How Low Should You Go? The Best Way to Mow Kentucky Bluegrass

How Low Should You Go? The Best Way to Mow Kentucky Bluegrass

Mowing the lawn seems like a simple enough task, if not tiresome and time-consuming. But each type of turf comes with its own set of rules. Mow it too short and you risk damaging your lawn. Leave it too long and you’ll be mowing it again before you know it. So, how low should you go when you mow Kentucky bluegrass?

Types of Grass

The rules of lawn cutting depend on the type of grass and the variety within that type. To add to the confusion, many seed types are blended to cater to specific needs. For example, seed blends exist to create lawns that better withstand high traffic, too much shade, or not enough water.

The two main types of grasses are cool season and warm season. Most often found in the southern states, warm season grasses love the heat and grow best during the summer months. Zoysia, St. Augustine, and centipedegrass are found in the southern regions. Bermudagrass is also a popular choice because it is very drought tolerant.

The area we live in is home to cool season grasses. These include perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue. The most popular cool season grass is Kentucky bluegrass because it offers many desirable qualities for the area’s climate. It tolerates cold weather and recovers nicely from the usual wear and tear. When properly cared for, it forms a dense, dark green carpet that creates great curb appeal.

Proper Height to Mow Kentucky Bluegrass

Because Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass, its active growth time is during the spring and fall. Generally, cool-season grasses perform best when left on the high side. The typical height range in which cool season grasses thrive is between 2-1/2 to 4 inches. But more specifically, the best height to mow Kentucky bluegrass is 2 to 3 inches, depending on the specific variety. A good rule of thumb is not to remove more than one-third of the blade height during a single cutting. This goes for any type of grass.

Let Us Take the Confusion out of Lawn Maintenance

How often you mow your lawn depends on the type of turf, time of year, and environmental elements. If you mow it too often or too short, it puts too much stress on the grass, resulting in brown or bare spots. This leaves the lawn vulnerable to weeds, pests, and disease.

If you have any questions on turf type, mowing height, or mowing frequency, or if you are unsure how to properly mow Kentucky Bluegrass, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone]. We’ll help you keep your lawn a cut above the rest.

Do-It-Yourself Lawn Aeration

Do-It-Yourself Lawn Aeration

Throughout the year, grass in your yard takes a beating. People, pets, and even equipment like lawn mowers trample all over it. Snow and rain beat down. Dead grass and debris pile up creating a thick layer of thatch. This all contributes to soil compaction. When soil is compacted or the layer of thatch is too thick, food, air, and water can’t get through to the grass and plant root systems to help in the growth process. What can you do? Here’s how to help with some do-it-yourself lawn aeration tips.

What Is Lawn Aeration?

Lawn aeration is the process of puncturing the soil beneath the grass with a series of holes. This creates a more open environment for the proper nutrients and water to soak into the soil. It also aids in breaking up the thatch layer. Lawn aeration promotes grass growth. So if you want your grass to be healthy, it’s a good idea to incorporate aeration into your lawn care maintenance at least once a year.

Getting Ready

The first thing you need is the proper equipment. If you don’t already have aerating equipment, rent a power or manual machine from your local garden center. An aerating machine has either hollow or solid tines that puncture the ground. We prefer the hollow tines because they pull out plugs of soil as they penetrate the ground. Once removed, the plugs leave behind holes in which water and nutrients can be easily absorbed. The holes also provide root systems a place in which to expand as they grow.

The next step is to clean up your yard. Rake up leaves and debris and mow the lawn. Then, give your yard a thorough watering if it hasn’t rained recently. Aeration works best on moist soil. You’ll also want to mark where sprinkler heads are located or other areas you want to avoid hitting with the machine.

How to Perform Lawn Aeration

Start at one side and move the aerator across the yard in even rows. Holes should be around two or three inches deep and spaced a couple of inches apart. Once you’ve covered the lawn one time, cover heavily traveled areas that need a little extra help one more time. Afterwards, the scattered soil plugs may not look appealing, but they’ll blend back into the lawn in a couple weeks. Now is the prime time to fertilize, because nutrients penetrate the hole-filled earth with ease. It’s also a good time for reseeding if needed.

Give Us a Call

When it comes to lawn aeration, time is of the essence. Aerate cool weather grasses in the fall, and aerate warm season grasses in late spring or early summer. If you are unsure what kind of grass you have or when to aerate, call in a professional. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today. We’ll save you time and energy, plus we have all of the equipment required.

How to Prevent Chickweed from Ruining Your Yard

How to Prevent Chickweed from Ruining Your Yard

An annual broadleaf plant, chickweed (also known as starwort, satin flower, starweed, and winterweed) grows from seeds that germinate in autumn. With a shallow root system and a height that ranges from two to 12 inches, this quick growing weed creeps along the ground forming thick mats. Chickweed has oval, pointed leaves and small white star-shaped flowers. Often considered an invasive weed, it spreads fast, choking out your healthy grass if left untended. One plant alone produces hundreds of seeds. However, it can be controlled and prevented with the proper care. Read on to learn more about how to prevent chickweed from ruining your yard.

Pull by Hand

To remove this weed by hand, it’s important to do so before it flowers and sets seed. First, water your soil to soften it in mid-autumn. Then remove as much chickweed as you can by pulling it from the roots. A spade may be necessary to ensure that no roots are left in the soil. Then burn or destroy the plant to prevent its return.

Apply Herbicide

If chickweed covers too much area to be removed by hand, you may have to use chemicals. Late fall is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn before the seeds germinate in the cold winter weather.  This helps prevent chickweed from growing. A post-emergent herbicide, on the other hand, attacks young chickweed buds after they’ve already started to grow. Take extra precautions to apply it correctly so you don’t expose or damage your healthy grass or plants. Next, apply about one inch of mulch where the chickweed used to be to prevent seeds from germinating.

Aerate, Fertilize, and Water

A healthy, dense lawn is best equipped to protect itself from chickweed.

  • Aeration is another important part of lawn maintenance. Rent an aerator from your local garden center and use it to poke holes into the soil under your grass. This helps grass roots absorb fertilizer, water, sun, and other nutrients.
  • To maintain a healthy lawn, water deeply and infrequently in the early morning.
  • Give your grass a healthy feeding. In the spring and fall, spread lawn fertilizer and water according to the requirements detailed on the bag’s instructions.

Prevent Chickweed

The dedicated team at Free Spray Lawn Care knows how to deal with any lawn care issue, from weeds to lawn pests. Learn more about our Lawn CarePrograms so you can get rid of your chickweed problem. Call us today at [phone] to schedule a consultation.

What You Need to Know About Spring Shrub Pruning

What You Need to Know About Spring Shrub Pruning

Spring’s blooms are just around the corner. While we all can’t wait to enjoy the beauty, many homeowners stress over maintaining nature’s bounty in their yards. One of the most often asked questions regarding spring shrub pruning is when to cut and when not to.

Why Prune?

Although many plants don’t require pruning to be healthy, there are other reasons to perform the task. A little trimming encourages reblooming and growth, creates an appealing shape, and can improve its ability to flower or bear fruit. Most people prune to remove old blooms or random shoots.

When to Prune Shrubs that Flower in the Spring

Trim up trees and shrubs that flower in the spring soon after they bloom. The reason for this is that these plants develop buds the year before. This is referred to as old wood blooming. If you prune azaleas, lilacs, forsythias, and rhododendrons during the dormant seasons in winter you’ll take these precious buds too soon. That results in a shrub that won’t flower that year. To prune, cut the largest stems from the bottom to encourage new growth. You can trim the rest of the stems to shape the shrub.

When to Prune Other Shrubs

It’s best to prune shrubs that flower in the summer while they are still dormant during the late winter or early spring months. These plants don’t produce buds until they are actively growing in the spring, on new wood. Butterfly bushes, honeysuckle, and wisteria fall into this category that needs time to recover before they bloom.

Trim up shrubs that don’t produce flowers anytime except in fall. For major pruning, winter dormancy is the best time.

The Most Basic Principle of Spring Shrub Pruning

A simple rule of thumb for spring shrub pruning is not to cut if you are unsure if the plant needs it or if you are not sure of the right time to do it. Many plants, like hydrangea and rose bushes, have different varieties that fall into different categories for cutting. Never guess if you are not sure of the type of shrub. Consult an expert rather than risk ruining your landscaping.

Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] with any questions or concerns about pruning your trees and shrubs, and let us help you keep your yard beautifully in bloom this spring.