Posts Tagged ‘loam’

Fall lawn treatments in NH & VT

Fall is an excellent time to repair the damage caused by the summer of 2010.  Now is the time to act.  Now is the time to prepare your lawn for next spring by adding new grass to brown or bare spots.  Even if your lawn seems ok, there is always work which can be done to improve it for next year.  If your lawn suffered from the hot, dry weather of 2010 don’t think you are alone.  Most grass suffered under minimal rainfall, above average temperatures, and brutal heat which in turn promoted insect and drought damage.  Don’t be fooled and think your lawn is brown simply from a lack of water or heat.  Any brown areas in your lawn in September or October can be prime indicators of chinch bugs, white grubs, sod webworms, or other noxious turf pests.  If you are in doubt, have an expert examine your lawn because many of these pests will not go away.  In fact, they will overwinter and return next spring only to continue the population explosion and expand their dominion conquering your lawn and raising the flag of victory.  The problem is, the flag is not your’s and will only mean expensive renovations and possibly drastic measures to eliminate the enemy.

What procedures should you consider?  Aeration is at the top of the list and can be done up until the ground freezes in November.  Seeding after aeration is called overseeding and is a great procedure.  For most of us in Upper Valley region, we can seed well into mid October and still expect decent results in most years.  Depending upon weather conditions, seeding later is a roll of the dice and results may be reduced by the onset of early snow or unusually cold weather.  Have sea kelp applied to your lawn to improve root density and promote organic matter.  Let us not forget lime, our old friend who will adjust soil pH so fertilizer works better.  Of course, applying a high potassium fertilizer in addition to a standard balanced fertilization is wonderful- especially in October.  Potassium thickens cell walls and makes the grass more resistant to drying out, ice and drought damage.  Many benefits are derived from a late season balanced fertilization which is not intended to push top growth, but become stored for use next spring in the root system and soil environment.  The tougher your grass, the better it can withstand ice, cold, and the drying winds of winter.

In summary, a lot of things can be done in a very short period of time to provide a whole lot of benefit to your home or commercial lawn area.  Don’t miss the window of opportunity to enhance your brown lawn this fall.

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Fall Seeding replaces crabgrass

A very common question I hear is, “When is the best time to seed your lawn?”.  My answer is usually the same due to a few basic factors.  Fall wins over spring for a few key reasons.  The first being the soil is already nice and warm- ideal for faster seed germination with sufficient moisture.  Spring soil is usually cold and even after weeks of warm weather- soil temperatures do not reach into the low 50′s until mid to late May.  Any colder and the seed tends to stay dormant and dry out.  Therefore, fall is perfect for seeding since the soil temperature is already much higher than this- allowing for faster germination periods which means a better lawn for you.

The second reason is the competition- crabgrass and annual weeds like spurge and oxalis are just germinating in the spring- growing and fighting for space, light, water, and nutrients.  Spring seeding and especially summer seeding can often spell disaster because crabgrass will grow so much faster than the seed you planted.  This is an unfair competition because soil laden with crabgrass seed will win every time- even more so in hot, dry weather.  In the fall, these plants are all dying!  Hurray!  Yes, the bad guys are dying and cannot harass your new grass.  Therefore, you have two very big reasons to seed in the fall over the spring because its your time and money.  Why not take advantage of the next 6 to 8 weeks and do a little lawn fixing?  It will be an entire year before you see can seize this opportunity again.

If you seed now, you can apply a crabgrass barrier next spring and help suppress all the bad guys I mentioned above.  If you wait to seed until spring, you will have to forego crabgrass control- unless you pay for a unique product that is VERY expensive which allows seeding and a crabgrass barrier to be applied at the same time.  For most folks, seeding in the fall and applying a solid barrier in the spring makes the most sense- don’t make the fight uphill, go with the flow and take advantage of each season according to the life cycles and maximum benefit you can derive!  Get seeding today!

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Brown lawn? Look to aerate this fall.

Core aeration is a mechanical process that extracts cores of soil, thatch and grass from the surface of the lawn.  This increases nutrient availability, water penetration, soil air exchange, and reduces compaction.  All of these benefits lead to a healthier lawn.

Aeration can be done any time of the year, but typically it is done in the spring and or fall when soil moisture is greatest to insure good plugs.  In addition, any lawn can be over seeded after aeration in order to add hybrid grasses to help thicken up an existing lawn or thin areas.  Aeration is a great process and should be done annually to help maintain good soil health while minimizing compaction.

Core aeration should not be confused with dethatching or power rakes, a different machine which tears and rips turf- often causing more damage than good.  Aeration is a professional means to manage a turf area that is often under care such as fertilizer and lime treatments.

What are the benefits of Aeration?

-      Increased moisture penetration since the holes open up space for rain to reach the root system below.  The surface of the soil is hardened from high heat and summer drought.  A lack of rain makes the surface of the lawn much harder to loosen up due to the baking action of summer heat. 

-      Increased oxygen exchange (important for healthy roots) especially in compacted and dry soils.  Punching holes in the lawn will physically allow air to reach into the surrounding root systems, even as the hole begins to break down and fill back in with soil next spring.

-      Reduces soil compaction (especially soils high in clay) caused by those summer parties or high use.  Compacted soil does not promote healthy roots in grass or trees for that matter.

-      Increases penetration of fertilizers and other lawn products due to the holes being made.  The pellets or flakes simply roll into the plug and dissolve for faster results.

-      Increases rate of thatch decomposition due to micro-organisms being brought up to the surface in the plug itself.  There is no need to rake aeration plugs off a home lawn as they breakdown on their own in a short period of time.

-      Increases root development due to the vacant space created by the aerator tine.  The turf roots can expand outward and beyond in search of water, air, and nutrients in the soil.

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