Give Your Turf Some Summertime TLC: Four Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Give Your Turf Some Summertime TLC: Four Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Summertime fun and excessive heat put stress on your lawn. While you’re soaking up the sun, high temperatures, scalding rays, drought, high traffic, pest, and diseases damage the grass. This is the time your turf needs some tender loving care. Maintain a healthy lawn this summer with these four tips.

Know How to Mow

How you mow your lawn plays a big role in having a healthy lawn. Don’t mow too often or cut grass too short. Adjust the mower blade to cut grass at about three inches. Taller grass shades the soil from the sun’s heat, allowing it to better maintain moisture. It also encourages healthy root growth. Make sure to sharpen mower blades regularly. A dull blade cuts grass roughly. This not only looks less appealing, but creates opportunity for disease to enter.

Water Efficiently

Deep and infrequent waterings are best, allowing moisture to reach the roots. Water in the morning, preferably before 10am. Any time later and the heat from the sun causes too much evaporation before the water has time to sink into the soil. Also, don’t water too close to the evening. Moist grass in the overnight hours creates a good environment for fungal diseases to thrive.

Proper Feeding

Fertilizing your lawn before summer sets in gives it extra strength to get through the hot weather stresses. Give it a good feeding after the season, too, to help it heal. For a little extra nutrition, occasionally leave the clippings on the lawn after mowing. The clippings help the turf retain moisture, then they break down and provide nutrients for the soil. This process is called “grasscycling.”

Keep It Clean

We spend more time outdoors in the summer and that means more traffic on the lawn. From kids’ toys to lawn furniture to dog excrement, grass takes a beating. Be good to the grass by cleaning up toys and debri regularly. Dilute dog urine by hosing down areas that are starting to yellow. Better yet, create a special area for the dog to do his business, preferably a pebbled or paved area. Never let visitors who need an extra place to park do so on the lawn.

Call Us

These simple tips will help keep your turf in top shape through the warmer weather. But if your lawn starts showing signs of yellow or brown patches, faded color, dry frazzled blades, and weed invasions, call in an expert for help. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll help you keep your lawn healthy this summer and throughout the year.

The Right Stuff: Choosing Fertilizer for Your Lawn

The Right Stuff: Choosing Fertilizer for Your Lawn

Your lawn can’t always get enough nourishment on its own. Applying fertilizer gives it the fix it needs. Not only does it promote new growth, but it helps grass recover from foot traffic, drought, heat, and pest damage. And a healthier well-fed lawn wards off weeds better. Choosing fertilizer for your lawn can be confusing with so many kinds available. Here’s what you need to know.

Grass Type

There’s a lot to look at on the label when choosing fertilizer. First, know what type of grass makes up your lawn. Is it warm-season or cool-season grass? Most northern states have cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass.

Soil Type

You’ll also need to know your soil type. If the soil pH is too high or too low it affects the ability to absorb nutrients. Average pH is approximately 6.5, but depends on the type of grass. Lower numbers mean higher acidity and you should choose a type of fertilizer that’s beneficial for that condition. Get a testing kit from your local garden center.

Ratio of Nutrients

Every bag of fertilizer has three numbers that represent percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You need a ratio of these nutrients that corresponds with your lawn’s needs. A lawn expert can help here if you are uncertain.

Amount of Fertilizer

Most fertilizer bags are sold by the amount of area they cover. If you treat the whole yard, calculate the square footage by multiplying its length by width.

Formula

Most fertilizers come in either quick-release or slow-release formulas. Quick-release granules provide nutrients fast, as its name suggests. If you’re looking for a quick green-up, use this type. But be careful: quick-release fertilizer can cause damage like grass burn. Follow instructions carefully. Slow-release granules require more patience, but have longer lasting effects. It also means fewer applications.

Spreading Method

After choosing fertilizer, there’s one more choice to make: method of distribution. Using a spreader is the best method for applying fertilizer consistently. However, if you are treating a small space or don’t have a spreader, apply it by hand. Wearing gloves and walking backwards, toss the fertilizer in a sweeping motion as evenly as possible.

There are two types of spreaders, broadcast and drop. Also known as rotary, broadcast spreaders better disperse fertilizer over larger areas. A drop spreader distributes in even rows and works best in areas that need more precise coverage.

We Can Help You Choose Fertilizer to Fit Your Lawn’s Needs

Give your grass the nutrition it needs and it will reward you with a lush green foundation for your landscaping. We’re happy to help you make the right decisions. If you have questions about choosing fertilizer, or you don’t wish to do the dirty work, call us. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today and our experts will help your lawn get the nourishment it needs.

How to Use Natural Repellents to Stop Moles from Messing up Your Lawn

How to Use Natural Repellents to Stop Moles from Messing up Your Lawn

Meet the mole. Small, blind, and rarely visible above ground, these dirt-digging mammals create unsightly mounds, holes, and furrows in lawns and gardens. Basically, they destroy all the hard work you put into maintaining your yard. Underneath the turf, their tunneling takes its toll on grass and plants by damaging the root systems. Find out how to stop moles by using natural repellents.

About Moles and the Damage They Do

Grayish brown to black in color, moles have pointed slender snouts, small eyes and ears, and wide flat feet with big front claws that are perfect for digging in the dirt. They are just about a half foot in length, but some species grow up to a foot long.

Moles make tunnels to find food for their hearty appetites. They feast on grubs, worms, and other insects that live in the soil. What does mole damage look like? The tunnels and runways underground are detected above by mounds of dislodged soil, series of raised furrows, or holes where they enter and leave. To find an active tunnel, poke holes from above with a tool or probe. If these holes are repaired in a day or two, the tunnel below is active. It’s a good place to put natural repellents, as discussed in the next paragraph.

Stop Moles by Using Natural Repellents

Household items. You probably have many naturally repelling products in your home. Tobacco, coffee grounds, and cayenne pepper sprinkled near mounds or holes stop moles in their tracks. Reapply these substances after it rains. Castor oil works as well. Simply mix it with dish detergent in a gallon of water and apply near tunnels and holes. These dirt digging mammals dislike the smell and taste of these items and will find a new area to call home.

Naturally repellent plants. Ban these pests once and for all by beautifying your yard. Certain plants naturally deter moles. Plant a row of daffodils, marigolds, or alliums and make moles go elsewhere to dig.

Get Rid of Their Food Source

Moles won’t hang around a yard that has no food for them. By maintaining a pest-free yard, in addition to using natural deterrents, you create an unfriendly environment for these creatures. Poison, traps, and chemical baits can be used to get rid of the demon diggers, but these can be harmful to people, pets, and the environment if not used carefully.

If these natural methods are not enough, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll help you stop moles from taking over your turf.

Do-It-Yourself: How to Destroy Dandelions Naturally

Do-It-Yourself: How to Destroy Dandelions Naturally

Perennial broadleaf plants, dandelions taunt homeowner’s year after year with their bright yellow flower heads that turn into weed-making machines. If you’ve battled these notoriously nasty plants in the past, you know how hard it is to destroy dandelions and keep them from coming back. Even the most meticulously maintained lawns fall prey, especially if a neighbor isn’t as meticulous.

There are plenty of toxic treatments to destroy dandelions, but these harmful chemicals are dangerous for the environment and for you to handle. Here’s how to ward off these unwanted weeds naturally.

Hand Pulling

Let’s start with the most basic. If you are only dealing with a few dandelions, hand pulling is your best option. It must be done at the correct time to be successful, however, and only works if you get the entire root out. If any root is left behind, the plant eventually grows back. The best time to destroy dandelions by this method is early spring. Use a fork-tongued tool to get at the deepest roots.

Boiling Water

Yes, you can destroy dandelions if you can boil water! Pour boiling water directly from a pot or kettle onto the weed, making sure enough soaks down to the roots. Watch the leaves turn brown and die in the next few hours. Then, pull out the entire weed, root and all.

Vinegar

Vinegar’s natural acidity is a worthy warrior against this weed, as well as others. Using a spray bottle, coat the dandelion heavily with vinegar and watch it wither within hours. Pull out the entire weed afterwards, and use the hose to rinse off remaining vinegar in the area. Make a more potent mixture by adding in dish soap. This helps the spray adhere better to the leaves of the weed.

Corn Meal Gluten

An organic fertilizer, corn meal gluten helps destroy dandelions when applied four to six weeks before seed germination. This byproduct of milling corn works as a pre-emergent weed controller by preventing root growth.

Call in a Weed Expert to Destroy Dandelions

The best defense against a dandelion infestation starts with a well-maintained lawn. Healthy, thick lawns leave no room for weeds to thrive. It also helps to leave grass a little higher when mowing the lawn. Timing is everything with this weed. Destroy dandelions before they set seed, because once the flower matures, it turns into a puffy white ball that contains as many as 200 seeds.

Winning the war on weeds takes persistence and any infestation is better left to the experts. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll help you destroy dandelions and other weeds once and for all.