Posts Tagged ‘aeration’

Fall lawn tips

Generally speaking, the summer of 2014 on average was a little cooler and wetter than the past few years. The few hot and humid periods did cause a spike in disease issues like red thread but overall our lawns’ were fortunate not to have to endure extended drought. What does this mean for the average lawn as fall is a mere few weeks away?

 

Back to school time is fix up your lawn time

Back to school time is fix up your lawn time

 
First, actively growing lawns means faster recovery and a more robust turf plant going into the winter, especially if you take advantage of the weather. Aerating, over seeding, lime, a few fertilizer applications, and perhaps potassium will put your lawn in top condition for next spring. My advice is not to squander this unique scenario and time period but seize its advantages.

 
A bit of caution, healthy growing grass can easily mask grubs eating your lawns roots. The classic brown patchiness may not be visible until the invaders are much larger and difficult to control this fall or next spring. If you have not had a preventative grub treatment earlier this year, take a brisk walk around your lawn, especially in the sunny areas, and pull up on the grass to see if it is weakly rooted. If so, you may well see small white grubs within the first few inches of loam below the grass. Treat them now, don’t wait!

 
Over seeding with such warm, moist soil is a dream come true for lawns and can yield fantastic results to help thicken up your existing lawn. Bare patches should be top-dressed and then seeded after aeration. September and early October are the best time periods to seed a lawn, no question about it. Seed your lawn now, don’t wait until spring!

 
Healthy grass will grow aggressively and save extra energy down below in the root system. Providing a generous supply of nutrients during the fall allows for a healthy growing lawn that can save extra energy for winter and next spring’s green-up. Don’t forget to fertilizer a few times and be sure to lime. If you forgot to lime this year, it’s never too late as liming any time is just fine.

 
A final word on year-end lawn mowing. Keep your cut high at 3” for now but you can begin to lower it in October by about ½” per week. The slow decline in height will help harden your lawn off and not expose it to a harsh scalping on one massive slicing. Most lawns will grow well into late November so your final cut should end up at around 1” to 1.5” in November. Mowing short in height is ideal for helping minimize snow mold and winter damage caused by long grass.

 
This fall could be the best in years, don’t let your lawn miss out on a great growing opportunity.

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Beneficial fall lawn aeration

Published by mrgrass on August 23rd, 2013 - in Aeration or Core Aeration

Fall aeration ranks high in terms of benefit to any home or commercial lawn for the money invested.  Proper lawn aeration will remove one inch diameter cores to a depth of approximately two to three inches.  Poor results may occur with dull or worn tines and very dry soil.  This process physically removes a plug by running a hand operated machine over your lawn, much like mowing.  Aeration removes thatch, soil, and grass plants in these plugs and deposits them on the surface of your lawn to decompose.  A good aeration will allow air and water to infiltrate into the holes, allowing surrounding grass plants an opportunity to expand with decreased compaction.  Aeration also allows for over seeding, a process in which hybrid grass blends are deposited into the core holes to germinate and fill in thin areas.  Much like hair plugs in people, over seeding is a great way to change the actual grass composition of your lawn over time, improving its ability to withstand drought, insect, and disease issues. 

Core aerator tines

Sharp tines are important to perform a high quality aeration job on your lawn.

Over seeding is not meant to establish a lawn in large bare spots or patches.  However, if you top-dress with compost or loam along with aeration and over seeding, you can create a nice seedbed and accomplish three tasks at once during autumn.  Fall is the best time to aerate and over seed because annual weeds are dying (the competition), soil is warm for faster germination, and moisture is generally adequate.  Since the grass seed is deposited down into the holes, irrigation is not critical, but recommended for optimum results.  Most soil types stay damp/moist at a depth of 2-3” so watering is not as important as surface seeding, but again, is recommended if possible.

With so much disease and chinch bug damage this past summer, aeration and over seeding could be your ticket to regaining and setting your lawn up for the spring of 2014.  If you are planning on waiting until next spring for lawn repairs, consider the fact that you won’t be able to apply crabgrass or weed control and seed simultaneously in most situations.  Also, take into account colder soil and later susceptibility to summer diseases and you are not obtaining the best value for your time and money with spring seeding.  Spring aeration on its own is fine if done in the spring or fall.   Although there are exceptions to these spring problems, fall is clearly the best time for aeration and over seeding. And after a tough summer, other wonderful fall treatments include lime, compost tea, fertilizer, and potassium.  

If your kids are headed back to school, put aeration and over seeding on your “to do” list along with clothes and school supplies!

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Spring lawn checklist for 2013

  • Your spring lawn checklist should include a review of your 2013 turf contract this winter or spring to take advantage of any preseason savings and to insure the work will be scheduled on a timely basis.  Lawn care companies are expecting an unprecedented high volume of work due to the heat, drought, and insect damage of 2012.

2013 spring lawn checklist, review it closely.

 

  • Check for grubs or other past insect damage (treat accordingly).
  • Schedule any renovation work early, as the demand will quickly find quality companies becoming booked with spring work, leaving you with limited choices or having to wait until fall.
  • Schedule your spring core aeration if you skipped it in 2012.
  • Schedule your spring lime and crabgrass inhibitor to get your lawn off to a good start.
  • Watch for ticks in April and May as the adults emerge looking for a meal!
  • Wait until the ground warms sufficiently before attempting any seeding.  April seeding generally does not perform well due to cold soil temperatures, even in southern NH.
  • Remove any debris which may have covered your lawn and cause harm such as branches, piles of leaves, plowed up sod, or gravel along the driveway.
  • Mow your lawn to 1.5 to 2” to help speed up soil warming in the spring. .  If the cut is good, just give your lawn a good raking an early spring weekend.
  • Do not dethatch or “power rake” your lawn unless it has a severe thatch issue.  This process causes more issues than it solves by tearing up healthy plants, dormant leaves and discourages a healthy recovery after winter.  Snow mold or winter damage will be magnified with power dethatching.  Save this process for the fall if you really need to see that huge pile of dethatched grass.
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