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Maintaining Your Lawn All Through The Season

Turfgrass is a high maintenance plant, which means that growing a beautiful lawn requires a significant amount of time and effort. That’s in addition to keeping it mowed.

Weeds like crabgrass and dandelions are the scourge of every lawn owner. To keep weeds to a minimum, I recommend both pre and post emergent weed treatment. A pre-emergent crabgrass killer should be applied as your lawn awakens from winter dormancy. Post emergent is not very effective against crabgrass. To fight broadleaf weeds like dandelions, however, post emergent should be applied several times a season.

Fertilizing is an important maintenance task. Remember, fertilizer is not plant food. Plants make their own food through photosynthesis. However, nutrients from the soil are part of the photosynthetic process. When these elements have been depleted from the soil, they have to be replenished. That’s what fertilizer does – it replenishes depleted soil nutrients.

Depending on the quality of your topsoil and whether you grasscycle (leave grass clippings where they fall), soil nutrients need replenishing several times a year on most residential properties in our area. This is because builders and developers scrape away the topsoil when they build. Sometimes it’s returned to its proper place but more often, it’s trucked away and sold. Inferior topsoil is substituted.

Turfgrass works overtime during the growing season, so it has to make lots of food in leaves that have about 1/3 of their length cut off every week. So, the nutrients are quickly absorbed from the soil and have to be replenished by fertilizing the soil. The result is a thick, healthy lawn that can better resist weeds and insects.

In many parts of the country, lime has to be spread on lawns. That’s not the case in our area, however. The soil in most parts of the country is acid, or sour. Here it ranges from basic (or neutral) to alkaline (or sweet). Turfgrass prefers its soil on the sweet side, so lime is spread to raise the pH into the basic to alkaline range. Since our soil is already at the pH level for growing grass, raising it would make the soil too alkaline.

Insects can also be a significant lawn problem. The two most common lawn insects here are the European chafer and crane fly. Those big, brown bugs that will soon be flying around, smashing into your windows are the adult grubs? They are flying around looking for a mate. After mating, the females lay eggs in your lawn. The newly hatched larvae burrow into the ground and eat the grass roots. If grubs are destroying your lawn, we can apply grub killer in spring, but fall is the better for this application.

A lot of area lawns need frequent aeration. Aeration makes holes in the sod and pulls out plugs of sod. Aeration is necessary when soil is compact, and much of our clay soil compacts very easily.

Lawn rolling is popular in spring but I don’t recommend rolling because it compacts the soil. After rolling, lawns need to be aerated to undo what the rolling did.

The last lawn maintenance need is to check for thatch. Thatch looks like a tangle of straw around the base of the grass plants. While it’s a popular belief that thatch is caused by a build-up of grass clippings, it’s actually a build-up of dead grass plants. Thatch can be raked out or removed by a dethatching machine.

Maintaining a healthy, beautiful lawn may sound like a daunting task, but it’s relatively inexpensive to trust this phase of yard care to a professional lawn service like ours. You save the hassle of having to rent machines and apply materials but more importantly, you have the peace of mind of knowing that our professionals are performing these services at the time in the season when they can do the most good, and that’s priceless.

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