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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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Watering Your Lawn: How Much is Too Much?

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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.

Best Lawn Care Tips

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With spring rapidly approaching, many homeowners have begun to think about spring cleaning. While maintenance jobs and a deep clean of the inside of your home are common as the days get warmer, few people think to take advantage of the warming weather to thoroughly clean and maintain their lawns and gardens as well. However, taking the time to clean and maintain your lawn during the spring and fall, when the weather is more mild and comfortable, saves time and energy during the summer and winter, when being outside can be miserable. So how can you clean up your lawn?

Remove Debris

First things first: clear any debris in your lawn or garden. Use a leaf blower to clear roofs and gutters, then mulch leaves using a lawn mower or rake them onto a tarp for easy removal. Wind, rain, and other weather events can tear up your trees. Pick up any sticks or fallen branches that the weather has left behind. You can move them to somewhere they won’t be a problem, chop them up for firewood, or use a wood chipper to turn it to mulch for your lawn or composting. Then pick up any other debris, such as animal waste, pinecones or straw, rocks, sticks, and toys, tools, and other household goods.

Smart Weed Elimination

Ideally you should deal with weeds as soon as you see them, but that’s not always practical. If you’re like many homeowners and have let weeds build up, now is the time to deal with them. It can be tempting to deal with weeds by using a generous amount of herbicide, but you won’t be doing your landscaping any favors by overdoing it. Pull weeds or use other elimination methods before using herbicide. If you must use herbicide, use as little as you can and be sure to protect non-target plants with a spray collar. Never spray on a windy day.

Trim and Reshape Plants

Before you start, make sure all your tools are sharp. Trim any ornamental grasses. Prune back any bushes or shrubs. Reshape them, but also don’t forget to remove flower buds as needed to make sure they don’t bloom early. Carry a five-gallon bucket to deposit your clippings and trimmings so they don’t get left on the ground, making more of a mess. Cut back or remove branches from trees as needed. This is a great time to mow your lawn, but it’s also a great time to maintain your mower. Sharpen and clean your mower blades, and check to ensure that your mower belts are free of cracks and wear.

Consider Composting

While cleaning and maintaining your lawn, you’ll accumulate a lot of plant waste, like leaves and plant trimmings. A great way to remove this waste while getting extra benefit for your lawn is to compost it. Use a wood chipper or your lawn mower to break the plant waste down to small pieces, then place it into a compost bin where they can heat up and break down. Later, you can use this compost to fertilize your decorative plants.

Engage in Prevention

Spring and fall are also perfect times to prevent weeds and animal pests. This will make cleaning and maintaining your lawn in the future much easier. Mulch and landscape fabric can be used for gardens. Animal pest prevention depends on your specific problems, but common pest prevention strategies include pest proof fencing and planting pest proof plants.

Professional Lawn Care Services

Cleaning and maintaining a lawn can be incredibly rewarding. It’s a great feeling to see the improvements to your lawn and know that you are responsible for them. For many people, it can also therapeutic and relaxing. However, it also takes time and effort we don’t all have. In these situations, a professional lawn care service may be the solution.

Since we started in 1979, Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of southern California’s leaders in lawn care. Between our two landscape programs and wide variety of additional lawn services, Lawnscape offers something for virtually every homeowner, whether you want to wash your hands of lawn maintenance and care entirely or just want a little bit of help, 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. Contact Lawnscape Systems right away to get your lawn in the best shape ever.

Watering Your Lawn the Right Way

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No facet of lawn maintenance is as hotly debated or as often misunderstood as proper watering practices. Conflicting information and the vast differences in how you should water based on where you live can make watering your lawn properly an extremely daunting prospect. We’re going to change that.

We want to make watering, the most important aspect of lawn maintenance, a little more straightforward and simplified. There are a few simple things you can do to put together a plan to keep your lawn watered and healthy, without running afoul of any of the pitfalls of lawn maintenance (overwatering, underwatering, too much erosion, etc). We can also help you water your lawn in the most efficient way, which should help keep you in compliance with any local watering restrictions, particularly if you’re in an area like Southern California, that is frequently plagued by drought conditions.

Making Sure Your Lawn Gets Enough Water

Keeping a lawn green requires a lot of water, there’s no way around it. On average, most lawns require somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week to stay thick and vibrant. Some notable exceptions are areas that stay in shade, which need less water, and hilly or sloped areas, which should be watered in short bursts in order to allow the soil to absorb enough water without becoming saturated, or worse, start to erode.

There is an element of experimentation to watering shady or hilly areas, so don’t be afraid to play around with the way you water your lawn. You might find that shaded areas need dramatically less water than areas that receive frequent sunlight. Then again, you may find that areas that receive less sun need just as much water. With hilly or sloped areas, you’ll want to avoid washing soil down the slope, or letting water pool at the bottom. This all depends on the amount of water your soil can absorb before it becomes saturated and can’t absorb any more.

Water the Right Amount for Your Soil Type

Finding the perfect watering schedule for your soil type is another area that requires some experimentation and tinkering. For example, if you see a lot of standing water every time you water your lawn, and you aren’t over watering, it’s quite likely you have a soil that has a high clay content. Soil with a large amount of clay can’t absorb water quickly, so you’ll want to water in short, repetitive bursts. Thankfully, clay-based soils also don’t let go of water very readily, so you won’t have to water as much or as often to keep your lawn healthy. The water is much more likely to be retained by the clay than it is to seep away or evaporate in arid conditions.

Obviously, clay-heavy soil is just one possible option for what you might have underneath your lawn. For more detailed watering regimens, you’ll want to have your soil tested to get a better idea of its exact makeup, and then change you watering plans accordingly.

Gauging How Much Water Your Lawn Is Getting

Of course, all of this is a bit of a moot point if you have no way of gauging how much water your lawn is actually receiving from your irrigation system. To really nail down the amount of water your lawn is getting, it’s a good idea to test your system before you commit to a watering plan.

Start by rounding up a number of straight sided containers at least a couple of inches deep. You can use coffee mugs, Tupperware, or even empty soda cans with the tops sliced off can work well. You’ll need one for every 5 square yards or so of lawn you want to cover. This can mean your whole lawn, if you have a buried sprinkler system, or it can be just a small area if you are looking to use a hose-end sprinkler or other mobile system that will be moved around the yard.

Set your containers out, and try to get the most even coverage you can. Run your irrigation system for twenty minutes. When that’s done, go to each container and measure the amount of water in each, taking special note of any that have a much higher or much lower amount. Add up the total depth of water in each container, and then divide that number by the number of containers. Then, multiply the result by three to get the amount of water your system puts out per hour. You can then adjust your watering schedule and patterns accordingly.

Professional Lawn Care

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 taking care of your lawn, contact Lawnscape today to see how we can help keep your landscaping healthy and beautiful.

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.

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.

Brown Spots on Your Lawn: Should You be Concerned?

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Brown spots are incredibly frustrating for lawn owners. They are unsightly and the cause of the spots is often not clear. They can also be an indicator of a major underlying problem with the health of your lawn. However, they don’t always mean that your lawn’s health is at risk, so it’s necessary to identify the cause of the spots. The three primary causes are improper lawn care, disease, and growing conditions.

Brown Spots Caused by Improper Care

Many lawn owners are harming their lawns without realizing it, but fortunately the damage caused in these situations is usually easily fixed.

Mowing is already traumatic for turf grass, and improper mowing techniques only make it worse. Rather than cleanly cutting through turf grass, a dull mower blade tears the grass, causing damage and even death. Homeowners often scalp their lawn while mowing as well. Scalping occurs when the lawnmower blade is set too low or there are lumps in the lawn, causing grass to be cut too short and damage to occur.

Prevent damage from mowing by keep a sharp blade at a healthy height (remove no more than a third of the length of the grass at a time) and smoothing out lumps by digging up sod, removing excess soil, then replacing the sod.

Brown spots can also, ironically, be the result of the products you use to take care of your lawn. Indiscriminately applied herbicides can kill grass and other plants in addition to weeds, while pesticides can damage the ecosystem in the soil that is so vital to lawn health by killing important species like earthworms. Over fertilization or improperly or unevenly applied fertilizer can burn turf grass.

These products, in addition to many other products commonly used outside such as gasoline, bleach and other cleaners, and even insect repellent can cause brown spots if spilled in the lawn. Avoid damage from these products by only pouring chemicals over the driveway rather than the lawn, stopping usage of products suspected to be damaging, and using all lawn care products in moderation. Use non-chemical pest and weed solutions whenever possible, and if you must use an herbicide, use a shield to protect non-target plants. Never spray any product in windy conditions for the safety of both you and your grass.

Brown Spots Caused by Disease

One of the most common causes of brown spots in grass is disease, like brown patch lawn disease. Brown patch lawn disease is one of the most common types of turf disease, as well as one of the most damaging because it is fast-acting, able to affect large sections of grass in just a few hours, and targets all varieties of turf grasses. The fungus that causes this disease is active when the temperature is above about 70 degrees, especially when humidity is high, so in Southern California brown patch lawn disease can be a problem year round.

Brown patch lawn disease is not the only disease that affects lawns, but most turf grass diseases can be prevented with the same basic steps. Avoid fertilizers that use fast release nitrogen, as this can increase disease activity. Aerate your lawn while the weather is cool. Cut back on mowing during hot and humid whether to minimize the stress on your turf grass and limit the movement of disease. Maximize light and air penetration by removing or pruning trees and shrubs.

Thatch is essential to the health of your lawn, but more than a half inch prevents light and air from reaching the soil, absorbs water, and encourages the growth of disease. If all else fails, a fungicide may be necessary to control the disease.

Brown Spots Caused by Growing Conditions

Chronic brown spots are likely a result of poor growing conditions. Poor soil can be a problem throughout your lawn or only in patches, and is usually due to poor nutrient content or compacted soil.

Aeration can loosen the soil and allow organic matter to penetrate it, improving the nutrient content. Top dressing can provide further nutrients. You can also look at the plugs while aerating to observe how your soil varies across your lawn, vital information for further soil modification. Aeration can also improve water absorption, lessening the effect of erosion, but more significant erosion may require terraces or planted ground cover.

Improved water absorption is vital during drought conditions, but lawn owners should still keep an eye on dry spots to ensure that the lawn is being watered evenly.

Solve Brown Spots with the Help of a Professional

Don’t worry if you can’t seem to resolve your brown spots or even identify the source. A professional lawn care service provider like Lawnscape has the expertise and experience to help you not only resolve your current issues, but also prevent future brown spots and generally improve the health of your lawn. Contact Lawnscape today to schedule your appointment.

The Best Winter Lawn Care Tips

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Different seasons require different lawn care strategies and winter is no different. In most places, lawns need to be protected from snow and ice. Of course, we have mild winters in southern California; but our lawns still become dormant, so it’s important to take steps to protect and care for our lawns just like we would in less tropical locales. Winter lawn care protects the health of your lawn throughout the cool weather and makes it easier to manicure and care for when the warm weather returns in the spring.

Prepare for Winter before it Arrives

For the best winter lawn care results, you’ll want to start preparing your lawn for winter during the fall. Getting it taken care of before the first freeze will ensure that your lawn is in good shape before it becomes dormant for the season.

Start by clearing the lawn of debris. This includes items like lawn equipment and children’s toys, but it also means raking away any leaves that have accumulated to avoid wet spots, which may become mossy or moldy. Keep off your lawn as much as possible while it lays dormant and be sure to keep pathways clear throughout the cool months to discourage others from walking on it.

You will want to reseed your lawn before it gets too cold to fill any patches and replace any unhealthy grass plants. You should also aerate the lawn during the fall to allow nutrients, water, and oxygen to penetrate the soil and give cold weather seeds the chance to sprout.

Mow the Right Way

During the winter months you should keep your grass shorter than you usually do to prevent rodents and other burrowing animals from making themselves at home in your lawn. Cutting your grass too short too quickly can shock and damage the plants, so lower your blade a little bit each time you cut your grass starting at the beginning of the fall and continuing to lower the blade until your grass is as short as possible throughout winter.

Restore Lost Nutrients

The soil under your lawn can lose valuable nutrients during the summer, especially in warm places like California, so it’s essential to replace these nutrients when the weather’s cooled down. Take the time to fertilize your lawn and apply mulch. Fertilizer will restore nutrients to the soil, while mulch will both restore nutrients and help keep them in the soil.

One great source of mulch is the leaves that have accumulated throughout the fall. Simply run the leaves over with your lawn mower to shred them. You can use your regular mower blade, or you can buy a mulching blade at a low cost to shred your leaves smaller.

Take Advantage of the Beige

Beige grass may be ugly, but it can be helpful for winter lawn care. Weeds tend to stay green throughout the year because they are so hardy, so they stand out in your brown lawn. Use a targeted herbicide to treat weeds. You can also pull them by hand, but the ground hardens during the winter, making removing the roots far more difficult, so herbicides that don’t kill grass, or using an herbicide alongside a shield to protect the grass, are recommended.

Hire a Professional

The best way to make sure your lawn is in the best possible shape throughout the year is to hire a lawn care professional. Experienced and skilled professionals know how to take care of all kinds of lawns regardless of the weather. This keeps your lawn looking great and in excellent health with little-to-no effort on your part.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. is a Los Angeles based lawn care company that started in 1979. Since then, we’ve grown to service most of southern California, including Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County.

Consumer health and environmental safety are at the top of our priority list, so our lawn care specialists only use EPA certified products. We also prioritize customer service and quality lawn care in order to provide with the best possible service and experience. Contact Lawnscape Systems today to make sure your lawn is taken care of during the winter and throughout the year.

How Much Time Should You Devote to Lawn Maintenance?

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The average American devotes roughly 70 hours to lawn and garden maintenance each year. However, this average includes apartment dwellers and others that don’t have a lawn, so in reality most lawn owners spend far more than 70 hours per year on their landscaping. This time commitment, though, is not necessary to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn and garden. Find out how you can have the lawn you want without detracting from personal pleasures.

Do a Little Bit Every Day

Instead of taking care of all of your lawn maintenance on the weekends, devote half an hour to an hour each day to lawn maintenance. Do a little work at a time instead of a lot of work at once. That way, exhaustion is less likely to occur, and motivation lasts longer, too. Creating a regular routine can optimize your efficiency even more by giving you a plan.

Use Your Calendar

Spacing out your lawn maintenance is the only way proper time management can help save you time on lawn maintenance. Certain tasks are most effective if performed at specific times throughout the year. For example, spring and fall are the best time to fertilize and aerate your lawn to foster growth. In the summer, take steps to eliminate and prevent pests, and take care to spend extra time on watering. In the winter your lawn is dormant, so you can take a step back from lawn maintenance and relax.

Use the Correct Strategies

A soil test conducted by a professional service can help you determine the needs of your lawn. This helps you to prioritize the tasks the make the most difference in the health and appearance of your lawn, and prevents you from wasting time on chores that your lawn doesn’t need. Soil tests are cost effective, and improve lawncare efficiency.

Be Low Maintenance

Choose features and vegetation that requires minimal upkeep. Turfgrass is a versatile and resilient grass that thrives in most environments. Because it’s so resilient, this grass requires mowing more often than other types of grasses. However, in exchange you get a lawn that looks great but requires less weeding and watering.

Hire a Professional

Alternatively, you can devote little to none of your own time on lawn maintenance by hiring a professional lawn care service provider like Lawnscape Systems. Professional lawn care systems save you time on lawn maintenance by taking care of your lawn for you, and by offering treatments that make your lawn easier to take care of.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. started in Los Angeles in the spring of 1979, and now services much of southern California, including Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County. We prioritize environmental responsibility and your family’s safety, so we use only EPA-certified products. We strive to provide all of our customers with the best possible customer and lawncare service.

At Lawnscape, we offer two lawn care programs, our comprehensive Supreme program and our basic but thorough Weed and Feed program. Each program is customized based on location and lawncare needs. You can also choose from a host of additional services. If you don’t have the ability or inclination to spend time on lawn maintenance, contact Lawnscape Systems to get your lawn taken care of by one of California’s best.

How to Keep Wild Rabbits Out of Your Lawn

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wild-rabbits

When we think of rabbits, we normally associate them as a cute household pet. However, don’t be fooled by their appearance. Rabbits in the wild are much more disastrous. Like any pests, wild rabbits will gather where they believe there’s an easily accessible food source. Because they’re herbivores, it usually means your plants. Rabbits have a voracious appetite, and can severely damage or kill trees and shrubs by gnawing at the bark. In addition, they dig up holes across your lawn.

What to Look For

Rabbits are not nocturnal animals, so being able to spot one roaming around is fairly common. If your plants are missing stems, or if your lawn has angular cuts, that likely means a rabbit has had lunch. Look for fecal pellets, about ¼ inch thick, rabbit footprints, or small burrows on your lawn.

Like with any unfamiliar animal, you should be cautious. Although not common, wild rabbits may carry rabies. The most apparent symptoms include:

  • Lethargic or aggressive behavior
  • Loss of jaw mobility, or slack jawed
  • Excessive salivation
  • Blindness

If you believe the rabbits have rabies, consult animal control officials in your area.

Where to Start

Wild rabbits will hide in places where there is a lot of vegetation, so it’s important to keep your lawn healthy. Cut grass short, and clear out mulch and leaf litter where possible. Shrubs and bushes may have low hanging bottom branches that are especially attractive to rabbits. Try to trim these down as much as you can.

If you find rabbit burrows on your property, fill them up as soon as possible. Always take a look at your lawn to ensure that no new burrows have appeared, and to see if these measures are working.

Sometimes, wild rabbits will find themselves in areas with more substantial cover, such as decks and sheds nearby. If you don’t want them getting in there, you can seal up holes with mesh, wood, or chicken wire. Always check back to make sure these repairs are intact.

Rabbits are also attracted to areas where there is a lot of water. Never water your turf to excess. It’s recommended that you water your lawn deeply for 20 minutes in the early morning. This way, it stays dry for the rest of the day, and it helps with your plants’ health.

If there is a creek, fountain, or a stream on the property, it may be wise to build a fence around it. Fences can be made out of mesh or chicken wire, but they must stand 3 feet high, and six inches under the ground so the rabbits can’t burrow underneath. Be sure to maintain fencing: if it’s damaged, rabbits are able to regain entry.

Protecting Your Existing Plants

There may be some specific areas on your lawn that rabbits are repeatedly getting into. In that case, it may be better to build a fence, just like for watery areas. Just make sure that the mesh has holes that are 1 inch or less. Fencing, chicken wire, and mesh all come in several designs and colors, so it will be easy to find something that matches your lawn’s personality and complements the decor.

If you happen to have trees on your turf, you should consider using hardware cloth. Hardware cloth is a wire screen that comes in rolls that rabbits can’t gnaw through. The material is available at most hardware stores.

Also available are automatic, motion-activated sprinkler systems. These spray water every time something moves into range, and they make a sound that drives rabbits away. These are environmentally friendly, humane, and as easy to set up as your typical sprinkler system. Just be aware of the path of water, as you don’t want to overwater your turf.

Natural Deterrents

There aren’t a lot of plants that rabbits won’t eat, but there are certainly some they don’t prefer. Ground cover such as big periwinkle and bougainvillea can work great. Trees like birch and alder are undesirable to rabbits, and shrubs like rhododendrons and camellias can be really effective when paired with perennial and annual plants.

These plants include:

  • Goatweed (annual)
  • Impatiens (annual)
  • Verbena (annual)
  • Echinacea (perennial)
  • Honeysuckle (perennial)
  • Mexican marigolds (perennial)

Just remember to keep them healthy!

For your existing plants and turf, try using blood or bone meal fertilizer. Rabbits are naturally herbivores, so this should drive them away. For an extra deterrent, you can mix a few household items into the fertilizer like:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Human and pet hair
  • Kitty litter
  • Coffee grounds
  • Manure

Dried sulfur, fish, onions, and garlic are also said to work effectively; however not all repellents will work on all wild rabbits. Predators, like cats and dogs, will scare rabbits away effectively. If you don’t have a pet roaming around your turf, you can always purchase a decoy.

On the Market

Electronic repellents are portable machines that use vibrations, movement, water, or sound to humanely drive not only rabbits away, but any other unsightly pest.

You can purchase catch and release traps from most stores. These can be baited with apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, or lettuce. Always wear protective gloves when handling the traps. Monitor them often and release rabbits as quickly as possible, at least a mile away to ensure they won’t come back. Talk to your local animal control or parks and recreation department for more information about release laws in your area.

As well, odors like potassium salts, naphthalene or ammonium are effective, but not safe around pets. You should always read and follow the label to make sure that they’re okay for use on your turf.

Now you’re ready to live out your happy, rabbit-free days! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about wild rabbits, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team!