Blog

50 Shades of Green

0 Comments

One of the most frustrating aspects of lawn maintenance is making sure your grass stays the same length, color, and thickness throughout. Maintaining a balanced, consistent looking lawn can be a challenge, especially if you can’t tell what’s causing the discoloration or inconsistency. Fortunately, most inconsistently grown or patchy grass can be easily remedied with a little knowledge and some easy DIY steps.

Deeper Green Spots

If you have patchy grass that is deep green, and much more vibrant than the surrounding turf, your first instinct may be to ignore it, or try and figure out why the rest of your grass appears to be lagging behind. This instinct can sometimes be correct; it’s possible you just have some exceptionally healthy grass in one or two areas due to soil or watering inconsistencies that aren’t much to worry about. On the other hand, a patch of deeper green grass can be a sign that there are some issues going on that may take some time and effort to deal with.

Most commonly, you may see some deeper green patchy grass in areas that get more shade during the day. If you have one section of your lawn that’s getting less sun, it’s possible that area of turfgrass is simply getting more water to its roots than other areas of your lawn. If this is the case, you may want to test your watering system, and make sure you’re getting enough water, around 1 to 1.5 inches, to your grass. If your lawn is getting at least this much water, you may want to think about watering more in areas that get excessive sun, as you may be dealing with drought conditions that are disrupting your lawn’s growth patterns. If you’re not sure if water is the problem, you may want to have your soil tested to make sure nothing else is going on like a lack of nutrients in certain areas of soil.

Dealing with Fairy Rings in Your Grass

If your grass is darker in a large ring-shaped patch, you may have what is known as a fairy ring. Fairy rings are caused by fungal growths that increase the nitrogen content of the soil as they grow and decompose. This can cause darker rings of turfgrass to form, often with thin or brown grass growing just outside the ring. Fortunately, there are antifungals and other treatments that can get rid of the fungus, which will stop the nitrogen buildup in the soil that creates the imbalance.

Brown Grass

If your grass is brown all over, or in large areas, chances are your grass is lacking in one of the key things it needs to grow and remain healthy. The most prevalent of these is water. Without adequate water getting to your lawn’s roots, it can’t grow or repair sun or insect damage, which makes it incredibly important to water your lawn properly.

The second most common cause of widespread brown, patchy grass is improper mowing. If you’re mowing your lawn with dull blades, you’re tearing grass instead of cutting it, which damages or ever destroys the grass blade and makes it very difficult for the grass to grow.

Finally, there are a number of diseases that can cause your lawn to be discolored, but many of these require a professional diagnosis.

Small Brown or Yellow Areas

If you have small brown or yellowish areas in your grass, chances are you have some form of contaminant or impurity that is causing some discoloration. The most common problem is gasoline, solvents, or other harsh chemicals that have been spilled on the grass, in which case the best course of action is to flush the area heavily with large amounts of water, and then re-fertilize and reseed the area, making sure to remove any possible sources of contamination such as leaking containers or spills.

If you have small areas of brown or yellow grass ringed by deeper green grass, chances are there’s an animal or animals urinating on your lawn. Your best bet here is to talk to your neighbors about keeping their dogs out of your yard, and barring that work towards keeping other critters and creatures off your lawn.

Professional Help

If you’ve tried the above, or you’re just struggling to find the time or energy to get your lawn to a nice, even shade of green, it may be time to consider calling in the cavalry. Lawnscape Systems offers a wide variety of lawn services to get your lawn back to its healthiest, greenest state. Contact us today to set up a consultation to find out more about what Lawnscape can do to help improve your lawn.

Share

Watering Your Lawn: How Much is Too Much?

0 Comments

Watering your lawn is a delicate balance. Too little and the grass turns brown and dies, too much and you drown the grass and leach nutrients out of the soil. Striking that balance can be difficult, and failing to do so can leave you with a less than stellar lawn. One of the most common pitfalls isn’t underwatering however, its overwatering. Over-watering also has more severe consequences in the short term, and causes problems that are more difficult to correct.

Overwatering Kills Plant Roots

Oversaturating soil has many negative effects for plants rooted in that soil, particularly shallow-rooted plants such as turf grasses. The soil under your grass is largely porous, and those pores are typically filled with air. Excessive water pushes out this air and can lead to suffocation of grass roots, which weakens the plant and cuts off its nutrient-gathering ability. This leads to dead spots, brown grass, and sparse or patchy lawns.

Overwatering Wastes Money and Resources

Watering your lawn too much also wastes money and drives up your water bill, while simultaneously wasting valuable natural resources. Ground-water, particularly in areas that are prone to drought, is a limited resource that needs to be jealously shepherded in order to maintain sufficient water supplies for more vital operations. This is especially true in places like Southern California that tend to deal with summertime droughts and a lack of groundwater availability. Wasting this groundwater can exacerbate drought conditions and contributes to water shortages.

Too much water also pulls important nutrients out of the soil and washes them away. This can lead to dry soil that can’t support plant life, which makes for something of a perfect storm of erosion potential that can end with your topsoil getting washed away.

Overwatering Leads to Nitrate Pollution and Over Fertilization

An often-overlooked consequence of too much water in a yard is the risk of nitrate pollution. Nitrates, essential nutrients for plant development, are heavily present in fertilizer. This is excellent for getting your grass to grow, but it can also lead to nitrate pollution of groundwater resources, particularly nearby lakes and rivers. It’s important to carefully control the amount of water a heavily-fertilized lawn gets to avoid this nitrate pollution of local groundwater. The same goes for lawns that have been heavily sprayed with weed killers or other pesticides and herbicides.

You will also be spending much more on fertilizer if you’re overwatering your lawn, and may find that you’re not getting the results you expected. This is in large part because overwatering will carry all of those valuable nutrients away. This leads to more fertilizing, which leads to more groundwater pollution, and starts a vicious cycle that ends with tainted groundwater and a lawn that’s just as dead as when you started.

Maintaining the Right Amount of Water

All of this raises the question of how exactly a homeowner should gauge the right amount of water for their lawn. Well, as a general rule, your lawn needs about 1.5 inches of water every week to stay healthy. To gauge this, simply run your irrigation system and measure the output of the system by placing a few straight-sided containers out to see how much water each area of your lawn is getting.

If you want to get more precise, real-time measurements, which can be particularly useful if you have problems getting your lawn healthy, you can invest in a series of soil sensors that will automatically update you on the state of the moisture levels in the soil. This lets you achieve the ideal amount of water for your lawn, without over or underwatering.

Getting Professional Help with Your Lawn

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been the premier choice for lawn care in Southern LA since 1979. 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. We can help ensure your lawn stays healthy and green year-round, without any worries of over or under watering.

Share

The Most Common Lawn Diseases

0 Comments

The best way to go about lawn disease control is by properly maintaining your lawn to encourage health and hardiness. However, though they may not look like it, lawns are complex ecosystems, with each square foot of lawn containing 500 to 1000 individual plants, each one requiring a healthy mowing regime, soil that drains well, and just the right amount of sun, water, and nutrients. If any of these requirements isn’t met and the pathogen is present, your lawn may be susceptible to lawn disease. Of course, some diseases are more common than others. Read on to find out which common lawn diseases your lawn may be at risk for.

Anthracnose

This lawn disease is characterized by reddish-brown spots on the blades of grass, affected areas of the lawn ranging in size from as small as 2 inches to as large as 10 feet. Anthracnose is most common in humid weather ranging from 75 to 95 degrees, especially after heavy rain.

Brown Patch

Brown patch lawn disease is one of the most common lawn diseases for all types of grass, but is particularly prone to affect fescue lawns. Brown patch can also be highly damaging, as it can kill large circular swaths of lawn in just a few hours. The disease is most common when temperatures exceed 70 degrees and humidity is high.

Copper Spot

Copper spot is another common lawn disease, characterized by the development of small red spots that become darker and larger as the disease progresses. Fortunately, grass is only affected in small, circular patches one to three inches wide, but grass that is affected typically dies quickly. This disease is most common when temperatures are in the seventies and when humidity is high.

Dollar Spot

Often confused with copper spot, dollar spot is also characterized by the formation of splotches on grass in circular patches, but dollar spot lawn disease affects much larger areas. Dollar spot typically affects patches of grass ranging from four to twelve inches in diameter. Dollar spot lawn disease can also occur in a wider variety of temperatures, from 60 to 85 degrees, and may result from under-fertilization.

Red Thread

Red thread causes grass to become tan or bleached in color and to shrivel from the tips, and may lead to small patches of dead grass. In wet conditions, in particular, you may notice what looks like small pink thread in the grass. Like dollar spot, red thread can result from under-fertilization. It is most common in mild and damp weather.

Rust

Rust lawn disease is characterized by orange, dusty looking spores covering the blades of grass, giving a rusty look to affected areas. Unlike other common diseases, rust doesn’t generally harm grass, but it is an unsightly irritation for people trying to maintain a beautiful lawn. Rust generally occurs in temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees, and unlike other lawn diseases, is most common in dry weather.

Summer Patch

Summer patch, also called frog disease, can be identified by light green patches up to two feet in diameter, which later turn reddish brown. Some of these patches may have a circle of green grass remaining in the middle. This disease is common in warm, humid weather, as well as in drought-stressed lawns.

Lawn Disease Control

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to unintentionally increase their lawn’s risk of lawn disease by over fertilizing or allowing excessive thatch buildup. Avoid this by staying away from fertilizers that use fast release nitrogen, which can increase disease activity and by keeping thatch to less than half an inch to allow light and air to reach the soil and to facilitate draining.

In addition, homeowners should aerate while the weather is cool and most disease pathogens are inactive. Try to avoid mowing when the weather is hot and humid in order to limit the spread of pathogens and minimize the stress put on your grass. You may also want to prune or remove trees and shrubs to maximize penetration of the soil by light, air, and water. If disease continues to be a problem, you may want to try a fungicide. If all else fails, hire a professional lawn care service, like Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

Lawnscape Systems is a premier lawn care provider that has been servicing customers in the Los Angeles area for almost four decades. Whether you are seeking comprehensive lawn care programs or simply want a little help for the odd lawn care job here and there, our lawn care specialists are happy to help you achieve the lawn of your dreams. Contact Lawnscape today to get the healthy, gorgeous lawn you’ve always wanted.

Share

The Turf War You Didn’t Know You Had Right in Your Backyard

0 Comments

Any of us who deal with lawn maintenance know that it’s all about balance. You need just the right amount of moisture, just the right amount of sun, just the right fertilizer-to-soil mixture, just the right nutrient mix…the list goes on and on. What many people don’t realize is that there is another precarious balancing act going on in most yards as well. A bitter struggle over limited resources and territory.

We’re talking of course, about the literal turf war going on between your grass and your trees, shrubs, and bushes. Trees and other woody-stalked plants are indeed beautiful and certainly a worthwhile addition to any landscape, but they do come with some conditions and require a bit more care to make sure you aren’t damaging your turf grass in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the best backyard gardening ideas that will promote garden nutrition.

The Battleground

When analyzing any conflict, it’s easiest to start with the where, before we get to the why. Where are our combatants fighting? When it comes to trees and grass, any area around the trees, particularly in the shady area or within the drip line where you also have grass growing. This can also be the grassy area around a newly planted or transplanted tree. As a general rule, it’s best to maintain a mulch layer around trees, rather than turfgrass. The amount of space you’ll want to leave open for mulch varies based on the size and water requirements of your tree, but as a general rule, keeping the area encompassed by the drip line free of grass and other water-draining plants is ideal.

The Resources

There are three major components of garden nutrition that turfgrasses and other plants, particularly trees, are going to fight over:

• Sunlight
• Water
• Soil nutrients

To a lesser extent, you can include space in there, but the fight over space usually boils down to a problem with one of the other three main resources. Let’s tackle them in order.

Sunlight

First and foremost, we have sunlight. All plants need sunlight to go through the process of photosynthesis and grow. This is an area where the trees have a marked advantage, particularly large, leafy shade trees. Tree branches and leaves can easily block sunlight from making it to your grass, which can result in stunted grass that refuses to grow, or becomes patchy and sparse. As a general rule, you want to make sure your grass gets at least 50 percent sunlight during the day, about four to six hours’ worth, but you’ll want to check your specific grass strain’s requirements, and adjust accordingly for new turf or sod.

Conversely, shade can be a huge help to grasses that would otherwise perform poorly in the sweltering summer sun. This is a major issue in Southern California, and you’ll sometimes see grass growing much thicker around the base of a tree. If you want to try this in your own yard, make sure you pick a non-competitive grass that does well with less direct sun.

Water

Water is another area where trees and grass can clash, and this time the winner isn’t so easy to declare. Grass and trees are going to be competing for water anywhere the grass is growing over the tree’s root system. Again, it’s usually better to avoid the competition for soil moisture, especially in areas like ours that see frequent droughts, and just have mulch around your trees. But if you want grass to cover an area, make sure you’re getting enough water to your trees and grass in areas where there might be some conflict.

Nutrients

Finally, we come to the nutrients in the soil. This can be a complicated one, as often trees and turfgrass need different nutrients in different amounts. You will also be losing a lot more nutrients in areas around trees than you will in the rest of your yard, which can make it exceptionally difficult for grass to lay down strong roots and grow to be lush and green. For this reason, it’s important that you get the soil mixture and the fertilizer balance just right in these areas to ensure that your grass and your trees can live in harmony, without stealing each other’s much-needed nutrients.

Getting Professional Lawn Care Help

If you don’t have the time or energy to balance all these things on your own, don’t worry! Lawnscape Systems can help. For 37 years, we have provided residents of Southern California with beautiful landscape solutions and backyard gardening ideas that keep plants healthy and owners happy. If you’d like to talk about what we can do to help put an end to the turf war happening in your yard, or just go over some of our other lawn care services, contact us today.

Share