Archive for the ‘Cultural Practices’ Category

Spring Lawns After a Harsh Winter

Unusually large amounts of snow and a late winter thaw can spell trouble for home lawns in VT and NH.  Massive piles of snow and ancient icy banks are determined to persist well into late April.  Slow melting ice and snow is anything but good news for grass buried deep beneath the arctic wasteland we call home as temperatures remain far below average in the last days of March.  The real damage from the copious use of rock salt will become apparent as the snow recedes, exposing brown and yellow patches along walkways and driveways.  Pieces of turf now flipped upside down lie like fish out of water from plow damage after each successive storm in what has been called a “real winter”.  Cue the spotlight on snow mold as the cold temperatures, with just the right amount of humidity, are ideal for this disease to thrive.  Pink and gray snow mold may be widespread and hamper the ability of your lawn to recover successfully from the trauma dealt by Mother Nature.  If I had a batman lamp, I would surely turn it on and point it into the night sky; our lawns need help.

Help our lawns
Fear not, Mr. Grass is here and although not a super hero, I am well versed in the green art of lawn care and helping the innocent lawns which have been beaten down from a harsh winter.  You can help your lawn immediately by breaking up piles of ice and snow, scattering the chunks onto warmer surfaces to melt; a driveway or patio perhaps.  The faster the snow goes, the quicker the soil will warm and awaken your dormant lawn into recovery mode.  If there are excessive leaves, debris, branches and other objects, try and remove them before the lawn begins growing to prevent mulching and unnecessary damage.  This is especially true of gravel and rocks that may have been pushed up and onto lawn surfaces from winter plowing.  Rake and remove any gravel and sand from your lawn.  If you do have visible turf chunks, help them by flipping the root surface over and put it back on the ground so when growth occurs, some root regeneration can occur.  Leaving chunks of lawn in pieces lying on each other will also damage the healthy lawn below; acting as mulch.  This phenomenon is especially true as things really warm up and the grass begins to grow again.

Big pile of snow
Additional winter recovery can be obtained by firing up the friendly soil micro-organisms with compost tea, a high quality lime, or fertilizers.  I do not recommend heavy dethatching because the damage inflicted may well thin out or even kill portions of your lawn under such stress.  I do recommend lightly raking out any matted snow mold and ice damage which will speed up the drying process, warm the soil, and promote new root and shoot growth.  Your lawn will need extra help this spring so plan on doing your part.  As your lawn recovers, using crabgrass or other broadleaf weed controls become more practical as tools to protect future infestations.  Good luck and may the temperature rise in your neighborhood creating more green and less white!

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Less clippings and mowing equates to a happy lawn owner

Everyone loves a lush green lawn, but hates frequent mowing and those huge piles of grass clippings.  Even though mulching is the proper long term way to mow a lawn, there are plenty of times when the pure volume of grass clippings calls for hauling them away, either by yourself or the landscaper.  The effort of disposing of grass clippings takes time and more importantly, money.  What about the crazy, fast growing grass in the spring?  Would you like more time between cuts?  I see lots of hands going up as you and others read this article this very moment.

Less grass clippings?
There are products that are specifically designed to address not only these concerns but offer even more benefits with such a seemingly mystical, wonderful treatment.  With your full attention, let’s explore exactly what I’m talking about as it relates to less grass clippings and less mowing.

The specific lawn treatment I reference can only be done when the turf is growing and in a healthy state, spring and fall to keep things simple; not the summer.  A single spray to an average lawn, consisting of the typical grasses found in NH and VT can reduce grass growth up to 50% for nearly 4 weeks; wow!  This spray causes the roots to grow, creating a more fibrous system while dramatically reducing top growth in the leaf blades.  The end result is more growth and roots in the soil, and less up top which dramatically reduces grass clippings.  Your lawn’s energy is now focused much like in the fall, creating lots of roots for winter and storing up energy.  The bonus of this process occurring in the spring means your grass is strengthened, like an athlete, for the stress of summer heat and drought.  Whether you enjoy your lawn for regular family gatherings, soccer practice, or special 4th of July barbeques; recovery will be faster and your grass will withstand the wear to a much higher degree then if not treated.

Lawn growing so fast
This could be the year you want a little break from the lawn chores and have us treat your lawn so you can do more playing and less mowing.  This product has been around for decades, used in the golf industry, greenhouses, and plant nurseries as a growth reduction hormone for plants.  As a certified, licensed company in NH and VT, you are assured Chippers will safely and professionally treat your lawn with this or any other of our lawn care treatments.  If you would like more information on this or any of our Essential Turf Care offerings, just click on this blog’s main page tab labeled “Lawn Care”, call, or email today.  We are very pleased to offer this new service in 2014 based on customer feedback and addressing what the public is looking for when it comes to offering only the best in professional lawn care in NH and VT.  Get ready for spring; it’s coming sooner than you think . . .

 
reduce grass clippings

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Snow Mold Prevention

Published by mrgrass on November 15th, 2013 - in Cultural Practices, Turf Disease
Typical matted appearance of snow mold in a lawn.

Typical matted appearance of snow mold in a lawn.

Gray and pink snow molds are the two most widely known snow mold diseases in our geographic region.  Gray and pink snow mold can become established under moist, wet weather common in the late winter or early spring.  Most snow molds become visible in March and can grow well into April manifesting themselves as discolored patches ranging from 1-2 feet to mere inches in diameter.  These patches can take on the appearance of cotton candy with colors ranging from gray, to pink, to white depending upon the time of day and type.  Pink snow mold can cause moderate damage, especially in new lawns under ideal wet weather conditions.  Gray snow mold requires snow to develop properly while pink can manifest itself without snow cover and in wide range of temperatures ranging from freezing up to nearly sixty.  Pink snow mold’s ability to develop without snow and under such a wide range of temperatures means it is a very common disease.  Damage can occur from either snow mold disease, especially new lawns or those prone to staying wet.  The actual snow mold damage results from the plants inability to recover quickly enough and appears as thinning within the infected patches.
Regular raking and mowing are effective practices to reduce snow mold.  However, do not be tempted to cease mowing in October; a final cut should be done in November as the grass enters dormancy.  Not allowing leaf litter to accumulate or remain on the lawn as winter approaches is a great way to help minimize snow mold problems.  Cut your lawn a little shorter in November, as low as 1.5 inches to minimize matted grass and leaves without scalping the lawn on uneven surfaces.
Aerating will help reduce compaction and maintaining a slightly acidic soil pH will also help reduce pink snow mold.  Minimizing the amount of highly soluble nitrogen is also an important factor as succulent leaf blades are more susceptible as fall becomes winter.  Use of a slow release fertilizer while applying lower rates of nitrogen is a great solution if you have experienced snow mold problems in the past.
Reducing snow along your driveway, walkways, or minimizing large piles will help minimize gray snow mold at your home.  Fungicides should only be used as a last resort in a lawn but can offer some protection with proper timing (late fall and or early spring).  Snow mold sprays can be done in November or December in our market area. Creating a healthy lawn with a diverse turf grass population and proper raking and mowing practices is your best asset toward snow mold prevention.  If you do experience visible snow mold next spring, be sure to have it examined as treatment may be required by your locally certified and licensed lawn care professional.

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