Fall Lawn Fix-Up

The fall season is the time of year you should give your lawn the revitalization and repair it deserves. Treatments done in the fall are investments in the lawns long-term health and beauty, they help the lawn to thrive throughout the year. It seems kind of weird, right? To put so much time and energy into the lawn when it is about to endure the winter months and be dormant and covered in snow soon anyway.  But the big climate changes that come with this season make it the ideal conditions for your lawn, with cool temperatures at night and warmer temperatures during the day, and the reoccurring rainfall makes this the ideal time to revitalize your lawn, it also gives the turf and root system nine months to develop and become stronger before the summer months put stress on it yet again.

This time of year is when the grass is absorbing as much energy, moisture, and nutrients it can in preparation for a long, dormant winter. If you give the lawn the tools it needs now, it will end up paying you back tenfold in the spring. You will be rewarded with a beautiful healthy lush green lawn.  Here are a few things we can do to revitalize your lawn.

Common Lawn Care Mistakes to Avoid in the Fall

A common mistake homeowners make is to stop mowing and watering the lawn regularly.  Just because winter is steadily approaching does not mean that the lawn isn’t growing or that it does not need the same attention as it did during other times throughout the year.  But that is not the case, you should keep watering the lawn regularly, or as needed since the rainfall should be a bit more active. You should also mow the lawn as needed around 3.5 inches and slowly lower the height toward the end of the season, making the last cut around 2.5 inches. Keep in mind that you should never trim off more than one third of the grass blade during a single mowing, so it is a good idea to gradually lower the mower blades cutting height.

Core aeration done annually is a must if you want to have that beautiful lawn come spring time. Aeration is perforating the soil surface to provide an avenue for water, nutrients, and oxygen to get to the root zone. This helps reduce thatch and alleviate soil compaction so your lawn can grow rich, thick, and have a strong root system below. Adding over seed to this process will help to keep your grass young and will fill in and thicken up the bare areas that your lawn may have.  If you think your lawn needs a little more than over seeding you have the option of slice seeding.  

Slice seeding plants new seed into the soil without damage to the existing lawn, and entails using a machine that cuts vertically through the grass and into the surface of the soil.  At the same time, the seeder cuts furrows into the soil and plants the seed into the furrow. This method puts the seed directly in contact with the soil as opposed to merely spreading seeds onto your lawn.  Slice seeding is the most effective way to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and prepare the seed bed at the same time. It enables you to have better looking and more resistant grass types that are adapted to the various conditions on your property.  Again this with aeration will greatly improve results.

Important Tips to Maintain Your Lawn During the Fall

Another thing to not forget is fertilizing your lawn in the fall. Even if you do not fertilize your lawn year-round many lawn experts agree that you should always give your lawn a fall fertilizing treatment. Why? Because during this time of year the temperature cools and the grass starts to grow slower but the grass roots do not they continue to grow quickly. A Fall fertilizer delivers essential nutrients for the grass to continue to develop deep roots and to keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start next spring.

It is also important to make sure you clean up the lawn in the fall.  Most trees and plants are losing their leaves, acorns, etc. leaving them for you to clean up.  It is not something most of us enjoy doing but it is necessary in your lawns health. If you do not cleanup it can cause many different lawn diseases and fungal issues, which can take a lot of time and be costly to fix. The leaves can get wet from morning dew or rain and will stick to each other and become a barrier between the grass and the sun. The grass does not get the chance to breathe, dry out, and does not have the chance to get the proper nutrients it needs to store and feed off of through the winter.

By giving your lawn the attention it deserves in the Fall you are preparing to have a beautiful healthy lawn in the Spring!

Drought Stress and Summer Heat

During the Summer months when we all love to spend time outside, hiking, biking, spending time at the beach or by the pool, having picnics, we rely on the weather to cooperate and to allow us to enjoy our adventures outdoors. During this time of year when the warm weather comes there are a few things you should know about your lawn. Your plants and grass will react to the heat by either wilting, browning, or even dying. Some facts to know about your lawn and your plants are that they can have and show a negative reaction to heat stress and drought like situations. You may have a beautiful, thick, lush green lawn in the spring and after a few warm weeks in the late Spring and Summer you may begin to notice brown patches or what looks to be “dead” sections of the lawn. These reactions can be the beginning signs of heat stress. Another, is that when the lawn is weakened by this stress it is more susceptible to damages caused by insects, weeds, or diseases. Insects, weeds, and diseases are all very active in the summer months, this is the time of year to help your lawn defend itself against these issues. As a defense mechanism to the stress of drought and heat the lawn will sometimes go into what is called a dormant state to protect its health and longevity. Extended periods of dry weather and high temperatures will take a toll on your lawns health especially if you do not provide the lawn with a proper watering schedule. Right now in Massachusetts there are many towns and counties that are under strict watering bans and your lawn can show the effects of that. To try and maximize the water usage you are allowed for your lawn you should know when and how to water the lawn.

When:

Watering should be done early in the morning before 11am is optimal. Watering at this time gives the water a chance to soak deep into the roots before the heat can evaporate it away. Watering in the evening could be damaging to your lawn. You are giving the moisture the opportunity to sit in the lawn all night and make it more susceptible to fungal issues.

How much to water:

You should water your lawn for 30-40 minutes per section 2-3 times per week. This gives your lawn a good deep root watering every time. This will allow the water to seep all the way down the root system and promote deep root growth. This also will ensure that the lawn is getting the right amount of nutrients. You only need to water a few times a week when you water for longer periods of time. It will take the lawn a longer period of time for the soil to dry out.

It is a common myth that the more water the better. This is not the case, the more water in your lawn the more issues you can be bringing to it. By over watering your lawn you run the risk of leaving moisture in the lawn encouraging fungal growth, or you could flood the lawn with water and wash away nutrients that the lawn needs to survive. Especially in the Summer when the lawn is already under an enormous amount of heat stress the last thing it needs is our cultural practices adding to the stress and making more of a problem. For example, if your mowing your lawn with a mower with dull blades that are not cutting properly and will cause the blades of grass to become jagged and those jagged edges are what creates a better opening for the disease to enter into your lawn. Or cutting the lawn to short can cause browning and thinning of the grass making the lawn more of a target for lawn disease, weeds, and insect damage. A full, thick lawn is the best defense to all these lawn problems.

What to do when you start to notice your lawn drying out?

If you start to notice your lawn suffering from heat stress you should focus on your cultural practices. Make sure you have a proper effective watering schedule, make sure the lawn is being mowed at the correct height and with sharp blades. If your lawn does become dormant because of the weather and you begin to water, you need to continually water the lawn regularly. The grass uses up its food reserve in the root system to become active again so you need to give it the time it needs to regain that reserve and not cause further stress. Please remember that a healthy lawn takes time and patience. In some cases, it could take a lawn up to a month to start showing signs of “life” again and green up. It is highly recommended to reseed your lawn after the drought and heat stress has subsided in the fall. For a beautiful landscape it is important to keep up with rejuvenating the grass, and keeping your lawn young to fight off the stresses a lawn can endure.

If you have any questions or need any help with your lawn, please call or email us today! We utilize all the tools available to help our customers enjoy their lawn during any season!

What are Grubs and why do they cause so much damage?

Lawn grubs, often called white grubs, are the immature form of various types of scarab beetles, such as Japanese beetles, June “bugs” or the European/Northern/Masked chafers. The size of the grubs can vary on the species and the age of the larva. Residential lawns in the North East are subject to severe and extensive damage from the larval stages of the various species of beetles, “grubs”. The prominent species of grubs here in Massachusetts that cause turf damage are the Japanese beetles and northern masked chafer grubs. Both of these beetles look very similar and share similarities in their life cycles. In order for you to know how to treat grubs and prevent grubs from damaging your lawn, you need to know the grub’s life cycle. Knowing this will help you to be proactive in protecting your lawn when it is most susceptible to their damage and when the right time is to protect your lawn in order to prevent an infestation from occurring.

The Life Cycle of a Grub

The life cycle starts in the spring, the grubs awaken from the winter and begin feeding on the grass roots and other organic matter in the soil. After they feed, the grub becomes a pupa and enters into the pupal stage of its life cycle. This is the inactive and immature form between the larva and the adult stage of the grub’s life, the transitioning period. In the pupal stage the grubs are dormant underneath the lawns surface until they become beetles. In the early to mid-summer the pupal stage comes to an end and the beetles emerge and start feeding on the garden foliage and flowers. This is also when the beetles start to mate and dig back down into the soil to lay their eggs. The beetles mating season lasts about two to three weeks. The eggs stay in the soil until they are ready to hatch. The time eggs hatch depends on multiple variables such as soil moisture and temperature to name a few. But, most times during “normal” summer months the eggs hatch two weeks after being laid, in the mid to late summer. This new generation of grubs will start feeding on your lawn immediately after hatching. This makes fall the peak grub feeding season. Grubs can be found anywhere in your lawn; they could be anywhere from 2 inches deep or they can burrow down to 8 inches deep before the winter arrives and they become dormant again. Most beetles only have a one-year life cycle, but some of the different species can have up to a three-year life cycle.

How Grubs Can Damage Your Lawn

Grubs can cause extensive damage to your lawn for multiple reasons. Either they are feeding on the root system of your turf or the damage can come from other animals digging to feed on the grubs themselves. In the spring as the lawn greens up and you find that your lawn has some areas that are not turning green at all, that could be a sign of damage caused by grubs feeding on that area the previous fall. To check your lawn for grubs you can try lifting up the “dead “area of turf by grabbing a hand full of grass and if it just lifts up and has no roots holding it down you will know grubs have eaten that area. Something else to watch for, that could be a sign that your lawn is being infested with grubs, could be that more birds, skunks, raccoons and/or moles are present and digging in your lawn. That is a sign that they could be trying to dig down to eat the grubs. Another symptom of grubs may come as a surprise to most people, but if you detect a spongy area in your yard and you have a well irrigated healthy lawn it could be an early sign of grubs before the brown areas become present. All of these are signs that your lawn could be suffering from grubs, but you cannot always count on these signs. The animals also eat other surface insects, and different lawn diseases could cause a spongy area and brown patches. The only way for a correct diagnoses of grub damage is to start digging several 1 square foot sections that are 2-6 inches deep. If grubs are present and feeding you will know that your lawn has grubs. But, having some grubs in your lawn is normal and that it is okay. A healthy lawn can easily support a small grub population. An average lawn should have anywhere from 0-5 grubs per cubic foot, and could possibly handle as many as 9 grubs per square foot.

How Can I Prevent Grubs from Damaging My Lawn?

The best way to stay ahead of a grub infestation is to treat the lawn with a Grub Preventative, like we do. It is less expensive and easier than digging several holes in your lawn and counting the grubs. We believe it better to be proactive and incorporate this step in our lawn care program, rather than be reactive after the damage is already done. We recommend a preventative product that will help eliminate grubs over a longer period of time; this product protects your lawn from the grubs that are present at the time of the application as well as those grubs that will hatch during the season and try to feed on the root system of your lawn. Immature grubs are most susceptible to pesticides so for optimum results the grub preventative needs to be applied at the right time of the grub’s life cycle. As mentioned above, it varies year to year depending on the weather, temperature, and when the eggs are ready to hatch. A good turf care company will know this. In most cases we will use a granular product and combine this with your early summer fertilizer application. This preventative should be watered into the lawn 24-48 hours after the application to ensure the product soaks down into the root system, which is the prime feeding grounds for grubs.

We will always advise you to protect your lawn all year round, but if you do not treat your lawn with a grub preventative and it does get infested and damaged by grubs, there are products that will kill existing grubs on contact. These products can be very expensive though and the application/process extensive. The product must be watered in the same days as the application and there is a re-entry restriction that states the area has to be completely dry before re-entry. And not only do you have to treat the lawn to rid it from the grubs, but you also have to repair your lawn from the damage they have done and regrow the grass in the areas that were damaged.

So, instead of waiting for them and their damage to occur, we like to stay one step ahead by providing you with a grub preventative application. We want you to be prepared and to enjoy the seasons we are lucky enough to have. We want you to entertain guests, enjoy your yard with your family, and relax as much as possible outside in your beautiful landscape you work so hard to have.

Do You Have a Grub Problem? Contact Fresh Lawn Care Today for a Free Consultation: 978-415-0205

Survey Says: Americans Love their Yards and they are Important to a Home’s Resale Value

April is National Lawn Care Month so it is a great time to think about what your lawn and landscape do for you. Even in the age of the smartphone and T.V. show binge watching, the love affair with the American yard is not over.

According to an online survey commissioned by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and conducted by Harris Poll in May 2015, eighty-three percent of Americans think having a yard is important. Here are a few insights about the value of our lawns and backyards.

Your neighborhood’s landscaping is important. Americans (91%) want to live in an area where they can see or walk to nice landscaping. So if you want the best chance of increasing the home prices in your neighborhood, make sure the landscaping looks good.

Nice landscaping helps to sell your house. Eighty-four percent say that the quality of a home’s landscaping would affect their decision about whether or not to buy. Great neighborhood landscaping helps, but it isn’t enough; yours needs to look good too.

Your neighbors care what your yard looks like. Seventy-one percent think it is important that their neighbors have well-maintained yards. Perhaps “good landscaping makes good neighbors” should be the new adage.

We want to enjoy our yards. Seventy-five percent of people feel that it is important to spend time outside in their yards.

Despite common misperceptions, even Millennials want to spend time in their yards. Seventy-five percent of Millennials (18–34 year olds) think spending time outside in their yards is important.

People want help with their landscape. A large majority of Americans (67%) agree that professional landscape help would allow them to have a nicer yard.

So, this April, don’t take your yard for granted: make the most of it and it will return many financial and emotional benefits.

7 Benefits to a Healthy Lawn

Did you know that managed landscapes including the everyday lawn also provides a host of benefits? What are the benefits of a lawn?

  1. Filters & Captures Runoff
    Grass slows down and absorbs runoff. Rainwater filtered through a healthy lawn can be 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface

  2. Reduces Heat
    Grass dissipates the heat island effect caused from asphalt. Lawns can be 30 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil!

  3. Improves Air Quality
    Grass play a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants. Without grass, these pollutants will remain in the air we breathe.

  4. Absorbs Carbon Dioxide
    Lawns are the largest carbon sink in the U.S., which sucks up and stores greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

  5. Generates Oxygen
    2,500 sq. ft. of grass releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe!

  6. Supports Biodiversity
    Grass, trees, shrubs and other plants provide food and habitat for birds and small mammals.

  7. Controls Soil Erosion
    Grass controls erosion through its natural, dense, and fibrous root system. Without grass, soil erodes into streams and lakes limiting how sunlight penetrates the water.