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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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Brown Spots on Your Lawn: Should You be Concerned?

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

Brown Spots Caused by Improper Care

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

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

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

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

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

Brown Spots Caused by Disease

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

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

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

Brown Spots Caused by Growing Conditions

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

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

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

Solve Brown Spots with the Help of a Professional

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

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Pets and Your Lawn: Making Them Live in Harmony

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Pets and your lawn: they enjoy it just like you do. Grassy yards provide our furry friends with an open area to run and play, while gardens provide a surplus of places in which to hide. However, while these games are fun for both us and our pets, not to mention adorable, they also provide our pets with ample opportunity to be destructive. This can lead homeowners to feel like trying to keeps pets happy and healthy is at odds with trying to maintain beautiful and healthy lawns.

Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. With a few easy and inexpensive fixes, our lawns and gardens can be a fun playground for our pets and ourselves, but without the destruction. To find out how, let’s examine some damaging behaviors and how to resolve them so your pets and your lawn live in harmony.

Pets and Your Lawn: Using the Bathroom

Dealing with pet waste can be one of the most frustrating problems for pet owners who want to maintain beautiful and healthy yards. We don’t want our pets to go inside, but we don’t want them using our grass or garden as a bathroom either.

While urban legend states that lawn damage from pet urine is caused by the high level of acidity in the urine, the actual cause is the high nitrate content. Nitrates are an important ingredient in fertilizer; so in small doses, pet urine acts like fertilizer, causing the affected areas to appear greener and be heartier than the rest of the lawn. While this ruins the visual effect most lawn owners are going for, at least it’s improving the health of the grass plants. On the other hand, in higher doses, animal urine can lead to the brown, dead spots we typically associate with pets and lawns.

Feces doesn’t create the problems for plants that urine does, but it is an eyesore, leaves a foul odor, and can get on shoes, lawn equipment, and other things in the lawn and garden if you aren’t careful.

There are several things that can be done to handle pet waste. First, homeowners can create a mulched or pine straw covered area and train their pet to use the bathroom in this area, preventing damage in the first place. Use pet waste bags to remove feces immediately and discard them in compost or a garbage can located outside. Fence in gardening plots or flower beds to keep pets out.

Pets and Your Lawn: Digging

Digging can occur for a number of reasons, including hiding waste, entertainment, seeking attention, and more. Regardless of the reason, the holes left behind and the damage to plants can be a nightmare.

To prevent digging, try to figure out why your pet is digging in the first place. If they’re trying to hide waste, this can be another situation in which picking up feces immediately and training your pet to go in a plant free area can help. This way they feel less of a need to dig because you’re removing the waste, and when they do dig the damage is minimized.

If your pet is seeking entertainment, you simply need to find an alternative for them. Take your dog on longer or more frequent walks, make sure they have plenty of toys inside and out, spend time playing with them, or teach them a few new tricks. Try to prioritize forms of entertainment that involve you spending time with your pet, as this can also prevent digging as an attention seeking behavior.

Pets and Your Lawn: Keeping Them Safe

Don’t forget that just like your pets can damage your lawn and garden, your lawn and garden are not completely safe for your pets. To keep your pets safe, try to leave them unsupervised outside as little as possible. Check the effects that any plants in your lawn and garden can have on your pets, and either remove or fence in any plants that have potentially negative effects.

Double check any fences or other structures to make sure that they are structurally sound and free of sharp points or edges that can hurt animals. Finally, try to avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides, only use herbicides and pesticides that are safe for pets, or keep pets indoors when herbicides or pesticides have been used outside.

Lawn Rehabilitation for Lawnscape Systems

An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but sometimes prevention isn’t possible, especially when it comes to pets. If you have lawn damage from pets, contact Lawnscape today to get your yard and garden returned to the playground and paradises they once were for both you and your pets.

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The Best Winter Lawn Care Tips

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

Prepare for Winter before it Arrives

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

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

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

Mow the Right Way

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

Restore Lost Nutrients

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

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

Take Advantage of the Beige

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

Hire a Professional

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

Lawnscape Systems, Inc.

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

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

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Setting Up Your Lawn for the Festive Season

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As we pull out the decorations and make preparations to have family and friends over for the festive season, it’s important we also remember to make preparations for our lawn. Whether you’re decorating or just getting your yard ready for those cold winter months, here are some things you should keep in mind.

Aerating and Seeding with Cold Weather Grass

Aerating your lawn sounds daunting, but it’s actually very easy whether you have a small lawn that you can walk over with some aerating sandals, or you need a riding mower attachment for a larger space. Aerating has a host of benefits for your lawn, and is especially important when going into the winter months. Aerating gives your lawn:

  • Increased water uptake
  • Better drought tolerance (especially important in Southern California)
  • Better fertilizer utilization
  • Less water runoff
  • Reduced soil compaction
  • Better air exchange

Following aeration with seeding with a cold or cool weather grass can help keep your lawn looking fresh and green year round. Not all of us can win the Christmas light battle with our neighbors (who can afford that electric bill?), but we can at least have a pretty green lawn while everyone else’s is turning brown and dormant for the season.

Mulch and Fertilize to Keep Your Plants Alive

Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your lawn and landscaping. The cold, dry air can wipe out an unprotected lawn and destroy landscaping features. To keep your grass and your plants safe, there are a few steps you need to take.

First, before the weather is too harsh, it’s time to fertilize. The best way to do this is to select the appropriate fertilizer for your lawn; if you’re going to do it yourself, buy, rent, or borrow a fertilizer spreader. Then simply follow the directions on the fertilizer package, paying special attention to the prescribed amount. Over-fertilizing can burn your lawn and actually be worse than not fertilizing at all.

After you’ve fertilized, it’s time to look at adding a protective layer of mulch to your yard. Mulch keeps the worst of the chill off of your lawn and away from the roots of trees and other plants. Just make sure you keep a gap between the mulch and any woody-stemmed plants to avoid rot.

Deal with Fallen Leaves

This time of year has many of us dealing with fallen leaves covering our yards. Whichever side of the “blower vs. rake” debate you fall on, no one likes dealing with a yard full of leaves. And unfortunately, you can’t just leave the leaves there during the winter (and not just because your neighbors will hate you). Leaving a thick layer of dead leaves over your grass can leave you with a yard full of compost and dead grass.

The best way to deal with fallen leaves is actually the easiest: mulch them. You should be mulching your yard to protect it and keep nutrient levels up, and dead leaves make for excellent mulch. Get some utility out of those former annoyances and turn them into beneficial mulch that will keep your lawn healthy throughout the winter months.

Decorating Ideas

Now comes the fun part. Let’s talk decorating ideas. Whether you’re going all out for Christmas or you just want to add some festive touches to your yard (fake snow, anyone?), there’s a decorating blog out there for you. If you enjoy decorating for Halloween, and want to go for a winter wonderland yard this year, there are a few things you can do to really make your lawn stand out.

First, lights are the backbone of any good festive display. They draw attention, they illuminate your other decorations, and they spread holiday cheer (whether your neighbors want it or not). The key to a good light arrangement is to not go overboard as this can be unsafe from an electrical standpoint, and generally causes more trouble than it’s worth. So don’t go the Chevy Chase route and, instead, pick a few decorative center-pieces and then build your light display around that.

Getting Your Festive Lawn in Shape with Lawnscape

If you find yourself struggling to get your lawn ready for the festive season, give Lawnscape a call. Our experts are ready to help you get your yard ready for whatever the holidays can throw at it, and you can be confident that you’ll have beautiful grass to go along with your decorations.

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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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