Posts Tagged ‘concord lawn care’

Back to school: Ideal time for aeration

All the ads for back to school supplies are great reminders that it’s the start of a new season for lawn care too. Late summer/early fall is a great time of year for many lawn care services and this especially this year, your lawn deserves some extra attention. 2015 has been and continues to be a tough year for New England lawns beginning with a dry spring and a humid summer with less than desirable rainfall. Right from the start, a late spring dealt a harsh blow to grass attempting to recover from an arctic winter.

 

 

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to prepare for next spring.

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to prepare for next spring.

 
A dry spring faded into a dry summer with some areas receiving less than ¼ of the amount of normal rainfall. Humid weather brought red thread and placed even more stress on turf already feeling the pain of summer. Crabgrass, grubs, and chinch bugs began popping up in browned-out lawns. This is exactly why back to school time should include some extra attention to your lawn.

 
Fall ushers in the best time to seed in NH and VT due to warm soil temperatures and the demise of annual weeds like spotted spurge and crabgrass. Unlike spring, annual weeds are dying and provide an ideal opportunity to seed damaged and thin lawn areas alike. Don’t let this opportunity pass, it will be another year before it arrives again!
Specifically, core aerate to reduce thatch and compaction from dry weather.

 

The aeration holes provide an ideal scenario to overseed into an existing lawn area or one that is thin. Overseeding is not designed to establish a lawn, but add to an existing lawn by providing better turf grasses for future growth. For more damaged areas or bare patches, consider topdressing with a loam/compost blend and then seed at a full rate. Topdressing is a great way to repair insect or drought damage from this season.

 
Fertilizing, lime, and compost tea are all great ways to work on rejuvenating your lawn this fall. If your grass simply has weeds, fall is a super time to treat for them before winter arrives. Back to school time reminds us that preparation is key, not just for children and their parents, but for your lawn as well. The more you do for your lawn now, means a better start to next spring.

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Crabgrass Q & A

Published by mrgrass on April 23rd, 2015 - in Crabgrass

Q. It’s April and my lawn is full of crabgrass, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass is an annual plant and does not even germinate in NH and VT until mid or late May. Any grasses you see now and suspect are crabgrass, are not. They are perennial grasses and may appear to look like crabgrass. This is a very common misperception. Unwanted perennial grasses need special care including manual or herbicide removal.

 
Q. I always have crabgrass, nothing seems to work, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass generally indicates an underlying problem like unhealthy soil, recent insect damage, or some other event that allow it to flourish rather than your lawn. Although pre-emergent products work great, in the absence of surrounding grass, the barrier will fail and the problem will reoccur year after year. Only by improving the soil and adding superior grass seed into the infected area will you ever conquer this ongoing issue.

 

Q. I typically dig out crabgrass and weeds, is this doing more harm than good?

A. Whenever you tear up any plant, you bring up more of the weeds’ seeds to the surface where they will germinate. While you may have temporary relief and feel good about removing crabgrass manually, you are actually making the problem worse by depositing seeds that would otherwise have remained dormant buried below.

 

Q. When is the best time to apply crabgrass control?

A. In NH and VT, there are several types of pre-emergent control products that do a nice job by safely preventing not only crabgrass, but also many annual weeds from germinating in the soil. A pre-emergent is the best product and means to reduce crabgrass. By definition, a pre-emergent must be applied before the crabgrass rears its ugly head! Soil temperature is the big deal here and once mid to late May arrives, you are likely to have crabgrass germinating; especially in sunny locations like along your driveway, walkways, or roadside. Once crabgrass germinates and while still small, in the two or three leaf stage, there are other products that can be used to still gain control. For larger crabgrass, you would need to switch to yet another specialized material for use through August. Once fall rolls around, just let this annual plant die off. However, the best way to prevent crabgrass is with a thick healthy lawn created with healthy soil, adequate nutrition, and by mowing at the proper height (2” first cut of the season, 3” May – September).

 
See my blog http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2012/03/30/crabgrass-is-more-than-a-crabgrass-problem/ for information on crabgrass.

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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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