Pet Spots – No Problem

Green Grass Treates ImageWe love our pets, but not the damage they do to our lawns.  Brown spots left in the lawn from pet urine is common.   Many believe it is the ammonia in their urine that is killing the lawn, but it is in fact the salt.

The best option to prevent this problem is a product called Green Grass. It’s a tasty dog snack that neutralizes the salt in their urine leaving you without brown spots in your lawn. Check your local pet store for these treats.

Quackgrass vs. Crabgrass

Each spring, we receive questions regarding an ugly, wide-bladed grass growing in lawns. Customers are mistakenly identifying this grass as crabgrass. It is a easy mistake to make because they look so similar, but this ugly grass is actually quackgrass, not crabgrass.

Quackgrass in the spring

Quackgrass is a perennial grass that is one of the first grasses to come out of dormancy each spring. Many homeowners confuse this thick-bladed “junk grass” with crabgrass.

Quackgrass has a huge root system so pulling it out is not a long term solution. Because quackgrass is a variety of grass, there aren’t chemical products available that know the difference between quack- grass and the other good varieties of grass in the lawn. Round-Up is good at controlling quackgrass, but applying it will also kill desirable grass around it.

We have heard of customers who have applied Round-Up in an interesting way. They will put a rubber glove on their hand with a cotton glove over the rubber glove. Then dip the gloved hand into Round-Up, and coat the quackgrass blades with the liquid. The Round-Up kills quackgrass roots and all in about 10 days.

Crabgrass in the summer

Crabgrass is a summer annual. It is similar in ap- pearance to quackgrass because it grows in clumps and faster than the grass around it. It germinates in mid-May and starts appearing in lawns in July. Our first lawn care application includes a crabgrass pre- venter which is our best defense against this un- sightly grass. The second best thing to help prevent crabgrass is a high mowing height. We see less crabgrass in lawns that are mowed between 3 and 3.5 inches than lawns mowed below 3 inches.

Give the Gift of Lawn Care

 

Looking for the perfect gift for the person who has everything? A gift they won’t return and a gift you know they will enjoy?
How about a gift certificate for lawn care?
We can customize a lawn care program to fit their needs and your holiday budget, contact our office for more details: 616-698-8930.

 

 

 

Preparing Your Lawn for Winter

As summer winds down, here are a few suggestions for your lawn and landscape.

First, if you didn’t receive grub control this season and see evidence of creatures digging in your lawn, you may have raccoons or skunks feeding on grubs. Grubs can be a serious problem for your lawn and can still be controlled this time of the year. Let us know, we can help.

Second, if you need one final mowing for the season, go ahead and move down your mowing height on your lawn mower. Dropping your height 1/2″ will result in a healthier, greener lawn next spring with less chance of disease.

Third, if you still have to do a final leaf cleanup, it is ok to recycle leaves back into your lawn. Click here for more information.

Fourth, fall is a good time to inspect trees and shrubs in your landscape and plan for some preventative maintenance to minimize problems that can occur over the winter. To read more, click on this link.

 

Seeding Your Lawn

Successful lawn establishment means doing the right thing at the right time.  New seed fails because of timing, poor quality seed, improper seed selection, poor soil conditions, improper site preparation, or improper water and fertilizing.

Timing is Everything

The best time of the year to seed is from August 15 to September 15.  The warm days and cool night are ideal for seed germination.  Spring is the second best time to seed, but could result in crabgrass and excessive weeds.

Seed Selection

Most retailers offer grass seed that is clearly marked as “sunny” or “shady” mixes.  Shady mixes have mostly fescue and rye grass which are better for low light areas.  For a sunny mix, look for one with at least 70% Kentucky Bluegrass.

Site Preparation

Lawn-tools-Image

In order to grow grass from seed, the grass seed needs to be touching bare, loose dirt.  Most seeding fails because the seed is not in contact with the soil.  This may require raking with a firm rake and/or spreading some fresh topsoil.

Mulch

If using straw, spread one to two bales of straw per 1000 square feet.  Spread it so that 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil is visible.  If seeding in the fall, the straw should be left on over the winter.  If you do not use straw or mulch, rake in the seed lightly: the teeth of your rake should just lightly touch the soil.  Too much pressure will cover the seeds too deep.  Cover the seed so that 10 percent of them are still visible.

 

Watering

SprinklerSprinkle frequently enough to keep the soil moist, but also avoid puddling.  This will require watering several times a day for the first couple of weeks.

Mowing

Mow as soon as the grass blades exceed 3 inches in height.  Keep traffic off the new lawn until the new turf has filled in enough that you cannot see the soil.  Expect some weeds to come up along with your new grass.

Fertilizer and Weed Control

Let us know about any seeding in your lawn and we will make the necessary adjustments to your program for optimal growth.

Dealing with Brown Patches

DESCRIPTION OF DISEASE

Areas affected by Brown Patch are initially roughly circular and vary in size from one to five feet. It is a foliar disease that does not affect crowns or roots.

During early morning hours, fine strands of grayish, cobwebby fungal growth (mycelium) may be evident at the margin of actively developing patches. The band (often called a smoke ring) is caused by advancing mycelium and water-soaked infected grass blades. This “smoke ring” disappears quickly as the dew dries.

SUSCEPTIBLE TURF-GRASSES

Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass are the lawn grasses most susceptible to Brown Patch. Fine fescues and zoysia are all moderately susceptible to the disease. Occasionally, Kentucky bluegrass lawns can be affected by Brown Patch, although this grass is less susceptible than others. Seedlings of all grasses are more susceptible to infection than established plantings.

CONDITIONS FAVORING DISEASE

Brown Patch is most destructive when the weather is humid and temperatures are stressful to the grass. Thus, in cool-season grasses such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, the disease is most severe under high temperatures (highs above 85 F, lows above 60 F).

MANAGEMENT

→ Don’t overwater or water in late afternoon.

→ Aerate to reduce excessive thatch.

→ Don’t mow grass when it is wet.

→ Keep mower blades sharp, dull mower blades also can enhance disease se-verity.

Watering Guidelines

If you want to keep your lawn healthy and green, then water- ing is important. Warm temperatures will rapidly dry out the soil of a lawn.

Here are a few watering tips you may find helpful:

– Use water or sprinkle 1 inch of water per week, and even more when it is hot.

– If you have an irrigation system, set it to run in the early morning and make sure it is finished by 8:00am.

– If you don’t have an irrigation system, water anytime. Try to avoid watering when evaporation will occur due to of wind or sunshine. Watering during these times won’t harm your lawn, but is just less efficient.

– If you are unable to water, mow your lawn as high as possible and only when it needs it. Keeping your grass longer will help prevent the lawn from drying out.

– Try to begin watering your lawn before it turns brown and becomes dormant.

– If you mow your lawn shorter than 3 inches, then your lawn can dry out quickly. Mowing too short causes increased stress to your turf and encourages diseases, weeds, and crab- grass. Your lawn should be mowed between 3 and 3.5 inches. During the summer months, move toward the higher mowing heights, as this will help your lawn retain more moisture.

Every lawn is different. There are many factors to consider when deciding how much to water: How hot is it? Is the lawn shady or sunny? Is the soil type clay or sand? Is the humidity high or low?

With trial and error, we’re confident you can determine when and how much to water your lawn.