Posts Tagged ‘grass’

Patience with Your Lawn

However, a living landscape is much different then ordering your coffee with extra sugar in the morning. Living plants, including grass, are not easily changed by your desires or a swipe of your debit card. This mindset is hard to break evidenced by, “If my lawn is treated today, it had better respond by at least tomorrow morning”. Sorry my friend, but there are complexities of the outdoor environment that may be difficult to control irrespective of your desires.

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Living grass and the soil beneath is a complex ecosystem which does not easily yield to our commands and thoughtful applications. Even under the best lawn care program, high heat or drought can hinder expected improvement during the season. A harsh winter can take your lawn back five steps after so much hard work the prior season. Mowing short can undo months of hard earned results if done at the wrong time of day and year. Patience is what I recommend, with a dash of hope, to any homeowner dreaming of that emerald carpet.

Think of all the working pieces in a lawn, the soil, the grass itself, the location, and then the care it receives in terms of mowing, watering, raking and such. There are a lot of variables, each playing a role in hindering or helping overall improvement to your lawn. The instant fix mindset does not work in the realm of living plants with so many “what ifs”. Sure, there are general predicable outcomes for any action, but there are many side roads which can lead to disappointment without a measure of patience.

There are no pizzas with extra cheese in the world of lawn care, only a mower with a sharp mulching blade. Patience means knowing that one season of weed spraying may not live up to your expectations. Patience means knowing that too much water can be just as bad as no water. Patience means knowing that you cannot have instant success when dealing with living plants.

There is a Latin proverb which says, “He who endures with patience is a conqueror”. Maybe we do live in a fast-paced society with a frenzy to be the best and have it all. Perhaps patience is a lost art and could be practiced in the many areas including lawn care. A fascinating thought worthy of reflection. I hope this year you can be the conqueror of your lawn and so much more while enduring with ample patience.

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A brief commentary on spring lawn seeding

 

Spring lawn seeding can be done in a single spot or an area providing a quick way to repair plow damage and dead spots from the winter, or damage incurred in the drought of 2012.  If done correctly, spring seeding can help restore otherwise lost grass area adding to summer enjoyment.

Spring lawn seeding can help repair plow damage

Spring seeding can normally be done once the ground warms until early-to-mid June if properly done and with appropriate weed suppression.  Spring seeding takes a second seat to fall seeding due to reduced crabgrass and weed pressure in the fall.  Fall seeding affords warm soils and fast germination without crabgrass or annual weed choking out new growth.  However, with special treatments, spring seeding can be successful if done carefully and with the proper grass blends.

Regardless of how you fix your lawn, the grass types installed are critical toward long term success.  All grass blends are not created equal and you get what you pay for in terms of age, weed content, and site specific blends, be it drought-shade, sun, play or other locations.  Cheap grass seed and a lack of foresight is a common error in repairing or installing a lawn.  What appeared to be success can quickly turns to brown grass and defeat.

Full lawn installations are best saved for early spring or late summer into fall due to generally favorable weather.  Small repairs can be done anytime during the year but keep in mind, you will have weeds and crabgrass of varying population levels.  These weeds can be treated with a variety of specialty sprays but these are not inexpensive and must be done properly with qualified, licensed turf companies like Chippers.

Watering is the second most important factor in achieving good germination and helping establish a new lawn.  Without water, your seed will stay dormant and cannot germinate.  If you water in the beginning and then stop, the shallow rooted seedlings may perish within days without an adequate supply from rain or irrigation.  Try and water in the morning and late afternoon in the absence of rainfall to keep the seed alive and improve both germination and growth performance.

The overall success of your seeding can be summed up by two main factors; watering and seed type/quality.         

 

 

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Dry spring weather delays lawn greening

 

Have you noticed most lawns are just not greening up the way they normally do?  The lack of rainfall and continued dry weather has significantly reduced spring green-up and recovery from winter.  With minimal soil moisture, dormant grass is unable to push out new leaves made up primarily of water.  The resulting drought has stalled the normal lush growth expected in late April or early May.  Dead grass leaves from last year remain brown or white at or near the ground level.  This visually looks bad, with some minor new leaves but a brown or white tint below.  Lots of folks are asking if they should rake up what they perceive as dead thatch.  I say “no” because tearing up dead plant material will do more harm than good to a lawn not yet fully growing or recovered.

Dry spring lawns won't green up

Dry spring lawns won’t green up

I am seeing lawns all over NH and VT “simmering”, not really green, not really dormant – a time typically reserved for dark green lush growth.  Any rainfall or irrigation can help push out new growth and get things going; after all summer is just around the corner and high heat usually spells trouble for New England grasses.  A spring dry period can reduce any lawn’s ability to recover after a normal winter possibly followed by snow mold or ice damage.  Some nice soaking showers or a few days of rain can help turn our brown lawns around and get the grass green and growing strong. 

Anyone with irrigation should most certainly be using it by now and those who can water with a sprinkler and hose should consider doing so to help revive lawn areas which are just not doing well.  Sunny areas may be dry, but so may areas with lots of tree roots.  Remember your lawn’s hot spots and those areas which tend to brown first given the heat of summer.  Target those sections first because they will most certainly be under stress, perhaps more than other lawn areas.

If rain does not arrive in the next week or so, I would strongly advise anyone who has a lawn care company to irrigate where possible to push new growth and help dissolve any granular/liquid products remaining on the surface of the lawn and move into down into the soil. 

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