Posts Tagged ‘drought damage’

Excessive grub activity is going undetected in NH lawns

If your lawn is brown, don’t assume it is merely drought damage or continued drought given the dry weather pattern in NH.  Many lawns are being eaten right now by white grubs of all kinds.  White grubs are in bountiful numbers given the past dry, hot weather in NH & VT.  Unfortunately, many homeowners and commercial locations are not aware of this damage which will continue well into early November.  Many landscapers do not have the education or proper state certification and licensing to diagnose and treat complex lawn problems.  Left unchecked, grub damage can destroy sections if not entire lawn areas within weeks to months if left untreated.  The news gets worse!  These grubs will hide and wait until next spring, then the feeding will start again!  Many brown turf areas can be infested with grubs because many will assume the area was caused by drought and high heat.  While this may be true for some, other lawns will continue the downward spiral without appropriate action this fall or at best next spring.

Look for animals digging like crows, ravens, or skunks at night.  The turf will be easily uprooted since the root system is being attacked and cannot grow fast enough to anchor the grass to the surface.  Focus on sunny areas, along driveways or walkways.  Hot, or sunny areas are prime locations for beetles to lay their eggs for the next generation.  Your grass may be brown mixed in with green but when exposed, the trained eye can find grubs of varying sizes and types.  There are many products which can be used to control grubs including chemicals and nematodes.  Each claims success under various conditions and instructions to the home owner.  Don’t assume that picking up a bag at Lowes or the Home Depot will insure results.  Unfortunately, there are many products aimed at specific periods in the life cycle of grubs so a bag of ”Grub X or Milky Spore” applied in the fall does not mean it will work.  You must read the label or call a professional to determine if your $30 investment will actually work or just make you feel good.  If in doubt ask- don’t simply apply materials to your lawn without understanding the ramifications, that would not be environmentally responsible.  While grass is important, what you do to the environment is more important.  This is why professionals like myself must train, take written plus verbal exams by state agencies, and work in the field to gain “real world” experience.

Don’t let brown areas go unchecked, go call or e-mail a reputable lawn care company like mine.  Speak with a local professional with appropriate licensing and experience to give you the real answer.  Your lawn need not be damaged with proper information to back up appropriate action!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Back to School applies to your lawn as well

Look beyond your current lawn

As August wanes slowly into September, one can hear the school bells ringing in the distance, beckoning fresh pens, note books, and clothes for all the children readying themselves for another school year.  This time of year not only signifies preparation for school, but an ideal- if not momentous time frame to make significant gains in your lawn.  Yes, it’s back to school for your grass too!  Fall has huge advantages over spring in terms of aeration, seeding, renovations (large and small), liming, potassium, and various blends of fertilizer.  Fall is “Christmas” when it comes to strategically improving your urban or suburban lawn through a host of treatments in a short period of time- 1 to 2 months in most cases.  Why all the fuss?  Why all the clatter- what could be the matter?  I will tell you so please read on!

Your grass likely took a pounding this summer with the unusually high heat, dry periods, weed invasions of all kinds that crawl or stand upright.  People, this is war and if you don’t make your move- the enemy will win- you will lose ground.  Fall is the perfect time to fight back- but why you say?  The soil is warm with cool nights making ideal seed germination conditions.  Annual weeds like crabgrass- spurge and other villains are dying- on their way out which means minimal completion for light, nutrients, and space.  Indeed, fall has many benefits similar to late spring without the mud, cold soil, and upcoming competition of those aforementioned annual weeds.  Simply put, if you love or even like your lawn- if you dabble in applying a little fertilizer here or there- this is the time to do it.  Deep down, you know you should act- but how?

 If you hire a company like mine- all of the details will be handled for you.  However, should you take on this roll yourself- you must plan out what you want to accomplish because the timing and sequence of events are important for maximum results.  After all, working for no results is not much fun- like eating out at a restaurant with no food- fun for a few minutes but quickly becomes a waste of time and energy.

Aeration and over-seeding rank #1 and #2 in our top 6 turf list of beneficial things to do.  I will not go into detail as to why these services are so important- you can check out my earlier blog posts for that- but rather I will rate the treatments in terms of overall importance.  http://mrgrass.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/think-aeration-overseeding-this-fall/

Coming in at #3 is lime, especially high calcium lime- again- check out my post and link below which explains why lime is so important, especially around seeding. http://mrgrass.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/lime-in-the-key-to-any-successful-lawn-care-program/

Sea Kelp, a natural bio-stimulant, soil enhancer, and organic matter delight comes in at #4 in our top 6 list of lawn treatments.  If your lawn is new, sandy, weak, or has soil that was best left in a landfill or Walmart parking lot- this product is for you!  The best part about Sea Kelp is how wonderful it is to improving the soil and root zone environment for your grass.  You may have a hard time finding some fresh Sea Kelp, but it is worth the time finding it.  http://mrgrass.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/sea-kelp-a-multivitamin-for-your-lawn-soil/.  Lets just say Sea Kelp is one of my favorite overall treatments.  The only reason Kelp ranks 4th is it can be done any time of year!  If you have not had a treatment, now is the time- don’t wait until spring.

Rolling in at #5 is a balanced fertilizer treatment (1-3 visits) depending upon your exposure, grass types, and how early you start the series of treatments (Aug vs Oct).

The #6 treatment is potassium and can be done in late September to early November depending upon your geographic location.  For more information on this treatment, click on this link.  http://mrgrass.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/give-your-lawn-a-banana-potassium/

In an ideal situation, you would want to complete the entire list.  However, budget restraining- I have numbered them in order of priority in terms of benefit to your lawn this fall.  So while you are out clothes shopping for your kids and just found that perfect backpack or stapler- don’t forget to prepare your lawn for school as well!  Rent that aerator, buy that seed, shop for lime and fertilizer.  Best of luck and I wish that the grass may always be greener on your side of the fence!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

High Heat and Brown Grass

High heat and a lack off rainfall is double trouble when it comes to your cool season lawn- whether in NH or VT.  Brown grass results within days if not weeks after prolonged heat and an absence of rainfall.  What is a homeowner to do?

At this time of year, most action would be preventative such as proper cutting height (3”), lime, slow release fertilizer, mulched clippings to enhance organic matter, not mowing during the heat of the day, and having over seeded with a drought tolerant turf.  In terms of no rainfall, unless you have an irrigation system setup properly or a very shaded lot- browning is as inevitable as bacon in skillet on Sunday morning.  Hmm, you can just hear the sizzle and smell the lawn drying out to a golden brown!

On a serious note, its not the browning of your lawn that is a huge thing, but what might eat it while brown.  You would never know of an attack because green turning to brown might get your attention while outside.  What about brown staying brown?  Nothing can indicate a problem- no color change.  Now is the time to monitor for chinch bug, grub, or sod webworm activity either yourself or by hiring a professional licensed lawn care company. 

In terms of watering, anything is helpful- but don’t expect that magical green you would see in the spring or fall.  Providing an inch or more of water may not even be allowed if there is a ban like many towns are now experiencing here in NH.  Since most grass needs about an inch per week, anything else helps to keep the dormant turf alive as it remains in a hibernation state.  High heat will brown out and cause all kinds of blotches and spots in a treated or non-treated lawn setting- it is plain just too hot for cool season grass when the mercury rises above 85 to 90.  High heat can cause white blotches on the leaf blade to creating drought stress as dull blue or purple sections.  Further stress results in a tan or light brown lawn as the plant shuts down to preserve itself.  Remember, grass blades are 99% water, so no water- no grass to grow!

 Now is not the time to apply liquid fertilizer or herbicides- the result can be a disaster resulting in what I call “corner to corner grey or brown turf”.  A trained eye can spot this kind of chemical induced stress.  High soluble fertilizers place undue stress on a lawn already on the edge.  Mowing during the heat of the day is like lying on your driveway at noon- hot and unpleasant.  Any remaining moisture is quickly lost through the fresh cuts as the lawn literally wilts in hours- sometimes causing massive browning.  Stressed turf is highly susceptible to mower tracks from the weight of a tractor.  This is also true of lawn care companies that use perma-greens and other powered equipment to apply fertilizer, lime, or herbicides- the pure weight causes tire tracks and the resulting brown lines!  A light touch using smaller spreaders helps to minimize this issue.

In short, high summer heat is not customary in NH or VT, but when it does occur- be sure to watch out for insect damage, water if you can- what you can, don’t mow if you don’t have to- especially during 11am to 3pm, and cut high 3” to 3.5”.  Don’t feel obligated to mow when not mowing is really the best course of action.

Take a vacation and have some fun- but make sure you take care of your investment!

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