The end of summer is nearing, but that doesn’t mean the care of your lawn should end with it. The cooler temperatures and occasional rainfall make this the best time of year to prepare your lawn for spring. So don’t stow away your lawnmowers just yet; check out these tips for fall lawn care.
Continue As Normal
Until the first hard frost appears, grass will keep growing. Continue to water and mow your lawn as usual until cooler weather begins.
Fertilize and Control Weeds
Fertilizer will provide enough nutrients for the roots to grow deeper and allow them to retain these nutrients until spring. The best time to begin is in early September, repeating again 6-8 weeks later. Another great tip for your Fescue lawn is that fall is the best time to aerate and overseed. If you have Bermuda or Zoysia, refrain from doing this in the fall, as spring is the best time of year for that.
Your grass thrives in the fall, but so do weeds! Be sure to begin controlling weeds in September or October. Treating weeds with a pre-emergent in the fall season will allow them to fully absorb and they shouldn’t return in the springtime.
Keep Leaves Raked
The fall-time chore that no one really enjoys doing is raking leaves. It’s a vital part of keeping your lawn healthy and lush. You should begin removing leaves as they begin to fall; if you wait too long, the piled-up leaves will be matted together from rain and dew and will be more difficult to remove. This can also suffocate your lawn and cause fungus to grow, which can become detrimental over time.
Taking the time to care for your lawn before major season changes is the best way to keep it healthy. If the care of your lawn seems overwhelming to you, a local lawn care company can give you a free lawn care analysis. They can provide you with the best comprehensive treatment plan customized for your lawn.
As the temperatures rise, you may catch yourself spending more time outside with friends and family. When you’re enjoying the warmer weather, the last thing you want to worry about is seeing your lawn with brown splotches. Unfortunately, there are certain pests that can cause a great deal of damage by feeding on your grass.
The White Grub is a particular pest that will destroy your lawn. These six-legged insects are small, white, and “C” shaped. A good indicator that you might have these bugs is seeing additional beetles in your yard. When they infest, they will destroy your grass roots, and as a result, it weakens the area infested. If your grass has ever been easy to lift out of the ground, it’s due to the white grub.
Another insect that can damage your lawn is the Sod Webworm or the larvae of Lawn Moths. Sod Webworms live in the roots of your lawn and will eat the grass leaves. A good indication that you have these pests is noticing that brown patches are continuing to grow throughout your yard. To spot sod webworms, you can also look for them at the root level of grass where you’ll be able to see small white tubes made of a silky web. Sod Webworms are about ¼ – ¾ inch long and gray to tan with small dark spots on the body with brown heads.
A third bug you should be aware of is the Billbug. These bugs are known to chew holes into grass blades, deposit eggs inside, and feed off grass. With a long, curved, bill-like snout, billbugs can grow up to ½ inch in length. These bugs look very similar to a white grub; however, white grubs have legs while billbugs do not. After laying their eggs, the larvae will hatch and begin to eat the grass from inside out from the root to the tips. A clear sign that you may have billbugs in your yard is grass that breaks off at the soil line and has lots of powdery sawdust-like excrement.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your yard, it might be time to contact a professional lawn care company who can inspect the damage and provide you with a lawn care plan so that you can enjoy your yard more with this upcoming warmer weather.
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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