Early Fall Late Summer Tips
Aug 19, 2014
Seven fall lawn care practices to consider
1. Overseeding and sodding: If the lawn did suffer some permanent injury during the dry conditions of late spring and early summer, in the Toledo area. To help ensure a successful overseeding, lightly work the seed into the soil and then keep the area uniformly damp, NOT SOGGY, until seeds start to germinate and emerge from the soil. As the new grass plants get taller and more established, watering can be done a little less frequently but with more water applied per application.
2. Fertilizing: The period right around Labor Day is an excellent time to put down an application of fertilizer. Putting down about one pound of actual nitrogen at this time of year helps provide the plant with the necessary available nitrogen needed to support and sustain active grass plant growth through the fall period. Call Toledo Lawns now to schedule your treatment.
3. Watering: As days get shorter, temperatures become cooler, and rainfall occurs on a somewhat regular basis, the need for additional or supplemental watering usually diminishes during the fall period. While an inch of water per week is usually necessary to keep lawns actively growing during the summer months, that same one inch of water may now be sufficient for two or even three weeks depending on weather conditions. Nonetheless, it is important to not severely drought stress a lawn if rainfall is not forthcoming. Periodic watering during the fall will help sustain active growth, allowing the grass plants to make and store food that will help it survive winter and resume healthy growth next spring.
4. Manage mowing height: Maintain mowing heights between 3.0 and 3.5 inches throughout most of the fall period. That will allow for plenty of leaf tissue to be actively involved in making food for the grass plant and a more robust root system that can take advantage of available water and nutrients in the soil. For the last two or three cuttings of the year, gradually reduce mowing heights to about 2.50 - 3.00 inches. This can help in the reduction of snow mold and allow for easier clean up of the lawn surface just prior to colder conditions arriving later in the fall.
5.Lawn aerification: If your lawn has significant compaction problems, the period right around Labor Day and through the early fall is an excellent time to do some core aerification. Lawn aerification is offered by Toledo Lawns.
Be sure to rent a core aerifier, if Toledo Lawns is not doing the service. Rent one that actually pulls cores out of the soil and redeposits them on the lawn or soil surface. The extra aeration in the soil will encourage more active root growth as well as benefit the soil microbial community. Healthy plant roots and a healthy soil microbial population make for a healthy, vigorous grass plant better able to withstand stress along with normal wear and tear of lawn activity. The cores can be left on the soil or lawn surface to naturally decompose. This will also help control the buildup of thatch in the lawn. It is best to make two or three passes over the lawn to increase the number of holes needed to maximize the benefit.
6. Thatch control: Occasionally, a thick layer of brown fibrous material will build-up between the soil surface and where the grass plant shoots begin to turn green. This brown fibrous mat is known as thatch. It is actually composed of both living and non-living material. Thatch develops from the regular sloughing off of plant roots and other dead and decaying parts of the grass plant. It is however, NOT composed of any grass clippings. While there may be some grass clippings left on the surface, they are not part of the true thatch layer. So, whether you pick up your clippings or not, it will make no difference on the build-up of thatch. The living component of thatch consists of some roots, rhizomes and, of course, the many microorganisms and other living creatures.
If thatch develops at a faster rate than can be broken down by microorganisms, it can accumulate to undesirable levels. Generally, thatch greater than half-inch is undesirable. Cultural practices that contribute to thatch buildup are excessive nitrogen fertilizer, overwatering, infrequent mowing, compacted soils and simply the genetics of the particular grasses. Some grasses are more prone to thatch build-up than others.
Late summer (i.e., early September) is a good time to work at removing excess thatch build-up. Machines know as vertical mowers or de-thatchers can be rented and used to mechanically remove some of the thatch build-up. Leaving the soil cores on the surface will also help begin to break down thatch. In fact, where very thick thatch layers exist, using both a vertical mower and core aerifier may be helpful. If this is the case, thoroughly aerify the lawn, than perform vertical mowing. This operation can be done back to back on the same day if desired. It's a good idea to follow-up with a quarter to half-inch inch of water to reduce lawn stress incurred from the dethatching and aerification processes.
7. Broadleaf weed control: The month of September into early October is an excellent time for controlling those pesky broadleaf perennial weeds such as dandelion and creeping Charlie. There are many different broadleaf weed control products available that can be used around the home. Always follow the product's label directions exactly as printed on the container. Remember, it is a violation of federal law to handle or use any weed killer inconsistent with its label directions.
Most broadleaf weed killers work best between the temperatures of 50 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Late summer and early fall is an especially good time as these perennial broadleaf weeds are actively growing and the material is moved throughout the plant and root system, resulting in better control. While you may not see the weeds completely dying this year, chances are that few, if any, will be around come next spring.
Summer Mowing Tip
Aug 5, 2014
Mowing the Lawn
A healthy lawn does not necessarily mean that it has to be short. When cutting into your lawn, the blades need to be set as high as possible. The length of grass, preferably high, provides numerous amounts of benefits towards keeping the soil healthy and productive.
Tall blades of grass are able to obtain more light during peak sun hours and, in turn, will use this energy to produce and provide more nutrients to the roots and surrounding soil. Taller blades will also provide shade that allows for the soil surrounding each blade of grass to maintain moisture throughout the dry heat of most summer days.