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How to Aerate Your Lawn

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You don’t need to be a gardening expert to know that aerating your lawn is important. And because there are many different ways to aerate your lawn, you don’t need to be an expert to perform this important task either. There are many approachable, DIY methods for people of any skill level.

The Best Method

There is a bit more to aerating the lawn than just punching holes into the ground. There’s a right way to aerate your lawn, and there is definitely a wrong way. Let’s start with the right way: actually removing the soil cores when punching holes into your lawn is the best method. If you just punch the holes but do not remove the soil core, then you will just be compacting soil that is already compacted. Removing the punched out soil will actually allow air to reach into the soil.

Find Your Tools

There are a few different options for tools, either motorized or manual. For small lawns, a manual aerator works best and will produce better results than a motorized aerating tool. You can find tools like this at your local gardening or home improvement store, which usually require foot-power to punch holes in the ground and extract the soil cores. There are spikes that you put on your shoes so that all you have to do is simply walk around your yard. However, those do not remove the soil core.

You can use an automated aerator for bigger areas. They have a circle shaped drum in the front or back that is filled with hollow spikes or cylinders. You can either buy or rent these machines, although renting might be the smarter option. Remember, this is a huge, heavy piece of equipment. When picking it up, bring at least 2 people and have a full, empty truck bed to load it on. You can even consider partnering with neighbors to all chip in for renting one. And make sure to make you reservation early if renting during the busier times – spring and fall weekends.

You can also find an ionized soil conditioner at your local gardening or hardware store to help aerate your lawn. This solution is used on your lawn to help break up the clay and soil particles and helps microorganisms grow to foster healthy soil and digest waste.

If doing it yourself is not something you want to manage, you can always hire a local lawn service to do the job for you.

Aerating Tips

• Go around your lawn and note any places that have sprinklers, shallow irrigation lines, septic lines and buried utilities. Mark them with a flag so that you don’t aerate in that area.

• Leave the soil cores in place after you aerate to decompose. These contain valuable microorganisms to help digest lawn thatch. To help break them up, you can mow over them or lightly rake them.

• After aerating, water your lawn a few extra times. This is especially important when it’s hot or dry outside.

• If the soil is lightly compacted, you probably only need to aerate one time over, following the usual mowing pattern.

• If the soil is very compacted or hasn’t been aerated in the last year, aerate twice, once in the direction of your mowing pattern and again at an angle to the first. You want to aim for 20 to 40 holes per square foot.

• Immediately following aerating, you can fertilize and seed your lawn. for soil that was heavily compacted, consider using a layer of compost that is a quarter inch thick.

Lawnscape has been serving Southern California since 1979. We service turf and ground cover areas, caring for both professionals and homeowners alike. Our fertilization, weed, insect and disease control services will ensure that the grass will always be greener on your lawn.

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10 Best Warm Weather Plants that Thrive in the Summer

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The best part of gardening and growing your own plants is seeing the flowers bloom and plants thrive. When summer comes around though, some of your favorite plants may not be up to the warm weather.

We all know that cacti and succulents do amazingly well in the hot weather because of their makeup. However, there are more warm weather plants than just these to add to your garden. For some variety and color, try one of these warm weather plants and flowers:

1. Asters: These tough perennials are sure to brighten up your garden in the summer. They come in colors like lavender, pink and white, and they look like daisies. If you take care of them diligently, you should see them bloom throughout the summer into the fall. The best varieties are A. cordifolius “Cape Cod,” A. c. “Little Carlow” and A. novi-belgii “Melody.”

2. Dhalias: These flowers are beautiful and bloom in a range of colors. They grow from tuberous roots, and come in pink, coral, red, orange and yellow shades. Just make sure to give them light shade if you are in a particularly hot climate.

3. Gaura: G. lindheimeris, or commonly known as Guaras, are unique flowers to add a point of visual interest to your yard or garden. They form white flowers on top of tall spike-like stems and are between 2 ½ to 4 feet tall. Try the Siskiyou Pink version for a 2 foot tall stem with rosy pink flowers. Or try the Whirling Butterflies variety for a 3 foot stem with white flowers on top.

4. Purple Fountain Grass: This type of grass looks great in most yards and gardens, and it really stands up to the heat. It has feathery, rose colored plumes that fade into beige on the way down. They sit on clumps of reddish brown foliage. This grass is a nice way to break up your flowers and add a nice flow to your garden.

5. Penstemon: With lots of small, trumpet shaped flowers growing on a single, green stalk, this plant should make a great addition to your yard for the summer. They come in a variety of vibrant shades, like deep purple, scarlet, pink and white.

6. California Poppy: Scientifically known as Eschscholzia Californica, this plant is the official flower of California for good reason. First, it thrives in dry, non-rich soil. Second, it comes in a variety of beautiful colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, and cream. It grows between 6 and 15 inches tall, and is best when directly sown – it does not take to transplanting well. For coninious bloom, remove any dead flowers.

7. Lantana: This flower blooms annually during the summer and grows to be between 1 to 6 feet tall. It comes in many different colors: red, pink, orange, cream, lilac, purple, white and bi-colors. Two things to know about these flowers: they need to be planted in non-rich soil and in areas where temps stay above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Petunia: These bright and cheerful looking flowers do well in dry climates, with little rain or humidity. They grow in bright colors, and are between 6 and 24 inches tall. To get them to bloom all season, continuously remove any dead flowers.

9. Portulaca: Rose moss is a small flowering plant, clocking in at about 4-8 inches. It comes in red, magenta, pink, salmon, orange, yellow, and white. It loves dry heat, so it will not do well in humid climates.

10. Tagetes: These flowers are a variety of marigolds, and can grow anywhere between 6 inches and 4 feet tall. They come in warm, autumn colors like maroon, orange, yellow, and cream. For the best results, grow from a seed in non-rich soil and deadhead continuously.

Lawnscape has been serving Southern California since 1979. We service turf and ground cover areas, caring for both professionals and homeowners alike. Our fertilization, weed, insect and disease control services will ensure that the grass will always be greener on your lawn.

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How to Re-Mulch Your Yard the Right Way this Summer

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Wheelbarrow full of compost on green lawn in garden.

Keeping your garden in the best shape possible is hard, rewarding work. And there is one secret that most gardeners know to keep their garden in the best health: re-mulching. The benefits of learning how to re-mulch your yard periodically are huge, and can help keep your plants happy and thriving.

Why Re-Mulch

There are a few major benefits of re-mulching your garden:

• The biggest benefit is cleaning out the old mulch and bringing in fresh mulch. You want to make sure that the mulch in your garden is fresh, and this process helps clean out the dead pieces.
• Re-mulching also allows more air, moisture and nutrients to get to the plants and their roots. During the re-mulching process, you turn over the old mulch and remove the worn down pieces, which helps get more of the air, moisture and nutrients get distributed throughout your garden.

How to Re-Mulch Your Yard

Before you start re-mulching, make sure that there is less than 3 inches of mulch on your garden already – mulch that is over three inches deep is not effective and does more harm than good. You also should turn the old mulch using a pitchfork, metal rake or garden weasel. This will allow it to air out, and allow water and nutrients to reach the plants.

Once the existing mulch is mixed up, then lay a light top layer of fresh mulch on top. A light layer of one inch is all that is needed, and, again, never apply over three inches. You want to avoid covering perennials and leave between three-six inches between trees and shrubs and mulch. When you reach the edge of your lawn, make sure the level of mulch is same as the level of your lawn.

Do’s and don’ts of Mulching

When laying mulch down in your garden, you want to make sure to do it the right way so that you can reap all the benefits. Here are some dos and don’ts for mulching:

Do use it as a decorative element: While mulching can help create a healthy garden, it also has aesthetic value. Choose a color and texture that will fit well into the design of your garden.
Do look at your entire landscape: When designing your landscape, make sure that vegetation covers your entire space, and avoid a space with all the vegetation in one section. In other words, make sure there is a good balance of mulch and plants.
Do clean it: This is where re-mulching comes in. When you are re-mulching, make sure to remove and clean up any mulch that is too old, and replace it with new mulch.
Do try different types of mulch: Different types of mulch work better with different types of plants. Bark mulches are best for trees and shrubs, and grass clippings are great at suppressing weeds. If you think that the type of mulch you are using isn’t working well, don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Don’t forget bare soil: There are many environmental benefits to mulching. When there are exposed areas of soil in your garden or yard, erosion and sediment runoff will occur. Mulching can help combat this.
Don’t overdo it: When you use over three inches of mulch, the benefits disappear. Thick layers can suffocate plants, and moisture will not be able to penetrate down to the plants. Plants will die very slowly from over-mulching, meaning you might not catch your mistake in time to save them. To keep your plant healthy, use only a three-inch layer.
Don’t ignore the trees: Make sure to protect the trunk of the tree with mulch. This will create a protected area for the tree to grow better.

Lawnscape has been serving Southern California since 1979. We service turf and ground cover areas, caring for both professionals and homeowners alike. Our fertilization, weed, insect and disease control services will ensure that the grass will always be greener on your lawn.

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