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How to Turn Your Lawn into a Haunted Halloween Attraction

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Decorating a yard for Halloween is a lot of fun, but you could do something even better: a haunted attraction. These popular scare mazes aren’t as hard to make as you would think! Turning your lawn into the perfect Halloween trick or treating spot can be done cheaply or you can go all out. It’s all up to you! Here are a few essential steps to transforming your lawn for the scariest of all holidays.

Decorate Your Lawn and Maze

Whether you plan on buying expensive animatronic latex monsters from your local Halloween super store or doing DIY spiders and other kid-friendly creepy crawlies, you will need decorations. Try going for a theme inspired by the latest horror films, TV shows, and novels. A cohesive aesthetic will make your haunted attraction more alluring than a hodge-podge of random assorted decorations.

When decorating your yard, consider the type of trick or treaters you are expecting. Young children won’t respond well to gore or too realistic monsters, but if you have an older crowd of teenagers and young adults, you can go all out! Having the right atmosphere is essential or else young children might just skip over your place.

Try to avoid decorations that might damage your grass such as things that require large spikes to be placed in the ground or particularly heavy objects. Anything large should be kept off the lawn as it will block sunlight and could kill your grass. If you want to use larger decorations, try waiting to put those particularly pieces out until the days leading up to Halloween or even just on that particular day. A dying lawn is scary only for its owner!

Set Up Some Walls

One of the most deceptively challenging parts of creating a haunted attraction in your yard is making the walls. There are some simple solutions, though. Cardboard boxes are a safe, cheap, and available option. Just stack them and cover them with black tarps or fabric. Painting them is an option, too; making them a part of the decorations themselves. Make tight turns and hide-aways for people to sneak into and scare your maze runners. Stage different scenes by leaving larger sections of open space, giving you the opportunity to create a cool tableau of horror.

Before you start setting up your walls, it’s a good idea to plan the layout so that you know you have enough space and material to do what you want. Measure things out with a tape measure and make sure to leave enough walking room for everyone.

Cultivate an Atmosphere

A popular way to make your haunted attraction all the creepier is to use fog machines and strobe lights. This will create a haunting ambience for your ghouls. Music can also add to the effect, but don’t leave it on too late or your neighbors won’t be too happy. Make sure there is enough lighting for people to see their way through the maze or you might have a few toppled walls during your night. Some decorations will have lighting effects that won’t ruin the aesthetic of your maze while still providing much needed light. Remember, a lot of people will be wearing masks, which makes it difficult to see, reducing their field of vision.

Keep things safe! Don’t leave anything that could trip a maze-goer or catch on them, making them trip and most likely knocking parts of your maze over.

Rewards

Of course, Halloween isn’t complete without candy. Provide your maze-goers with a nice reward at the end. The final candy grab is also a great way to stage the last scare – someone acting as a dummy holding the bowl can get in one last fright. Just remember to only frighten those with the nerve to take it.

Keep your Lawn Healthy

All these people walking on your lawn might make you nervous that it will be damaged by the foot traffic. If your lawn is healthy and well-maintained, that shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t water the day of and it should be fine. If your lawn isn’t as nice as you would like or it’s simply unhealthy, using a professional can assure that it will survive your haunted attraction. Contact Lawnscape today for all of your lawn maintenance needs!

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Lawn Shade: Is it Right for Your Lawn?

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With LA’s climate, hot weather and less infrequent rain is common, which can often lead to dry lawns. It’s tempting to add a shade tree to reduce watering needs and provide a nice place to sit under outside, but when you add shade the needs of your lawn changes. Reduced sunlight can have a range of effects on your grass and will necessitate a change in maintenance routines. You should keep in mind the following factors when it comes to lawn shade.

Effects of Lawn Shade on Grass

Shading from buildings, trees, or even fallen debris such as leaves and other plant matter can be a source of shade for a lawn. The primary negative of a shaded lawn is that it gets less sunlight, resulting in less food produced by photosynthesis, which is the process by which plants turn light into energy for growth and health. On the other hand, too much sunlight can kill your grass because of the extreme heat, so in hotter climates shade can prevent heat damage.

In cooler climates, less sun means a wetter ground. Wet dirt is good for the grass, but it can also be a friendlier place for invasive species. Moss, fungi, and some lawn destroying insects and worms thrive in cool, damp dirt, leaving your lawn vulnerable to destruction.

If the shade in your lawn is originating from a tree or large shrubbery, then your grass may also be out-competed for water as these larger plants have higher hydration requirements. Very large roots can even physically damage the ground and roots of grass. Trees with thick canopies may also prevent rainfall from reaching the grass beneath.

While the combined effect of these negatives may seem detrimental to a lawn, the good news is that there are ways to compensate, allowing for a nice shady lawn that you can enjoy in the hotter months.

Reduce Lawn Shade Coverage

A simple solution to a lack of sunlight is to prune the offending trees and shrubs during the months with less sunlight.  Thinner tree canopies can allow for more sunlight and rain to fall through, giving your grass the exposure to the elements that it needs. Plus, if you time the trimming right, by the time summer rolls around your lawn will have some added protection from the intense heat and be less likely to dry out.

Aeration

Aerating your shady lawn can also help it thrive despite the effects of shade. The process of aeration is when small holes are poked into the lawn, allowing for root exposure. By exposing the roots, they are more receptive to receiving fertilizer and the air it needs to thrive.

Fertilizer

To compensate for the reduced nutrients caused by lack of sunlight, fertilizer can help your grass grow in the shade. After aerating, adding organic matter to your lawn will give it the nutrients it needs.

Water Smart

Since water evaporates much slower in the shade, it’s important that you don’t overwater your grass. If the ground is still damp, chances are you can wait longer to water. Overwatering can kill the grass both by drowning, destabilizing the soil, and making it a better place for unwelcome organisms to find a home. Water less frequently, but deeply to ensure that the grass is being properly hydrated but not overwatered. If your shade is coming from other large plants make sure that they aren’t out-competing your grass for the water it needs and adjust accordingly.

Mowing at the Right Height

When mowing a lawn, a lot of people just run through on one height, but this can be deadly for shaded grass. Grass in shaded areas should be left slightly longer than the sun-exposed parts of the lawn. This allows for a longer leaf which is better at capturing sunlight, water, and air. Most mowers allow for height adjustments of the blade; just make sure to be safe when making these adjustments.

Weed Regularly

Weeds are a gardener’s worst enemy. They seem to constantly show back up and are unsightly. For shaded lawns, some weeds thrive in the less sunny space. Make sure to weed regularly as the invading plants can cause damage to your lawn, further straining your shaded grass.

Use an Expert

Lawns can be tricky because of the amount of variables in just a single yard. Using an expert lawncare company can be the best thing that you do for your yard. Lawnscape is an expert in lawncare, and will know exactly how to compensate for shaded or sun-exposed lawns. Contact Lawnscape today to keep your lawn looking its best!

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Common Lawn Diseases and How to Prevent Them

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Lawncare isn’t always an easy job. It takes a lot of dedication to keep your turf in peak condition. Sometimes, no matter how well you’re maintaining your grass, the unexpected happens: lawn diseases. In order to properly manage these lawn diseases, it’s important to understand why they occur.

Diseases are usually caused by 3 factors:

  1. A Susceptible Plant. It’s very rare that things, living or non-living, are invincible to everything. Eventually something will happen, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road.
  2. Favorable Environments. Sometimes it’s just bad luck that you end up with extremely dry weather, or relentless rain. The environment that your turf is growing in affects how likely it is that diseases will appear. You can help by proper maintenance and understanding what’s healthy for your lawn. There are many different classifications of grass and some diseases are more effective against certain types. Knowing what your lawn is made of will help you look out for specific dangers.
  3. Pathogens. Although not the most common cause of lawn disease, they’re still something to keep an eye on.

 

Non-Living Diseases

Non-living lawn diseases are recognizable by the well-defined edges of impacted areas. Factors that can bring disease include compacted soil and thatched soil. Compacted soil occurs when there’s a high amount of traffic on the turf and the soil is squished, making it more difficult for your grass to intake the nutrients needed for proper growth. Thatched soil is an intertwined layer of dead and living organic matter lying in between the turf and the soil. This happens when the grass produces debris faster than that debris can be broken down.

Most often, non-living lawn disease is caused by chemicals. The most common examples are:

  • Dog urine
  • Gasoline spills
  • Salt damage due to ice melting chemicals
  • Misuse of common lawn chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; which should only be used as last resorts, anyway
  • Fertilizer burn from excessive fertilization. The excess of nitrogen salts can dry up all of the moisture in the plant and create a state of hypertonicity where it’s more difficult for water to pass through.

 

Living Diseases

Often when we think of disease, we think of viruses and bacteria. For your lawn, this isn’t often the case. Bacteria-caused lawn diseases are extremely rare; the one that occurs most often is the St. Augustine Decline, named so because it only affects St. Augustine grass.

Another potential disease is caused by nematodes: microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on plant roots. Often times they are harmless, however if the population is high enough this can cause your lawn to wilt, stunt the growth, or cause the grass to be off-color.

However, all of the most common lawn diseases are due to parasitic fungi, most often in warm weather. Fungi are always available in the soil waiting for the right conditions to attack. This is usually when the turf is facing stress, such as excessive heat or cold, or improper care.

Some of the Most Common Lawn Diseases

Affecting All Grass

Slime Mold is one of the least harmful diseases; it causes patches of white, gray, or black deposit on turf, which appears powdery in its early stages. As the disease progresses, the deposits form small balls, affecting the turf’s growth; however it’s easily removed by a rake or hose.

Fairy Ring causes a dark green circle or semicircle of grass, ranging from a few inches to up to 200 feet, with the surrounding turf appearing to be dying. Mushrooms may appear in the area. This disease can cause serious damage, creating a thick fungal mat that prevents water from reaching the roots, and absorbs all of the nutrients from the soil. It is one of the hardest diseases to control, with no natural treatment.

Dollar Spot, on the other hand, doesn’t cause permanent damage. It’s recognizable by small spots of tan or brown grass all over the lawn.

Similar to Dollar Spot are Brown Patch and Yellow Patch, also causing no permanent damage.  Brown Patch is a circular area of sunken in dead grass, with the outer perimeter appearing a smoky color; Yellow Patch is smaller yellow patches with less of the smoky perimeter. These diseases are more specific than the other three, affecting:

  • Bent grass and creeping bent grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Causing Slime

Pink Snow Mold is a white or pink slimy growth that occurs when there’s too much moisture. This most commonly affects:

  • Bent grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

 

Also related is Gray Snow Mold, which instead of white or pink in appearance, is white or gray. This disease usually forms under layers of snow, and forms irregular patches on your lawn. This strain differs from Pink Snow Mold because it also affects all bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrass. Of course, this disease is rare in LA.

Pythium Blight is also known as Grease Spot, causes brown slimy areas where white patches may form. It spreads quickly and can kill turf if left untreated. This disease affects:

  • Bent grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Causing Spots

Otherwise known as “Melting Out,” Leaf Spot can make the grass look tan, gray or brown; with red, purple, or tan lesions appearing on the blades. This disease can severely thin or kill grass, affecting Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda grass.

Anthracnose is a pathogen-caused disease where tan, brown, or reddish brown patches show up, which may be as small as inches and as big as yards. Spots could also appear on the blades. It survives on plant debris and easily spreads, most commonly through water. This disease thrives in warm weather, and can kill turf. This affects annual bluegrass and bent grass.

Powdery Mildew is usually found in shady areas, and is named so because the infection looks like white dust. It turns the infected grass tan to brown and can cause permanent damage. This affects:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Rust causes orange spots on the blades of grass. It’s a fungal infection where the spores can easily attach to clothes and tools, although it’s not usually harmful. It can affect:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass

 

Red Thread, also known as Pink Patch, brings red or faded patches, with red or pink threads spreading from blade to blade. This disease does not cause permanent damage, and affects:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

How to Prevent These Lawn Diseases

Proper lawn care is important to maintaining a healthy turf and overall lawn. Since most of these diseases are fungus based, so one way you can help is by watering less often and more deeply as fungus tends to spread through water. About 20 minutes per day should be fine. Mowing regularly with sharp blades can also prevent the spread of fungus as dull blades can shred grass, making it easier for spores to enter and infect your turf. Regular fertilization and aeration will also help ensure that your lawn is healthy and beautiful.

What to Do if Your Lawn is Infected

It’s important to determine what the problem is before you make any assumptions. Sometimes this involves getting down on your hands and knees and looking at the blades of grass for discoloration and lesions. Fungus spores may be present with the early morning dew. The faster you can identify the problem and decide how to manage it, the less damage can be caused to your turf.

If you suspect that your lawn may be infected, don’t hesitate to call our dedicated team of professionals for more information.

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7 Lawn Care Missteps You Need to Avoid

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Lawn care doesn’t have to be difficult. Avoid these 7 common lawn care missteps to make your life easier and your keep your lawn lush, beautiful, and healthy.

Mistake #1 – You Cut Your Lawn too Short

One of the most common lawn care mistakes people make is that they cut their lawn too short. When you over-cut your lawn, you stress the grass, which inhibits grown and can make your lawn more vulnerable to some diseases and funguses. Additionally, cutting your grass too short

To avoid this lawn care mistake, raise the blades on your lawnmower to ensure that it removes no more than ⅓ of the length of the blades of grass when you mow your lawn.

Mistake #2- You Always Mow Your Lawn in the Same Direction

Another common mistake many homeowners make when caring for their lawns is that they always mow in the same direction. Always mowing the same direction can put pressure on the grass, which can make it more difficult for the grass to grow.

Next time you mow your lawn, try a mowing in a different pattern in order to ensure your lawn is mowed equally, and you don’t put more strain on some parts of your lawn.

Mistake #3 – Your Mower Blades are Dull

People often don’t realize that the blade of their lawn mower get dull and blunt with usage, and need to be sharpened regularly. As a result, people often make the mistake of mowing their lawn with a mower that has dull or blunt blades.

When your lawnmower has dull blades, instead of cutting the grass cleanly, the lawnmower blades rip and tear at the grass, which makes it more difficult for your lawn to absorb water and other nutrients. Additionally, the uneven edges left by dull lawn mower blades may make your lawn more susceptible to diseases and fungus.

Fortunately, it is easy to determine whether your lawnmower blades need to be sharpened. Lie down on the lawn and look at the tops of the blades of grass. If you see uneven, shabby looking blades of grass, rather than nice clean cuts, it is likely that your lawnmower needs to be sharpened.

Mistake #4 – You Water Excessively

Did you know that too much water is just as bad for your lawn as not enough water?

The average lawn only needs an inch of water a week, and does not need to be watered every day.

In addition to increased risk of disease and fungus, overwatering your lawn can lead to grass developing a shallow root system, meaning that it is less able to survive dry summer conditions.

Mistake #5 – You Misuse Fertilizer

Fertilizers and pesticides can give you a lush, green, healthy lawn when used appropriately. But when pesticides and fertilizers are used excessively or when they are not needed, they can cause damage to your lawn. Over-fertilizing your lawn can cause burning or unsightly discoloration.

Additionally, whether your lawn is made up of cool season or warm season grasses is important to consider when fertilizing your lawn. Cool season grasses should be fertilized during the spring and fall, while warm season grasses should be fertilized during the spring and summer.

Finally, to avoid damage from fertilizers, water your lawn within 24 hours after fertilizing. This will prevent any undissolved fertilizer particles from burning your lawn and creating unsightly brown patches.

Mistake #6 – You’re Ignoring the Soil

The soil is one of the most important parts of your lawn, and yet this is something people often forget. If you have bad soil, all the fertilizing, weeding, and watering you can do will not give you the lush green lawn you’re after.

If you’ve been watering, fertilizing, and mowing your lawn appropriately and still can’t seem to get the lush, healthy lawn you’re after, consider getting your soil tested.

The results from a soil test will tell you the levels of nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil; this will help you determine what fertilizing or lawn care regimen will give you the healthy lawn you want.

Mistake #7- You’re Planting the Wrong Grass for the Climate

One of the most common lawn care mistakes people make is that they choose the wrong kind of grass for their climate. Some grasses known as cool season grasses thrive in cooler, damper climates, while others known as warm season grasses do better in warmer, dryer climates.

Another mistake people make is people assume that their entire lawn has to be the same grass species, but this is not the case. Seed mixtures containing both cool season and warm season grasses are available, and these mixes are often more resistant to hot and cold.

Sometimes, the best way to avoid any lawn care missteps is to call in the professionals. If you live in the Los Angeles area, get in contact with the team at Lawnscape. We offer a wide range of lawn care services, from fertilizing and core aeration to extensive weed and lawn pest control.

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