Fall Leaf Mulching: Make Your Life Easier and Your Lawn Healthier

Fall Leaf Mulching: Make Your Life Easier and Your Lawn Healthier

No one lists raking leaves as their favorite fall activity. But there’s more than one way to get rid of that layer of leafy litter on your lawn. Fall leaf mulching (shredding leaves into tiny bits with the mower) makes your life easier and your lawn healthier. Here’s why.

Leaves, Leaves Everywhere!

Fall’s fallen foliage makes a colorful carpet in our yards this time of year. As beautiful as it appears, it harms the lawn if left on too long. The leaf layer traps in moisture, creating an enticing environment for fungal diseases. It also blocks out sun, oxygen, and nutrients.

Most people dislike raking. But there’s another way to get the job done that involves less labor and helps the health of the grass. Fall leaf mulching uses a lawn mower to pass over the leaf layer, dicing each leaf into little pieces that decompose more easily. Eventually, the small bits of leaf break down in the soil and supply it with nutrients.

Fall Leaf Mulching: Pros

Raking, piling, and bagging leaves takes time and is more laborious than mulching. Using the mower requires less twisting and bending (just a lot of pushing!) and it’s one step instead of several. Mulching also takes away the challenge of finding somewhere to dump the leaves if your town doesn’t pick them up. So save yourself time, extra bags, and the clutter by the curb with fall leaf mulching. You’ll also save time and money with less fertilizing: mulch material feeds the lawn as it decomposes. And you keep those plastic bags of leaves out of the land fills!

Fall Leaf Mulching: Cons

Clearly, the benefits of fall leaf mulching outweigh the disadvantages. Mulching with a mower usually takes one pass over the leaf layer, but if the leaves aren’t shredded into small enough pieces (dime size or smaller) then another pass over the lawn is required. The only other disadvantage is that if the shredded leaf layer is too thick it still smothers the grass underneath. Make sure the layer is no more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Give Us a Call this Fall

Cross your least favorite chore off the list this season. Fall leaf mulching might just make your life a little easier (and your grass a little greener in the spring). Better yet, give Free Spray Lawn Care a call at [phone] and let us put the fun back in your fall. You can count on us for all of your lawn-care needs.

Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn Now Leads to Greener Grass in Spring

Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn Now Leads to Greener Grass in Spring

No one wants to see a nicely manicured lawn littered with patchy dead spots. If you fit one more thing on your fall to-do list, make it reseeding rough areas of the yard. Here’s how repairing bare spots in the lawn now helps you reap the rewards in spring.

What Causes Bare Spots?

There are many reasons for dead or thinning patches of turf, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which one is the actual cause. Of course, the obvious reasons are lack of water, too much shade, dog urine, and heavy foot traffic. Not so obvious reasons include disease, pest problems, and unhealthy or compacted soil. Even cutting the grass too low causes scorching. You may have to dig deep to get to the root of the problem. Pests, like grub worms, are easy to spot if you peel back a piece of the damaged turf.

Steps for Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn

Early fall is the ideal time for reviving grass. Reseeding is one way to fix patchy problems, but you can also use sod. Follow these simple steps for repairing bare spots in your lawn with reseeding.

First, prepare the area for planting new seed. Rake to remove weeds and dead grass, then loosen the soil so the seeds get embedded easier. If the soil is compacted, aeration is necessary. Manual aerating tools get the job done since these are usually smaller areas.

Select the proper seed type at the garden center based on the type of grass already existing and local climate, then sprinkle a thin layer of seeds over the area. If you are unsure of what seed mix to select, ask for help or call in a lawn-care pro.

Birds are big fans of freshly spread grass seed, so add a thin layer of straw to protect the new additions. The layer needs to be thin enough to let in some sun, yet thick enough to help keep seeds warm, moist, and hidden from hungry creatures. If you don’t have straw, use a little extra topsoil.

Keep the area moist by watering with a light spray so as not to wash the seeds away. Wait to mow until the new grass is about three inches tall.

Let Us Revive Your Lawn

It’s important to know the actual cause of dead grass in the lawn. If you don’t get to the root of the problem, the bare spots will recur. We can help identify the problem and return your turf to a thick healthy state. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] for help repairing bare spots or any other lawn-care needs.

Fall Fertilizing Tips

Fall Fertilizing Tips

Certain times of the year are better for certain lawn maintenance practices. Now that it’s finally fall, fertilizing your lawn should be on your to-do list. Learn more about how and why.

Why Fertilize in the Fall

The weather is getting colder, so lawns are starting to go dormant, but it’s not sleeping yet. In fact, fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Why?

  • The weather is not as stressful as the harsh summer heat and frozen winter ground.
  • Chilly morning dew adds moisture to the turf to help absorb fertilizer better.
  • There’s still time to build-up defenses before winter sets in.
  • Roots are strengthened underneath the surface, resulting in a lusher lawn come spring.

Fall fertilizing is more involved than simply dusting your grass with organic matter. Learn the proper fertilizing techniques to get the most out of this ideal time of year.

Fall Fertilizing Techniques

Before you apply any fertilizer, you have a little research to do. Find out when the first frost is forecasted for your area. You’ll want some time in between for the fertilizer to absorb into the soil. Once you find the date—which should be around mid-October—schedule fertilizing about two to three weeks before it.

Once you’re ready to fertilize, here’s how;

  1. Check the forecast. Pick a dry day for fertilizing. If it just rained or will rain soon, pick another day to limit the amount of runoff.
  2. Mow your lawn right before you fertilize and leave some grass clippings to act as another natural component.
  3. Fertilize in the morning or early evening when it’s not as warm.

For more fall lawn maintenance tips and the best products to use for your particular lawn, contact [company] today—or at least three weeks before the first frost.

Teach Your Pet a New Trick: Ways to Prevent Dog Pee Damage in Lawns

Teach Your Pet a New Trick: Ways to Prevent Dog Pee Damage in Lawns

You give your pet free rein of the yard for bathroom breaks, yet Rover prefers to pee in the same area over and over. This behavior often results in brown or dead patches of grass. Eventually, these damaged spots harm the health of the whole lawn. Is your canine causing your home’s curb appeal to take a dive? Try these helpful hints to do away with dog pee damage on your lawn.

Why Is the Grass Dying?

Canine urine kills grass because it is rich in nitrogen. Even though nitrogen is an important and beneficial ingredient in fertilizer, which we use to green up the grass, too much of it does more harm than good. And dog urine contains a concentrated amount of nitrogen, so basically, it’s an overdose of nutrients that kills the grass.

Tips to Stop Dog Pee Damage

Teach your pup a new trick. Designate one area for your dog to do his business and train him to use only that spot. It can be a patch of gravel, mulch, or even a square of artificial grass that’s easy to hose off. Consider hardscaping with bricks or pavers in a small area. Or just pick a place in the lawn that’s less visible.

Let water wash away your woes. When you let your pet out, hose down the area where he urinated after he finishes. This dilutes the nitrogen, and the urine is less likely to burn the grass. However, this method means that you watch your pup to see where he pees, which is not always possible. Hydrating your pup also helps the lawn. The more he drinks, the less concentrated the urine. Make sure your pet’s water dish is always full.

Fix it with less fertilizer. When fertilizing, choose a formula with less nitrogen in it since the grass already gets enough of that nutrient. Better yet, avoid dog pee damage areas when fertilizing altogether.

Take a walk. Instead of letting the dog out in the yard to relieve himself, take him on a walk. The exercise is good for both of you, plus it gives the grass time to heal.

Plant urine-resistant grass. If you need to seed your lawn choose either ryegrass or fescue. These grass types stay hardier under dog urine duress, more so than Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda.

Change the diet. Certain dietary supplements fed to dogs help neutralize the nitrogen in urine. Ask your vet before you give your pet any supplements to make sure it won’t be harmful to his health.

Is It Really Dog Pee Damage?

Every summer homeowners work hard to keep grass green. Dead spots in the grass might mean a myriad of things. For instance, lawns suffering from pest or weed invasions, drought, or a variety of fungal diseases often look like they suffer from dog pee damage. Make sure you know the cause of the problem before you treat it. If you have any questions, call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].

Crabgrass Control: Winning the War on Weeds With or Without Chemicals

Crabgrass Control: Winning the War on Weeds With or Without Chemicals

Late summer is a stressful time for your lawn. Not only does it deal with drought, heat, pests, and extra traffic from outdoor activities, but crabgrass is one weed in particular that loves to invade your lawn this time of year. When it comes to crabgrass control, there’s two ways to go: with chemicals or without.

The Nature of this Nuisance Weed

Crabgrass thrives in the hot, dry weather and its wandering stems quickly take over the yard, stealing nutrients from native grasses and plants. Turf weakened by a summertime of stresses makes a perfect target for this invasive annual weed. And, before it dies off in the fall, each plant produces thousands of seeds to haunt you next season.

Crabgrass Control Using Chemicals

The best crabgrass control is prevention, and using a pre-emergent herbicide is the most effective way to stop the weeds before they start. Timing is tricky, though. Apply this treatment in the spring while weeds are still seedlings and before they sprout. A pre-emergent herbicide creates a barrier on the soil that prevents the seedlings from emerging.

As the name suggests, a post-emergent herbicide kills crabgrass after it germinates and is applied directly to the plant. Treatments often need to be repeated after the first application. It’s important to pick a dry, sunny day for application, since a rain shower washes away your hard work before it sinks into the soil. The soil should be moist before treatment, so water the lawn well a day or two before application if necessary.

Control Crabgrass Naturally

Want to control crabgrass without the chemicals? Corn gluten functions as a natural pre-emergent herbicide when applied before the weed sprouts. As a bonus, it also acts as a fertilizer for your grass. Unfortunately, once weeds have emerged, corn gluten is ineffective.

Once crabgrass establishes itself in your lawn, hand pulling is another natural method to use. This method requires patience and only works with a small amount of weeds. You must wait until the weed is big enough in order to get the whole plant out, roots and all. Weeding tools get the job done, but a hoe or screwdriver works, too.

Good lawn maintenance gets you ahead of the weed game. It’s the most important crabgrass control method. When you establish a good maintenance routine that consists of regular watering, mowing grass at the proper height, and fertilizing at least once a year, your lawn is thick and strong enough to keep most weeds away.

Call in a Crabgrass Expert

Whether you battle crabgrass with chemicals or nix it in a more natural manner, you don’t have to fight it alone. We can help you with crabgrass control, or any other weed worries. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today.

Summer Lawn Watering: A Guide to Take the Guesswork out of Greener Grass

Summer Lawn Watering: A Guide to Take the Guesswork out of Greener Grass

The summer heat is here and it’s time for us to soak up the sun and fun. But before we do, let’s talk about the lawn and what it needs to soak up. How do you know if your grass gets enough to drink to keep it green and growing during the drier months? Follow this guide to take the guesswork out of summer lawn watering.

How Often?

The rule of thumb for summer lawn watering is to irrigate less frequently for longer periods of time. This allows the grass to grow longer and stronger roots. If you water more often and for shorter periods of time, it encourages shorter root systems. In summary, don’t water daily, rather, water two or three times a week if there has not been a significant amount of rain.

How Much Is Enough?

Whether you provide it or Mother Nature does, most grass requires 1” to 1-1/2“ of water each week. But first, consider the soil type. Clay soil needs less water than sandy soil. To determine if your sprinkler system provides the right amount, place an empty can in the grass and measure the amount that’s accumulated after watering. Always factor in the amount of rainfall.

The Right Time for Summer Lawn Watering

Believe it or not, there’s a right time and a wrong time for summer lawn watering. The worst time to water is in the afternoon, when the sun’s heat is the strongest. Most moisture evaporates in the heat before reaching the roots of grass down deep in the soil. And nighttime irrigation presents a problem as well. Cooler temperatures and lack of sun cause water to remain on the grass all night. These conditions create a great environment for fungus and other lawn diseases. For most efficient results, water in the morning before 10:00 am.

Want Help with Summer Lawn Watering?

Summer lawn watering is not so simple. Too little or too much of a soaking harms the grass. And many factors affect irrigation. Where you live, type of grass, type of soil, and whether or not it’s a new lawn must be considered. Contact a lawn-care expert if you have any questions about irrigating your lawn or lack the time for a proper watering routine. Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].