Posts Tagged ‘soil’

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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Fall lawn seeding in NH & VT

Fall is a superior time to establish an entirely new lawn or to simply fix a dead patch.  Both projects involve preparation of the site and subsequent seeding with an appropriate grass type best suited for the location.  The lawn pictured in this blog post was completed by our company less than a month ago and shows excellent progress within a short period of time.  This is due to warm soil, cooler days, excellent topsoil mixed with compost, high calcium lime for improved seed germination/pH adjustment, and lots of grass seed.  Like making a fine chili, the ingredients may seem simple- yet putting them all together in the proper sequence is paramount to success.  Whether you are undertaking a few square feet to 6,000 sqft as pictured in this lawn renovation- execution is as vital as the quality ingredients to achieve a new lawn area.

If you are going to do the lawn repair/installation yourself be sure to order quality loam mixed with compost if available.  Make sure you have enough time and a small tractor to move the loam if you are receiving a truck load or more.  Two experienced people can install a large lawn area in a weekend if the project has been thought out ahead of time.  Having the proper seed variety is not as easy as it may seem or the quantity.  Most grass varieties will call for 8 to 14lbs per 1,000sqft depending upon the type.  Rye and Tall Fescue have much larger seeds then Bluegrass or some shade varieties so more or less will be needed as a result.  The best lawns take thought and using a house brand or a generic “sun” or “shade” mix is often not the answer or solution for achieving a long term turf area.

Applying a slow release fertilizer with high calcium lime are additional tools to help the seed establish itself and put down a root system- all critical phases in the first 2 to 3 weeks.  Using hay adds weed seeds so stick to straw or nothing at all.  If a lawn is properly rolled to insure good seed to soil contact- you will get germination in the presence of adequate moisture.  Straw helps on slopes or areas that may not receive adequate water.  Seed nets or mats are very useful on steep slopes where you want to establish anything to help stop erosion.

The soil will stay warm into early November, especially around houses and southern or western exposures.  Since grass must undergo a physical change over winter- any grass established now will have a head start next year in terms of survival.  While larger projects may be put on hold until spring in terms of renovation- gambling with smaller areas are often worth the roll of the dice to get grass setup for the following year.  Location is key when it comes to making the call whether to embark on spot seeding or not in the fall.  If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional for options.  Fall seeding in NH & VT are great times to repair damage caused by summer heat and drought.

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