Posts Tagged ‘upper valley lawn care’

Back to school: Ideal time for aeration

All the ads for back to school supplies are great reminders that it’s the start of a new season for lawn care too. Late summer/early fall is a great time of year for many lawn care services and this especially this year, your lawn deserves some extra attention. 2015 has been and continues to be a tough year for New England lawns beginning with a dry spring and a humid summer with less than desirable rainfall. Right from the start, a late spring dealt a harsh blow to grass attempting to recover from an arctic winter.

 

 

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to prepare for next spring.

Aerating your lawn in the fall is a great way to prepare for next spring.

 
A dry spring faded into a dry summer with some areas receiving less than ¼ of the amount of normal rainfall. Humid weather brought red thread and placed even more stress on turf already feeling the pain of summer. Crabgrass, grubs, and chinch bugs began popping up in browned-out lawns. This is exactly why back to school time should include some extra attention to your lawn.

 
Fall ushers in the best time to seed in NH and VT due to warm soil temperatures and the demise of annual weeds like spotted spurge and crabgrass. Unlike spring, annual weeds are dying and provide an ideal opportunity to seed damaged and thin lawn areas alike. Don’t let this opportunity pass, it will be another year before it arrives again!
Specifically, core aerate to reduce thatch and compaction from dry weather.

 

The aeration holes provide an ideal scenario to overseed into an existing lawn area or one that is thin. Overseeding is not designed to establish a lawn, but add to an existing lawn by providing better turf grasses for future growth. For more damaged areas or bare patches, consider topdressing with a loam/compost blend and then seed at a full rate. Topdressing is a great way to repair insect or drought damage from this season.

 
Fertilizing, lime, and compost tea are all great ways to work on rejuvenating your lawn this fall. If your grass simply has weeds, fall is a super time to treat for them before winter arrives. Back to school time reminds us that preparation is key, not just for children and their parents, but for your lawn as well. The more you do for your lawn now, means a better start to next spring.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

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.

Red Thread is a very common disease during the summer.

Red Thread is a very common disease during the summer.

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.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare

Crabgrass Q & A

Published by mrgrass on April 23rd, 2015 - in Crabgrass

Q. It’s April and my lawn is full of crabgrass, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass is an annual plant and does not even germinate in NH and VT until mid or late May. Any grasses you see now and suspect are crabgrass, are not. They are perennial grasses and may appear to look like crabgrass. This is a very common misperception. Unwanted perennial grasses need special care including manual or herbicide removal.

 
Q. I always have crabgrass, nothing seems to work, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass generally indicates an underlying problem like unhealthy soil, recent insect damage, or some other event that allow it to flourish rather than your lawn. Although pre-emergent products work great, in the absence of surrounding grass, the barrier will fail and the problem will reoccur year after year. Only by improving the soil and adding superior grass seed into the infected area will you ever conquer this ongoing issue.

 

Q. I typically dig out crabgrass and weeds, is this doing more harm than good?

A. Whenever you tear up any plant, you bring up more of the weeds’ seeds to the surface where they will germinate. While you may have temporary relief and feel good about removing crabgrass manually, you are actually making the problem worse by depositing seeds that would otherwise have remained dormant buried below.

 

Q. When is the best time to apply crabgrass control?

A. In NH and VT, there are several types of pre-emergent control products that do a nice job by safely preventing not only crabgrass, but also many annual weeds from germinating in the soil. A pre-emergent is the best product and means to reduce crabgrass. By definition, a pre-emergent must be applied before the crabgrass rears its ugly head! Soil temperature is the big deal here and once mid to late May arrives, you are likely to have crabgrass germinating; especially in sunny locations like along your driveway, walkways, or roadside. Once crabgrass germinates and while still small, in the two or three leaf stage, there are other products that can be used to still gain control. For larger crabgrass, you would need to switch to yet another specialized material for use through August. Once fall rolls around, just let this annual plant die off. However, the best way to prevent crabgrass is with a thick healthy lawn created with healthy soil, adequate nutrition, and by mowing at the proper height (2” first cut of the season, 3” May – September).

 
See my blog http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2012/03/30/crabgrass-is-more-than-a-crabgrass-problem/ for information on crabgrass.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestShare
© Copyright 2009-2014 Chippers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.