Posts Tagged ‘irrigation’

July is rough on your lawn

 

A dry lawn can mean improper mowing or lack of irrigation

Correct mowing is the absolute most critical factor when it comes to high summer temperatures and not adding stress already present due to heat and reduced rainfall.  One low cut below 2” can nearly instantly brown-out a lawn within hours.  The lower the cut, the more damage is done as the cut lets lose massive amounts of moisture in the hot sun causing the soil to heat up and weeds to germinate.  Nothing will set off an awful course of bad events more than a short mowing cut in July.  A dull mower blade adds to the dilemma by shredding the ends, predisposing the grass to disease and causing a displeasing tan or white tint.  Proper mowing means an am or pm cut, a sharp blade, and at least a 3” cutting height; anything less spells trouble for your lawn for weeks, if not months.

Although watering is nice, it is not the end all to saving a lawn in the month of July.  Dry lawns should not be mown unless necessary and not in the mid day.  A lawn in mild to severe stress will show mower tracks days after a cut.  Since the grass blade is mostly water, it may come as no surprise that without rainfall the lawn will lose its green color and not even have the ability to grow all that much.  Driving a tractor over a lawn in drought stress is like shoveling your driveway with a head cold in shorts in the winter, a less-than lovely combination.

Fertilizing in the summer should be to control damaging insects and be blended with slow release fertilizers, or nothing at all should be applied.  Since lawns do require at least an inch of rain per week to stay actively growing, anything less means growth will slow and the color will fade.  A normal dry period might last a few weeks to even a month in July or August.  If three weeks have gone by without rainfall, then a light watering can help keep your lawn alive, if only dormant.  Once the moisture runs out, grass will shut down and go to sleep like a bear hibernating.  This is a protection mechanism and helps most turf withstand a typical summer.  The extent of long term damage can be measured in early fall with normal rain and cooler temperatures.  How well your lawn faired will be dependent upon the initial health going into the summer, your mowing habits/height, and supplemental irrigation if you have the ability to do so.

Any irrigation is preferable in the early morning throughout the day.  Late afternoon to evening watering is not desirable because disease issues can quickly develop causing damage ranging from small to large patches.  Watering times vary from the thatch thickness, sun to shade ratio, slope, and turf varieties present.  One can imagine that a sunny lawn with a thick thatch layer would require significantly more water than a thin, shaded lawn out back next to the woods.  When in doubt, any water is better than none, but is not necessarily required in the big picture.

We created a mowing height gauge that’s a magnet so you can easily stick in on your mower, gas can or work area. No more excuses for mowing too short!  If you want a free mowing magnet, just send me an e-mail at turf@chippersinc.com and I would be pleased to send you one as a way of saying thanks for reading this blog!

 

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Ten Reasons to improve your lawn in NH or VT

Published by JKeefe on January 25th, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies, Misc.

 

The Environment #10 and #9

#10  A healthy lawn reduces water runoff and soil erosion which in turns protects our lakes and streams from sediment moving from the land into the water.  Turf is a living filter which protects ground water quality through a vast network of roots, thatch, and leaves.  There are many lawn products that can be used close to or up to the water without harming that ecosystem such as lime, kelp, and further back slow release products.

#9  A healthy lawn will absorb 6 times as much rainfall as a common hay-field.  A healthy lawn entraps pollutants and with the help of soil microbes, biodegrades them safely.  Coating grass seed with mycorrhizae improves turf defensive capabilities against insects and disease issues often reducing the need for fertilizer in a calendar year.  Compost tea is a perfect example of how to improve the soil and help your lawn simultaneously.

 

Functional Benefits #8 thru #4

#8  A healthy lawn dissipates heat and reduces the energy required to cool homes and buildings- thus saving energy.

#7  Turf grass abates noise and reduces glare.

#6  A mown lawn decreases disease carrying ticks and reduces fire hazards near wooded areas.

#5  Well maintained turf grass reduces injury from sports played at home, school, or elsewhere.

#4  A well cared for lawn is actually a low-cost asset that can be physically used or enjoyed for pure viewing pleasure.

Health  #3 thru #1

#3  Studies show the cycle of growing grass and the color green lift human spirits and provide both thoughts and feelings of happiness, privacy, and serenity.

#2  Well maintained turf is known to have therapeutic effects on humans as measured by heart rate and blood pressure- increasing recovery rate of hospital patients.

#1  Hiring a licensed, experienced turf professional will help you accomplish some if not all of the benefits above while insuring the job is done correctly.  Free up valuable time and spend it with your family or friends!

As you can gather, grass is simply more than just a lawn!  Winter is the perfect time to explore the advantages of utilizing the skills of your local turf care provider.  Perhaps this is the year to explore natural or organic products?  Stop guessing and wondering if you are putting down too much or too little material while wasting your valuable Saturday or Sunday.  Send that e-mail or make that phone call today and get your lawn on the right path in 2011.

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Review your lawn contract before renewing

If it seems to good to be true- you may be right

Did your doctor ever tell you to get a second opinion?  Hundreds of commercial lawn care contracts will be mailed out shortly to residential homes in remote parts of NH and VT.  Even more lawn contracts will be mailed out to commercial customers in the hopes that those in the appropriate position will sign, mail, or simply fax it back with no questions asked.  I propose that each contract deserves not only a second opinion, but a thorough examination line by line item.  The national and larger regional lawn care companies typically roll your program over from year to year.

Most lawns are not being examined to determine true needs but rather recycled in archives from prior years like a CD player on repeat.  While this automated process may approach adequate at best, I sincerely doubt you are receiving a turf care program worthy of your hard-earned dollars.  Furthermore, I doubt most existing clients even understand what they are receiving and why versus what is available in their market area.  Let me expand on this theme.

Many remote lawn accounts are labeled and classified as ”commercial”, with most customers unaware of this practice.  These kinds of accounts are processed at a high volume utilizing heavy machines called Turf-Trackers or even tractors.  These machines do a decent job on large properties or fields but are anything but light and are not ideally suited to home lawns or smaller settings.  An inexperienced operator can easily cause damage while running the machine over frost covered lawns, shaded locations, and especially slopes.  Turf can be easily torn, compacted, and ripped up without careful attention from the driver.  These machines make it easy to operate at an aggressive speed as they work to achieve the goals set for them by the larger corporate office.  If these facts don’t cause you to raise an eyebrow, please read on.

Unfortunately, many of these “commercial” contracts are recycled revenue without any fresh investigation data to support the renewal.  In fact, I would wager that most if not the majority of these accounts are seldom looked at beyond the production dollars they represent each year.  Simply put, the large national chains are usually too far away and their attempts to service remote regions often severely stress their limited staff and outsourced customer service centers.  Most national lawn care companies utilize lawn programs like McDonald’s “Happy meals” except without the toy because you get a few fertilizer visits, grub control, and a lime treatment.  Who would question that?

Does your phone call get forwarded to a call center or does a real person answer your call?  Are you able to reach your lawn care office or do you even know where it is?  Are you supporting your local economy or something much larger?

How can these large lawn care services claim and advertise to be local when they drive nearly 2 hrs to service lawns in remote areas of NH beyond their primary service market?  Is that local service?  Again, any company that pre-mixes fertilizer in a liquid medium and then applies it to every lawn in a single day is doing their clients a basic injustice as outlined in my blog post (http://mrgrassblog.net/2010/04/22/price-and-the-…awn-treatments/ ‎).  Mixing concentrated fertilizer into a liquid is an easy and inexpensive way to administer a lawn program.  As I said before, yes it works well for some lawns but not all lawns.  You get exactly what you pay for with this type of treatment, a quick buzz of green.  There are lots of natural and organic alternatives to this kind of turf care.

Before you sign on the dotted line, before you pre-pay for your entire year upfront- get a second opinion from a local lawn care company.  I welcome the questions and the challenge to take your property to the next level.  If you are not in our service area, I have companies I can recommend to you- just leave a comment to this post.  Even if you decide not to make a change, doesn’t it just make sense to get another opinion like a car or house repair?  Don’t just sign without thinking about what things could be like in 2011.  I know it’s easy to just send the lawn contract back, but a free second opinion from any other turf health care company is time well spent.  Make this winter the time where you decide to explore what has been going down on your lawn in the past and why!  Support your local economy and research who services your town for lawn treatments.  Exploring new options can be educational, fun, and you might even receive better results!

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