The Best Time to Aerate a Lawn in Ohio

The Best Time to Aerate a Lawn in Ohio

You love a lush lawn, but it’s hard to keep track of what kind of maintenance it requires and when to perform it. Mowing, watering, and fertilizing are tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. But when is the best time to aerate a lawn in Ohio? Read on to learn the right time of year to accomplish this much-needed task.

The Hole Truth About Aeration

Aerating is a process that allows your lawn to breathe. It’s conducted by poking a series of holes in the soil where the grass grows. These holes allow proper nutrients, moisture, light, and air penetrate the soil better and reach the root system. Ultimately, it makes your lawn healthier.

Often referred to as “core” aeration, the technique uses special tined equipment to create a pattern of holes in the soil. Hollow tines are better than solid because they remove a plug of soil. The holes left behind create an ideal environment in which the root system of the grass can expand. After aeration, the small plugs of soil eventually blend back into the lawn.

Reasons to Aerate

Time, lawn mowers, and foot traffic all contribute to soil compaction. Aeration breaks up the compacted soil and also removes thatch. Thatch is a layer of decaying debris and old grass that covers the soil. When it becomes too thick, it prevents nutrients and water from passing through the soil and reaching the roots. Underground, the root system becomes stronger and grows into the holes left behind from aeration. You’ll see the benefits above ground–thicker, lusher, healthier grass that will be admired by the neighborhood. Now that your lawn can breathe a little better,  you’ll notice it needs less maintenance. Plus, previous issues, like pooling water or runoff, are resolved.

The Best Time to Aerate a Lawn in Ohio

Popular to contrary belief, you should not aerate your lawn during the summer months. Disturbing the soil during the warmer weather encourages weed growth and the potential for disease. Also, many people chemically treat their lawns in the summertime to prevent weeds and disease. Aerating at this point weakens the chemical barriers. Fall is the time to perform overseeding, reseeding, and fertilizing tasks that coincide nicely with an aerated lawn. And the cooler temperatures encourage the grass to develop better root systems instead of focusing on blade growth.

Aeration also helps your lawn heal from the stresses of summer. Frequent foot traffic, excessive heat, and dry conditions take a toll on your turf’s well being. At the same time, aeration prepares the ground for the upcoming bitter temperatures of winter, which are notorious in Ohio for being hard on a lawn’s health. Therefore, the best time to aerate a lawn in Ohio is early fall.

Hiring a professional to aerate your lawn saves you time and labor. And if you need to rent the proper equipment, it may even save you money. At Free Spray Lawn Care, we take the guess work out of aerating your lawn and other maintenance chores. Call us today at [phone] and let us get your yard in top shape for the months ahead.

Keep Pests Out in Winter: 5 Tips to Pest-Proof Your Home

Keep Pests Out in Winter: 5 Tips to Pest-Proof Your Home

In this part of the country, winter is that special time of year for us to head indoors and get warm and cozy. Unfortunately, we aren’t the ones with that idea when temperatures drop. Pests such as earwigs, ladybugs, spiders, and mice will happily enter your home through the tiniest cracks and stay the whole winter through, if you let them. Here’s how to stay one step ahead of these unwelcome tenants and keep pests out in winter. Trust us: it’s much easier than trying to get rid of them later on.

1. Seal up the perimeter and entry points.

A mouse can squeeze through a hole the width of a pencil (about 1/4 inch diameter). Look for any and all openings to the outside of your house and seal them. Use a tube of low-VOC silicone caulk to seal up holes in the walls and around pipes or cable wires that leave or enter your home. Stuff a bit of steel wool into larger holes, or cover them with wire mesh, before closing them up. Repair cracked doors and windows, and tighten loose door jams. One bonus of all this work: In repairing these pest entry points, you’ll also take care of tiny air leaks and make your home more energy efficient this winter.

2. Keep your kitchen and corners clean.

If you’ve got boxes lying around, indoor plant containers, or hard-to-reach corners, make sure you clean them all out when the weather starts to get cold. Remove any spiders and insect eggs you may find. Pests love to hang out in nice, dark hiding spots. Vacuum thoroughly at least once a week. Regularly clean your kitchen, take out garbage, put away pet food, and make sure dry food such as cereal and grain is kept in sealed, sturdy plastic or glass containers. These measures will help ensure that mice and ants aren’t coming in for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

3. Inspect your attic to keep pests out in winter.

Check your attic thoroughly for larger pests before sealing it up this season. That way, that stowaway squirrel won’t become trapped and die. After you’re sure that no varmints have found a way in, seal up all possible entry points. For chimney openings and vents, cover the entry with hardware cloth, then screw or staple it into place.

4. Store firewood carefully.

Termites, stink bugs, and other bugs can take an easy, quick trip into your home this winter, just by riding on a log of wood. Keep them away by storing wood at least 20 feet from your house. Store wood off the ground on a raised, plastic platform. And if you keep firewood outside all year long, cover it with a tarp or sheet of plastic to keep the wood too warm for insects.

5. Get expert help to keep pests out in winter, with Free Spray Lawn.

Contact Free Spray today at [phone] for a free consultation on our pest control services. We can help you make your home less appealing to pests and get rid of an existing infestation. With our expert guidance, you can enjoy a comfortable, cozy, pest-free home all season long.

What Can Lime Do For You and Your Lawn?

What Can Lime Do For You and Your Lawn?

If your lawn is looking yellow, weedy, or spotted and patchy, the pH of your soil might be to blame. Adding lime to your lawn can correct the problem and restore lost nutrients. Lime used for lawns, or agricultural lawn, is essentially crushed limestone or chalk. Applying lime on lawns, over time, can bring turf back to its fullest, lushest glory. But before you rush out to buy lime, let’s take a step back and find out why lime is used, and when it makes the most sense to apply it.

Lime Restores a Lawn’s Proper pH

The main purpose of lime on lawns is to increase the pH of soil that is too acidic. Soils are classified as acid, alkaline or neutral. A pH below 7 is acid, above 7 is alkaline, and 7.0 is neutral. To determine the pH of your lawn, purchase a pH test kit from a garden center, or check with your county or nursery to see if they will test your soil for free.

Keep in mind that your lawn’s ideal pH will depend on the type of turf you have. Some turf grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass prefer a pH between 6.5 and 7.2, while others such as buffalo and zoysia grass tolerate more acidic soil. Most grasses like a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If your soil’s pH is lower than this, you can improve that pH with liming. But if your soil is already 6.5 or higher, lime probably won’t do your lawn any good. In fact, it could burn it! So be cautious and check the pH carefully in several places across your lawn before proceeding.

Other Benefits of Lime on Lawns

Lime provides an important source of calcium and magnesium for your grasses and plants. These nutrients help plants stay healthy and resist damage from heat, drought or high traffic. In addition, the calcium in lime helps plants to absorb other beneficial soil nutrients such as zinc, copper and phosphorus. On top of that, lime can help water better penetrate acidic soil and get down to plant roots. When combined with compost, lime aids in the proliferation of healthy bacteria and microbes in the soil, which enhances the overall soil structure. Finally, lime can mitigate toxicity related to too-high levels of nutrients like aluminum, manganese and iron in your soil.

Types of Lime

The most popular lime product for use on lawns is agricultural ground limestone. (You may have heard of burnt lime, quick lime, or hydrated or slaked lime, but not all of these products are relevant or ideal for lawn care.) Agricultural limes differ in price, ease of application, the calcium carbonate equivalent, and the rate at which they work. A good rule of thumb is to choose a product with a relative neutralizing value of 80 percent or greater. This way, you can be sure that the lime is of sufficiently high quality.

When to Apply Lime on Lawns

Lime can be applied year round, but the optimum time for liming is during the fall. That’s because the cooler, rainy weather will help push the lime into the soil. But don’t wait too long this season. Why? Lime can damage frost-covered grass. Also, aerate the soil just before liming. Aerated soil will help the lime sink more deeply into the earth.

How to Apply Lime on Lawns

Generally speaking, 20 to 50 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet will correct mildly acidic soil. You may need up to 100 pounds for highly acidic or heavy clay soil, which is more resistant to changes in pH. To apply the lime, use a drop spreader or broadcast spreader, and walk behind it. Make rows of horizontal lines across your lawn, then go back over with vertical lines to ensure maximum coverage. And, as with all fertilizers and lawn treatments, follow the label on the back of the package for best results.

Once you’ve limed, give it time. In other words, wait three years or more to test and lime the soil again. That’s because it can take at least two years for the lime to sink down into your soil and do its job.

Want More Guidance on Lime?

If you want help using lime to restore your lawn, contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone]. We can apply lime quickly and effectively to your grass and return your lawn to its greenest, most beautiful self.

Build Your Turf: Seed A Lawn in Fall

Build Your Turf: Seed A Lawn in Fall

The dog days of summer are gone. That means so is the summer yard work. Or is it? If you are looking forward to a lush lawn next spring, there’s one last chore to do before winter arrives. Autumn is the best season to start building a better lawn. Read on for helpful information on how to seed a lawn in fall.

Building a Better Lawn

Your lawn experiences a great deal of wear and tear during the active summer months. Heavy foot traffic, excessive heat, lack of water, pests, and weeds all take a toll on your turf. Brown spots, bare spots, or thinning areas may seem unimportant now that backyard barbeques are a thing of the past. But building a better lawn starts after the kids are back at school and the bathing suits are packed away. Why seed a lawn in fall? The cooler weather won’t dry out the seeds, but the soil is still warm enough to give grass a good growing environment. And there’s just enough sunshine and rainfall.

Preparing to Seed

Seeding is a cinch, but prepping the soil first is a must. The soil’s condition has to be just right to encourage grass seeds to grow. Here are some ways to get your yard ready for the process.

  • Test your soil. Grass grows best when the soil has the right pH balance. If your soil is too acidic (pH lower than 6) add lime to improve it. But if your soil has a pH above 7.5, it’s too alkaline. Add peat moss instead.
  • Remove debris, sticks, and rocks, and break up larger clumps of soil.
  • Mow existing grass shorter than its height in summer.
  • Get rid of thatch or aerate the lawn.
  • If you are establishing a new lawn, add a layer of topsoil.
  • If you are reseeding bare or thinning areas, loosen existing topsoil.
  • Feed the soil before seeding by adding a little fertilizer.

Seed a Lawn in Fall

Now it’s time to plant the seeds. First, choose the right seed mix. You get what you pay for, so spending a little more on grass seed is a good investment. When deciding on the type of grass seed to use, carefully consider whether you want a warm-season grass or cool-season grass. This depends on the region’s climate. A lawn-care professional can help you pick out the type of seed that’s best for your yard.

Spread seeds evenly over the soil. For smaller areas sprinkle by hand, but use a spreader for larger areas or entire lawns. Don’t use too many seeds in one area, because they will compete for nutrients and water.

After seeding

The seed is applied, but there’s still a little more to do. Give your lawn a good watering and keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating. Once they have germinated you can water less frequently, but deeper to allow the root system to get established. After seeding, it’s a good idea to apply a slow-release fertilizer that works best for your grass type.

Want to get your grass ready for spring? Start now by calling Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] for tips and helpful information on how to properly seed a lawn in fall.