Archive for the ‘Fertilizer’ Category

Are lawn fertilizers dangerous?

Published by mrgrass on March 4th, 2015 - in Fertilizer, Lawn Care Companies

Every now and then, I hear or read random statements claiming that lawn fertilizers are dangerous. This is a topic worthy of further investigation and scientific explanation. There are many different kinds of lawn fertilizers which often can blur and dilute the discussion simply because of the wide range of materials available to professionals and home owners alike.

 

Most folks recognize that fertilizers are often just plain minerals manufactured for plant growth for lawns, trees, flowers, and house plants. Fertilizers can have a base source of organic material, natural (blended), or straight manufactured minerals for plant consumption. Within these categories there are slow release types, zero phosphate forms, and a host of other varieties dependent upon the use and intended results.

 
A desirable lawn fertilizer should have characteristics including slow release of Nitrogen and Potassium, plus no phosphate due to use around waterways as dictated by state and federal regulations. A perfect example would be Lake Sunapee in NH. To protect the drinking water, the Shoreland Protection Act requires use of a slow release, zero phosphate fertilizer be used no closer than 25ft to the surface water.

 
Lake Sunapee is also a watershed that means unless you have very specific permits issued by the state, any application to the landscape cannot occur within 250ft of the lake. This important safeguard protects both the beauty of the lake and the water supply for those living in and around this watershed. Chippers lawn and plant health care division has such a permit due to the precise use of our advanced product choices for not only lawn fertilizers but for weed and pest control as well.

 
Since grass is a living filter and growing every day, proper mowing and watering play a large role in protecting our lakes, ponds, stream and rivers. The correct use of lawn fertilizers promotes a healthy turf area, reduces erosion, and creates a safe play area during our brief summers. Since most turf in NH requires 3-4lbs of Nitrogen per year, a balanced lawn program will satisfy this requirement under most conditions of use. Excessive watering, short mowing habits, and misuse of any kind of lawn fertilizer are certainly potentially harmful to our waterways and aquatic friends.

 
Not only does the product itself play an important role due to its inherent chemical properties, but the applicator, including home owners, are responsible for safety when using fertilizers in any situation. As in any business, proper certification, licensing, and training are all key ingredients toward managing a healthy landscape while using lawn fertilizers as one tool for property enhancement and enjoyment. Talk with your landscape expert if you have questions or concerns.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

October lawn tips

Nothing says autumn quite like a dark green lawn covered in vibrant orange and yellow leaves. Cool fall nights and the still warm soil transform your normally fast growing lawn into one that is focused on storing energy in its root system. This special phenomenon is a unique time of year with many advantages when it comes to seeding, fertilizing, aerating, liming and winterizing your lawn.

 

October remains a top month for lawn care in NH & VT

October remains a top month for lawn care in NH & VT

 

 

Whether you have a home lawn or one at your business, October is no trick when it comes to setting up your lawn for better survival over the winter. And the treat for any lawn treatment in October means a greener, healthier lawn next spring, if done correctly. October lawn care treatments done before soil temperatures drop to a level where your lawn is going into hibernation are of particular benefit. Seeding and fertilizations of any kind are more sensitive to warmer soils for maximum results in the fall.

 

Seeding
Seeding bare patches in your lawn or over seeding new grass into a thin or existing lawn are great ways to really speed up the thickening process now to set the stage for next year. Any grass you gain now by seeding can be treated for crabgrass next spring, allowing for a better lawn in 2015. If you wait until spring to seed, the cold soil prevents early seeding well into May, thus competing with annual weeds and crabgrass; a recipe for disaster.

 

Fertilizing
Natural and organic fertilizers also work best in warmer soils when micro-organisms are growing and can help breakdown the material into a useable form for your turf grass. By contrast, synthetic fertilizers are already in a more useable form and can be used later into the season as soils cool down. The cautionary note of using fertilizers too late in the season if the ground is frozen or very cold means not really achieving any benefit to the lawn and the possibility of runoff into streams, rivers, and other undesirable areas.

 

Aeration and Lime
Core aeration on the other hand can be done right up until the ground freezes or is at the very least very cold in November or early December, depending upon your actual location in New England. Of course, if you plan to over seed after aerating, earlier is better for germination and subsequent growth before snow falls. Lime can also be applied well into late fall, with the full benefits achieved in spring relating to pH or general soil conditioning.

 

Winterizing
One last tip, remove piles of leaves on your lawn, especially on thin, shaded, or new grass areas, as they will act as mulch and damage your lawn. As the temperature drops and November approaches, you can actually drop your mowing height down to 2”. Your final cut in November should be 1.5” to help minimize winter damage and snow mold.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Prepare your lawn for fall this August

As summer winds down, I hear a lot of folks saying they always like to wait until September or October to begin lawn repairs. My response is, “Why wait until fall”? While fall is ideal for many lawn repairs after a hot, wet or dry summer, (seeding, topdressing, aeration, and over seeding), a wetter, cooler summer means you can get a jump start in August. These extra weeks gained by not waiting for fall means more growth and a better chance for new grass to survive the upcoming winter. I recommend August lawn work with several important objectives and facts in mind.

 

An established lawn looking great after topdressing and seeding.

An established lawn looking great after topdressing and seeding.

 

 

First, annual weeds, including crabgrass and other obnoxious plants, begin the slow process of dying, losing their iron clad grip on previously damaged or thin patches of turf. Crabgrass no longer germinates as it did in the spring or early summer; the threat of being overrun is subdued simply because of the time of year. This is a big reason to start lawn renovations in August versus later in the fall.
Unlike the past several summers, this summer has been wet and moist, making an ideal environment for August seeding. The soil is moist and warm, both critical factors for any kind of lawn renovation, from a small patch to a complete lawn installation. The extra weeks gained by August repairs can tip the scale for winter survival simply by allowing for more growth before the season winds down to a close in November. Seed needs warm soil and moisture to properly germinate and grow; we have both conditions as I write this blog post.
Is your lawn thin? Does it have weak areas? Don’t just throw down any seed. The most successful reseeding means core aeration, top-dressing with compost or loam over the bare areas, then seeding/over seeding with a blend of hybrid grasses best suited for your location. All grasses are not created equal for the same site or location. For more information on the importance of selecting the correct grass seed click here   http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2012/08/11/grass-seed-facts/
As fall approaches, build up your lawn’s energy reserves by adding high calcium lime, spraying compost tea, and adding vital nutrients with any high grade fertilizer that is low in phosphate and contains organic material (natural or organic). Once the new grass exceeds 3”, be sure to mow; mowing is more helpful then not mowing. And, while I always recommend mowing to a 3” height during the season, your last cut before winter should be the only short cut right around 1.5”. This will help prevent winter snow mold and discourage mice damage.
As you shop for back-to-school items, don’t forget your grassy friend outside called your lawn. Remember, fall is the best time of year for many aspects of lawn care and this year it looks as though we have gained August as well. Don’t wait, make your plan and take action today.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare
© Copyright 2009-2014 Chippers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.