Posts Tagged ‘fall aeration’

Fall is the best time to improve your lawn in NH & VT

Fall is the best time to repair or seed a lawn in NH and VT

Fall is the best time to repair your lawn after experiencing a brutal hot summer.  Although your lawn may contain summer annual weeds like crabgrass, oxalis, spurge; take heart that their time will soon be coming to an end in September.  September beckons turf renovation in order to help restore some order by repairing any damage incurred since spring.  Common lawn damage results from drought, weed or insect infestation, or even disease and must be repaired in the fall for best results.

Regardless of what went wrong, having a game plan now is critical toward taking advantage of warm autumn soil, cool nights, and typical rain.  This normal weather combination makes fall an ideal time to repair and improve lawns in NH and VT.  So what can be done?  What should you consider in terms of products or services this fall to help your home lawn?

Aeration and overseeding should be at the top of your list because both will help your lawn in numerous ways.  Review my prior blog posts for the benefits of aeration and overseeding.  So long as soil moisture is good, aeration can begin in mid to late August depending upon your location.  Topdressing bare spots or a damaged area of lawn is another great process toward thickening up your lawn once seeded.  Seeding and renovating your lawn by aerating is just the first step toward helping repair and improve it.

Applying a high calcium lime, a well blended natural fertilizer, and even kelp or compost tea will enhance seeding results and benefit the organisms in the soil itself.  Sandy soils, new lawns, and those with thin topsoil depths are at a disadvantage in terms of supporting a high quality lawn without substantial work.  A great start to either improving or repairing a treated lawn includes some if not all of the aforementioned lawn treatments in both NH & VT.

September and October are huge months and can turn an otherwise weak, thin, or damaged lawn around; preparing it for the spring of 2012.  The healthier you get your lawn during this time frame, the better your grass is prepared for the winter and spring treatments next year.  Remember, most crabgrass control products do not allow seeding and use of that product simultaneously next spring.  Although spring lawn seeding and repair can be fruitful, the weather often plays a huge roll regarding rainfall and heat.  You will also face annual weeds as they germinate in new soil, presenting serious competition to your young lawn.  These two factors make fall the opportune time to make repairs over spring time when it comes to achieving maximum results.

Plan ahead now and don’t miss this important time frame to help repair your lawn for not only this winter, but more importantly the spring of 2012!

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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!

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Think Aeration & Overseeding this fall

 

 

 

 

Why aerate in the fall and why overseed?

Aeration can be done almost anytime with the spring and the fall being the best time periods.  The main reason fall takes an edge over spring is due to a few important facts.  First, the soil is already warm from the summer so seed will germinate much faster compared to the spring.  Second, annual weeds like crabgrass or spurge have completed their life cycles and are on the way out (dying) instead of growing larger.  The reduced competition is most helpful to young turf plants which don’t have to compete for air, light, moisture, and nutrients in the fall.  Most lawns will benefit from additional seeding, whether in existing established turf or thinner lawn areas.  Overseeding is not designed to create a lawn in bare areas but add to existing lawn regardless of the condition (great to thin).  The primary reason to overseed your lawn after aeration would be to introduce a superior grade grass into the lawn.  A perfect overseeding example would be where the kids play or an area that dries out frequently.  Adding a drought tolerant turf such as tall fescue is a wonderful tactic to add new grass and upgrade the lawn area while not undertaking a costly renovation.  In most situations, working with the existing lawn is a faster and more economical position than starting from scratch.  Since turf usually takes a hit in summer heat, being proactive for the next year is critical since the window of opportunity only comes twice a year!

What is thatch?

Thatch is defined as living and non-living “stuff” lying between the upper turf blades and the soil.  A thatch layer between 0-1/2” is considered healthy but one approaching 1” or greater resists water absorption like a dry sponge.  Excessive thatch also encourages many types of insects and disease issues.  Aeration is also useful for reducing compaction in clay or heavily used lawn areas.  Aeration may seem simple enough, but it is a very labor intensive process- especially when using our heavy, commercial grade machines.  While you may be able to rent a small aerator, a large benefit derived from a larger unit provides deeper hole, especially in compacted soil.  If you do decide to rent an aerator- be sure the tine tips are not worn down.  Aeration is especially beneficial when followed by over seeding to thicken and add improved grass varieties.

Commercial grade aerators physically remove plugs from your lawn which improves water, moisture, and nutrient absorption into the soil while enhancing root growth and thatch decomposition.  Dethatching machines slice the lawn creating large volumes of plant debris and can often cause extensive damage if not used properly.  Aeration is recommended on all lawns on a yearly basis while dethatching is only left to the most mature, thick lawns with a thatch near 1” as a renovating process.

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