Posts Tagged ‘dethatching’

Fall lawn seeding in NH & VT

Fall is a superior time to establish an entirely new lawn or to simply fix a dead patch.  Both projects involve preparation of the site and subsequent seeding with an appropriate grass type best suited for the location.  The lawn pictured in this blog post was completed by our company less than a month ago and shows excellent progress within a short period of time.  This is due to warm soil, cooler days, excellent topsoil mixed with compost, high calcium lime for improved seed germination/pH adjustment, and lots of grass seed.  Like making a fine chili, the ingredients may seem simple- yet putting them all together in the proper sequence is paramount to success.  Whether you are undertaking a few square feet to 6,000 sqft as pictured in this lawn renovation- execution is as vital as the quality ingredients to achieve a new lawn area.

If you are going to do the lawn repair/installation yourself be sure to order quality loam mixed with compost if available.  Make sure you have enough time and a small tractor to move the loam if you are receiving a truck load or more.  Two experienced people can install a large lawn area in a weekend if the project has been thought out ahead of time.  Having the proper seed variety is not as easy as it may seem or the quantity.  Most grass varieties will call for 8 to 14lbs per 1,000sqft depending upon the type.  Rye and Tall Fescue have much larger seeds then Bluegrass or some shade varieties so more or less will be needed as a result.  The best lawns take thought and using a house brand or a generic “sun” or “shade” mix is often not the answer or solution for achieving a long term turf area.

Applying a slow release fertilizer with high calcium lime are additional tools to help the seed establish itself and put down a root system- all critical phases in the first 2 to 3 weeks.  Using hay adds weed seeds so stick to straw or nothing at all.  If a lawn is properly rolled to insure good seed to soil contact- you will get germination in the presence of adequate moisture.  Straw helps on slopes or areas that may not receive adequate water.  Seed nets or mats are very useful on steep slopes where you want to establish anything to help stop erosion.

The soil will stay warm into early November, especially around houses and southern or western exposures.  Since grass must undergo a physical change over winter- any grass established now will have a head start next year in terms of survival.  While larger projects may be put on hold until spring in terms of renovation- gambling with smaller areas are often worth the roll of the dice to get grass setup for the following year.  Location is key when it comes to making the call whether to embark on spot seeding or not in the fall.  If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional for options.  Fall seeding in NH & VT are great times to repair damage caused by summer heat and drought.

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Autumn leaf removal, simple yet important

As the air cools and summer fades into piles of colored leaves, your lawn beckons attention before the snow covers it with a blanket of white.  Some lawn projects can be simple like raking on a regular basis or mowing with a vacuum bag style tractor system.  Raking, or specifically a lack of leaves allows your lawn to capture more sunlight as the deciduous trees lose their green canopy.  Increased sunlight can really help shaded and weak areas capture additional energy to help prepare for the winter.  In some cases, this vital time period could be a month or more of growing before slowing to the point of near dormancy with the onset of freezing weather.  Any leaves left on the lawn can cause a mulching action by inhibiting sunlight from reaching the leaf blades below.  Don’t allow piles of leaves to sit for weeks on end, or the grass underneath will suffer the consequences possibly even leading to damage.  Keeping your lawn clean in the fall can really improve the chances of winter survival and minimize damage.  Turf that is left covered with leaves or lots of pine needles face a lack of air, light, and often succumb to ice damage in a weakened state.  As simple as raking or leaf removal is, it is very important to all lawns to approach winter clear as opposed to buried out of sight under leaf litter.

Autumn is also a great time harden your lawn off for winter.  A wonderful mowing height during the growing season is 3″ as a standard.  Your mowing height can be lowered as October fades into November.  Drop your mowing deck a half-inch a week starting in late October with the final cut in mid November being around 1 to 1.5 inches in height.  The slow drop in mowing height helps harden your lawn off and slows growth in addition to falling temperatures.  Many folks put their mowers away much too early in October when the lawn continues to grow well into November in many years sometimes to the Thanksgiving holiday break in southern areas of NH or VT.  Some of the most simple cultural things like mowing and raking can make or break some turf grass areas between not only looking great, but awesome.  The preventative care in raking and mowing can yield big dividends over a harsh winter- aiding in survival and spring recovery.  Turf that goes into the winter long and by that I mean a normal height of 3″ or more- will be predisposed to snow mold and ice damage, even more so with leaf or needle debris.

Plan ahead now and rest easy this winter knowing you did all you could to help your lawn make it into a new year!

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Fall lawn treatments in NH & VT

Fall is an excellent time to repair the damage caused by the summer of 2010.  Now is the time to act.  Now is the time to prepare your lawn for next spring by adding new grass to brown or bare spots.  Even if your lawn seems ok, there is always work which can be done to improve it for next year.  If your lawn suffered from the hot, dry weather of 2010 don’t think you are alone.  Most grass suffered under minimal rainfall, above average temperatures, and brutal heat which in turn promoted insect and drought damage.  Don’t be fooled and think your lawn is brown simply from a lack of water or heat.  Any brown areas in your lawn in September or October can be prime indicators of chinch bugs, white grubs, sod webworms, or other noxious turf pests.  If you are in doubt, have an expert examine your lawn because many of these pests will not go away.  In fact, they will overwinter and return next spring only to continue the population explosion and expand their dominion conquering your lawn and raising the flag of victory.  The problem is, the flag is not your’s and will only mean expensive renovations and possibly drastic measures to eliminate the enemy.

What procedures should you consider?  Aeration is at the top of the list and can be done up until the ground freezes in November.  Seeding after aeration is called overseeding and is a great procedure.  For most of us in Upper Valley region, we can seed well into mid October and still expect decent results in most years.  Depending upon weather conditions, seeding later is a roll of the dice and results may be reduced by the onset of early snow or unusually cold weather.  Have sea kelp applied to your lawn to improve root density and promote organic matter.  Let us not forget lime, our old friend who will adjust soil pH so fertilizer works better.  Of course, applying a high potassium fertilizer in addition to a standard balanced fertilization is wonderful- especially in October.  Potassium thickens cell walls and makes the grass more resistant to drying out, ice and drought damage.  Many benefits are derived from a late season balanced fertilization which is not intended to push top growth, but become stored for use next spring in the root system and soil environment.  The tougher your grass, the better it can withstand ice, cold, and the drying winds of winter.

In summary, a lot of things can be done in a very short period of time to provide a whole lot of benefit to your home or commercial lawn area.  Don’t miss the window of opportunity to enhance your brown lawn this fall.

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