Posts Tagged ‘fall fertilizer’

October lawn projects prepare your lawn for colder weather

October is a great month for lawn work

Fall is an excellent time to repair your lawn. Especially after experiencing a ten year heat record this past summer.  Regardless of what went wrong, having a game plan now is critical toward taking advantage of warm autumn soil, cool nights, and ample rainfall.  This typical 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 numerous benefits of aeration and overseeding.  So long as soil moisture is good, aeration can be done well into early November while most seeding should cease by the end of October.  Topdressing any bare spots before the weather turns too cold is a great way to repair damaged areas of your lawn.

Sandy soils, new lawns, and those with thin topsoil depths are at a disadvantage in terms of supporting a high quality lawn without planned treatments.  Applying calcium lime, natural or a high potassium fertilizer can maximize turf health now before colder weather arrives.

Work done in October can turn an otherwise weak, thin, or damaged lawn around; setting the stage for spring.  The healthier you get your lawn during October the better your grass is prepared for the winter.  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 (versus spring time) the opportune time to make repairs and achieve maximum results.

October Checklist:

-      Aeration with possible overseeding

-      High Calcium Lime

-      High potassium fertilizer

-      Schedule snow mold treatment for November

-      Balanced fertilizer if last treatment exceeds 2 months

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Why is a NH Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating important to your lawn?

Published by JKeefe on October 20th, 2010 - in Lawn Care Companies

The NH office of the Better Business Bureau is located in Concord at the following website: http://concord.bbb.org/

The BBB allows consumers the opportunity to examine the track record of local businesses in a wide variety of industries, lawn care included.  Within the BBB, a business can apply for accreditation  http://concord.bbb.org/Business-Accreditation/, once approved a given business has agreed to live within the BBB code of Business Practices.  There are eight principles that summarize an accredited business http://concord.bbb.org/bbb-accreditation-standards/.  This type of pledge clearly illustrates the committment to the consumer.  Becoming accredited is a pledge from a given business to the consumer relating to how serious they take their particular line of work and how willing they are to be transparent and resolve issues or complaints if they arise.

There are many businesses who are accredited within the state of NH and many that are not.  In the case of Chippers, we are an accredited business with the BBB, meaning we have applied and been accepted under the guidelines listed on the BBB website.  The largest provider of lawn services is not an accredited company.  Lets move onto the BBB rating and determine what it means to the average consumer.

The BBB rating is like a credit rating, it is a score determined by the BBB resulting from not only volume of complaints, but tracks if they are resolved and how quickly they are resolved.  Every business makes mistakes, what sets a great business apart from a poor or deficient one would be billing practices, customer service response, and the ability to resolve the mistake.  Lets look closer at this BBB rating.  Like a credit score, it sums up the likelihood or predicts how you, as a consumer are likely to be treated as a client.  The BBB score is also an indicator of general business practices that would be of interest to you such as customer service and billing.  In other words, a BBB rating can be summarized as how likely- statistically- you are likely to encounter a problem within a given business.

For example, Chippers has an (A+) rating, the highest rating possible.  On the other hand, a large firm doing business out of Londonderry NH has an (F) rating from the Concord BBB- the lowest possible.  The following report has been taken directly from the NH BBB and outlines the deficiencies within the nations largest lawn care company operating in NH:

“This company has received a pattern of complaints. Complaints allege that after the company does work for the consumer they automatically return the next year to care for the consumer’s lawn even after the consumer has canceled the service. Consumers state that they cancel the company’s return visit, but they company still comes out and then bills the consumer for the work done. The company has responded to most complaints by issuing refunds, but they have failed to remove the cause of the complaints.

Before you renew or accept your 2011 lawn services with the nation’s largest provider of lawn care, consider this information and perhaps there are alternative lawn companies that could provide better billing, customer service, and results.

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Prepare for fall lawn projects

September is almost here! What plans to you have for your grass this fall? If you are like most people, you know something should be done, but just don’t know what is important. Like most lawns, summer can be a tragic event with high heat, summer weeds, crabgrass, and browning- a distasteful combination for sure! Don’t lose hope, things can be done to turn your lawn around before winter. Fall is an ideal time to consider several applications that will give you the most for your green dollar.

Start simple. Don’t tackle a lawn project without starting out simple. An easy fall lawn treatment would be lime. Lime has a multitude of benefits and helps fertilizer function better. Like a great hair conditioner lime raises soil pH thereby making most fertilizer nutrients more available to the turf roots. Since it is difficult to apply too much lime, this is a simple, hard to mess up application for the most part. Try to use high calcium limes or at the very least, pelletized dolomitic limestone. Stay away from crushed limestone as it makes a mess and takes a very long time to actually work – months upon months vs weeks for the others I mentioned. So if you do anything this fall, put a good- heavy application of lime down to sweeten your soil.

As your brown lawn comes out of dormancy it will be looking for nutrients to begin the recovery process. Like a multivitamin in waiting, your lawn will benefit tremendously from a balanced- slow release fertilizer. Don’t worry so much about the analysis (the numbers like 10-5-19 etc), but try to select a nice balanced product. There are more fertilizer combinations than ice cream flavors so don’t be intimidated.

Aeration and overseeding are big fall treatments that can make substantial gains in a healthy lawn or one that has taken a hit due to drought and or thinning from disease or insect damage. Aeration will help with compaction, air, water, and nutrient availability plus it makes holes for overseeding.  Overseeding will not establish a lawn but it will add superior turf to an existing lawn or a thin one. Topdressing and seeding can be used at the same time for bare patches or if small sections of the lawn have perished. Don’t be too quick in pronouncing grass dead- just because things are brown does not indicate dead turf. Most turf will brown out as a normal protective measure due to heat and or lack of moisture. Lots of grass can break this dormant period after cooler weather and some significant rain- this process just takes time- patience is key.
On the other hand, extended drought- short mowing- and or insect damage may result in turf thinning to all out destruction in a variety of sizes. If you are in doubt- have a professional check and give you the diagnosis before starting over from scratch something that can be come very time-consuming and expensive.

Broadleaf weed control can be used once weeds begin to grow. Annual weeds like crabgrass and spurge will die out on its own. Remember, most broadleaf weed control products will stress out turf- so only use this material as needed and at the right time. In addition, if you use broadleaf weed control- seeding and or overseeding can be delayed or postponed many weeks due to incompatibility issues. As a home owner, you must decide whether to aerate and overseed first and wait on weed control, or do you go after the weeds first and then aerate and overseed later in the fall. This is a fine dance and timing is important due to the onset of cooler weather and approaching frost/snow in November. If in doubt, ask someone in this kind of business first for advice. Once the material is down, you cannot take it back up and the delay may very well mean a missed opportunity.

A winterizer or a late season fertilizer treatment is a great application to help your grass store up energy for next spring. A late season potassium treatment is different from a winterizer being a balanced product. Potassium normally comes in a 0-0-62 blend, not a balanced product as compared to a winterizer that would be a 25-8-15 for example. The key to a late season application is so you don’t push a lot of new growth this year, but allow the lawn to store up the energy for next spring as a reserve. Potassium helps thicken cell walls and makes your lawn more resistant to drought, disease, and winter damage. Both applications are most useful when applied properly.

I hope this small post has inspired you to plan your attack this fall, after all, it is still early and lots can be done! Don’t let the fall slip away into winter, do some research- ask some questions, and get that grass looking better for 2011!

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