Organic compost tea makes an excellent, safe alternative to fertilizers and other products which should not be used near lakes, streams, or rivers. Chipper’s offers the best in organic lawn care in NH and VT by using compost tea and other organic products which still require licensing and certification.
Posts Tagged ‘vt lawn care’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be pleased to send you one as a way of saying thanks for reading this blog!
Most folks got at least a few inches of snow this past weekend during a record setting October snow storm. The impact on your lawn can be summed up in a few basic scenarios with the first involving moderate to substantial leaf litter on the ground now snow covered. Left uncollected, these piles of leaves can be trouble for your lawn as colder weather approaches with snow that will not melt until spring. As soon as you can remove leaf piles and other debris brought down by the heavy, wet snow you should plan on doing so to prevent smothering areas of your lawn. The thicker the leaf pile, the better it will mulch your grass leaving dead spots and bare areas next year.
If you have your driveway plowed, now is a great time to put up stakes marking the edge of the lawn indicating the transition from gravel or pavement to grass. Snow plow damage becomes visible in the spring time as snow recedes, exposing chunks of sod and grass tossed aside to dry out and die. Without help, snow plow operators can have difficulty determining where your driveway ends and the lawn begins. Such an error is commonplace during late night snow storms and can result in significant lawn damage. Using posts, stakes, or sticks can provide a simple, yet effective signal and minimize or prevent the edge of your lawn from being “relocated”.
Even though it is now November, if you got caught with your lawn still needing another cut- say over 3” in height- don’t feel odd pulling out your mower for one last farewell mowing. Many folks can remove leaves and mow simultaneously so this is a great opportunity to “get two birds with one stone” as the saying goes. A clean, short cut in November is one way you can say “I love you” to your lawn before the onset of winter.
Many tree limbs were damaged by the weight of the snow with leaves still turning colors, many still green! Be sure to have those branches cleanly pruned to help reduce future insect and disease damage. Of course, remove as many downed branches on your lawn as possible, leaving the lawn surface as clean as possible before winter truly arrives. Completing these basic housekeeping items can give your landscape the edge it might need to survive an unpredictable winter.
With autumn in full swing, most lawns in NH & VT should be well recovered from what was a record setting summer in terms of high heat. Any lingering damage should be very obvious and can be fixed before winter such as dead patches of crabgrass or ongoing grub activity. September and October are ideal months to improve your grass due to warm soil, ample moisture, and cool days/nights. Fertilizing, liming, aeration, seeding, compost tea, and optional weed reduction are all most effective at this time of the year in NH & VT. Any insect activity should be addressed now as the longer you wait; the more lawn you lose and the more difficult the control becomes as the pests grow larger such as with grubs in the soil.
If your lawn has issues with weeds such as shepherd’s purse, chickweed, or henbit; consider a treatment this fall with products such as Dimension. Use of the aforementioned product this fall will also provide some crabgrass suppression next spring.
Autumn is a great time to improve your soil since it is the supporting mechanism for a healthy lawn. Topdressing with compost, adding sea kelp, or spraying on compost tea rich in humates, fungi, and bacteria are encouraging ways to improve the microbial state of your lawn before winter. Using a high calcium lime is a positive step to not only adjust your soil pH, but provide calcium which turf greatly appreciates by improving the cation exchange within the soil itself. What does that mean? Calcium helps loosen soil up while Magnesium based lime tends to bind it up more. The better the cation exchange, the less your soil will leach nutrients, especially when combined with a healthy microbial environment below ground. Soils high in organic matter have high cation exchange capacities while sandy soils have very low ratings. As you can see, healthy soil is more important to your lawn than you may have imagined.
As always, be sure to recycle your lawn clippings whenever possible and mow high even in the fall to promote deeper root systems. As the leaves begin to fall and accumulate, don’t let them mulch out shaded areas- rake them up or mow them into pieces. Improved sunlight can help those marginal areas which were blocked by a tree canopy or forest edge. Even shade tolerant grass will appreciate a little extra sun in the fall before winter snow arrives.
You just arrive home and you see a lawn flag in your lawn, you don’t know what to do! What precautions should you, as a homeowner, be aware of as it relates to lawn care treatments being made to your lawn by your lawn care company? This is a great question.
Although lawn treatments will vary from liquid to granular, and from product to product, there are some basics you should be aware of regardless of the company you employ to care for your grass. I prefer granular products because in general, no special precautions need to be made to you, as the homeowner or client. Once the product is down, the majority of materials used do not require watering or even a waiting period before use by your family or pets. Hurray! In fact, even our broadleaf weed control products request that you do not mow or water for a few days for maximum results. Wow, instructions to do nothing- I like this lawn program! In fact, less than 5% of our lawn treatments require any special watering, mowing, or other unique directions to you as a home owner.
Liquid treatments are another means to deliver a material to a lawn area or tree and shrubs. As a general rule, these lawn treatments are diluted using water as a carrier and once dry, the lawn can be used for most activities. Chippers’ “Essential Turf Care program” utilizes very few liquid treatments with the exception of some tick sprays, compost tea, or perhaps a non-selective weed treatment in your mulch beds. Again, even these liquid treatments require no special action to be taken by you, as a homeowner. Our program is designed to free up your time, not chain you to your lawn by adding more responsibility or duties. Is it any surprise that our turf division has become so popular with our clients in NH and VT?
If you do have any questions regarding your lawn or other treatment, be sure to read the back of our flags or the door hanger left behind outlining what was done, when, who did it, and any special notes you may wish to read. If you desire further information, call any of our offices during the week and speak to a real customer service executive, not an answering machine! Your satisfaction is our top priority.