Archive for the ‘Cultural Practices’ Category

Water your dry spring lawn

While Vermont and New Hampshire are not suffering through a long-term drought like California, we are certainly experiencing a very dry spring. This lack of rain can cause serious lawn damage.

A dry spring slows recovery from winter cold, ice, and snow.

A dry spring slows recovery from winter cold, ice, and snow.

Lawns do not have enough moisture to break winter dormancy and recover from the cold, ice and snow. I am seeing significant damage and widespread patchy browning from the long cold winter, lingering snow banks and snow mold. However, in some cases the dry soil and lack of rainfall has actually hastened spring greening and recovery.

Even sod is having a hard time greening up with a lack of rain this spring.

Even sod is having a hard time greening up with a lack of rain this spring.

 

My message has been the same to everyone over the past few weeks:
1. There is nothing you could have done to prevent this.
2. Water for 30 min a day starting immediately until we get rainfall.
3. Hold off or skip dethatching until your lawn is actively growing.
4. Your lawn may need future repairs.
5. Hope it rains soon.

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Spring lawn tips

Published by mrgrass on April 10th, 2015 - in Cultural Practices, Home owner tips

As the last-gasp of winter loosens it grip on spring, your lawn is likely covered with gravel, sand, leaves, and crusty black snow banks. Here are a few helpful tips that can get your lawn into recovery mode or better yet, green.

 

Big snow bank

 

 

Rake, rake, rake!

 
Rake as much sand and gravel as possible from your lawn. The less sand and gravel there is on the surface, the warmer the soil , allowing for a quicker green-up. Rocks, sticks and leaves should also be raked up sooner than later. Any object left on the lawn, especially once air temperatures begin to heat up, means the possibility of mulching the grass beneath the object. Without sunlight and air, grass will green around the piles of leaves and branches, but thin or even die beneath the winter debris.

 

Break Up Snow Banks

 
Large snow banks can be broken up with shovels to help speed up the melting process. This year, we ended up with car-sized snow banks or larger. Left alone, these snow banks can last into early May! Break up those nasty snow banks and help the lawn beneath get a breath of fresh air. A good lawn application cannot go down with large snow banks, so the sooner they are gone, the better!

 

 

Spring’s First Mowing
One last note, if your lawn is long and shaggy, give it a nice short cut. A 1.5” to 1.75” cut will enhance turf recovery by removing dead grass and allowing the soil to warm faster with improved exposure to spring-time sunshine. And, sharpen that mower blade now for a neater cut this summer.

 

Everyone was inside all winter, so get outside, take in the spring air and give your lawn a fresh start.

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5 Things Your Lawn Wants to tell You

1. Location

As the winter begins and your lawn is covered by ice or snow, there are some secrets your lawn may be hiding. For starters, and this may seem simple, your lawn’s location has a huge bearing on what you should be thinking about before spring arrives. For instance, that encroaching tree line has slowly but surely thinned out the edges of your lawn over the past 5 or 10 years. Your once proud carpet of green has become a band of dirt and moss due to the shade and overgrown limbs hovering above the now missing grass.

2. Grass seed

The second lawn secret reveals that all lawn grasses are not created equal and do have limitations in response to drought, heavy use, and shade. Yes, many turf types can tolerate less than desirable growing conditions, but left alone, thinning and ultimately bare ground will result. Much like a receding hair line, the question is not if, but when the grass thins out enough to get your attention. Don’t think throwing lime down or some patch seed mix will suffice, oh no, this situation beckons professional help. Only an intervention to change the site and current grass types will truly resolve and reverse turf loss.

3. Mowing height

Although the 70’s have come and gone, many lawns are treated and cut at less than optimum intervals and height. The third lawn secret beckons a weekly cut to a handsome and proper 3” most times of the year, not a foot every month. If your lawn could speak, a basic request would be for a regular mowing and a realistic cutting height; not a shaggy carpet reminiscent of the 70’s where bell bottoms earned their following. On the other hand, a short military type cut can brown a lawn out for the summer causing irreversible damage. The harm done to your lawn by improper mowing cannot be underestimated.

4. Healthy soil

A fourth and valuable fact relates to soil health and the ability of your turf to not just exist – but to thrive. Healthy soil, full of organic matter, bacteria, fungi, and worms support not only a vibrant root system but a lawn that can withstand pests and environmental stress. Chronic and heavy use of salty fertilizers and other products over time can reduce soil health and thereby predispose your grass to a host of health issues. If your lawn could talk, it would ask for more positive reinforcements in the form of compost tea, organic materials, lime, and other soil enhancing actions.

5. Timing

Timing does matter. Our fifth lawn tip is timing as it relates to pest control, soil enhancements, seeding, aeration, and other helpful activities. Most pests, including weeds and insects are best controlled at very specific times of the year. For example, ticks are best controlled in the spring and late fall – the same time as most broadleaf weeds. Crabgrass is best controlled in the early spring while lawns installations, overseeding, and aeration are best done in the fall. Soil enhancements are best applied in the spring and fall when accompanied by seeding. Your lawn would tell you timing is everything!

 

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