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Watering Your Lawn on Hot Days

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Summer is arriving quickly and with it will come the high temperatures that can be so damaging for our beautiful landscaping. The damage from summer heat can feel especially frustrating if you’ve been taking extra care with your lawn all spring and have just now finally managed to recover your lawn from the chilly winter weather. Fortunately, the deadly problems associated with high temperatures, like discoloration, brown spots, fungus, disease, and pests can be avoided with proper lawn care. Let’s take a look at how to go about watering your lawn on hot days.

Mow Your Lawn the Right Way

You may want to cut your turf short so that you don’t have to push the mower around under the hot summer sun as often, but mowing too short and too much at once can cause serious damage to your lawn (as can a dull mower blade), making it sensitive to browning and disease. A good general rule to follow is to never cut more than a third of the length of your turf grass at once, so if your lawn looks best at two inches, mow when your turf is about three inches long.

It can also be tempting to try to get up early and mow before the heat of the day kicks in, but your lawn will thank you if you sleep in. When your lawn is still wet from morning dew it is more likely to suffer from uneven cuts and the resulting damage, and watering damp grass can also make it easier for disease to spread around your lawn. Instead, mow in the evening once it’s getting dark to give moisture a chance to reach the roots before cutting and to allow your lawn several hours in the cool darkness to heal from the mowing before facing hot, sunny weather again.

Water Your Turf Carefully

Speaking of drought, correct watering practices are just as important as correct mowing. An irrigation system is ideal for providing turf with the necessary inch or so of water per week, but you can still keep your lawn healthy and hydrated without one. What’s more important is watering at the right time of day. Some people say that watering during the hottest part of the day can be damaging to your lawn. While this isn’t true, watering your lawn on a hot day during the afternoon is less effective because much of the water will evaporate before it can reach the roots of your turf grass. Instead water in the morning, between 3 am and 9 am, to allow moisture to absorb into the soil before temperatures rise.

Another common watering misconception is that you should water a little bit every day, but this type of watering pattern doesn’t allow enough moisture to reach turf’s roots. Instead, water deeply, for about half an hour, three or four times a week to ensure that the moisture can really absorb into the soil and roots. Be careful not to over water, however, as this can encourage the development of diseases and pests.

Be Gentle on Your Turf

Just like you need to avoid damaging your lawn when you mow, you also need to be careful about damaging your turf through cultivation practices or the application of lawn care products. Fertilizing may seem like a great way to provide your turf with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy in the oppressive heat, but in reality, fertilizing only encourages growth, causing plants to expend extra energy and causing further stress to your grass. Similarly, hold off on aggressive cultivation strategies like aerification and dethatching that can damage your lawn when it’s at a reduced ability to heal until the fall or spring when your lawn is at its healthiest.

Stay on Top of Lawn Care All Year

Prevention is always better than response, so don’t slack on lawn care while the weather is cooler. Keeping your lawn healthy throughout the year ensures that your lawn is in healthier condition when summer starts, making it much more hardy and able to survive scalding temperatures. Luckily for you, we have plenty of resources to provide you with the information to keep your lawn in top shape all year long. Don’t forget to browse our Seasonal Tips page for updated information as each new season arrives.

Hire a Professional Lawn Care Service

If you are struggling with watering your lawn on hot days and keeping your lawn healthy during the Summer months Lawnscape Systems, Inc. can help. Lawnscape Systems a leader in Southern California lawn care, offering a variety of lawn care programs and services with something for every lawn caregiver. Contact Lawnscape Systems today to keep your lawn in the best health possible all year long.

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How and Why Rabbits Damage Your Lawn

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Many people love rabbits and even keep them as pets. It’s easy to see why. The shy little guys are adorable, especially when they have babies, and, as a symbol of spring, they seem quite appropriate and thematic this time of year. Right up until they make themselves at home and your lawn and start damaging it. Despite their petite size and cute, cuddly appearance, these little herbivores can quickly and easily wreak havoc on a lawn and garden, and their ability to reproduce so quickly makes this damage grow exponentially the longer it goes own. A cute rabbit family can quickly become a quick rabbit problem.

Damage Caused by Wild Rabbits

Their ravenous appetites make rabbits disastrous for many types of vegetation, particularly close to the ground and in areas close to uncultivated lands, like those found near greenbelts, parks, and residential areas. These uncultivated areas provide places for rabbits to rest and hide near food sources like your lawn and garden.

Rabbits aren’t picky eaters and will consume and destroy a wide variety of vegetation, but do have some favorites, including but not limited to:

● Vegetable plants, like beans, beets, broccoli, carrot, lettuce, and peas
● Fruits and nuts, such as almonds, apples, blackberries, cherries, citrus fruits, pistachios plums, raspberries, and strawberries
● Herbs like cilantro and parsley
● Ornamental plants including a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, and turf types

In addition, rabbits can be destructive by gnawing through plastic irrigation lines, particularly the small diameter varieties. They may also gnaw on young trees’ thin bark, but the thick, rough bark of older trees is too difficult for them to sink their teeth into. This gnawing can girdle the tree (completely remove the bark from a ring around the tree). If this occurs around the trunk, this terminally damages the plant, but in the case of branches or shoots, the damaged limb can simply be removed.

A rabbit problem can be reason for concerns because of other issues as well. Rabbits sometimes carry a disease called tularemia, or rabbit fever, but this disease is relatively rare in humans. It can be contracted by handling an infected rabbit with bare hands or consuming under cooked rabbit meat. As rabbits can also carry rabies, it’s generally recommended to avoid handling wild rabbits.

Dealing with a Rabbit Problem

Thankfully rabbits, though annoying and damaging, are also totally manageable.

First, make your lawn and garden less appealing by removing attractions for rabbits. Trim low hanging branches that can provide shelter to rabbits from trees, shrubs, and bushes. Keep rabbits out of sheds and out from underneath decks or porches by blocking holes and openings, or out of your yard in general by putting up fencing. You may also want to block rabbits from coming near water features. Make sure fencing is at least three feet high and six inches deep into the ground to avoid having rabbits hope over or tunnel under.

Either remove plants that attract rabbits, or take steps to protect them. You can replace plants that rabbits love with plants that they don’t. Big periwinkle and bougainvillea are great ground cover plants, while birch and alder trees can provide shade that rabbits won’t enjoy. You don’t have to sacrifice color with shrub options like rhododendron and camellia, which can be particularly effective with both perennial and annual plants like goat weed, impatiens, verbena, Echinacea, honeysuckle, and Mexican marigolds.

If you’d rather keep your existing landscaping, you can put up barriers around plants that seem to be particular favorites, and hardware cloth wrapped around the base of a tree can protect the bark. Fertilizer containing blood or bone meal repels herbivores like rabbits and for improved effectiveness you can also add in other repellents like cayenne pepper, human or pet hair, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and manure. Cats and dogs can scare rabbits away, but a decoy predator can also be effective. A variety of effective electronic repellents can be purchased. While these will drive away your rabbit problem and many other pest species, they can also repel wanted wildlife, like songbirds, and can bother pets. Traps for catch and release are also available, but because of animal release laws and the possible dangers associated with handling a wild animal, even an adorable rabbit, using these traps is not recommended.

Pest Prevention and Lawn Recovery

If you are struggle with a rabbit problem, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Since we started in 1979, Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of southern California’s leaders in lawn care. Whether you’re interested in one of our two lawn care programs or any of the many additional lawn care services that we offer, including pest management and comprehensive lawn restoration and recovery, Lawnscape can help any lawn and lawn caregiver. No matter how much work you want to put into your lawn, Lawnscape can ensure you get the most out. And because we only use the highest quality EPA certified products, you can feel safe knowing that any products we apply are safe for the environment and for your family. Contact Lawnscape Systems today!

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How to Maintain Seasonal Lawn Care

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It can be easy to fall into a routine when it comes to your lawn care. However, your lawn changes throughout the year, so the way you care for it must change to match. This not only keeps your lawn healthy, but also beautiful and in top condition for your enjoyment all year long. Let’s find out how you can get started with seasonal lawn care.

Spring

The best way to start your spring lawn maintenance is with a soil test. A thorough soil test should check for soil pH (neutral soil, with a pH of about 6.5, is best for growing turf grass) and phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium salt (potash) levels. If levels are good, you don’t need to waste time and money applying lime and if not you won’t waste on soil amendments that will be ineffective until the pH is balanced. If you have good soil, all you need to do is apply nitrogen fertilizer. Remember to sweep or blow excess product onto grass from walks and driveways to prevent these chemicals from ending up in water sources.

Next, help your lawn recover from its dormant winter state by mowing, edging, and dethatching. Till or aerate your soil to improve drainage. Finally, get ahead of potential weed problems. Soil amendments are a great start, but you can also apply products like weed and feed fertilizers and pre-emergent herbicides. You should also use effective weeding strategies on weeds as soon as weeds crop up to avoid growing weed problems and lawn damage.

Summer

Summer heat can be drying and damaging to lawns everywhere, but especially so in Southern California, but the way you water can massively impact the effectiveness of your efforts. Water early in the morning, before 9 am or late in the evening after temperatures have dropped to allow more water to be absorbed into the soil instead of evaporating. It’s also more effective to water for half an hour every other day than to water daily for a few minutes, as this allows the water to reach the lawn’s roots.

Take the opportunity to stay out of the heat by letting your grass grow longer between mows. Longer grass shades and protects the soil, keeping it hydrated and promoting the retention of nutrients.

However, a healthy lawn can attract pests and encourage the growth of fungus and diseases, especially if the lawn has excess moisture, so keep a careful eye out for these problems so that you can quickly nip these problems in the bud. For severe pest problems, professional intervention may be the best option.

Fall

Fall is the ideal time to help your lawn recover from summer damage and begin protecting your lawn before winter arrives. Reseed any damaged spots and, if you have heat resistant turf, consider over-seeding your lawn to help increase survival during winter. Aerate before seeding to help new turf put down roots and improve resistance to winter damage. Fertilizing after aerating add extra nutrients to your soil and allow these nutrients to further penetrate the soil, helping your turf to survive the winter. Start to cut grass shorter than usual. Short grass will survive the winter better, but cutting too short too quickly can be harmful to plants, so do this gradually.

Weeds can be easy to miss during the fall as they grow slower, they can be hidden by fallen leaves, and lawn caregivers become less careful. Be sure to keep up your weed prevention routine to avoid weakening your lawn before cold weather begins.

Winter

Southern California winters may be pretty mild, but our turf still becomes dormant during the cold, so it’s still necessary to practice seasonal lawn care to ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn. Applying a layer of mulch can protect the nutrients in the soil during the cooler months. Winter slows the growth of grass, so be careful not to over mow.

You may also want to take advantage of the almost inevitable browning of your lawn with weed control. Weeds are hardier than standard turf grasses, so while your lawn becomes discolored, they tend to stand out in the same bright green they always are. Be careful to use a targeted herbicide or an herbicide shield. Even though your grass is dormant, it can still be damaged by herbicides.

Professional Lawn Care Services

If you’re not sure where to start your seasonal lawn care, a professional lawn care service like Lawnscape might be the right choice for you. Since we started in 1979, Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of southern California’s leaders in lawn care. Lawnscape offers something for virtually every homeowner, and because we only use high quality and EPA certified products, you never have to worry about what products are being applied to your lawn and garden. No matter what you want from a lawn care professional, don’t wait to act. Contact Lawnscape Systems right away to keep your lawn in top shape year-round.

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Top 5 Spring Gardening Ideas

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Spring is the perfect opportunity to put some time into your garden. Being surrounded by the season’s new life is inspiring, it feels great to spend some time outside in the comfortable temperatures, and the weather conditions are perfect for both cultivating new plants and just helping existing plants to reach their full potential. Just like you, Lawnscape Systems loves the change of seasons, so we’ve put together a few of the best Spring gardening ideas to help you take advantage of the season and improve your lawn and garden.

1. Introduce New Colors and Textures

If you feel like your landscaping has grown a bit monotonous, Spring provides an excellent opportunity to shake up your flora. For hardy, low maintenance color, try wildflowers like trillium, trout lily, and wild columbine. Remember that you can also bring in reds and blues with grasses and bushes. Mix bold and delicate leaves to create interest. Vines can make a statement on their own or provide a backdrop for other plants. When planted in mass the right grasses, like meadowy sedge or plains-native bluegrass, can create the feeling of water as they ripple in a breeze, providing a unique feel to even dry gardens.

2. Try a Container Garden

Adding new vegetation doesn’t require uprooting your lawn or existing garden. Containers provide an excellent option that allows you to add plants without having to necessarily commit to a single location or damage your landscaping. And designing your own container garden is easier than it looks! Seed mixes specifically for planting in containers can be bought at virtually any garden store for a no effort solution. Mix pansies of a variety of colors to add color but maintain a consistent shape. For a tasty and interestingly textured container garden, try planting a variety of salad greens. For newcomers, the key to designing an attractive container garden is to try to contrast texture or color, but not both.

3. Place Plants Strategically

Whether placing in the ground or in a container, be sure to place your plants for the best possible effect. You can place your plants along your driveway and near your front door to greet guests, or along your front fence to make your home stand out from others on the street. Use plants to frame archways, water features, and other focal points in your landscaping for dramatic effect. Use tall plants, stacked and hanging planters, and climbing plants to provide privacy or hide unsightly outdoor structures.

4. Add Height to Your Landscaping

Think above ground level. For the best effect, you don’t want all of your interesting plants to be low to the ground. Blooming shrubs, like Chinese snowball, can add a bit of height to your landscaping, while flowering trees, like flowering cherry trees or purple-leaf plum trees, can take your landscaping to even greater heights. Bushes and shrubs are low maintenance, but can take some work to install. If you want something a little easier to put in, try elevated planters and hanging baskets instead.

5. Take Advantage of the Season with Lawn Maintenance

Even if you don’t want to make any major changes to your landscaping, spring is the perfect time to take a few steps to keep your lawn beautiful all year long. First take care of any lawn cleanup, including weeding, and tend to existing flowers, shrubs, and trees as needed. Perform a soil test and apply fertilizer and lime as needed. Till or aerate your soil and fluff up and apply knew mulch to improve drainage and soil nutrition. Rake to remove excess thatch.

For even less work and the best Spring gardening ideas, simply hire a professional lawn care service to take care of maintenance for you, letting you take advantage of the spring weather without having to put in the work yourself. Lawnscape Systems, Inc. offers two comprehensive lawn care programs and a wide variety of additional lawn care services, so whether you want a little assistance in keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful just this once or want to eliminate lawn care chores from your life entirely, Lawnscape has an option for you. Lawnscape has been a leader in lawn care since our creation in 1979, so you know you can trust our experienced lawn care professionals (just ask our happy customers) and we only use EPA certified products, so you don’t have to worry about what’s being applied to your property.

Spring is the ideal time to turn your lawn into the oasis you deserve, so don’t wait. Contact Lawnscape Systems today for the top Spring gardening ideas.

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