Northern Ohio Winter Lawn Care Tips

Northern Ohio Winter Lawn Care Tips

Winter is around the corner. When you think about your lawn in Northern Ohio’s winter, you most likely imagine it with a layer of snow on it. And although many people think yard work is behind them this time of year, there are some tasks to perform to protect your turf from the upcoming snow and harsher weather. Read on to learn about winter lawn-care tips and get ahead of the grass game come spring.

Will Your Lawn Weather the Northern Ohio Winter?

Summer is long gone, fall is well on its way, and yard work is probably the last thing on your to-do list this time of year. But now is the right time to give your grass the tender loving care it needs after a summer of heat, dryness, and heavier foot traffic. It’s also the right time to prepare it for winter. With a little bit of time and effort, you can get your grass ready to survive the cold weather to come. The work you do now pays off later by giving you a head start on a healthy lawn in the springtime.

Don’t Leave the Leaves Behind

It’s time to get out the rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your lawn over the winter damages the grass below and may even cause rot or pink snow mold. Leaves block sunlight, prevent water from penetrating properly into the soil, and create dark, damp conditions where diseases can thrive. Plus, the wet leaves weigh heavy on your turf, making it more difficult for it to recuperate come springtime. The first essential winter lawn-care tip, therefore, is to clear away leftover leaves and debri before the first snowfall.

The Low Down on the Final Mow Down

When summer ends and temperatures drop, grass growth slows down. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect your lawn-mowing chores this time of year. In fact, an important step in winterizing your lawn is the final cutting.

The type of turfs most commonly used in Ohio are cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue. Cut these grasses shorter for the final fall mowing to prevent damage from heavy snows.

Clean your mower before you put it away for the winter. Check the blades for damage and sharpen them if needed. If your lawn equipment needs repairs, now is a good time to get it done and be ready for spring.

More Maintenance & Winter Lawn-Care Tips

  • Give your lawn a good feeding before winter arrives. By fertilizing in late fall before the ground freezes, you encourage good growth in early spring. A slow-release fertilizer is perfect for this task. It feeds nutrients to your lawn gradually.
  • Aerating and overseeding your lawn is another way to ease the wear and tear of the summer months. By making a series of holes in your turf, aeration breaks up thatch and compacted soil. Your lawn better absorbs water and nutrients, and the holes left behind give new seeds a rich and protected place to grow. The thicker, healthier grass is better able to choke out weeds.
  • Think ahead about snow removal. Ever try to find someone to shovel or plow right after a storm? It’s not easy, so put a plan in place ahead of time and contact a lawn-care or snow removal company. This way you won’t end up knee deep and in need of help at the hardest time of year to find it.
  • Lastly, put away or cover outdoor furniture, and bring in any plant pots or lawn art that may crack or break in the brittle temperatures. Drain the water hose, coil it, and store it in a dry area.

Prepare your lawn for the winter ahead and save time and money come springtime. For more winter lawn-care tips or to put your prep plans in action, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll develop a maintenance program that’s tailored to your property’s needs.

Lawn Weed Library: Marsh Marigold

Lawn Weed Library: Marsh Marigold

Marsh marigold (caltha palustris) is a perennial herb found in North America’s wetlands, marshes, and alongside streams and lake beds. Also known as kingcup or cowslip, it is a member of the buttercup family and not a relative of the marigold flower, despite the name. Its pretty yellow flowers are among the first to bloom in spring, and although they make an attractive addition to your yard or garden, there are some reasons you may not want marsh marigold around.

Identifying Marsh Marigold

A native plant in North America, marsh marigold thrives in moist soil and produces flowers from early spring through early summer. Although it grows well in partial shade, marsh marigold flowers best in full sun. The shiny, bright yellow flowers are similar in appearance to buttercups but larger. They grow in clusters with glossy green leaves that are oval or heart shaped. The hollow branching stems reach anywhere from eight inches up to two feet tall.

Marsh Marigold Madness: Signs and Symptoms

Although these flowering plants are pretty in appearance, there are reasons to stay away from them. Marsh marigolds are often hard to eradicate once they find a home in your yard. And they reproduce very quickly, each one dispelling up to 200 seeds across a lawn or garden. These plants have hearty root systems and hold up well in inclement weather. Once established, marsh marigolds are here to stay.

Marsh marigold is mildly poisonous. In the past, it was used for medicinal or culinary reasons, but it must be thoroughly cooked to get rid of the toxicity. Be careful when handling marsh marigold, as it has been known to cause skin rashes. And be sure to keep the kids and pets away from it. Bees and other insects often seek out marsh marigolds for pollen and nectar. If you or a family member is allergic to bee stings, it’s not a good plant to have around.

Probably the biggest reason to avoid bringing marsh marigold into your yard is that it’s easy to mistake it for the invasive weed fig buttercup, also known as lesser celandine. This aggressive plant spreads fast and quickly competes with native plants, often crowding them out and taking over light, nutrient, and water sources. Both plants have similar yellow flowers and shiny green leaves, but there are also differences. And it’s important to distinguish between the two. Fig buttercup has tubers on its roots and bulblets on its stems, while marsh marigold does not. And while marsh marigold grows in clumps, fig buttercup forms a seemingly endless carpet and has leaves that are darker green.

Marsh Marigold Management

Once fig buttercup takes root, it is very difficult to get rid of it, and will quickly carpet your yard. Marsh marigold and fig buttercup are often mistaken for each other. To avoid an invasion it is best to steer clear of both.

Both plants require moist conditions to thrive, so keep your yard well maintained. Don’t overwater, aerate your lawn as necessary, and fix any drainage issues.

Removing marsh marigold from your yard after it has taken over is a tedious job. The extensive root systems are hard to eliminate completely and any remainder easily survives and reproduces. In order to successfully pull the plant from the ground, dig a wide area around the plant. Then remove all rhizomes and roots from the broader area.

For help differentiating between native plants and invasive weeds, contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

9 Tips for Raking Leaves this Fall

9 Tips for Raking Leaves this Fall

Some people like it, some people tolerate it, and some people would do anything to avoid it. No matter how you feel about it, raking leaves in the fall is a task that comes with a tree-lined property. It requires patience, effort, and the right tools, but there’s no reason why you can’t have fun doing it. Fall is a wonderful time to be outdoors, and the whole family can do it! Let us help you get the job done with nine tips for raking leaves this fall.

Make Raking Easier on You

There are ways to be more efficient with your least favorite autumn chore. Save time and eliminate stress with these helpful tips for raking leaves this fall.

1. Raking leaves is an aerobic exercise, so it’s wise to stretch before and after. Posture is everything. Keep legs slightly bent and your back straight. Switch your lead arm from time to time. And pace yourself. The leaves aren’t going anywhere, so you can take breaks or even spread the task out over a few days.

2. Do more or less. There are two schools of thought on raking. One is to lighten your load by completing the task weekly. This minimizes the buildup of leaves and reduces the amount of time you spend. The other is to wait until all the leaves fall so you don’t need to repeat the chore. Clear paths and driveways when necessary, but wait until the trees are bare to get down to business. Do what works best for you and your schedule.

The Right Tools

3. Like other yard work activities, you should dress properly to protect yourself. Long pants and sleeves are best. Wearing leather work gloves or canvas gardening gloves prevents blisters. And a dust mask helps keep out dirt and allergens.

4. Using a tarp is a timesaver. It takes less time to rake leaves onto a tarp than to bag them. Use the tarp to collect them, then drag them to the main pile, curb, compost heap, or an out-of-the-way part of the property. An old sheet or canvas drop cloth works well for the job.

5. Choose the right rake. Before you buy a rake, make sure it is comfortable to use. Look for ones that have a comfortable handle and are not too heavy to handle. Ergonomically shaped rakes help alleviate stress on the body. Rakes with metal tines may be more durable, but the plastic ones are lighter to lift. And always go for the wider end to maximize the amount of leaves you get in one sweep.

6. Go where rakes can’t reach. A leaf blower or vacuum gets leaves out of shrubs, corners, or other hard-to-reach places. It’s also great for landscaped areas with mulch or gravel. Leaf blowers for residential areas tend to be less powerful than the commercial types that professionals use, so it might be easier and cheaper to hire a lawn-care company than to purchase one yourself.

More Tips for Raking Leaves this Fall

7. When life gives you leaves, make mulch. Fallen leaves are great for the compost pile and make excellent mulch. In early fall, when the leaves are just starting to drop, you can mow them right back into your lawn. This provides the grass with nutrients and saves you time and effort. Although, it may take more than one pass to get the leaves into small enough pieces. You can also use a mulching mower to bag the leaves for later use.

8. Watch the weather. If you can, choose a dry day with little or no wind. Work with the wind if you can’t avoid it. Wet leaves are harder to rake, so it’s good if it hasn’t rained recently.

9. Divide and conquer. Imagine your yard divided into several smaller sections. You’ll notice your progress a lot quicker. And, if you take frequent breaks or accomplish the task over a few days, picking up where you left off is a lot easier.

A thick layer of leaves left on your lawn for a long time can damage the grass below, making it more difficult to recuperate come springtime. If you have questions about raking leaves this fall, or for expert help with your lawn, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone]. We’ll develop a maintenance program that’s tailored to your property’s needs.