the cold of winter has set in and your lawnmower is stored away for the year, don’t relax just yet! Lawn care services don’t end just because the weather has turned cold. While your lawn requires more maintenance in spring, summer, and fall, there are things you can do in the winter months to make sure you have a healthy, green lawn when the weather warms in the spring. Check out these 8 tips for winter lawn care.
1. Clean Up The Yard
Beginning in the fall, clear away any debris that has accumulated in your yard and do periodic sweeps throughout the winter. Early winter is the perfect time to rake up any matted areas as these can lead to old. Raking and mowing the debris in winter also encourages better air flow throughout the grass in your yard to prevent both disease and insect infestation. When new grass starts to grow in the spring, having the debris cleared away will allow them to grow without a struggle.
2. Control The Weeds
Although it’s a little early now, start thinking about how you want to control weeds as winter moves into spring. Pre-emergent crabgrass control should be applied in early spring before the soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees. Once the temps warm up above 60 degrees, weed seeds have already begun to germinate and the pre-emergent weed control won’t be effective.
3. Core Aerate
Another thing to start thinking about is core aeration which should also be done in late winter/early spring before the soil temperatures warm up above 60 degrees. Once temperatures are above 60 degrees, the voids that are left in your yard from the aeration will only serve as an open invitation for aggressive weed seeds to grow. Core aeration is important because it allows air to reach the root zone faster which leads to new growth and improved root development.
4. Repair Your Lawn
Winter can do a number on your yard with its harsh weather and cold temperatures. When spring comes around, you may need to make some much needed repairs to your lawn. Spring is a great time to reseed any damaged areas that developed over the winter months.
Applying fertilizer in the late winter/early spring can jump start your lawn from its dormant winter state. Fertilizer provides a build up of nutrients that will provide it with the strength it needs to withstand heat stress and drought throughout the warmer summer months.
6. Clear The Clutter
Before winter sets in, clear your lawn of any clutter and do periodic sweeps throughout the winter season. Remove any debris, lawn furniture, logs from around your fire pit, toys, etc. If an object is left on the grass during cold weather or snowfall, it can cause large dead spots on your lawn because of the weight of the object. In spring, the grass in these dead areas will be stunted and thinner than the rest of your yard.
7. Keep Off The Lawn
Try to avoid lawn traffic as much as possible in the winter months; walking on your lawn too much can weaken even the strongest grass, if the same path is walked over too many times. Make use of sidewalks and never allow anyone to park a car or truck on your lawn, as this will leave impressions in the soil and kill grass that’s underneath the tires.
8. Professional Lawn Care Services
If winter lawn care seems like a daunting task, don’t stress! Call a professional lawn care company who can come out and provide you with a free lawn care analysis. The Lawn Care team at Northwest can provide you with expert lawn care services and a customized program that includes lawn fertilization, weed control, lawn pest control, aeration and overseeding, tree and shrub care, and even disease control. Fill out the form below or give us a call to schedule your free lawn care analysis today!
It’s a common myth that grass grows slower in the fall and doesn’t require as much maintenance when actually the opposite is true! In the fall your lawn is busy absorbing moisture, nutrients, and energy as it prepares for the long, hard winter that’s around the corner. Whether you live in an area where the winters are mild or an area where your yard stays covered in a blanket of snow, preparing now will help you reap a lush, green lawn in the spring. Check out these 10 tips for fall lawn care.
Get Rid Of The Leaves
Leaves are no good for grass. They not only block the light from reaching your grass blades, they also trap moisture underneath them which can lead to fungus. Blow or rake your leaves as often as you can. Don’t wait until all the leaves have fallen before you get rid of them. It might be too late as fungus may have already set in.
Don’t Stop Mowing
Grass will continue to grow until the first hard frost of the year. The ideal height for your grass is 2-1/2″ to 3″ tall. If your grass is too long it can mat and leave your lawn vulnerable to fungus. If your grass is cut too short it can damage the roots and leave your lawn unable to tolerate the winter cold and dryness. Mowing will also get rid of any leaves that may have fallen and they can even be left behind as a nutritious mulch for your yard. Make sure to drop your mower blade to the lowest setting for the last 2 cuttings of the year.
Don’t Stop Watering
Even though fall storms bring more rain and the cooler temperature means more dew on the ground in the mornings, this is still not enough moisture to maintain the hydration your lawn needs to prepare for winter. Grass needs at least 1″ of water per week. You can measure this with a simple rain gauge. Make sure to keep your sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October to make sure your lawn gets the hydration it needs.
Aerate The Soil
Aeration should be done on a regular basis – once every couple of years. This prevents the soil from becoming too compacted and helps prevent thatch. Fall is the perfect time to aerate if your lawn needs it, especially before you fertilize. Aeration allows oxygen, water, and fertilizer to penetrate the soil and easily reach the grass roots, helping build up its energy and nutrient supply before the harsh conditions of winter.
Apply A Fertilizer
If you only fertilize once a year, fall is the perfect time to do it. Fertilizer protects your grass’s roots from freezing and gives it the energy it needs to bounce back in the spring. Fertilizer should be applied in late fall, preferably after you aerate your lawn. Make sure you leave a 5′ buffer between your fertilizer and any water sources nearby.
Seed Your Lawn
Fall is a great time to overseed your existing lawn. Overseeding not only helps protect against weeds but also fills in any thin spots or bare patches you may have. Fall is ideal for overseeding because the ground is still warm, there is plenty of moisture, the temperatures are cool at night, and the temperatures aren’t as hot during the day.
Control The Weeds
Fall is also a good time to fight back against any weeds that may have taken over your yard. Weeds go into energy absorbing mode in the fall just like grass does. Apply an herbicide in the fall so the weeds will absorb it and won’t return in the spring.
Keep Off The Lawn
Fall often brings more rain so your yard may be oversaturated with moisture. Walking on wet lawns can compact the soil, keeping the roots from getting important oxygen and nutrients. Stay off the wet lawn as much as possible. Don’t rake leaves when your lawn is too wet as you run the risk of pulling up the grass by its roots.
Clean Up For Spring
Before you put your tools away for the winter, make sure to clean them to prevent rust. Perform any winter maintenance that’s needed on your mowers and other lawn care machines. Put away your patio furniture, cushions, and grills, making sure to clean them before storing them. Fall is also a good time to check your gutters. Clean out any debris to prevent clogs before the fall rains. Consider installing gutter guards so you don’t have to climb a ladder to clean your gutters.
Call A Pro
It can be hard to get each one of these tips done at the right time in the fall. Consider calling a professional that you can delegate some or all of these tasks to. A lawn care professional can provide you with a free lawn care analysis, set you up on a lawn care service schedule, fertilize, control weeds, and even provide pest control.
Calls have been coming into our office with homeowner’s wanting to know why they have mushrooms in their lawn. Mushrooms come from a mixture of moisture (we’ve had a good amount of rain lately), cloudy weather, and organic material such as old mulch, animal waste, or rotting tree stumps.
Mushrooms are the reproductive part of fungi that lives in the soil. Not only are mushrooms an eyesore to your healthy lawn but you don’t want children or pets to have access to them.
You can get rid of the mushrooms by manually removing them from your yard but that still does not take care of the problem. Chances are the mushrooms will return. Mushrooms will often go away when the sun comes out and the soil dries up.
There are preventative measures that you can take to prevent mushrooms from showing up in your lawn:
Decrease shade – Mushrooms like shade so trim back any branches in problem areas. The more sunshine, the less likely you will see mushrooms.
Decrease moisture – Moisture in lawns enable mushrooms to thrive. If you have standing water your soil may be compacted and you may need to aerate your lawn.
Dethatch your lawn – Excess thatch in the lawn absorbs moisture and enables mushrooms to grow.
Tree Stumps – A place where a tree used to be, even if the stump is removed, can be a breeding place for mushrooms. The dead roots underground can be a cause for mushroom growth. Keep the area aerated and clear (raking helps).
Pet waste – Remove any pet waste on the lawn on a regular basis.
If you have mushrooms in your yard it is best to call a professional lawn care company to diagnose the problem. Mushrooms can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem with your lawn.
We are currently on Round 8 of our Lawn Care service. The main focus of Round 8 is lime application. Lime is essential in regulating the pH levels in your soil. “pH” is a measure of your soil’s acidity or alkalinity. If your soil’s pH level is outside of the desired range, there is a good chance that your soil is not getting the vitals nutrients and minerals that it needs to grow into a healthy lawn.
For Best Results:
The treatment should be watered in within 48 hours.
The lawn should not be mowed 2 days before or after the treatment.
If you are giving your lawn TLC and still not seeing it be as healthy and productive as you would like then maybe your pH balance is off. A professional lawn care company should be able to test the pH levels in your soil and help you to determine a customized plan that is right for your lawn. After all…don’t we all want greener grass?