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The Most Common Lawn Diseases

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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.

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

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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.

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Common Garden Mushrooms

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Mushrooms present a unique situation for those who care for lawns and gardens. On one hand, edible mushrooms can be a delicious addition for those who nurture edible gardens. On the other hand, many common garden mushrooms are poisonous and therefore mean danger for those with children and pets. They can also fall somewhere in the middle by spreading disease in turfgrass, trees, and other vegetation or by not being outwardly harmful, but simply growing in lawns and gardens where they aren’t wanted.

Fairy Ring Mushroom

Marasmius oreades, or fairy ring mushroom, is known for its distinctive growth pattern, referred to as fairy rings. Despite the name, however, fairy ring mushrooms are not the only mushrooms that grow in rings. Fairy ring mushrooms are light brown or off white in color, have a mild odor, and have caps ranging in size from just over half an inch to one and a half inches in diameter. These caps start out broad, like an umbrella, but as the mushroom matures, they begin to take on a bell shape. These mushrooms are edible, but there are several toxic look-alikes, so consumption of a found fairy ring mushroom is not recommended for people without mushroom expertise.

Meadow Mushroom

Meadow mushrooms, also called champignon, go by the scientific name agaricus campestris. Like fairy ring mushrooms, meadow mushrooms grow in rings. They have round, convex caps that can be anywhere from two to four inches in diameter. They are white or ashy grey, but bruise easily, and have a strong resemblance to the mushrooms you might find at the grocery store. Meadow mushrooms are most common in late summer and early fall.

California Agaricus

The agaricus californicus is in the same family as the meadow mushroom, but while the meadow mushroom is edible, the California agaricus is mildly toxic to most people, so, again, it isn’t recommended that those without expertise attempt to identify and handle found mushrooms. It is of a similar size and color to the meadow mushroom, but may have a yellowish tint, especially where bruised, and may have a slight phenol odor. Unlike fairy ring mushrooms and meadow mushrooms, California agaricus grows in patches, clusters, or arcs, rather than rings.

Mushroom Management

Homeowners may be tempted to pull out an herbicide when they first notice unwanted mushrooms, just like they do when they notice weeds, but common garden mushrooms are fungi, not plants, so herbicides can do more harm than good. If you notice a mushroom in your yard, your best option is to break it apart or mow over it. If you have pets or children that may be tempted to sample the fungus, you should pick up the pieces and dispose of them. Your best option, however, is to engage in prevention to avoid unwanted mushrooms altogether.

There are three main causes of mushroom problems:

• Buried organic matter
• Excess moisture
• Low light

Fungi grow by breaking down organic matter in the soil. In your lawn, this could be buried timber, a tree stump, or leftover root systems. Generally, the easiest method of dealing with this is to simply do nothing. The mushrooms will stop growing once they’ve completely broken down the matter, but digging up the buried organic matter heavily disturbs your lawn. If you want to speed the process, you can apply nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of one half to three quarter pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. While we don’t get a lot of rain here in California, mushrooms can develop if homeowners overwater or if water isn’t allowed to properly escape or absorb into the soil. Aerate your lawn to ensure proper drainage and absorption, and try watering infrequently but deeply. Finally, if you have mushrooms growing in shady parts of your lawn, try trimming back tree limbs or bushes to let the sunshine in.

If after trying all these strategies you still struggle with mushroom problems, give the professionals a call. Lawnscape Systems is a leader in lawn care in Southern California. Whatever your problem, Lawnscape has a solution to solve it, and we only use the highest quality EPA certified products, so you never have to worry about the safety of what’s being used on your lawn. If you have stubborn problems with common garden mushrooms, weeds, or any other lawn care nuisance, get the help you need. Contact Lawnscape Systems today!

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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.

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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.

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Common Lawn Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

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A beautiful lawn provides a wonderful place for families to relax, play, and spend time together. Homeowners work hard to keep their lawn in the best shape possible, but sometimes disasters strike anyway. Lawn pests don’t really care about the steps you take to keep your lawn healthy and attractive, though sometimes they are attracted to your lawn because it’s in such good shape. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with pests. Read on to find out some easy ways to eliminate and prevent common lawn pests.

Moles

Moles are excavators. They ruin lawns by creating tunnels and by eating bulbs and other plants materials. Their tunneling dislodges plants, damages and exposes roots, and creates unsightly mounds. Fortunately, with the exception of mating season during late winter and early spring, moles aren’t social creatures, so you should only have to deal with one mole at a time.

There are a variety of strategies that can be used to combat mole problems, but no one strategy is foolproof, so for best results use several strategies at once. Traps, repellents, and baits are all commonly used options. Mole specific varieties of these items can be purchased at garden or hardware stores.

Pocket Gophers

Similar to moles, gophers damage lawns and gardens by tunneling. Gopher tunnels can divert water and cause erosion, while the gophers themselves may damage roots and even irrigation systems by chewing on them. Typically, gophers are loners, but females may live together to cooperatively raise their young.

Gophers can be eliminated in much the same way as moles, through trapping and baits, but one can also fumigate gopher burrows to eliminate the problem. Once again, a combination of these strategies produces the best results. Purchase gopher specific products from a garden or hardware store or a specialty retailer.

Ants

While moles and gophers are annoying and potentially damaging, they’re not a threat. Ants, on the other hand, can be dangerous, especially if you suffer from ant allergies or are plagued by red imported fire ants. Though it can be tempting to deal with ants by just spraying insecticide on any ant you see, this doesn’t eliminate the colony. Using baits is a far more effective method for dealing with ants, because the ants will carry the bait back to the colony, where it is consumed by many ants, dealing far more damage than spraying individual ants. If you happen to know the location of the colony, using an insecticide to deal with it can be an effective method to deal with ant problems.

Voles

Voles, also called meadow mice, are rodents that cause damage primarily by feeding on a wide variety of plants, from turf grass to garden plants to fruit trees. Voles can be quite easily dealt with using traps and baits. Though voles live in shallow burrows, fumigants are not effective in dealing with them. Voles are also quite easy to prevent compared to other garden pests. Repellents are available for the deterrence of voles, but they are generally not very effective. Instead, a fence around your lawn or garden that rises at least a foot above the ground and sinks into the ground at least 6 to 10 inches should keep voles out. Make sure the fence has no holes larger than a quarter of an inch.

Professional Services

Even using these strategies, eliminating lawn pests may not be easy. If this is the case for you, consider hiring a professional. Though your first instinct may be to hire a pest control service, a lawn care service is often a better choice for lawn pests. Experienced lawn care professionals have specialized knowledge on how to eliminate lawn pests and how to protect your lawn and garden while doing so.

Lawnscape Systems, Inc. has been one of Southern Los Angeles’s first choices for lawn care for almost four decades. Lawnscape Systems offers several pest control options for homeowners including diseases and insect treatments, snail controls, and perimeter pest control, in addition to a variety of lawn care programs and additional services. Lawnscape uses only EPA certified products, minimizing the potential damage to your family and the environment. If you have common lawn pests, you don’t need to worry. Contact Lawnscape today to have your lawn pests eliminated.

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7 Lawn Care Myths Busted

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

1. Mow Grass as Short as Possible

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

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

2. Leaving Grass Clippings Forms Thatch

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

3. Leaves Must Be Raked

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

4. Seed in the Spring

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

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

5. Daily Watering is Necessary

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

Getting Professional Help With Your Lawn

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

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

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

1. Keep Your Landscaping Beautiful

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

2. Prevent Competition

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

3. Minimize Your Effort

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

4. Catch Weeds While They’re Weakest

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

5. Prevent the Spread of Weeds

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

6. Minimize Pests

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

Weed Removal Strategies

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

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

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Which Grass Varieties Grow Best in LA?

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

Buffalo Grass

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

Sand Dune Sedge

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

Native California Bentgrass

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

Yarrow

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

Bermudagrass

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

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

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

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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.

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