Spring Grass Seeding Techniques: Liven up a Lawn After Winter Wear and Tear

Spring Grass Seeding Techniques: Liven up a Lawn After Winter Wear and Tear

Warmer weather is on its way, but winter often leaves behind a lackluster lawn. While fall is the preferred time to toughen up turf with extra grass seed, your lawn sometimes requires a little help in spring to get back to a greener state. Here’s what you need to know about spring grass seeding techniques to fix winter damage.

Preparation

Spring grass seeding is best performed early in the season when temperatures are between 60F and 75F. At this time, soil is at the best temperature for germination of cool-season grass seeds. Properly prepare the area before seeding.

First, identify the type of grass in your lawn in order to purchase the right kind of seeds. Cool-season grasses are common in the northern areas of the United States, while warm-season grasses usually grow best in the southern states. When in doubt, ask a lawn-care expert.

Is your soil healthy enough to encourage new grass growth? Check its pH levels using a soil testing kit to determine what soil amendments need to be applied, if any. Seeds germinate best when soil pH is somewhere between 6 and 7-½, a neutral number on the acidity/alkaline scale.

Spring Grass Seeding Techniques

Now that you’ve done the prep work, you’re ready to determine what technique of spring grass seeding your lawn requires: spot seeding, overseeding, or a complete replacement. When only a few bare or thinning patches of lawn need a little help, spot seeding is all that’s required. This involves sprinkling seed on small areas, as the name “spot seeding” suggests.

If more than a few spots of damaged grass exist or damage is more extensive, overseeding is the way to go. The process of covering an existing lawn with a fresh layer of seed, overseeding fills in thinning areas and contributes to the overall health of the turf.

Lawn replacement, the most labor-intensive of the techniques, is the complete removal of the old turf before putting down new seed. It requires the use of a sod cutter, a machine that removes strips of grass with the roots attached. Another method is to spray the entire lawn with a non-selective herbicide. This chemical kills the grass, but it also kills any other plants it touches, so use with care. More than one application may be required.

Let Us Green up Your Grass

Winter puts plenty of wear and tear on your turf. Give your grass a helping hand in recovery, or let us do it. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll get your lawn looking healthy and lush for the warmer weather ahead.

Caring for Kentucky Bluegrass: Mowing Tips and More

Caring for Kentucky Bluegrass: Mowing Tips and More

One of the most popular choices for lawns, parks, and sports fields, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) creates a dense, durable green carpet that recovers easily from wear and tear. Its rich color and ability to remain hardy and healthy makes it a preferred pick for homeowners, who love how it lends their lawn plenty of curb appeal. This cool-season grass gets its name from the state of Kentucky, but is found in lawns throughout the Midwest and Northeast of the United States. Find out now what you need to know about building a beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

Characteristics of Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass has boat-shaped blades that are deep green in color and sometimes tinged with a faint blue hue. The attractive looking turfgrass is comfortable underfoot with a medium to fine texture. Considered a perennial, cool-season lawn grass, it stays hardy year after year, more often than other common cool-season lawn grasses. This grass type grows mostly in the spring and fall, and slows down during the hot summer months. In extreme temperatures or drought conditions, the grass goes dormant. However, its hardiness helps it perk back up to a healthy state quickly, once the weather or watering conditions improve. There are more than 100 varieties of Kentucky bluegrass that vary in color, thickness, and durability. It thrives in sunny locations with moist, well-drained soil.

Tips for Mowing and More

Follow these tips to keep your Kentucky bluegrass lawn lush and healthy.

  • Don’t remove more than one third of the grass blade height during one mowing.
  • Kentucky bluegrass responds best to being cut between two to three inches high. The exact height depends on the variety.
  • Give established lawns roughly an inch of water per week during the growing seasons, taking into consideration rainfall that week.
  • Always keep mower blades clean and sharpened.
  • Apply slow-release fertilizer using a rotary spreader three or four times a year during the growing season. Water immediately after application.
  • If thatch, the layer of dead grass and debris on top of the turf, is more than half an inch thick, dethatch or aerate during the growing season.

Let Us Help With Your Lawn Care

Want to keep your lawn a cut above the rest? Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone]. We’ll take care of all of your landscaping needs.

Core Aeration: The Cure for Compacted Soil

Core Aeration: The Cure for Compacted Soil

One of the basic steps to building a better lawn is core aeration. This task loosens up compacted soil, helps break up layers of thatch if too thick, and promotes grass growth in the process. In order to maintain a lawn’s health, core aeration should be performed at least once a year. However, unhealthy lawns should be aerated more often. Think of this process of removing plugs of earth as a way to let your lawn breathe. Here’s why it is necessary.

Compacted Soil and Why It’s a Problem

Healthy soil, the foundation of a healthy lawn, is loose enough to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate and reach the root systems of grass. Over time, foot traffic, lawn mowers, snow, ice, rain, and even watering contribute to soil compaction.

Take a screwdriver and poke it into the turf. Does it take a lot of effort to perform this task? If so, the soil is too compacted and blocks the pathways for a root system to receive what it needs to grow. The lack of nutrients leads to thinning grass, bare spots, and an overall unhealthy environment that’s more susceptible to disease, pests, and weeds. Add a layer of thatch (dead grass, fallen leaves, and other debris) to an already ailing lawn and it’s even harder for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the already dense earth.

How Your Lawn Benefits from Core Aeration

Compacted soil calls for core aeration. This is a process that involves pulling out a series of small plugs (or “cores”) across your yard. How does this create a more supportive environment for grass growth? Aeration breaks up thick layers of thatch that can smother your lawn. It also provides easier access for water and fertilizer to reach roots. Soil stays loose enough to let in necessary oxygen and nutrients and provide roots with enough room to grow.

Let Us Help You Create a Healthier Lawn

Core aeration is a tedious and time-consuming task that requires specialized equipment and know-how. Let the experts handle the hard work for you. To learn more about building a better lawn and the benefits of core aeration, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today.

How to Stop Chickweed with Herbicides

How to Stop Chickweed with Herbicides

Difficult to eradicate, chickweed is a troublesome plant best kept out of your lawn and garden. It’s known for its rapid reproduction and fast spreading nature. Eventually, the unwanted weed crowds out the grasses and plants you do want in your yard. A thick healthy lawn does its best to keep the weed at bay. If only a few pesky plants appear, the shallow-rooted chickweed is easily removed by hand only if done in a timely matter. However, remove chickweed before it sets seed or this prolific plant produces hundreds of new seeds. Let’s talk about chemical warfare against these weeds. Find out how to stop chickweed using pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides now.

All About Chickweed

A cool-season annual, chickweed has small oval leaves and tiny white flowers. After the flowering period, it develops pods to disperse its overabundance of seeds. The low clumping plants also spread via stem nodes that form new roots as they travel over the ground creating thick messy mats.

Stop Chickweed Using a Pre-Emergent Herbicide

There are two ways to manage this persistent weed. First, use a pre-emergent herbicide in early fall before germination. This preventive measure is meant to stop chickweed before it starts. Your local garden center has a variety of herbicides. Pick one that is specifically for chickweed and the correct type of grass in your lawn as marked on the label. Don’t use a pre-emergent herbicide if you are reseeding your lawn in the fall as well. This chemical prevents new grass growth as well as the unwanted weeds.

Stop Chickweed Using a Post-Emergent Herbicide

But how do you stop chickweed after it’s started? If you already have an infestation, try spot treating your lawn with a post-emergent herbicide in the springtime. Apply it directly to the actively growing young weeds. More than one application is often necessary.

Call in an Expert for Weed Warfare

Even the best herbicides are not guaranteed to stop chickweed from taking over your lawn. Call in an expert if you are uncertain which chemical to use and how to apply it. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today. We’ll help you keep your lawn healthy to ward off unwanted weeds and keep it looking its best.

When Is the Right Time to Properly Prune Trees?

When Is the Right Time to Properly Prune Trees?

Timing is everything when it comes to taking care of the trees and shrubs in your yard. With spring around the corner, you may think it’s best to wait for the warmer weather to do any pruning. But cutting back branches in spring leaves them vulnerable to diseases, pest infestations, and other damage. The right time to prune trees is in the winter or early spring before growth begins. Here’s why.

The Best Time to Prune Trees

We prune trees to improve their appearances and health and to promote growth. While dead or damaged branches can be cut any time of the year, live branches require extra care. Trees enter a dormant stage during the winter months that’s similar to hibernation. This stage begins after leaves drop in late fall. During dormancy, growth slows and trees conserve energy to survive the harsh weather and lack of nutrients. Now is the best time to prune trees.

Benefits of Pruning During Dormancy

There’s not a lot of yard work to do in the winter. So why not get one chore out of the way so you have more time to enjoy spring and summer activities? Here are some more benefits:

  • Trimming branches during dormancy puts less stress on the tree.
  • A tree’s structure is easier to see without leaf coverage. Seeing its structure helps you better identify which branches need to go.
  • There’s less likelihood of insect infestations or diseases like oak wilt and Dutch elm. During winter, most insects, parasites, and fungi are not active. Wounds heal before the warmer weather arrives, bringing with it pests and pestilence.

Cut Trees with Care

Trimming actively growing trees can result in damage and ruin their ability to bloom to the fullest in the future. However, the exception to the rule is trees that flower in spring. Wait to prune until right after they bloom. Always cut with care and don’t hesitate to call an expert for larger trees and more difficult jobs. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] with any questions about pruning trees and shrubs. We can help your yard look its best this spring.