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Biggest Lawn Health Risks in Los Angeles

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If you’re concerned about the health of your lawn and how the unique Los Angeles climate can affect it, be sure to keep an eye of out for these common issues that can play a big role in increasing lawn health risks.

Drought

One of the biggest threats to the health of your lawn in Los Angeles is a lack of water. When your lawn does not get enough water, your grass begins to lose color and develop a faded appearance. After a while, your grass will begin to wilt, before eventually turning brown due to the lack of water.

Some grass species, such as Ryegrass, are better able to adapt to dry conditions. Others are suited to cooler, wetter climates, and are easily killed off by hot, dry weather.

Overwatering

When you notice your lawn starting to turn brown and losing its lush appearance, your instinct may be to start watering it every day. But watering your lawn too frequently can cause more harm than good.

Ideally, your lawn should be watered three times a week, and should get about a third of an inch of water each time. If you do any more than that, you risk overwatering your lawn. Overwatering can lead to infestations of pests and insects, accelerated weed growth, and an increased risk of fungal infestation; all of which can cause your lawn look dull and sickly, instead of lush and healthy.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Grass

One of the biggest mistakes people often make when re-seeding their lawn is choosing the wrong kind of grass. In LA, it is important to choose a grass species that is drought resistant and can survive on little water.

Some types of grass, known as cool season grasses, thrive in cooler, wetter climates, while others, known as warm season grasses thrive in warmer climates. Drought resistant, warm season grasses like Bermuda grass, buffalo grass, and St. Augustine grass are ideal for the warm, dry climate of Southern California.

Pests and Diseases

Pest infestations and fungal infections can pose a threat to the health of your lawn. Common fungal infections in southern California include Fusarium blight, which thrives in high temperatures and under drought conditions. Another common lawn disease is summer patch disease, which thrives in overwatered lawns during higher temperatures.

Common pests like chinch bugs and grub worms can wreak havoc on your lawn. Chinch bugs leave yellow patches in your lawn and make your lawn more susceptible to drought damage. Grub worms live in the soil under your lawn and feed on the roots of your grass. Eventually, you will notice brown patches beginning to appear in your lawn.

If you notice signs of fungal infection or insect infestation in your lawn, it is important to get it treated right away.

Mower Mistakes

One of the biggest threats to the health of your lawn can be something as simple as incorrectly mowing your lawn. Many people don’t realize that mower blades need to be sharpened regularly. Mowing your lawn with a dull mower can rip and tear the blades of grass instead of cutting them evenly, which can make your lawn more susceptible to fungal infections.

Another common mistake homeowners make is mowing too short. Ideally, you should not remove more than a third of the blade of grass when you mow. Cutting your lawn too short can increase the likelihood of fungus or other diseases. It can also make your lawn more susceptible to drought damage.

Maintenance Mistakes

Common maintenance mistakes like failing to regularly aerate your lawn can pose a threat to the health of your lawn. Regularly aerating your lawn is important, especially in Southern California, where many people have clay soils, or rock-and-clay mixed soils in their yard. Rock and clay soils are more vulnerable to compaction, and compacted soils are less able to deliver nutrients, water, and oxygen to the root system of your lawn, which can leave your lawn looking faded, wilted, or patchy.

Ensuring your lawn is in good health is imperative to keeping it lush and beautiful throughout the year. With LA’s oft-hot and drought-like climate, it’s highly recommended you call in the professionals if you’re unable to keep your lawn in tip top shape. To eliminate lawn health risks and for all of you lawn care needs, Lawnscape is here to help. Contact us today.

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How Excessive Rain Can Damage Your Garden

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When most people think of weather damage to their lawns and gardens, they think of excessive heat and drought conditions, excessive rain or too much water in general. But too much water can cause just as much harm as not enough.

Excess Water Drowns Root Systems

Excessive water or heavy rain can damage the root system of your lawn, especially when combined with high temperatures and the high humidity common during summer months. Grass requires oxygen to grow, and too much water prevents oxygen from getting into the soil. As a result, plant growth is stunted.

Shallow Root Growth

Additionally, heavy rain over long periods of time can lead to shallow root growth, meaning your lawn will be less likely to stay green during drier conditions or survive through a drought. It may even become more susceptible to fungus or diseases.

Excess Rain Leaches Nutrients from the Soil

Excess rain or water can harm your lawn or garden by leaching nutrients from the soil before they can be absorbed by the plants in your garden or by your lawn. This means that you end up spending more money and time fertilizing your garden.

Fungus, Diseases, Weeds, and Pests

In addition to damaging root systems and putting increased stress on your lawn or garden, excessive water can make both your lawn and garden more prone to certain kinds of fungal plant diseases that thrive during wet rainy weather.

Lawn diseases such as grey leaf spot thrive in warm, wet conditions. Symptoms of this disease are straw colored or grey spots on the leaf blade, and your lawn becoming sparse. Other lawn diseases, like pythium root rot also thrive in warm, wet conditions. Root rot causes grass to thin, and your grass may take on a yellow or lime green appearance.

What Can You Do?

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect your lawn from wet weather damage. To prevent the spread of fungal diseases, ensure that your lawn and garden have adequate drainage. Consider building drainage ditches to carry excess water away from your garden in the event of heavy rainstorms.

If you notice discoloration or symptoms of fungal disease in your lawn or certain plants, there are some simple steps you can take to protect them from wet weather damage. Avoid pruning or trimming plants when they are wet, as fungal diseases are better able to spread between plants when the leaves are wet. Soil aeration can also help to prevent the spread of root rot diseases and fungi that affect lawns.

If you’re concerned about protecting your lawn from rain and water damage, Lawnscape offers a variety of services to meet your needs. Contact us today to find out more.

Protecting Your Lawn During Fall

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Preparing and protecting your lawn during fall may not be as intensive as winter or summer, but it’s still an absolutely necessary step. If you don’t adjust the way you are maintaining your grass it won’t be as strong as it can be for the winter months to come. In areas with snowfall or drastic temperature changes this is an imperative step every year, but even in more temperate climates just a few days of a drop in temperature can drastically affect your lawn.

Check for Summer Damage

The first step in lawn preparation for fall is to check what damage has occurred over the summer. Kids and pets playing on the grass can take a real toll on the greenery; compounded by the weather, and you may have a lawn with bald spots and dead grass. Taking a survey of the lawn and determining how to proceed next will get you off on the right track.

Reseed and Overseed

If you have some damaged grass, reseeding those areas is a good idea so that your lawn looks nice and even. For lawns with hot temperature resistant grasses, it’s a good idea to overseed the lawn to make sure it doesn’t die over the winter, giving the lawn a thicker layer of grass and more resilience. Aerating the lawn before you seed will ensure new growth and help the plants establish deep roots, making for better water absorption and resistance to damage and death.

Clean Up the Yard

A simple step that can easily be overlooked for larger details is cleaning up the yard. Removing any lawn furniture, toys, or temporary pools can save you some major headache in the future. These objects block sunlight and can provide homes for invading insects. If you live in an area with a more moderate climate where you are going to continue using the outdoor area, you might want to consider moving the furniture occasionally so one spot doesn’t suffer.

Another part of cleaning the yard is raking up leaves. While some people might tell you that leaving the leaves on your lawn is a good idea as it’s insulating your lawn from the colder weather, that’s not the best advice. Leaves can block sunlight from reaching your grass, preventing food production and ultimately killing the lawn.

What is a good idea is using your leaves in a compost to create mulch, but cleaning them up is the first and most necessary step. Certain fungal invasions can easily start from an unkempt pile of leaves as they decay and become prime targets for a variety of unwelcome fungi.

Mowing

While the growth of your lawn is going to slow down in the cold weather, it’s still a good idea to mow the lawn, but less frequently. Don’t over mow as this can weaken your grass as it is unable to collect as much sunlight.

Feed the Lawn

Fertilization is key during the fall to strengthen your lawn for the winter. In summer, fertilizer can kill your grass as the increased nitrates can be too much, but for fall it’s just what’s needed. Aeration is again a useful step to take before fertilizing so that it penetrates the soil and reaches the roots of the grass.

Weeding Never Stops

Take care of the weeds that spring up during cooler weather. If weeds go unnoticed in the fall they can do some real damage as your grass isn’t growing as quickly and can easily be out-competed for the water, nutrition, and sunlight that it needs to thrive. Make sure to routinely check your grass and to remove the offending plants.

Use an Expert

Every lawn is different and every region’s weather varies, so the needs of each lawn are going to be different. Using a professional lawn care service provider is a great way to ensure that your lawn will survive fall. Lawnscape is a professional lawn care company that can make sure your lawn thrives through the whole year. Contact Lawnscape today.

4 of the Worst Weeds and How to Eliminate Them

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LA’s weather is great for being outdoors, regardless of the season. The warm weather, sunshine, and plants bloom make for a great atmosphere. But what if your lawn is crawling with weeds that won’t go away? We’ll take a look at some of the top weeds disrupting your lawns and the best methods to control them.

Bermuda: Tough as Nails

Considered one of the toughest weeds to kill, Bermuda is as stubborn as they come. It is proven to be widely resistant against most methods of management and comes back year after year. The traditional method of digging by hand isn’t effective on its own, nor are most of the herbicides on the market. Due to the complex root structure and resilience of the weed, it takes a combination of both.

Bermuda, with long stalks and blades coming off the sides, has roots that are able to grow back even if most of it has been removed. The best method of managing the weed is to use a blanket herbicide. This herbicide kills everything in the area, with the most effective ones using glyphosate as the active ingredient. Using this chemical has proven to be the most effective method of killing the weed. After spraying the weed, it still has to be removed by hand, as the roots can regrow in the future.

The process may need to be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired results.

Kikuya: A Year-Long Problem

Similar to the Bermuda weeds, this invasive nuisance has a similar appearance and root structure. As a result, the same method of management has proven to be effective against the weed. It has also been managed through weed specific treatments, which will help to maintain the rest of the lawn while attacking the weed.

The difference between Kikuya and Bermuda is the fact that Bermuda is a warm weather weed that sprouts during the warm months, whereas Kikuya can thrive in both warm and cool weather. It is more adaptive to the temperature, but it is less aggressive in lawns than it is in nature.

Since it is not as aggressive in lawns, it can be controlled by having a healthy lawn that can suffocate the weed. It is also vital to ensure that it does not spread throughout the lawn. So when using lawn equipment, ensure that it is clear of seeds to stop the spread of the weed throughout the lawn.

Nutgrass: Aw Nuts

Nutgrass, or nutsedge as it is otherwise known, is another invasive weed that is very tough to remove. This weed can be just as difficult to remove as the others on this list due to the structure of the weed, which has nuts hidden within the root system, which can be very hard to detect and can spread very easily. Nutgrass is a weed with a solid triangular stem, with three blades that branch off from the stem.

Some of the traditional herbicides and systematic treatments have not been effective in dealing with nutgrass due to the deep roots and nuts. The top layer of the weed may die, but it will sprout again because the roots are still alive.

It is possible to manage the weed without removal, if the lawn is at a height to shade the weed, as it does not grow well in shade. This allows for it to be controlled. The best method for properly dealing with the stubborn weed, however, is to remove it by hand. Because of its roots, it has to be dug out deeply and wide, ensuring that all possible nuts are removed along with the weed.

Poa Annua: A Long Battle Ahead

Poa Annua, or Annual Bluegrass, is a very common weed in lawns across the country. It has long blades with flowery tips filled with seeds. Bluegrass is so prominent because the weed can seed hundreds of times throughout a season. The constant germination of the weed allows it to spread very easily.

The seeds themselves are resilient as well. They can lay dormant for years before sprouting up, making the battle to control them last over many seasons. Bluegrass seeds in the cooler months, which typically happens early spring or early fall, so the best way to combat this is to spray the weed with a pre-emergent herbicide, which will prevent it from seeding. Due to the fact that the seeds can lay dormant for seasons, it is a process that will have to be repeated to effectively manage.

What to Do Now

Now that you have the knowledge to manage weeds, do you have the time? If not, don’t worry. The experts at Lawnscape have all the knowledge and tools to combat these resilient weeds for you. These weed specific treatments are included in our lawn care program, along with a long list of other key services.