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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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How Excessive Rain Can Damage Your Garden

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When most people think of weather damage to their lawns and gardens, they think of excessive heat and drought conditions, excessive rain or too much water in general. But too much water can cause just as much harm as not enough.

Excess Water Drowns Root Systems

Excessive water or heavy rain can damage the root system of your lawn, especially when combined with high temperatures and the high humidity common during summer months. Grass requires oxygen to grow, and too much water prevents oxygen from getting into the soil. As a result, plant growth is stunted.

Shallow Root Growth

Additionally, heavy rain over long periods of time can lead to shallow root growth, meaning your lawn will be less likely to stay green during drier conditions or survive through a drought. It may even become more susceptible to fungus or diseases.

Excess Rain Leaches Nutrients from the Soil

Excess rain or water can harm your lawn or garden by leaching nutrients from the soil before they can be absorbed by the plants in your garden or by your lawn. This means that you end up spending more money and time fertilizing your garden.

Fungus, Diseases, Weeds, and Pests

In addition to damaging root systems and putting increased stress on your lawn or garden, excessive water can make both your lawn and garden more prone to certain kinds of fungal plant diseases that thrive during wet rainy weather.

Lawn diseases such as grey leaf spot thrive in warm, wet conditions. Symptoms of this disease are straw colored or grey spots on the leaf blade, and your lawn becoming sparse. Other lawn diseases, like pythium root rot also thrive in warm, wet conditions. Root rot causes grass to thin, and your grass may take on a yellow or lime green appearance.

What Can You Do?

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect your lawn from wet weather damage. To prevent the spread of fungal diseases, ensure that your lawn and garden have adequate drainage. Consider building drainage ditches to carry excess water away from your garden in the event of heavy rainstorms.

If you notice discoloration or symptoms of fungal disease in your lawn or certain plants, there are some simple steps you can take to protect them from wet weather damage. Avoid pruning or trimming plants when they are wet, as fungal diseases are better able to spread between plants when the leaves are wet. Soil aeration can also help to prevent the spread of root rot diseases and fungi that affect lawns.

If you’re concerned about protecting your lawn from rain and water damage, Lawnscape offers a variety of services to meet your needs. Contact us today to find out more.

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Protecting Your Lawn During Fall

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Preparing and protecting your lawn during fall may not be as intensive as winter or summer, but it’s still an absolutely necessary step. If you don’t adjust the way you are maintaining your grass it won’t be as strong as it can be for the winter months to come. In areas with snowfall or drastic temperature changes this is an imperative step every year, but even in more temperate climates just a few days of a drop in temperature can drastically affect your lawn.

Check for Summer Damage

The first step in lawn preparation for fall is to check what damage has occurred over the summer. Kids and pets playing on the grass can take a real toll on the greenery; compounded by the weather, and you may have a lawn with bald spots and dead grass. Taking a survey of the lawn and determining how to proceed next will get you off on the right track.

Reseed and Overseed

If you have some damaged grass, reseeding those areas is a good idea so that your lawn looks nice and even. For lawns with hot temperature resistant grasses, it’s a good idea to overseed the lawn to make sure it doesn’t die over the winter, giving the lawn a thicker layer of grass and more resilience. Aerating the lawn before you seed will ensure new growth and help the plants establish deep roots, making for better water absorption and resistance to damage and death.

Clean Up the Yard

A simple step that can easily be overlooked for larger details is cleaning up the yard. Removing any lawn furniture, toys, or temporary pools can save you some major headache in the future. These objects block sunlight and can provide homes for invading insects. If you live in an area with a more moderate climate where you are going to continue using the outdoor area, you might want to consider moving the furniture occasionally so one spot doesn’t suffer.

Another part of cleaning the yard is raking up leaves. While some people might tell you that leaving the leaves on your lawn is a good idea as it’s insulating your lawn from the colder weather, that’s not the best advice. Leaves can block sunlight from reaching your grass, preventing food production and ultimately killing the lawn.

What is a good idea is using your leaves in a compost to create mulch, but cleaning them up is the first and most necessary step. Certain fungal invasions can easily start from an unkempt pile of leaves as they decay and become prime targets for a variety of unwelcome fungi.

Mowing

While the growth of your lawn is going to slow down in the cold weather, it’s still a good idea to mow the lawn, but less frequently. Don’t over mow as this can weaken your grass as it is unable to collect as much sunlight.

Feed the Lawn

Fertilization is key during the fall to strengthen your lawn for the winter. In summer, fertilizer can kill your grass as the increased nitrates can be too much, but for fall it’s just what’s needed. Aeration is again a useful step to take before fertilizing so that it penetrates the soil and reaches the roots of the grass.

Weeding Never Stops

Take care of the weeds that spring up during cooler weather. If weeds go unnoticed in the fall they can do some real damage as your grass isn’t growing as quickly and can easily be out-competed for the water, nutrition, and sunlight that it needs to thrive. Make sure to routinely check your grass and to remove the offending plants.

Use an Expert

Every lawn is different and every region’s weather varies, so the needs of each lawn are going to be different. Using a professional lawn care service provider is a great way to ensure that your lawn will survive fall. Lawnscape is a professional lawn care company that can make sure your lawn thrives through the whole year. Contact Lawnscape today.

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4 of the Worst Weeds and How to Eliminate Them

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LA’s weather is great for being outdoors, regardless of the season. The warm weather, sunshine, and plants bloom make for a great atmosphere. But what if your lawn is crawling with weeds that won’t go away? We’ll take a look at some of the top weeds disrupting your lawns and the best methods to control them.

Bermuda: Tough as Nails

Considered one of the toughest weeds to kill, Bermuda is as stubborn as they come. It is proven to be widely resistant against most methods of management and comes back year after year. The traditional method of digging by hand isn’t effective on its own, nor are most of the herbicides on the market. Due to the complex root structure and resilience of the weed, it takes a combination of both.

Bermuda, with long stalks and blades coming off the sides, has roots that are able to grow back even if most of it has been removed. The best method of managing the weed is to use a blanket herbicide. This herbicide kills everything in the area, with the most effective ones using glyphosate as the active ingredient. Using this chemical has proven to be the most effective method of killing the weed. After spraying the weed, it still has to be removed by hand, as the roots can regrow in the future.

The process may need to be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired results.

Kikuya: A Year-Long Problem

Similar to the Bermuda weeds, this invasive nuisance has a similar appearance and root structure. As a result, the same method of management has proven to be effective against the weed. It has also been managed through weed specific treatments, which will help to maintain the rest of the lawn while attacking the weed.

The difference between Kikuya and Bermuda is the fact that Bermuda is a warm weather weed that sprouts during the warm months, whereas Kikuya can thrive in both warm and cool weather. It is more adaptive to the temperature, but it is less aggressive in lawns than it is in nature.

Since it is not as aggressive in lawns, it can be controlled by having a healthy lawn that can suffocate the weed. It is also vital to ensure that it does not spread throughout the lawn. So when using lawn equipment, ensure that it is clear of seeds to stop the spread of the weed throughout the lawn.

Nutgrass: Aw Nuts

Nutgrass, or nutsedge as it is otherwise known, is another invasive weed that is very tough to remove. This weed can be just as difficult to remove as the others on this list due to the structure of the weed, which has nuts hidden within the root system, which can be very hard to detect and can spread very easily. Nutgrass is a weed with a solid triangular stem, with three blades that branch off from the stem.

Some of the traditional herbicides and systematic treatments have not been effective in dealing with nutgrass due to the deep roots and nuts. The top layer of the weed may die, but it will sprout again because the roots are still alive.

It is possible to manage the weed without removal, if the lawn is at a height to shade the weed, as it does not grow well in shade. This allows for it to be controlled. The best method for properly dealing with the stubborn weed, however, is to remove it by hand. Because of its roots, it has to be dug out deeply and wide, ensuring that all possible nuts are removed along with the weed.

Poa Annua: A Long Battle Ahead

Poa Annua, or Annual Bluegrass, is a very common weed in lawns across the country. It has long blades with flowery tips filled with seeds. Bluegrass is so prominent because the weed can seed hundreds of times throughout a season. The constant germination of the weed allows it to spread very easily.

The seeds themselves are resilient as well. They can lay dormant for years before sprouting up, making the battle to control them last over many seasons. Bluegrass seeds in the cooler months, which typically happens early spring or early fall, so the best way to combat this is to spray the weed with a pre-emergent herbicide, which will prevent it from seeding. Due to the fact that the seeds can lay dormant for seasons, it is a process that will have to be repeated to effectively manage.

What to Do Now

Now that you have the knowledge to manage weeds, do you have the time? If not, don’t worry. The experts at Lawnscape have all the knowledge and tools to combat these resilient weeds for you. These weed specific treatments are included in our lawn care program, along with a long list of other key services.

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Fertilizing Your Lawn: The Best Options Available

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Fertilizing your lawn with the right fertilizer at the right time is an essential part of maintaining a lush and healthy lawn. Knowing what the right fertilizer is for your lawn requires that you first understand what is best for the type of grass and the soil. Here’s a list of the fertilizers available, as well as tips and tricks for fertilizing your lawn:

Types of Fertilizer

Water Soluble

Water soluble fertilizer is quick-release and is designed to stimulate maximum health, rapid growth, and lush color. In addition, water soluble fertilizer is also formulated to be absorbed by your grass quickly.

Organic

Organic fertilizer naturally breaks down and replenishes your turf with nutrients. In addition to improving the health of your lawn, organic fertilizer also improves the soil significantly. Organic fertilizers require warm, moist soil in order to provide the best results.

Granular

This type of fertilizer comes in a number of time-release formulas which give you a lot more control over how and when your lawn is being fed.

Weed & Feed (Weed Control Fertilizer)

There are also fertilizers that are specially formulated to kill weeds and nourish your lawn. This kind of fertilizer helps stimulate growth in your lawn’s roots, which works to crowd out weeds as well.

In addition, there are fertilizers that can help address moss and fungus problems that your lawn may be experiencing, ones that are designed to improve the color of your turf, as well as fertilizers that can help control troublesome insects and grubs.

Tips and Tricks for Fertilizing Your Lawn

It is always best to test the pH balance of your soil before deciding on a fertilizer. For example, if your lawn has a pH balance of 7 or higher, you will need to invest in a fertilizer that has sulfur in order to reduce the alkaline levels. If your soil records a pH level of 5.5 or below, you may require alkaline to reduce the acid levels. Soil samples can also indicate nutrient deficiencies that cause low iron or potassium.

Most lawn fertilizers contain three major nutrients known as NPK; or Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Different lawns require a different percentage of each of these essential nutrients. Nitrogen helps your lawn grow faster and stay lush and green. Phosphorous promotes robust and healthy roots. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for your lawn, and should be the element that has the highest percentage in your fertilizer. However, you should not choose a fertilizer that has a nitrogen percentage greater than 10. Those that exceed 10% can burn your lawn.

While when and how often you fertilize depends on a number of factors, from the species of your grass to the pH balance of your soil, on average it is best to begin fertilizing in the fall. It is important to never over-fertilize your lawn, because this may harm your turf and increase weeds. If you need to aerate your lawn, it is best to do so in the fall before you fertilize.

When you feed during the spring, it is best to do it when the dormant grass is 50% green. Spring fertilization works best on lawns that have significant damage. Fertilizing a healthy spring lawn may actually just increase top growth, but do nothing for the health of the roots. This can actually exacerbate a weed or insect problem.

Due to heat, drought, and insects, summer can be extremely hard on your lawn. One great way to keep it healthy throughout the season is to apply a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of summer. You should apply slow-release fertilizer every 90 to 120 days, and all-purpose fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks. It’s best to fertilize right before a light yet steady rain, because that’s when your lawn absorbs nutrients best.

Warm weather grasses should be fed 3-4 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet per year. Give your lawn a quarter to one inch of water after you have applied fertilizer for the best results.

Fertilizing Your Lawn with Lawnscape

Now that you know more about quality fertilizers, use these fertilizing tips and tricks to keep your lawn fresh, healthy, and green. Get in contact with the experts at Lawnscape today for personalized advice on how to pamper your lawn to perfection.

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Stopping Invasive Grass

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Stopping Invasive Grass from Ruining Your Lawn

You’ve weeded, you’ve fertilized, you’ve aerated, and  you’ve done everything in your power to get that perfectly green lawn. But still, you’ve noticed invasive grass species taking over your lush, green lawn.

In this article, we take you through some common invasive grass types and what you can do to stop them from ruining your lawn.

Common Invasive Grasses

Invasive grass species are simply non-native grasses that are unwanted, spread easily, and take over your lawn.

In California, common invasive grasses include Poa Annua (also known as annual bluegrass), bermudagrass, crabgrass, goosegrass, dallisgrass, and kikuya grass.

While they may not cause physical damage to your lawn, they can make your lawn appear patchy and unkempt.

So what can you do to stop invasive grasses from ruining your lawn?

How Invasive Grass Can Damage Your Lawn

While many invasive species are unsightly and won’t cause much damage, others, like annual bluegrass (also known as poa annua), can reduce nutrients in the soil and lead to weaker sod, which can impact the ability to play sports on the turf.

How to Protect Against Invasive Grasses

There are some simple things you can do to control the spread of invasive grasses from taking over your lawn. Simple changes to how you mow or water can prevent invasive grasses from taking over your lawn. Cleaning gardening equipment after use also helps to prevent grasses like annual bluegrass from spreading.

If small patches or individual plants are found, they should be pulled up immediately. For larger areas of grass, some herbicides have been shown to be effective.

Some invasive grass species like annual bluegrass and goosegrass thrive in compacted soil or when lawns are over-watered. Watering less frequently, as well as avoiding activities that contribute to soil compaction, will help to prevent annual bluegrass from taking over your lawn.

Other invasive grass species like bermudagrass thrive when lawns are mowed too short. Bermudagrass can be very difficult to get rid of. Small patches of bermudagrass can be removed by weeding, while larger areas can be controlled through reduced watering and herbicides.

Mulching using a black polyethylene tarp can also be used to control large areas of bermudagrass. Mow and water the lawn before placing a black polyethylene tarp over the area that has been invaded by bermudagrass, and leave for a month and a half to two months. If there are any holes in the tarp, bermuda grass will be able to grow through, so be sure to tap over those holes if you find any. This technique is most effective during the summer months as it will suffocate the grass with excessive heat.

A clear polyethylene tarp can also be placed on top of areas of bermudagrass for a month to a month and a half to clear the existing grass and to prevent the invasive grass from taking over your lawn.

In addition to non-chemical methods of controlling invasive grasses, some herbicides have been shown to be effective against bermudagrass , as well.

Want More Information?

If you’re concerned about invasive grasses taking over your lawn, contact the lawncare specialists at Lawnscape. They have packages specifically designed to tackle invasive grass species.

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What is Core Aeration?

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Everything You Need to Know about Core Aeration

Core aeration is a type of lawn aeration that uses a machine, known as a lawn aerator, to make small holes by removing ‘plugs’ or ‘cores’ of soil and thatch (dead grass roots and debris) from your lawn.

By removing small pockets of soil, core aeration makes it easier for oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach your lawn’s roots, creating a healthier, lusher lawn.

Core aeration can have many benefits on the health and appearance of your lawn, including reduced water runoff, increased absorption of fertilizer and other nutrients, stronger root systems, and an increased tolerance to drought conditions.

Do You Need Core Aeration?

Core aeration is commonly used to treat compacted soil and remove excess thatch, which can prevent your lawn from getting the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Compacted soil is often caused by heavy usage of, or parking, a vehicle on the lawn. If you’ve recently had a vehicle parked or driven on your lawn, you might’ve noticed puddles of water on your lawn after watering, or thinning or patchy grass. If this is the case, you could have a problem with compacted soil, and core aeration may address this issue and improve the health and appearance of your lawn.

You can check for compacted soil with a simple test. Take a pencil and push it into the soil. If this is difficult or impossible to do, you most likely have compacted soil.

Additionally, if your lawn has a spongy feel, or if it dries quickly after rain or watering, you may have a thatch problem. To find out, dig four inches down into your lawn. If you have more than a half-inch layer of dead grass roots and debris, it may be preventing the roots of your lawn from getting the nutrients and oxygen they need to thrive, and core aeration may also improve the health of your lawn in this instance.

When You Should Aerate Your Lawn

For most lawns, you should aerate once a year for optimal lawn health. However, some soil types require more or less frequent aeration. Clay soils, for example, require aeration once a year, or more depending on your climate. Lawns in sandy soil however, can be aerated once every two years instead of yearly.

Additionally, when you aerate depends on whether you have cool season or warm season grass types. Cool season grasses, like Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue should be aerated in the fall, while warm season grasses like bahia and buffalo grass should be aerated in the late spring or early summer.

Have More Questions?

If you want to know whether or not your lawn will benefit from core aeration, call the experts at Lawnscape. Their lawn services include core aeration, and their knowledgeable staff will know exactly how to keep your lawn looking its best – no matter the time of year.

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Keeping Your Lawn Green in the LA Heat

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Your Lawn and the LA Sun: Avoiding Heat Damage

We hear it constantly, California is in a drought. It’s tough to keep your lawn green in the heat while still conserving water. Here are some practical ways to help your lawn stay green in the LA sun without breaking the bank with a massive water bill:

Cutting Your Grass

Cutting your grass is a necessity if you want your lawn to look neat, but it can damage your grass and increase brown spots in hot weather. The important thing to do is to remember not to overcut your grass – so no more than one third of the height. Don’t cut it as short as you would in the cooler months. Also, leaving the lawn clippings on the grass is a good idea as it cools the grass and provides the nutrients that are just lost by cutting.

Mowing after your irrigation day can be really helpful, but not when the grass is actually wet as that can cause clumping. Make sure that your lawnmower’s blades are sharp; a dull blade will damage grass and cut unevenly.

Keep out Invaders

It’s important to increase your vigilance against weeds and pests during these hot months. Any additional strain on your lawn will have a compounding effect on damage. Keep your eye out for fungal infection by checking for brown spots on the grass leaves, and weed as the plants show up. Letting a pest go unchecked could spell the demise of your entire lawn, so it’s imperative in the harsh months that you keep on top of it.

Reduce Stress

Lawns are a fun place to be in the summer, especially for kids, but constant treading can damage the lawn. Try to make sure no lawn furniture or toys are left out when not in use. Don’t walk on the grass as a shortcut to your front door, keep the treading for activities that require it – every bit helps. Also, if you have a dog, consider giving them a dirt or mulch patch to relieve themselves in, as the nitrogen in their urine will put even further strain on your lawn.

Water Smart

It’s a tough thing watering during a drought, but if you have the right practices then you won’t overuse the precious resource that water is. Make sure to water in the early morning when the grass is already dewy, this will ensure that the water doesn’t just evaporate in the heat. Don’t overwater as this can damage the root systems and have the reverse effect on your lawn. When you do water, be sure to water deeply. Sprinkling a little bit across the surface isn’t going to achieve much; you want to soak the root systems. Finally, don’t water until your grass needs it. So watch for the grass to start showing signs of becoming dry and then water.

Before the Heat Strikes

Prevention is often the best tool for problems. During the cooler seasons, make sure to fertilize and keep your lawn as healthy as possible. That way, when the heat wave hits, your grass will be able to withstand the harsh conditions. Water less frequently but deeply, so that your grass develops deep roots.

Also, planting a heat resistant strain of grass is a good option. If you find that your lawn is turning brown and becoming damaged every summer, it might be time to reseed a stronger strain. This will also reduce your water usage, saving you some money on the water bill.

Professional Help

Everyone’s lawn is different and the challenges of every area in LA require a knowledgeable caretaker. If you are struggling with your lawn or want to prevent your lawn from being damaged, Lawnscape can help. Contact Lawnscape today to get your lawn looking as good as possible. Beat the drought and LA sun with Lawnscape.

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