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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.

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Weed Removal: A Novice’s Guide

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Weeds create huge problems in lawns and gardens. They ruin the appearance of carefully planned and styled lawns, but they can also crowd out desired plants. Weed removal may seem basic, but if you’ve encountered weeds in your lawn or garden, you know that dealing with weeds is far more difficult than it may initially seem. Weeds by their very nature are able to thrive in all kinds of conditions; so when dealing with them, homeowners need to be thorough and proactive.

Make Sure the Timing is Right for Weed Removal

Homeowners should weed at least once a week. Many homeowners prefer to roam their garden and lawn every other day, pulling any weeds they see as they go, in order to minimize the need for a long weeding session on the weekend. Weeding often prevents weeds from maturing before they are dealt with.

Mature weeds are more difficult to eliminate and are able to spread seeds, worsening your weed problem. If you notice a mature weed but can’t or don’t have the time to deal with it, at least clip the weed down and make sure all flowers are removed to prevent spreading.

Weed When it’s Wet

Weeding is most effective when the soil is moist and it’s easier to remove the complete root system of the weeds. You can wet the soil with sprinklers or a hose. California is in the midst of a drought, however, so many homeowners are unable or unwilling to wet their lawns. Fortunately, there are some ecological alternatives.

Weeding after rain can create similar conditions to wetting the soil. Weeding in the morning while the ground is still dewy is not as effective as weeding after rain or wetting the soil, but it is more effective than weeding while the soil is dry.

Be Careful with Herbicide

Herbicide can be helpful in dealing with weeds, but it can also be tricky. Use a spray collar to help keep the herbicide’s spray limited to its target. You can easily make a spray collar by removing the top and bottom of a metal can. You can also use cardboard pieces to shield plants from spray drift. Never spray herbicide on a windy day. Be sure to identify your weed type or types before purchasing a weed killer, but vinegar can work as an all purpose herbicide in a pinch.

Pull Correctly

If you don’t remove the entire root system when pulling weeds, the weeds will only grow back, so it’s important to pull weeds correctly. To remove the entire weed, grip the plant gently but firmly close to the ground, and then gently pull straight up. The roots may still break off into the ground, but the chances are far lower if you use this method; and this will become less common as you pull more weeds and get a feeling of how much force is necessary when pulling.

Hire a Professional

Even with these weed removal tips, some people may still have stubborn weeds lingering. Others don’t have the time or inclination to deal with weeds. For these people, hiring a professional may be the best option. A professional lawn care service provider can deal with even the most stubborn weeds and other lawn issues with little to no time commitment on the homeowner’s part.

Lawnscape Systems is a Los Angeles based lawn care service that has been in the area since spring of 1979. We now service six southern California counties: Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County.  We strive to provide you with the best possible customer service in addition to the best possible lawn care, and we only use EPA certified products in order to keep your family and the environment safe.

We offer two lawn care programs which are further customized to your location and lawn’s issues. If you struggle with weeds or other lawn issues or simply don’t have the time to take out of your busy schedule to deal with lawn maintenance, contact Lawnscape Systems today to get started.

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How to Keep Wild Rabbits Out of Your Lawn

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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!

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How to Tell if You Have a Healthy or Unhealthy Lawn

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Most lawn owners are happy if their lawn is green and cut, but sometimes looks may be deceiving. One day your lawn is pristine and lush and the next week it’s splotched with brown patches of unsightly dead grass. Being able to check your lawn for oncoming issues is one of the best ways to keep your lawn healthy year round. Here are some things to look for when assessing if you have a healthy or unhealthy lawn.

Color

While this is the most obvious indicator of health, it is still something that needs to be watched for. Color changes throughout the seasons, so if your grass is a little lackluster in the winter that could be totally normal for the species. Some variation in color is inevitable because it’s impossible to perfectly plant a lawn to be completely even. Plus variances in water, shade, and other micro-factors can amount to variations in the green of your lawn. A healthy lawn might be green, but it’s not the only factor.

Thickness

A more subtle indicator than color, thickness can be a great indicator of how well your lawn is doing. Just like color, thickness does vary through the seasons and won’t be perfectly consistent because of the nature of grass. To tell if your grass is thinning, take a closer look at it, if you can see through to the dirt then that may be a sign of an unhealthy lawn, even if it is green.

Thatch

Thatch is another informative aspect of your lawn. A healthy lawn will have just the right amount of thatch, which is the layer of decaying material between the grass and dirt, not too little and not too much. Thatch is naturally created as you mow and the grass grows new leaves and sheds old ones. To tell if your thatch is the right density you should watch when you water.

When watering, if the liquid sits on the thatch and isn’t draining into the dirt then you’re thatch is probably too thick. Thick thatch can be caused by overwatering and other incorrect maintenance practices, as well as diseases and pests. When your thatch is too thick, it prevents not only water from reaching the roots, but also the air it needs to grow, eventually killing your grass. Aeration is one effective way to deal with this problem.

Texture

A non-visual way of determining the health of your lawn is the way it feels. Healthy lawns will retain their shape after being stepped on, won’t break or crack, and feel flexible. Unhealthy lawns will have rigid blades that will break apart when stepped on or handled and will retain footprints after being walked on. Feel your grass with your hand to see how it responds; any change towards brittleness can indicate a need for more water, and if you are watering regularly it may be a sign of an infection or infestation.

Fungus

Notice a ring of dead grass on your lawn? Or maybe mushrooms sprouting up from time to time? These can be signs that your lawn has an invasive species of fungus growing beneath. Mushrooms and stalks are only the reproductive parts of the fungus, with the main “body” of the organism being invisible to the naked eye; so if you’re seeing the fungus it’s already taken hold. Fungus species that are undesirable are often a result of overwatering or weak grass that is being outcompeted.

Insects and Worms

When your lawn is sporadically becoming patched with no discernible pattern, then you may have an invasive species of insect or worm. Typically, these organisms thrive in lawns with thatch layers that are too dense. Once they’ve taken root, it’s hard to remove these pests without professional help, so it’s best to practice proper maintenance to avoid these problems in the first place.

Keeping your Lawn Healthy

The only way to ensure your lawn’s health is to maintain it with expert precision. Aeration, fertilization, and watering should be closely monitored to ensure your lawn is getting enough, but not too much of what it needs. Consult Lawnscape to ensure that your lawn is the healthiest it can be. Contact Lawnscape today!

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Choosing the Perfect Lawn Ornaments for Your LA Home

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Lawn ornaments come in all kinds of styles and at different price points. From the traditional pink flamingo to unique and elaborate sculptures, ornamentation for every style and budget is out there. This article will help you find the perfect lawn ornament for your yard.

Choosing Your Lawn Ornament

When choosing the perfect lawn ornament for your garden, it is important to consider how the ornaments will draw attention to, and enhance, your lawn.

It is important not to remember to use too many lawn ornaments. Too many ornaments can overwhelm viewers, and can detract from your lawn; making it look messy and cluttered, rather than stylishly landscaped.

When choosing the ideal ornaments for your lawn, think about the style and design of your property. It doesn’t make sense to place kitschy lawn ornaments in your lawn when your style is classic or old-fashioned. Similarly, if you’re going for a fun and funky look, stone statues are probably not what you’re looking for.

Types of Lawn Ornaments

Almost anything can be a lawn ornament – from traditional garden gnomes and plastic pink flamingos; to statues, birdbaths, or homemade knicknacks. What you choose to place on your lawn largely depends on the look you want to create and the space you have.

If you’re looking to create an old-fashioned or classic look, consider stone birdbaths or fountains, especially if you have a large yard you want to draw attention to.

If you’ve got a limited budget, or you want something unique that nobody else has, consider making your own lawn and garden ornaments. Instead of buying Tiki torches to set up along your yard or patio, consider making your own, out of old wine bottles. 

Want a fountain or water feature in your yard, but don’t like any of the commercially available stone or concrete fountains? Make your own out of some steel pipes and an old teapot.  Or, create a lighthouse for your lawn out of oversized clay pots and a candle lantern.

Placement

Once you’ve decided on your perfect lawn ornaments, the next thing you need to do is decide where to put them.  Do you want your lawn ornaments to draw attention to your home from the street? Or do you want your ornament to be something that only guests and family members can see?

It is also important to consider the size of your lawn and the size of the lawn ornament. Large statues or birdbaths may look out of place and overwhelm a small yard, while small ornaments might not even be seen in a large yard.

The Perfect Lawn is More than Just Ornaments

While choosing the right ornaments for your yard is important, routine maintenance is just as important when it comes to making your lawn stand out and, more important, staying healthy. Lawnscape offers aeration, weed control, and a wide range of other lawncare services. Contact the experts at Lawnscape today to find out more.

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How to Turn Your Lawn into a Haunted Halloween Attraction

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Decorating a yard for Halloween is a lot of fun, but you could do something even better: a haunted attraction. These popular scare mazes aren’t as hard to make as you would think! Turning your lawn into the perfect Halloween trick or treating spot can be done cheaply or you can go all out. It’s all up to you! Here are a few essential steps to transforming your lawn for the scariest of all holidays.

Decorate Your Lawn and Maze

Whether you plan on buying expensive animatronic latex monsters from your local Halloween super store or doing DIY spiders and other kid-friendly creepy crawlies, you will need decorations. Try going for a theme inspired by the latest horror films, TV shows, and novels. A cohesive aesthetic will make your haunted attraction more alluring than a hodge-podge of random assorted decorations.

When decorating your yard, consider the type of trick or treaters you are expecting. Young children won’t respond well to gore or too realistic monsters, but if you have an older crowd of teenagers and young adults, you can go all out! Having the right atmosphere is essential or else young children might just skip over your place.

Try to avoid decorations that might damage your grass such as things that require large spikes to be placed in the ground or particularly heavy objects. Anything large should be kept off the lawn as it will block sunlight and could kill your grass. If you want to use larger decorations, try waiting to put those particularly pieces out until the days leading up to Halloween or even just on that particular day. A dying lawn is scary only for its owner!

Set Up Some Walls

One of the most deceptively challenging parts of creating a haunted attraction in your yard is making the walls. There are some simple solutions, though. Cardboard boxes are a safe, cheap, and available option. Just stack them and cover them with black tarps or fabric. Painting them is an option, too; making them a part of the decorations themselves. Make tight turns and hide-aways for people to sneak into and scare your maze runners. Stage different scenes by leaving larger sections of open space, giving you the opportunity to create a cool tableau of horror.

Before you start setting up your walls, it’s a good idea to plan the layout so that you know you have enough space and material to do what you want. Measure things out with a tape measure and make sure to leave enough walking room for everyone.

Cultivate an Atmosphere

A popular way to make your haunted attraction all the creepier is to use fog machines and strobe lights. This will create a haunting ambience for your ghouls. Music can also add to the effect, but don’t leave it on too late or your neighbors won’t be too happy. Make sure there is enough lighting for people to see their way through the maze or you might have a few toppled walls during your night. Some decorations will have lighting effects that won’t ruin the aesthetic of your maze while still providing much needed light. Remember, a lot of people will be wearing masks, which makes it difficult to see, reducing their field of vision.

Keep things safe! Don’t leave anything that could trip a maze-goer or catch on them, making them trip and most likely knocking parts of your maze over.

Rewards

Of course, Halloween isn’t complete without candy. Provide your maze-goers with a nice reward at the end. The final candy grab is also a great way to stage the last scare – someone acting as a dummy holding the bowl can get in one last fright. Just remember to only frighten those with the nerve to take it.

Keep your Lawn Healthy

All these people walking on your lawn might make you nervous that it will be damaged by the foot traffic. If your lawn is healthy and well-maintained, that shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t water the day of and it should be fine. If your lawn isn’t as nice as you would like or it’s simply unhealthy, using a professional can assure that it will survive your haunted attraction. Contact Lawnscape today for all of your lawn maintenance needs!

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Lawn Shade: Is it Right for Your Lawn?

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With LA’s climate, hot weather and less infrequent rain is common, which can often lead to dry lawns. It’s tempting to add a shade tree to reduce watering needs and provide a nice place to sit under outside, but when you add shade the needs of your lawn changes. Reduced sunlight can have a range of effects on your grass and will necessitate a change in maintenance routines. You should keep in mind the following factors when it comes to lawn shade.

Effects of Lawn Shade on Grass

Shading from buildings, trees, or even fallen debris such as leaves and other plant matter can be a source of shade for a lawn. The primary negative of a shaded lawn is that it gets less sunlight, resulting in less food produced by photosynthesis, which is the process by which plants turn light into energy for growth and health. On the other hand, too much sunlight can kill your grass because of the extreme heat, so in hotter climates shade can prevent heat damage.

In cooler climates, less sun means a wetter ground. Wet dirt is good for the grass, but it can also be a friendlier place for invasive species. Moss, fungi, and some lawn destroying insects and worms thrive in cool, damp dirt, leaving your lawn vulnerable to destruction.

If the shade in your lawn is originating from a tree or large shrubbery, then your grass may also be out-competed for water as these larger plants have higher hydration requirements. Very large roots can even physically damage the ground and roots of grass. Trees with thick canopies may also prevent rainfall from reaching the grass beneath.

While the combined effect of these negatives may seem detrimental to a lawn, the good news is that there are ways to compensate, allowing for a nice shady lawn that you can enjoy in the hotter months.

Reduce Lawn Shade Coverage

A simple solution to a lack of sunlight is to prune the offending trees and shrubs during the months with less sunlight.  Thinner tree canopies can allow for more sunlight and rain to fall through, giving your grass the exposure to the elements that it needs. Plus, if you time the trimming right, by the time summer rolls around your lawn will have some added protection from the intense heat and be less likely to dry out.

Aeration

Aerating your shady lawn can also help it thrive despite the effects of shade. The process of aeration is when small holes are poked into the lawn, allowing for root exposure. By exposing the roots, they are more receptive to receiving fertilizer and the air it needs to thrive.

Fertilizer

To compensate for the reduced nutrients caused by lack of sunlight, fertilizer can help your grass grow in the shade. After aerating, adding organic matter to your lawn will give it the nutrients it needs.

Water Smart

Since water evaporates much slower in the shade, it’s important that you don’t overwater your grass. If the ground is still damp, chances are you can wait longer to water. Overwatering can kill the grass both by drowning, destabilizing the soil, and making it a better place for unwelcome organisms to find a home. Water less frequently, but deeply to ensure that the grass is being properly hydrated but not overwatered. If your shade is coming from other large plants make sure that they aren’t out-competing your grass for the water it needs and adjust accordingly.

Mowing at the Right Height

When mowing a lawn, a lot of people just run through on one height, but this can be deadly for shaded grass. Grass in shaded areas should be left slightly longer than the sun-exposed parts of the lawn. This allows for a longer leaf which is better at capturing sunlight, water, and air. Most mowers allow for height adjustments of the blade; just make sure to be safe when making these adjustments.

Weed Regularly

Weeds are a gardener’s worst enemy. They seem to constantly show back up and are unsightly. For shaded lawns, some weeds thrive in the less sunny space. Make sure to weed regularly as the invading plants can cause damage to your lawn, further straining your shaded grass.

Use an Expert

Lawns can be tricky because of the amount of variables in just a single yard. Using an expert lawncare company can be the best thing that you do for your yard. Lawnscape is an expert in lawncare, and will know exactly how to compensate for shaded or sun-exposed lawns. Contact Lawnscape today to keep your lawn looking its best!

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Common Lawn Diseases and How to Prevent Them

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Lawncare isn’t always an easy job. It takes a lot of dedication to keep your turf in peak condition. Sometimes, no matter how well you’re maintaining your grass, the unexpected happens: lawn diseases. In order to properly manage these lawn diseases, it’s important to understand why they occur.

Diseases are usually caused by 3 factors:

  1. A Susceptible Plant. It’s very rare that things, living or non-living, are invincible to everything. Eventually something will happen, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road.
  2. Favorable Environments. Sometimes it’s just bad luck that you end up with extremely dry weather, or relentless rain. The environment that your turf is growing in affects how likely it is that diseases will appear. You can help by proper maintenance and understanding what’s healthy for your lawn. There are many different classifications of grass and some diseases are more effective against certain types. Knowing what your lawn is made of will help you look out for specific dangers.
  3. Pathogens. Although not the most common cause of lawn disease, they’re still something to keep an eye on.

 

Non-Living Diseases

Non-living lawn diseases are recognizable by the well-defined edges of impacted areas. Factors that can bring disease include compacted soil and thatched soil. Compacted soil occurs when there’s a high amount of traffic on the turf and the soil is squished, making it more difficult for your grass to intake the nutrients needed for proper growth. Thatched soil is an intertwined layer of dead and living organic matter lying in between the turf and the soil. This happens when the grass produces debris faster than that debris can be broken down.

Most often, non-living lawn disease is caused by chemicals. The most common examples are:

  • Dog urine
  • Gasoline spills
  • Salt damage due to ice melting chemicals
  • Misuse of common lawn chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; which should only be used as last resorts, anyway
  • Fertilizer burn from excessive fertilization. The excess of nitrogen salts can dry up all of the moisture in the plant and create a state of hypertonicity where it’s more difficult for water to pass through.

 

Living Diseases

Often when we think of disease, we think of viruses and bacteria. For your lawn, this isn’t often the case. Bacteria-caused lawn diseases are extremely rare; the one that occurs most often is the St. Augustine Decline, named so because it only affects St. Augustine grass.

Another potential disease is caused by nematodes: microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on plant roots. Often times they are harmless, however if the population is high enough this can cause your lawn to wilt, stunt the growth, or cause the grass to be off-color.

However, all of the most common lawn diseases are due to parasitic fungi, most often in warm weather. Fungi are always available in the soil waiting for the right conditions to attack. This is usually when the turf is facing stress, such as excessive heat or cold, or improper care.

Some of the Most Common Lawn Diseases

Affecting All Grass

Slime Mold is one of the least harmful diseases; it causes patches of white, gray, or black deposit on turf, which appears powdery in its early stages. As the disease progresses, the deposits form small balls, affecting the turf’s growth; however it’s easily removed by a rake or hose.

Fairy Ring causes a dark green circle or semicircle of grass, ranging from a few inches to up to 200 feet, with the surrounding turf appearing to be dying. Mushrooms may appear in the area. This disease can cause serious damage, creating a thick fungal mat that prevents water from reaching the roots, and absorbs all of the nutrients from the soil. It is one of the hardest diseases to control, with no natural treatment.

Dollar Spot, on the other hand, doesn’t cause permanent damage. It’s recognizable by small spots of tan or brown grass all over the lawn.

Similar to Dollar Spot are Brown Patch and Yellow Patch, also causing no permanent damage.  Brown Patch is a circular area of sunken in dead grass, with the outer perimeter appearing a smoky color; Yellow Patch is smaller yellow patches with less of the smoky perimeter. These diseases are more specific than the other three, affecting:

  • Bent grass and creeping bent grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Causing Slime

Pink Snow Mold is a white or pink slimy growth that occurs when there’s too much moisture. This most commonly affects:

  • Bent grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

 

Also related is Gray Snow Mold, which instead of white or pink in appearance, is white or gray. This disease usually forms under layers of snow, and forms irregular patches on your lawn. This strain differs from Pink Snow Mold because it also affects all bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrass. Of course, this disease is rare in LA.

Pythium Blight is also known as Grease Spot, causes brown slimy areas where white patches may form. It spreads quickly and can kill turf if left untreated. This disease affects:

  • Bent grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Causing Spots

Otherwise known as “Melting Out,” Leaf Spot can make the grass look tan, gray or brown; with red, purple, or tan lesions appearing on the blades. This disease can severely thin or kill grass, affecting Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda grass.

Anthracnose is a pathogen-caused disease where tan, brown, or reddish brown patches show up, which may be as small as inches and as big as yards. Spots could also appear on the blades. It survives on plant debris and easily spreads, most commonly through water. This disease thrives in warm weather, and can kill turf. This affects annual bluegrass and bent grass.

Powdery Mildew is usually found in shady areas, and is named so because the infection looks like white dust. It turns the infected grass tan to brown and can cause permanent damage. This affects:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

Rust causes orange spots on the blades of grass. It’s a fungal infection where the spores can easily attach to clothes and tools, although it’s not usually harmful. It can affect:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass

 

Red Thread, also known as Pink Patch, brings red or faded patches, with red or pink threads spreading from blade to blade. This disease does not cause permanent damage, and affects:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fescues
  • Perennial ryegrass

 

How to Prevent These Lawn Diseases

Proper lawn care is important to maintaining a healthy turf and overall lawn. Since most of these diseases are fungus based, so one way you can help is by watering less often and more deeply as fungus tends to spread through water. About 20 minutes per day should be fine. Mowing regularly with sharp blades can also prevent the spread of fungus as dull blades can shred grass, making it easier for spores to enter and infect your turf. Regular fertilization and aeration will also help ensure that your lawn is healthy and beautiful.

What to Do if Your Lawn is Infected

It’s important to determine what the problem is before you make any assumptions. Sometimes this involves getting down on your hands and knees and looking at the blades of grass for discoloration and lesions. Fungus spores may be present with the early morning dew. The faster you can identify the problem and decide how to manage it, the less damage can be caused to your turf.

If you suspect that your lawn may be infected, don’t hesitate to call our dedicated team of professionals for more information.

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7 Lawn Care Missteps You Need to Avoid

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Lawn care doesn’t have to be difficult. Avoid these 7 common lawn care missteps to make your life easier and your keep your lawn lush, beautiful, and healthy.

Mistake #1 – You Cut Your Lawn too Short

One of the most common lawn care mistakes people make is that they cut their lawn too short. When you over-cut your lawn, you stress the grass, which inhibits grown and can make your lawn more vulnerable to some diseases and funguses. Additionally, cutting your grass too short

To avoid this lawn care mistake, raise the blades on your lawnmower to ensure that it removes no more than ⅓ of the length of the blades of grass when you mow your lawn.

Mistake #2- You Always Mow Your Lawn in the Same Direction

Another common mistake many homeowners make when caring for their lawns is that they always mow in the same direction. Always mowing the same direction can put pressure on the grass, which can make it more difficult for the grass to grow.

Next time you mow your lawn, try a mowing in a different pattern in order to ensure your lawn is mowed equally, and you don’t put more strain on some parts of your lawn.

Mistake #3 – Your Mower Blades are Dull

People often don’t realize that the blade of their lawn mower get dull and blunt with usage, and need to be sharpened regularly. As a result, people often make the mistake of mowing their lawn with a mower that has dull or blunt blades.

When your lawnmower has dull blades, instead of cutting the grass cleanly, the lawnmower blades rip and tear at the grass, which makes it more difficult for your lawn to absorb water and other nutrients. Additionally, the uneven edges left by dull lawn mower blades may make your lawn more susceptible to diseases and fungus.

Fortunately, it is easy to determine whether your lawnmower blades need to be sharpened. Lie down on the lawn and look at the tops of the blades of grass. If you see uneven, shabby looking blades of grass, rather than nice clean cuts, it is likely that your lawnmower needs to be sharpened.

Mistake #4 – You Water Excessively

Did you know that too much water is just as bad for your lawn as not enough water?

The average lawn only needs an inch of water a week, and does not need to be watered every day.

In addition to increased risk of disease and fungus, overwatering your lawn can lead to grass developing a shallow root system, meaning that it is less able to survive dry summer conditions.

Mistake #5 – You Misuse Fertilizer

Fertilizers and pesticides can give you a lush, green, healthy lawn when used appropriately. But when pesticides and fertilizers are used excessively or when they are not needed, they can cause damage to your lawn. Over-fertilizing your lawn can cause burning or unsightly discoloration.

Additionally, whether your lawn is made up of cool season or warm season grasses is important to consider when fertilizing your lawn. Cool season grasses should be fertilized during the spring and fall, while warm season grasses should be fertilized during the spring and summer.

Finally, to avoid damage from fertilizers, water your lawn within 24 hours after fertilizing. This will prevent any undissolved fertilizer particles from burning your lawn and creating unsightly brown patches.

Mistake #6 – You’re Ignoring the Soil

The soil is one of the most important parts of your lawn, and yet this is something people often forget. If you have bad soil, all the fertilizing, weeding, and watering you can do will not give you the lush green lawn you’re after.

If you’ve been watering, fertilizing, and mowing your lawn appropriately and still can’t seem to get the lush, healthy lawn you’re after, consider getting your soil tested.

The results from a soil test will tell you the levels of nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil; this will help you determine what fertilizing or lawn care regimen will give you the healthy lawn you want.

Mistake #7- You’re Planting the Wrong Grass for the Climate

One of the most common lawn care mistakes people make is that they choose the wrong kind of grass for their climate. Some grasses known as cool season grasses thrive in cooler, damper climates, while others known as warm season grasses do better in warmer, dryer climates.

Another mistake people make is people assume that their entire lawn has to be the same grass species, but this is not the case. Seed mixtures containing both cool season and warm season grasses are available, and these mixes are often more resistant to hot and cold.

Sometimes, the best way to avoid any lawn care missteps is to call in the professionals. If you live in the Los Angeles area, get in contact with the team at Lawnscape. We offer a wide range of lawn care services, from fertilizing and core aeration to extensive weed and lawn pest control.

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Biggest Lawn Health Risks in Los Angeles

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If you’re concerned about the health of your lawn and how the unique Los Angeles climate can affect it, be sure to keep an eye of out for these common issues that can play a big role in increasing lawn health risks.

Drought

One of the biggest threats to the health of your lawn in Los Angeles is a lack of water. When your lawn does not get enough water, your grass begins to lose color and develop a faded appearance. After a while, your grass will begin to wilt, before eventually turning brown due to the lack of water.

Some grass species, such as Ryegrass, are better able to adapt to dry conditions. Others are suited to cooler, wetter climates, and are easily killed off by hot, dry weather.

Overwatering

When you notice your lawn starting to turn brown and losing its lush appearance, your instinct may be to start watering it every day. But watering your lawn too frequently can cause more harm than good.

Ideally, your lawn should be watered three times a week, and should get about a third of an inch of water each time. If you do any more than that, you risk overwatering your lawn. Overwatering can lead to infestations of pests and insects, accelerated weed growth, and an increased risk of fungal infestation; all of which can cause your lawn look dull and sickly, instead of lush and healthy.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Grass

One of the biggest mistakes people often make when re-seeding their lawn is choosing the wrong kind of grass. In LA, it is important to choose a grass species that is drought resistant and can survive on little water.

Some types of grass, known as cool season grasses, thrive in cooler, wetter climates, while others, known as warm season grasses thrive in warmer climates. Drought resistant, warm season grasses like Bermuda grass, buffalo grass, and St. Augustine grass are ideal for the warm, dry climate of Southern California.

Pests and Diseases

Pest infestations and fungal infections can pose a threat to the health of your lawn. Common fungal infections in southern California include Fusarium blight, which thrives in high temperatures and under drought conditions. Another common lawn disease is summer patch disease, which thrives in overwatered lawns during higher temperatures.

Common pests like chinch bugs and grub worms can wreak havoc on your lawn. Chinch bugs leave yellow patches in your lawn and make your lawn more susceptible to drought damage. Grub worms live in the soil under your lawn and feed on the roots of your grass. Eventually, you will notice brown patches beginning to appear in your lawn.

If you notice signs of fungal infection or insect infestation in your lawn, it is important to get it treated right away.

Mower Mistakes

One of the biggest threats to the health of your lawn can be something as simple as incorrectly mowing your lawn. Many people don’t realize that mower blades need to be sharpened regularly. Mowing your lawn with a dull mower can rip and tear the blades of grass instead of cutting them evenly, which can make your lawn more susceptible to fungal infections.

Another common mistake homeowners make is mowing too short. Ideally, you should not remove more than a third of the blade of grass when you mow. Cutting your lawn too short can increase the likelihood of fungus or other diseases. It can also make your lawn more susceptible to drought damage.

Maintenance Mistakes

Common maintenance mistakes like failing to regularly aerate your lawn can pose a threat to the health of your lawn. Regularly aerating your lawn is important, especially in Southern California, where many people have clay soils, or rock-and-clay mixed soils in their yard. Rock and clay soils are more vulnerable to compaction, and compacted soils are less able to deliver nutrients, water, and oxygen to the root system of your lawn, which can leave your lawn looking faded, wilted, or patchy.

Ensuring your lawn is in good health is imperative to keeping it lush and beautiful throughout the year. With LA’s oft-hot and drought-like climate, it’s highly recommended you call in the professionals if you’re unable to keep your lawn in tip top shape. To eliminate lawn health risks and for all of you lawn care needs, Lawnscape is here to help. Contact us today.

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