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7 Lawn Care Myths Busted

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With so many conflicting lawn care tips, it can be hard to know what’s true and what’s false. This can lead to well-meaning homeowners wasting time and money on lawn care chores that aren’t beneficial or even accidentally damaging their own lawn. To avoid these lawn care calamities, read on to find out the truth about a few common lawn care myths that may have fooled you.

1. Mow Grass as Short as Possible

Many homeowners think they should cut their grass on their mower’s lowest setting for one of two reasons. First, to extend time between mowings and, second, to get that golf course green aesthetic in their lawn at home. Unfortunately, this is not as helpful as it may seem.

In fact, almost all lawns need to be mowed so that no more than one third of the total height of the grass is removed at a time. So, according to this rule of thumb, a lawn mowed with a mower height at three inches will need to be mowed about once a week. This of course doesn’t take into account seasonal changes or local weather issues like drought or excess rain, but it’s a good starting point. A lawn mowed with the mower deck at two inched will need to be cut roughly every five days. The higher the cut, the less often you need to mow to maintain it. Optimally, you want to aim for about two to four inches, no more than once every four days.

2. Leaving Grass Clippings Forms Thatch

This particular lawn care myth was actually debunked all the way back in the 1960’s but it has stubbornly been held on to in the mind of homeowners today. Somewhat counter-intuitively, leaving grass clippings on your lawn can actually do a lot more to help for your grass than hurt it. Grass clippings are actually mostly water, and what isn’t water will quickly break down to become additional nutrients that will help keep your grass healthier and hardier all year round. So, instead of going through the needless effort of removing grass clippings, simply mulch them to return those valuable nutrients back to your lawn.

3. Leaves Must Be Raked

Another common belief is that you should keep leaves off your lawn in the fall months, by blowing them or raking them off your lawn. This is another miscounted assertion. Leaving leaves on your lawn, provided again that you mulch them first, is a fantastic way to return valuable nutrients back to the soil. These nutrients provide a variety of benefits to your lawn, and can even help cut down on the costs of fertilizing and reseeding, particularly in the fall and winter months.

4. Seed in the Spring

During the springtime, grass is greener, animals are out, flowers are blooming, trees look strong and healthy. All of this seems to indicate that spring would be the best time to put out new grass seed, right? Wrong.

Different grass strains are best seeded at different times, in order to get the best results. For example, tall fescues are best seeded in the early fall, after the weather changes in order to give it time to establish itself before the heat of summer arrives. For some turf grasses, seeding in Spring is just an expensive way to make sure you have to seed again come Fall. Always check to see when the best time to seed your turf of choice is, and consider hybridizing your lawn with multiple grass types in order to get the best look and coverage year round.

5. Daily Watering is Necessary

Great news if you live somewhere that deals with frequent droughts (Hello, Southern California, how’s everybody doing? Nice and dry?). It turns out, you don’t actually need to water your lawn every day for best results, unless you’ve just laid out new sod. This should come as a great relief to those trying to keep a healthy, beautiful lawn while dealing with drought conditions and the watering restrictions that often come along with them.

Getting Professional Help With Your Lawn

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been the premier choice for lawn care in Southern LA since 1979. We offers a variety of lawn care services, including two lawn care programs and many additional services that can be performed on their own or in conjunction with our lawn care services. We use only the finest EPA certified products, and will always prioritize the safety of you, your loved ones, and the environment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations of lawn care and maintenance, contact Lawnscape today to see how we can help keep your landscaping healthy and beautiful.

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6 Reasons You Should Be Removing Weeds as Soon as You Seem Them

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At minimum, lawns and gardens should be weeded at least once a week, but for the best results weeding should be done far more often. Ideally, you should be removing weeds as soon as they’re spotted, but this isn’t always practical. Many homeowners choose to inspect their lawns and gardens every other day, dealing with weeds as they go, allowing for the prompt removal of weeds, and allowing them to see weeds they may miss as they go about their regular activities. This may seem excessive, but there are many reasons to be removing weeds as quickly as possible. Here are just a few.

1. Keep Your Landscaping Beautiful

The first reason is simple. Homeowners put a lot of work into keeping their landscaping healthy and beautiful, so why should weeds be allowed to ruin the aesthetic effects of all that work any longer than absolutely necessary? The sooner you jump on removing weeds, the sooner your landscaping goes back to the look that you’ve worked so hard to create.

2. Prevent Competition

While your lawn can be home to all kinds of fun competitions, like a pickup game of football or soccer, you don’t want it to be hosting a competition between weeds and the plants you want flourishing every day. Your lawn has a limited amount of the resources that plants need to stay alive, and weeds will take up portions of these limited supplies that you’d rather be used by the plants you’ve chosen. Weeds can rob your preferred plants of water supplies, vital nutrients, and soil space.

3. Minimize Your Effort

This is often the reason that appeals to people the most. Weeding can be a huge pain, both literally and figuratively. However, doing a little bit of weeding in your lawn and garden regularly is far easier and more painless than doing a long session of weeding one day during the weekend, especially when you’d rather be spending those long hours doing something far more pleasant and enjoyable. Doing a little bit of weeding more often is particularly helpful for people prone to back problems or those with limited mobility.

4. Catch Weeds While They’re Weakest

Speaking of easier, young weeds are easier to pull or otherwise eliminate than mature weeds. Therefore, the earlier you can deal with a weed, the less chance it has to mature and the more easily and effectively it will be for you to eliminate it.

5. Prevent the Spread of Weeds

Dealing with weeds before they reach maturity also ensures that you don’t have to deal with those weeds’ offspring in addition to the original weeds. If a young weed is allowed to mature, it will begin to produce seeds, which then spread and grow more weeds. A dandelion changing from a yellow flower to the white tufty ball of seeds that children love to blow on so much is a well-known example of this process. If you discover that you have a mature weed, but aren’t able to immediately remove it, you can clip it down, ensuring that all flowers are removed, in order to stop seeds from spreading.

6. Minimize Pests

Weeds can cause other unwanted guests to infiltrate your yard as well. Weeds can provide food and hiding places for a wide variety of pests, such as insects, mice, rats, moles, and more. These pests can, in turn, munch on the plants you do want to keep, tunnel in your soil, and otherwise cause havoc for your lawn and garden. If you’re particularly unlucky, they may even make their way indoors, where they can make messes, destroy property, and spread disease.

Weed Removal Strategies

Regardless of when or why you want to get rid of weeds, you have plenty of options and methods to get them taken care of. You can check out our weed removal guide for a variety of do-it-yourself strategies and tips for eliminating weeds. However, if you have a particularly stubborn weed problem or simply want to wash your hands of the whole weed removal process, a professional lawn care service may be the best option for you.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. is a leading lawn care service that has been based out of Los Angeles since 1979. Lawnscape offers a variety of services, including two lawn care programs and many additional services that can be performed on their own or in conjunction with other programs. We only use EPA certified products, prioritizing the safety of your family and the environment. Whether you struggle with weeds or some other aspect of lawn care and maintenance, contact Lawnscape today to see how they can help you keep your landscaping healthy and beautiful.

Which Grass Varieties Grow Best in LA?

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The type of grass that you choose makes all the difference in the health and appearance of your lawn. Certain types of turfs simply grow better in certain areas. If you live in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, you know what features a type of grass needs to survive in our climate: it needs to be drought resistant and at home in our high temperatures. Here are a few grasses that meet these conditions that you may want to consider for your lawn.

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass (buchloe dactyloides) is a soft, green gas native to the Great Plains from as far north as Montana and as far south as Mexico. Buffalo grass is known for its hearty nature and is resistant to drought and extreme temperatures. It also spreads its seed quite well on its own, making reseeding infrequent or even unnecessary. Buffalo grass is, however, susceptible to damage from excessive traffic over it, but stands up very well to the lawn traffic of most homes. Buffalo grass is not a great choice for shady areas. This grass requires very little maintenance and minimal product application to thrive. Buffalo grass does not reach very tall heights, so it can even be left un-mowed for the homeowner who prefers the least possible maintenance.

Sand Dune Sedge

You may have seen sand dune sedge (carex pansa) at the beach, but this grass can also thrive at your home. These grass varieties are very shade and drought tolerant, and thrives in a variety of soil types. However, sand dune sedge has a tendency to grow in clumps, so it may not provide your lawn with that smooth, even appearance favored by many homeowners. It is, however, an excellent decorative grass for a variety of landscaping needs, and it’s hearty, low maintenance nature may prompt some homeowners to choose sand dune sedge regardless of its slightly unusual growth patterns. Sand dune sedge is a flowering grass. Some homeowners prefer to keep it shorter for this reason, while others enjoy the appearance of longer, flowery grass.

Native California Bentgrass

Native bentgrass (agrostis pallens) is probably the most popular of the turf grass varieties native to California. Native California bentgrass has a pleasing bright green color and can be left long to provide a natural, casual appearance, but can also easily withstand being kept at short heights. This grass can withstand both sunny and partially shaded environments and is usually unaffected by drought. Native bentgrass tends to have a very uniform growth pattern, making it optimal for achieving the look of a traditional lawn, and recovers quickly and easily from damage.

Yarrow

While not technically a grass, yarrow (achillea millefolium) can be used as an alternative to a traditional turf grass. This perennial flowering plant can grow several feet tall (though low growing species are available), so it needs to be mowed regularly, but it maintains the appearance of a turf grass when it’s kept short. Yarrow is drought resistant, and, in fact, grows far better in moderate to dry soil. Yarrow also thrives in all types of soil, from sandy to loamy. Yarrow is low maintenance and requires very little treatment or chemical application. Yarrow also very rarely contracts disease.

Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass (cynodon dactylon) is one of the hardiest and most traffic resistant turf grasses available, and for this reason it’s a favorite for parks, golf courses, multipurpose fields, and sports complexes. Bermudagrass is drought resistant, thrives in heat, and grows in almost all soil types, but does not have excellent shade tolerance. Bermudagrass doesn’t require much maintenance just to survive, but with careful management it has the capacity to produce one of the most beautiful lawns you’ve ever seen. Bermudagrass is available in the common form, but also in a variety of hybrids that can make this already robust grass even more optimal for the growing conditions in your yard.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

If you’re looking to start your lawn anew with a brand-new grass type, you are about to embark on a difficult and potentially stressful process, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Whether you’re starting a new lawn or just want to ensure that you’re already existing lawn is in top shape, Lawnscape Systems, Inc. is here to help. Lawnscape is a top of the line professional lawn care and landscaping company that can help you achieve the lawn of your dreams. Whether you choose one of our lawn care packages or an individual treatment or a bit of both, we strive to provide you with the friendly and high quality service that you deserve. Contact Lawnscape today to get the beautiful and healthy lawn you’ve always wanted.

5 Ways You Could be Killing Your Lawn

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You try your best to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful, but the strategies you’re using to care for your lawn may actually be resulting in its demise. Then, as you apply these products and techniques with greater frequency in an attempt to save your lawn, you could end up only further degrading your lawn’s health. Read on to find out if you’re doing something that’s actually killing your lawn.

1. Over-Watering

Obviously not watering enough isn’t good for your lawn, but over-watering your lawn can be just as bad, especially if your soil doesn’t allow for proper drainage. Overly wet soil can damage the necessary ecosystem under the soil, degrading its nutrient content. It also fosters the development of diseases, such as brown patch lawn disease, which can kill huge sections of your lawn in just a few hours.

Finally, undrained water can prevent turf from absorbing the oxygen and carbon dioxide it needs to survive. You can resolve this by aerating to improve the soil’s water absorption and by not watering if water is gathering on the surface of the soil.

2. Pest Control Strategies

Pests can be devastating for the health and appearance of a lawn, but pesticides are no picnic for your turf either. Pesticides are rarely discriminatory in what they kill, so they may be harming your grass either directly or indirectly.

Pesticides can poison or chemically burn your turf, but they can also poison soil dwelling species like earthworms, bacteria, and fungi that are essential for soil health; as well as pollinators, like butterflies and bees. If these species are removed, the nutrient content of the soil depletes, soil can become compacted, and plants are not pollinated, leading to disastrous results for your lawn.

If possible, avoid pesticides altogether and instead favor non-chemical means of pest control. However, if you must use pesticides, choose a variety made to target the particular type of pest you’re trying to deal with, instead of a general purpose pesticide, as these are more discriminatory and less likely to damage non-target species. Use as little pesticide as possible and only in the areas where it is absolutely necessary.

3. Weed Control Strategies

Like pesticides, herbicides are not great for your lawn, and for the same reason. Herbicides are rarely discriminatory, so while you may be trying to get rid of dandelions or crabgrass, your preferred turf may be paying the price, as well. Even if you aren’t spraying or treating your grass directly, herbicide used nearby can be blown or washed onto non-target plants.

However, removing weeds is also essential for the health of your lawn, as weeds can crowd out wanted plants and create competition for the soil’s vital nutrients. Try to avoid using herbicides altogether and, instead, use alternative methods to deal with weeds. If you must use herbicides, purchase or make a shield to protect desired plants that may inadvertently be sprayed and try to avoid applying herbicides in breezy conditions or before rain. Avoid watering for a day or two after applying herbicides.

4. The Products You’re Using Around Your Lawn

It’s not just the products that you use on your lawn that can damage your turf. Many of the products that we use outside for home and automobile maintenance, such as gasoline, bleach and other household cleaners, automotive fluids, and even insect repellent can damage or kill your grass. Even if these products are exclusively used on patios, walkways, or driveways, they can easily find their way into your lawn if they don’t have another place to drain into.

To avoid contamination, never place these types of harsh chemicals on or near your turf, and make sure that anywhere you use these chemicals has a satisfactory method of drainage. This can be as simple as placing decorative stones for several inches around patios, walkways, and driveway, but you could also consider installing a drain and pipe to carry the runoff to a more desirable location.

5. Incorrect Mowing Techniques

Mowing is one of the most basic aspects of lawncare, but is also one of the hardest on turf, and many lawn owners aren’t doing it correctly. A dull lawn mower blade tears the grass rather than making a clean cut, which can damage or even kill turf plants. A too low mower blade can scalp your lawn, cutting turf too short and making it difficult for grass to recover. This is especially common for lawns that are uneven. Keep your mower blade sharp and set it at a height that removes no more than a third of the length from you grass. For lumps or unevenness, it may be necessary to dig up the sod and smooth the soil, and then replace the sod.

Fixing a Dead Lawn

Whether you need to restore a dead lawn or simply wish to wash your hands of the whole lawn care routine, a professional lawn care company may be the answer for you. The professionals at Lawnscape can help repair a dead or dying lawn, as well as safely care for any lawn, and can even provide maintenance or repair treatments for people who prefer to otherwise handle their lawn care themselves.

Whether your lawn is brown and dying, or seems to be the healthiest and most beautiful on the block, contact Lawnscape today to ensure that your lawn really is getting the care it truly needs.