Posts Tagged ‘seeding’

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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A look back at the 2012 lawn care season.

There is little disputing the 2012 growing season was a record breaker in more than one area.  Extreme heat and corresponding drought caused widespread damage to even well cared for lawns.  The effect of these weather phenomena then led to massive explosions of pests like grubs and chinch bugs.  Even with November fast approaching, the pest issues will spill over into the spring of 2013, and if left untreated, will continue to cause turf damage.  There is little that can be done for physical lawn repairs at this point in the growing season like bringing in new loam or trying to establish a lawn through seeding.  However, beneficial turf treatments applied now like potassium, lime, compost tea, sea kelp, and slow release fertilizer can help both a damaged and healthy lawn.  Lawn repairs ranging from small to full renovations should be explored now or at least during the winter months as landscapers and lawn care companies will be overwhelmed this spring by sheer volume of repairs necessary never mind pest treatments.  Timing could not be more critical in terms of seeding and treating for damaging turf and ornamental pests than the spring of 2013.  Even if the weather pattern returns to a more “normal” or stable pattern, the repercussions of this season’s heat and drought will continue into 2013.  Although brown grass in October can be a result of past drought and exposure to dry weather, it can also spell bug troubles in the surrounding lawn as grubs vigorously eat fast growing root systems.

Don't wait until the spring to make your lawn plans

I am seeing grubs in record setting numbers and on lawns which have never had a past issue.  While a curative treatment is only a short term fix, a preventative treatment in 2013 may well be in order for more lawns than previously expected.  I do not normally endorse the use of materials to preventatively protect against grubs, which in a normal year are rarely a huge issue unless past history indicates a problem.  However, I will be firmly endorsing both curative and preventative grub control on a case-by-case basis for 2013 because of the high risk factors recently experienced in New England.  Furthermore, another mild winter would further enhance tick populations in 2013 in addition to hundreds of other outdoor pests.  Make a note on your calendar to explore the potential health issues this winter and make plans, if deemed appropriate after speaking to professionals in the industry, such as Chippers.

On the bright side, the recent rain and cooler weather in combination with fall lawn treatments are helping damaged and weak lawns recover to the maximum degree possible before winter.  Don’t dismiss potassium, compost tea, and aeration after the harsh growing season we experienced this past year.  All of these treatments can be done well into November in most of New England so long as the ground does not freeze.

White grubs are eating your lawn without you knowing it!

In closing, don’t forget the millions of crabgrass seeds which were deposited in record numbers along driveways, patios, and walkways because of drought or insect damaged lawns.  Although a thick, healthy lawn is your best defense against crabgrass, some areas will not be up to the task without additional help of a preventative crabgrass barrier in the spring of 2013.  Timing will be key and a lot of good can be done in an eight week period next spring, so don’t file your lawn contract when it arrives this winter, review it carefully and setup a proactive plan to both protect and perhaps restore your home lawn for the investment it truly is!

 

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The definitive lawn checklist for fall

New Hampshire fall lawn care

The unusually dry weather has extended into September and even with cool weather, suffering turf remains brown while damaged lawns look more like broken boats on a beach after a hurricane.  Where do you begin unraveling such chaos and what appears to be a seemingly dauntless project?  There is still time to prioritize appropriate action, and even if they all cannot be done, setting goals now is critical so next spring you can continue with your lawn improvement plans.

First, is your lawn undergoing insect damage right now from grubs or chinch bugs?  If you cannot find the enemy yourself, have a professional check your lawn and determine if treatment is warranted.  If you miss this crucial step, most lawn pests will overwinter and not go away to Florida.  In fact, the population that damaged your lawn will continue to expand next spring causing even more problems.  Don’t be an ostrich, any repairs made now without addressing an underlying issue will be a waste of time and money.

Address the most important part of your lawn and focus on doing the job right.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew by attempting to renovate a half acre or more by yourself on a few weekends.  Unless you have access to a small army, you simply will not have enough time to remove the dead thatch, add loam/compost, seed, add starter fertilizer, and lime before it’s the end of October in New England.  Do the job right, don’t throw down 20lbs of seed on top of dead thatch and expect a new lawn, this simply won’t work.  For proper results, grass seed must be planted into a seed bed, be it compost, loam or a combination.  Like pepperoni on a pizza, making good soil contact without burying the seed is vital, with watering being the most important factor in a lawn fix.  No water equals no lawn.  You must commit to at least 2-3 weeks of watering in order to establish a turf area under normal conditions.  Even if the weather is cool, moisture is needed during germination and the early days of growth.

October generally brings leaves and debris as fall fades into early winter.  Be sure to keep heavy leaf litter picked up, especially on new grass.  Excessive leaves can mulch the newly planted lawn in mere weeks.  Mowing height can be slowly dropped to around 1.5” at the end of October for a last cut generally occurring in November.  A short cut can help reduce snow mold, winter kill, and other turf issues due to matting and long grass under the snow.  A pure potassium treatment in October can offer some increased hardiness by increasing cell wall thickness.  Don’t let the remaining weeks pass without addressing at least some of the lawn issues you are facing.  Even if some projects have to wait until next spring, get a game plan together now because with such widespread problems, professionals like me will be busy booking work into 2013.  Good luck!

 

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