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Fertilizing Your Lawn: The Best Options Available

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Fertilizing your lawn with the right fertilizer at the right time is an essential part of maintaining a lush and healthy lawn. Knowing what the right fertilizer is for your lawn requires that you first understand what is best for the type of grass and the soil. Here’s a list of the fertilizers available, as well as tips and tricks for fertilizing your lawn:

Types of Fertilizer

Water Soluble

Water soluble fertilizer is quick-release and is designed to stimulate maximum health, rapid growth, and lush color. In addition, water soluble fertilizer is also formulated to be absorbed by your grass quickly.

Organic

Organic fertilizer naturally breaks down and replenishes your turf with nutrients. In addition to improving the health of your lawn, organic fertilizer also improves the soil significantly. Organic fertilizers require warm, moist soil in order to provide the best results.

Granular

This type of fertilizer comes in a number of time-release formulas which give you a lot more control over how and when your lawn is being fed.

Weed & Feed (Weed Control Fertilizer)

There are also fertilizers that are specially formulated to kill weeds and nourish your lawn. This kind of fertilizer helps stimulate growth in your lawn’s roots, which works to crowd out weeds as well.

In addition, there are fertilizers that can help address moss and fungus problems that your lawn may be experiencing, ones that are designed to improve the color of your turf, as well as fertilizers that can help control troublesome insects and grubs.

Tips and Tricks for Fertilizing Your Lawn

It is always best to test the pH balance of your soil before deciding on a fertilizer. For example, if your lawn has a pH balance of 7 or higher, you will need to invest in a fertilizer that has sulfur in order to reduce the alkaline levels. If your soil records a pH level of 5.5 or below, you may require alkaline to reduce the acid levels. Soil samples can also indicate nutrient deficiencies that cause low iron or potassium.

Most lawn fertilizers contain three major nutrients known as NPK; or Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Different lawns require a different percentage of each of these essential nutrients. Nitrogen helps your lawn grow faster and stay lush and green. Phosphorous promotes robust and healthy roots. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for your lawn, and should be the element that has the highest percentage in your fertilizer. However, you should not choose a fertilizer that has a nitrogen percentage greater than 10. Those that exceed 10% can burn your lawn.

While when and how often you fertilize depends on a number of factors, from the species of your grass to the pH balance of your soil, on average it is best to begin fertilizing in the fall. It is important to never over-fertilize your lawn, because this may harm your turf and increase weeds. If you need to aerate your lawn, it is best to do so in the fall before you fertilize.

When you feed during the spring, it is best to do it when the dormant grass is 50% green. Spring fertilization works best on lawns that have significant damage. Fertilizing a healthy spring lawn may actually just increase top growth, but do nothing for the health of the roots. This can actually exacerbate a weed or insect problem.

Due to heat, drought, and insects, summer can be extremely hard on your lawn. One great way to keep it healthy throughout the season is to apply a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of summer. You should apply slow-release fertilizer every 90 to 120 days, and all-purpose fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks. It’s best to fertilize right before a light yet steady rain, because that’s when your lawn absorbs nutrients best.

Warm weather grasses should be fed 3-4 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet per year. Give your lawn a quarter to one inch of water after you have applied fertilizer for the best results.

Fertilizing Your Lawn with Lawnscape

Now that you know more about quality fertilizers, use these fertilizing tips and tricks to keep your lawn fresh, healthy, and green. Get in contact with the experts at Lawnscape today for personalized advice on how to pamper your lawn to perfection.

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Stopping Invasive Grass

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Stopping Invasive Grass from Ruining Your Lawn

You’ve weeded, you’ve fertilized, you’ve aerated, and  you’ve done everything in your power to get that perfectly green lawn. But still, you’ve noticed invasive grass species taking over your lush, green lawn.

In this article, we take you through some common invasive grass types and what you can do to stop them from ruining your lawn.

Common Invasive Grasses

Invasive grass species are simply non-native grasses that are unwanted, spread easily, and take over your lawn.

In California, common invasive grasses include Poa Annua (also known as annual bluegrass), bermudagrass, crabgrass, goosegrass, dallisgrass, and kikuya grass.

While they may not cause physical damage to your lawn, they can make your lawn appear patchy and unkempt.

So what can you do to stop invasive grasses from ruining your lawn?

How Invasive Grass Can Damage Your Lawn

While many invasive species are unsightly and won’t cause much damage, others, like annual bluegrass (also known as poa annua), can reduce nutrients in the soil and lead to weaker sod, which can impact the ability to play sports on the turf.

How to Protect Against Invasive Grasses

There are some simple things you can do to control the spread of invasive grasses from taking over your lawn. Simple changes to how you mow or water can prevent invasive grasses from taking over your lawn. Cleaning gardening equipment after use also helps to prevent grasses like annual bluegrass from spreading.

If small patches or individual plants are found, they should be pulled up immediately. For larger areas of grass, some herbicides have been shown to be effective.

Some invasive grass species like annual bluegrass and goosegrass thrive in compacted soil or when lawns are over-watered. Watering less frequently, as well as avoiding activities that contribute to soil compaction, will help to prevent annual bluegrass from taking over your lawn.

Other invasive grass species like bermudagrass thrive when lawns are mowed too short. Bermudagrass can be very difficult to get rid of. Small patches of bermudagrass can be removed by weeding, while larger areas can be controlled through reduced watering and herbicides.

Mulching using a black polyethylene tarp can also be used to control large areas of bermudagrass. Mow and water the lawn before placing a black polyethylene tarp over the area that has been invaded by bermudagrass, and leave for a month and a half to two months. If there are any holes in the tarp, bermuda grass will be able to grow through, so be sure to tap over those holes if you find any. This technique is most effective during the summer months as it will suffocate the grass with excessive heat.

A clear polyethylene tarp can also be placed on top of areas of bermudagrass for a month to a month and a half to clear the existing grass and to prevent the invasive grass from taking over your lawn.

In addition to non-chemical methods of controlling invasive grasses, some herbicides have been shown to be effective against bermudagrass , as well.

Want More Information?

If you’re concerned about invasive grasses taking over your lawn, contact the lawncare specialists at Lawnscape. They have packages specifically designed to tackle invasive grass species.

What is Core Aeration?

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Everything You Need to Know about Core Aeration

Core aeration is a type of lawn aeration that uses a machine, known as a lawn aerator, to make small holes by removing ‘plugs’ or ‘cores’ of soil and thatch (dead grass roots and debris) from your lawn.

By removing small pockets of soil, core aeration makes it easier for oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach your lawn’s roots, creating a healthier, lusher lawn.

Core aeration can have many benefits on the health and appearance of your lawn, including reduced water runoff, increased absorption of fertilizer and other nutrients, stronger root systems, and an increased tolerance to drought conditions.

Do You Need Core Aeration?

Core aeration is commonly used to treat compacted soil and remove excess thatch, which can prevent your lawn from getting the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Compacted soil is often caused by heavy usage of, or parking, a vehicle on the lawn. If you’ve recently had a vehicle parked or driven on your lawn, you might’ve noticed puddles of water on your lawn after watering, or thinning or patchy grass. If this is the case, you could have a problem with compacted soil, and core aeration may address this issue and improve the health and appearance of your lawn.

You can check for compacted soil with a simple test. Take a pencil and push it into the soil. If this is difficult or impossible to do, you most likely have compacted soil.

Additionally, if your lawn has a spongy feel, or if it dries quickly after rain or watering, you may have a thatch problem. To find out, dig four inches down into your lawn. If you have more than a half-inch layer of dead grass roots and debris, it may be preventing the roots of your lawn from getting the nutrients and oxygen they need to thrive, and core aeration may also improve the health of your lawn in this instance.

When You Should Aerate Your Lawn

For most lawns, you should aerate once a year for optimal lawn health. However, some soil types require more or less frequent aeration. Clay soils, for example, require aeration once a year, or more depending on your climate. Lawns in sandy soil however, can be aerated once every two years instead of yearly.

Additionally, when you aerate depends on whether you have cool season or warm season grass types. Cool season grasses, like Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue should be aerated in the fall, while warm season grasses like bahia and buffalo grass should be aerated in the late spring or early summer.

Have More Questions?

If you want to know whether or not your lawn will benefit from core aeration, call the experts at Lawnscape. Their lawn services include core aeration, and their knowledgeable staff will know exactly how to keep your lawn looking its best – no matter the time of year.

Keeping Your Lawn Green in the LA Heat

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Your Lawn and the LA Sun: Avoiding Heat Damage

We hear it constantly, California is in a drought. It’s tough to keep your lawn green in the heat while still conserving water. Here are some practical ways to help your lawn stay green in the LA sun without breaking the bank with a massive water bill:

Cutting Your Grass

Cutting your grass is a necessity if you want your lawn to look neat, but it can damage your grass and increase brown spots in hot weather. The important thing to do is to remember not to overcut your grass – so no more than one third of the height. Don’t cut it as short as you would in the cooler months. Also, leaving the lawn clippings on the grass is a good idea as it cools the grass and provides the nutrients that are just lost by cutting.

Mowing after your irrigation day can be really helpful, but not when the grass is actually wet as that can cause clumping. Make sure that your lawnmower’s blades are sharp; a dull blade will damage grass and cut unevenly.

Keep out Invaders

It’s important to increase your vigilance against weeds and pests during these hot months. Any additional strain on your lawn will have a compounding effect on damage. Keep your eye out for fungal infection by checking for brown spots on the grass leaves, and weed as the plants show up. Letting a pest go unchecked could spell the demise of your entire lawn, so it’s imperative in the harsh months that you keep on top of it.

Reduce Stress

Lawns are a fun place to be in the summer, especially for kids, but constant treading can damage the lawn. Try to make sure no lawn furniture or toys are left out when not in use. Don’t walk on the grass as a shortcut to your front door, keep the treading for activities that require it – every bit helps. Also, if you have a dog, consider giving them a dirt or mulch patch to relieve themselves in, as the nitrogen in their urine will put even further strain on your lawn.

Water Smart

It’s a tough thing watering during a drought, but if you have the right practices then you won’t overuse the precious resource that water is. Make sure to water in the early morning when the grass is already dewy, this will ensure that the water doesn’t just evaporate in the heat. Don’t overwater as this can damage the root systems and have the reverse effect on your lawn. When you do water, be sure to water deeply. Sprinkling a little bit across the surface isn’t going to achieve much; you want to soak the root systems. Finally, don’t water until your grass needs it. So watch for the grass to start showing signs of becoming dry and then water.

Before the Heat Strikes

Prevention is often the best tool for problems. During the cooler seasons, make sure to fertilize and keep your lawn as healthy as possible. That way, when the heat wave hits, your grass will be able to withstand the harsh conditions. Water less frequently but deeply, so that your grass develops deep roots.

Also, planting a heat resistant strain of grass is a good option. If you find that your lawn is turning brown and becoming damaged every summer, it might be time to reseed a stronger strain. This will also reduce your water usage, saving you some money on the water bill.

Professional Help

Everyone’s lawn is different and the challenges of every area in LA require a knowledgeable caretaker. If you are struggling with your lawn or want to prevent your lawn from being damaged, Lawnscape can help. Contact Lawnscape today to get your lawn looking as good as possible. Beat the drought and LA sun with Lawnscape.

Weed Management and Limitation Tips

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Weed Management and Prevention

Our gardens and lawns are meant to provide a pleasing environment and view, but weeds can ruin the effect. The way you approach weeding can have drastic consequences on how often you see weeds in your lawn and garden. In fact, if you weed incorrectly you can stir up more weeds and damage your plants and grass. Here are some tips to consider when managing the weeds on your property.

Precision

A common mistake while weeding is being indiscriminate with the amount of action you take to pull out a weed. When you dig up too much earth while weeding you inevitably release the seeds that have made it too deep to grow, but are now exposed to the sun and will flourish to your dismay.

Use a narrow tool when pulling weeds to help remove the root. After the offending plant has been removed, cover that spot with a new desirable plant or mulch.

Another aspect of precision that is necessary for preventing weeds is in the way that you water. Try to only water where you need to, avoiding areas without plants or grass that you planted. Stray water can nourish and expose weed seeds, enabling them to grow.

Density and Covering

An effective method for preventing weeds is to make sure they don’t have a place to grow. The easiest way to ensure coverage is to use mulch to cover exposed soil. Mulch will smother the weed seeds that are there and prevent rooting, all the while providing the normal benefits of mulch such as cooling the soil and assisting in moisture retention.

Another consideration is how much space you have between plants. It’s best to cover as much of the ground as possible with grass or plants in order to prevent spaces for the weeds to grow. In combination with mulch, this will make it difficult for weeds to get a foothold.

Vigilance

It’s so much easier to remove weeds when they are young, so it’s important to keep your eyes out for them as they sprout up and pull them quickly. A few good times to look for weeds are while you are mowing or watering. Removing weeds after watering is especially good because wet soil makes the weeds easier to remove. Take note of any new weeds and deal with them before they can become stubborn and develop their seeds. This also prevents the soil from being disturbed too much when pulling, which prevents seeds from being exposed.

If you aren’t able to remove the entire weed, root and all, it’s a good idea to remove the head of the plant (what’s sticking out of the ground). This way it won’t release seeds and cause you even future grief.

Also, when bringing in new plants it is vital that you check that they don’t have any hitchhiking weeds in their soil.

Herbicides and Pre-Emergents

The best way to deal with many weeds is to use pre-emergent herbicides which stop them from growing all together, as it’s so hard to remove them and stop their spreading once they have gained a foothold in your lawn. This is especially true for most types of invasive grass, which is highly problematic to remove.

When you are able to keep up maintenance and only have a few weeds pop up at a time, using a spot sprayer is sufficient and prevents the pesticide from going places you don’t want. If you have a lot of weeds a tank sprayer might be necessary.

Broadleaf weeds tend to be the easiest to remove as their herbicides aren’t going to be as dangerous to your lawn. These herbicides will harm your large leafed plants though, so being precise around your garden is a must.

For perennials, which are often harder to pull and need all purpose plant killer, which can harm your lawn, it’s best to use an even more precise method of application. A popular technique is to use a paintbrush to apply the herbicide. You could also use a glove and rub the chemicals on, but that is clumsier.

Use an Expert

Maintaining a healthy lawn is difficult, hard work; even if you try your best, you may end up with a garden choked by weeds and a lawn riddled with crab grass. To ensure that your lawn looks the best that it can, contact Lawnscape.