Aeration

Necrotic Ring Spot: The Zombie Apocalypse on Your Lawn

zombies

It’s September!  Fall has begun to unveil itself, and the crisp cooler temps have come to the Wonderful World of Weed Man.  Welcome back!  We appreciate you joining us for the next installment of “Your Lawn May Have the Sniffles!” series.  We will be discussing the various lawn diseases we find in the Treasure Valley at this time of the year.

We will begin with Necrotic Ring Spot.  Walmart has the Halloween gear out already, so it seems appropriate to start with this lawn fungus.  It sounds like something you would associate with a zombie.  After all, Necrotic Ring Spot is a parasitic form of plant life: fungus.  It is fitting.  If you see Necrotic Ring Spot on your lawn, the lawn zombie apocalypse has occurred.

necrotic

Necrotic Ring Spot, or NRS, is a fungus that attacks cool-season grasses, particularly Kentucky bluegrass.  The fungus in question is a soil-borne fungus called Ophiosphaerella korrea.  That was a mouthful – we will just stick to NRS.  NRS is a pathogen that will infect and kill the crowns and roots of the grass.  Essentially the disease spreads throughout the lawn in the form of spores.  Wind, air, water, and animals (even humans) can spread these spores.  The spores, once transferred to the soil may lie dormant for years until the perfect storm of conditions appear for it to thrive.

So what are the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions needed to produce this parasitic lawn disease?  I’m glad you asked!  NRS can be caused by improper mowing and watering.  Because Necrotic Ring Spot is a root disease, it is important to have a healthy and thriving root system for your lawn.  When you continually mow below a recommended mowing height your grass roots will become stunted and unhealthy.  NRS finds it easier to attack the root system.

Fungi happen to like water as well.  At a certain point, if you are watering too much, you stop watering the way the lawn needs watered, and start watering the way a fungus needs watered.   Are you using cultural practices that create favorable conditions for your lawn and unfavorable conditions for lawn disease?  Or is your lawn seeing the opposite?  If you are unsure on recommended practices, you can check out our articles on mowing and watering.

NRS can also be a brought on by compact, high nitrogen soils as well.  This is one of the myriad of reasons we choose to use a slow release granular fertilizer, and recommend annual aeration.

Warning:  Rabbit Trail! – Slow release granular fertilizers will slowly meter out small amounts of nitrogen over a long necrotic-ringspotsperiod of time.  They generally are not real heavy in nitrogen either.  Some fertilizer products might be as high as 48% nitrogen, and a quick release fertilizer as well.  That is a lot of nitrogen released in a short period of time.  Will every lawn treated with a quick release fertilizer with heavy levels of nitrogen all get NRS?  No, however, they can be more susceptible to the disease if the other conditions needed are met as well.

During cool, wet weather circular patches of infected turf will develop.  Though the disease develops in cool weather, the summer heat and drought stress can make the symptoms much more noticeable.  You will start to see the ‘rings’ stand out more and even spread in diameter up to 2-3 ft.  The rings start out light green, then turn yellow.  Over time, if the underlying causes are not addressed, the disease will progress.  The yellowing rings will turn brown or black and leave a sunken bare spot eventually.  The interior green area most times is the lawns attempt at recolonizing the infected areas, but sometimes the internal area will die off as well.

It can get pretty gnarly, and not in a good way. 

 

If you happen to get NRS in your lawn, here are some great management practices to try:

  • First and foremost, fix the underlying cause of the disease, not the symptoms.  NRS is only found in moist or wet areas with poor drainage.
  • Prevent your lawn from becoming droughty. A lawn requires 1 to 11/2 inches (3-4 cm) of water weekly. Traditionally you should water deep and infrequently – but if your soil is very compact, your lawn will not drain very well.  According to recent theories a lawn should receive light, frequent watering to control Necrotic Ring. Do this until you can aerate your soil which will improve the drainage.  WATER SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED AT NIGHT. Water laying on grass plants overnight encourages disease to spread in the water droplets.
  • Mow your lawn frequently to a desirable height of 3 to 4 inches with a razor sharp blade.  This will help strengthen the root system to help fight off the infection.
  • When the disease first occurs rings may be dug out with a shovel to rid the soil of the disease spores. Remove the grass and soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm). Wash the shovel before using it again.
  • Rake the area open; fill in the hole with some potting soil to create a seed bed.
  • Over-seed the area with a perennial rye grass seed mixture and rake the area lightly. Step on the area lightly to ensure good seed-soil contact. Keep the seed bed moist for at least 21 days.
  • If the area becomes so infected that removing the rings becomes unreasonable, correct maintenance practices must be used to control the problem.
  • Use fertilizers with moderate to high amounts of phosphorous and potash
  • Maintain adequate nitrogen levels using a balanced fertility program
  • Reduce soil compaction with an aeration

If you think you are having disease issues in your lawn, give us a call!

Promoting a healthy lawn is the key to preventing Necrotic Ring from appearing. Have your Weed Man fertilize your lawn and advise you on correct maintenance practices to ensure a healthy disease free lawn. Fungicides are not an economical form of control. They are regarded only as a temporary control.

Fungicides only control Necrotic Ring until heavy rains wash the fungicide off the grass blade. Fungicide applications would have to be done every 10-14 days all season long and are very expensive. The Weed Man strongly advises against the use of fungicides. Cultural control is superior and more effective, and cheaper!

If you think you are having disease issues in your lawn, give us a call!  208-888-9911 www.weedmanboise.com #wecareforyourlawn

 

 

Advertisements

Your Lawn May Have The Sniffles!

Coughs_and_Sneezes_Spread_Diseases_Art.IWMPST14158

Welcome back to the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  As summer is coming to a close, there is still much that can be done to take care of your lawn.  One to two more fertilizers can be applied to help restore health and nutrients back to your heat stressed lawn.  Fall is literally, (yes, literally in the truest sense of the word) the best time to treat weeds.  You can also aerate your lawn as well to help open up the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to flow better where it is needed most – the root system.  As summer winds down, all the lawn problems you have been having will go away…….

That is not entirely true.  Fortunately, MOST lawn problems get out of hand in the summer.  Unfortunately, as the weather cools down and we begin to enter the autumn season some lawn issues can remain or begin to become a problem.  Primarily, lawn disease.  Yes, your lawn can get a disease.

Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  Essentially lawn diseases can be a varying type of fungus.  Mushrooms are the most common and least harmful to the health of your lawn.  There are many others though, such as necrotic ring spot that are not as pleasant for your lawn.  Some even have interesting names such as: fairy ring, pictured below.  Each is distinct in its formation; each is unique in its presence on your lawn.

Fairy_ring_on_a_suburban_lawn_100_1851.jpg

Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  However, we tend to see more disease during the fall months than any other season of the year.  This is the time of year that we seem to spend a lot of time discussing disease prevention with our customers.  To provide more information, we wanted to post a series of articles about the most common lawn diseases we encounter.

Throughout this series we will be discussing causes of lawn disease as well as solutions to wipe out the problem.  In all reality, there is not one solution for ALL types of lawn fungus.  Most of the time a change in watering can help as well as fertilizer.  However, some lawn diseases thrive on nitrogen – so more fertilizer in those instances would make the issue worse.  As stated earlier, each is unique in its formation – therefore, the solution may not always be as simple as adding more fertilizer, or spraying a fungicide on the lawn.

Since we are less than 1” of annual rainfall necrotic ringspotaway from being classified as a desert we generally wouldn’t see many of these types of fungus grow naturally in our area.  A homeowner’s unfamiliarity with proper watering and mowing techniques, or general lawn care, will not cause the disease.  However, it can create the exact environment needed for a disease to thrive!  Even in a desert climate, the spores of the fungus are present.  Stuck in the soil, waiting patiently for the perfect storm of conditions to culminate so it can flourish.  Millions of them.  Just there.  Part of nature. Waiting.

In this series we will begin with the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  We may add to it as time progresses, but to begin with we will start with these five:

It will be too difficult to discuss all common diseases in one posting, so we encourage you to check back each week as we progress through the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing a lawn issue don’t hesitate to give us a call!  www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

MY Grass ISN’T Greener Over HERE!

 

burning-question-mark.jpg

Welcome back to the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  This week we have an addendum to our ‘The Grass IS Greener Over There!’ series.  We thought we said all we could say on the subject, and we thought wrong.  It became apparent to me, that we sometimes will get questions on why a homeowner’s lawn just isn’t greening up like they hoped.

Though, uncommon, we do hear a customer say, “My lawn looks worse than my neighbors!  We do exactly what they do!”  Or, “My lawn was WAY better last year, and I’m not doing anything differently than before.”  The frustration is audible, and understandable.  Time, effort, money go into making your lawn beautiful and the results are less than expected.  The bottom line is that you just want your lawn to be healthy and look great!

So what happens when you do everything the same year in and year out and the lawn just isn’t as good as you remember it from its glory days?  What do you do when you do everything right and the grass just isn’t greener?  It’s easy to question the product you are using on the lawn, or even the professional service being used on the lawn.  That’s natural, and even warranted in some instances.  However, not all lawns are the same.  There are also, MANY, MANY variables that play are part in the overall health of your lawn, it may not be the product or professional service that is causing the problem.

It’s important to ask yourself what might be different this year?  Are the kids playing in the sprinklers more or less this year?  Are there any new pets in the household?  Any new animals in the neighborhood?  Have you seen an abundance of wild bunnies in your neighborhood recently?  What is different this year versus last year?

The question being asked may not have a quick or simple answer.  In fact, more often than not – ‘doing the same thing as last year’ turns out to not be as similar as one might think.  Many factors that affect the lawn are rarely the same year in and year out.  To better understand why a lawn might not be up to par, I wanted to talk about some of the outside influences that can affect the health and beauty of your lawn.

Neatly cut grass

Neatly cut grass. Full frame short with wide depth of field.

Fertilizer

Some products are not designed for long term results.  They are designed for color over health.  They will make your lawn green, but not necessarily healthy.  Are you using the exact same product you used in the past or did you switch products?  Is your neighbor using the same product? Not all fertilizers are equal.  Timing is important as well.  Some fertilizers will only last a few weeks, some 6-8 weeks, and others 8-12 weeks.  Watering, soil temperatures, and coating are all factors in the breakdown process of fertilizers.  A fertilizer that lasts 8-12 weeks will tend to run out towards the 8-week mark during the heat of the summer due to the warmer soil temps and increase in watering.  Is your lawn a little overdue for fertilizer?

Soil Type/Conditions

It’s easy to see on the surface if a lawn is doing well or not, however the soil under the surface has an important role in the life of your lawn.  Like fertilizer, not all soils are the same.  Your neighbor might have a claylike soil.  You could have a sandy soil.  Clay soils hold nutrients better, but drain poorly.  Sandy soils are the exact opposite.  Even year to year your soil conditions can change.  Clay soils, since they drain poorly become compact more often.  Did you aerate last year?  This year?  Never aerated?

Mowing

Are you using a mowing company or doing it yourself? Did you sharpen the mower blade this year?  Are you mowing more often when sunlight is on the lawn 16 hours a day which causes it to grow like crazy?  Or letting it grow crazy and then cutting it down really short, stressing your lawn out.

Are you mowing at the same time of day? I have different schedules for work throughout the year so it affects when I can mow my lawn sometimes.  Mowing in the early morning when the lawn is wet is not recommended.  Mowing later in the evening when it is cool is not a good option either.  Your lawn is more susceptible to disease and fungus at night.  When you mow the lawn, it basically has an open wound.  Just what disease and fungus like!

If you are hiring a mowing company, are you using the same one?  Are they mowing at the same time?  Are they mowing at the correct height and frequency for your lawn and the time of year?  Are they sharpening their mower blades regularly?  Do they have a new mowing technician?  Do they regularly clean their equipment?  It’s important to keep in mind that a mower can unknowingly bring in disease from another lawn as well.

Watering

Watering your lawn, is not as simple as turning the timer to the ‘ON’ position and letting it be.  In fact, if you are doing that assuming that last years’ times were adequate, then you have just pinpointed the problem.  How you water in September/October will be different than how you water in March/April and different still for July.

Assuming you have the correct length of time and frequency for the time of year in which you are watering.  You need to consider whether or not others in the neighborhood are watering at the same time.  Are more neighbors watering at the same time this year vs last year resulting in lower pressure. Lower pressure means less water on the lawn in the same length of watering time.

Are you watering during the heat of the day when the water can evaporate up 50% before penetrating into the soil?  Are all your areas getting adequate coverage when the sprinklers are on?  Do you need a sprinkler system tune-up?  Have you checked out the sprinkler system yourself or are you trusting that the watering at 3 am when you are sleeping is working like it’s supposed to.

Weather – This is a variable that is completely out of everyone’s control.  Weather affects your lawn SIGNIFICANTLY.  In fact, it is probably the largest contributing factor for a lawn looking great one year, and not so great the next.  The Treasure Valley, last year, had the hottest June on record since 1869.  We saw temps in June we normally see in July.  That is stressful for the lawn.

This year it is drastically different.  We did have some warm days this month, but lots of cooler than normal days too. We went from a high of 101 to a high of 62 in 7 days.  7 days with a 40-degree variance in the high!  When you extend the highest high to the lowest low that week you went from 101 to 37 in a 7-day period.  Almost a 65-degree variant.  Plants do not like that much of a variance.  It can drastically affect them.   Watering for 100-degree weather is vastly different than watering for 62-degree weather.  Without any effort on your part you may have went from under watering to overwatering within a week, just from not noticing the weather.

Just taking temperature into account it affects how you need to water, and if you aren’t watering to the weather/season you can easily run into lawn issues.  This doesn’t factor in wind, humidity, dew point, or rainfall.

InsectsLawn damaging insects do not respect property lines or lawn history.  Unfortunately, grubs do not care if they have never visited your lawn before.  You don’t have a lot of control in this circumstance other than applying a preventative grub control.  This might be the difference you are seeing in your lawn this year.

Education – What you know about lawn care definitely affects how well your lawn looks.  If you are not very knowledgeable, it can be easy to assume that you are doing everything correct, and there has been no change, therefore the results should be the same.  The exact opposite can be true as well.  Perhaps you know quite a bit about lawn care.  Perhaps you have been doing the same thing for years and it always looks ok, except this year.  Sometimes doing the same thing might be slowly, slightly, damaging your lawn over time.  Perhaps you break a watering rule or a mowing rule.  Just one rule, but it’s broken continually because it never caused a problem in the past.  Shallow frequent watering and short mowing will train your grass roots to sit near the surface and one day your lawn will struggle to grow.

 

If your lawn is not looking the way it used to, you need to figure out what is different.  We bring these variants up, not to shift blame from us a service provider.  We are extremely confident in our products, training, and technicians.   We bring these variables up, because as the expert, we understand what affects your lawn.  It may be something little and easy to fix.

Asking and answering these questions will show you where your lawn might need a little extra help.  Remember, your lawn is a living organism.  It’s easy to talk about on paper, not as easy to treat in real life.  The best question you can ask is:  Did I follow all of Weed Man’s recommendations to have an amazingly beautiful lawn?  If you did, then you would have hired us, in which all you have to do is call us!  We will do a free lawn inspection to determine what is going on with your lawn, so you don’t have to figure it out yourself!

www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

Weed Man Updated Logo

Mr. Peanut Goes to War…On Your Lawn!

Mr._Peanut_Goes_to_War.jpgIt is another great week at The Wonderful World of Weed Man.  We hope you are enjoying your summer in spite of the terribly weird weather temps.  Alas, that is Idaho.  The weather has already improved since I started writing this article.

Last week we touched on a perennial weed we find very difficult, but possible to treat – Canadian Thistle.  This week, we wanted to talk about another lawn weed we come across quite often – Nutsedge.  Below is a picture of nutsedge in a lawn via the University of Minnesota.

nutsedge minnesota

Every time I am on the lawn and diagnose a ‘grassy weed’ someone is curious about as Nutsedge, I get a look like I’m teasing them.  Peanuts in my grass?  Yes, and no…  This sedge gets its name because in some cultures it is actually a crop that is edible.  Nutsedge is cultivated for its tubers, called earth almonds.  Apparently all parts of the plant development are edible and the tubers taste like almonds.  Who knew?  Mr. Peanut is wreaking havoc on your lawn!

Nutsedge is actually somewhat easy to treat.  It has its own set of difficulties, but in comparison to thistle or crabgrass it is easier to deal with.  It is referred to as swamp grass, sometimes called water grass.  Other names include Nutgrass, or Peanutgrass.  Nutsedge, though it looks like grass, it is actually a sedge.  They look similar but are distinctly different plant types.  Nutsedge has three long blades that protrude from the base of the plant.  They grow very quickly and are slightly yellow/light green in color.  Because of the growth and color of the plant it generally stands out in your lawn, especially if you haven’t mowed in a few days.  Standing out so easily in your lawn will quickly disrupt your beautiful uniform colored lawn.

nutsedge1.jpg

This particular plant can reproduce itself in a variety of ways: through seed, rhizomes, and tubers.  Nutsedge is a perennial plant that will typically emerge in May in our area when it begins to really warm up.  It will continue to grow and develop until the first frost in the fall.  The cold weather will kill the above ground portion of the plant, but the tubers will survive underground over the winter.  The dormant tubers will germinate and emerge throughout the next year or remain dormant in the soil for longer.

Let’s take a moment and analyze Nutsedge by the numbers:  1 seed can turn into a basel clump (the base of the plant) which produces umbels (3 blades).  The umbel can produce 1500 seeds in one season.  In addition, the plant will reproduce itself via tubers that can spread out rhizomes.  The tuber will produce the rhizome which can produce 1900 new plants which can multiply to 7000 new tubers in one season.  Each tuber can have up to 7 buds/rhizomes with the reserves to sprout them all.  Essentially via rhizome, tuber and seeding, 1 seedling can create a whole plant system capable of producing 90,000 seeds within one year.

nutsedge.JPG

Great, now you know what Nutsedge is and that it multiplies like rabbits, what do you do?  Well Howard Garrett, the ‘Dirt Doctor’, states “There is only one guaranteed, foolproof method to completely kill Nutgrass,” he recounts: “First, dig out every tiny piece of the plant including the seeds and nutlets (tubers). Make sure you sift the soil through a mesh screen. Dump the collected material on the driveway and burn it. Sweep up all the ashes and seal in a concrete box. Drive to the coast and dump the sealed box 20 miles off shore.”

That is one labor intensive surefire way to eliminate Nutsedge.  Barring the drastic, what does the average homeowner need to do.

Cultural Practices:  Remove the cause of your waterlogged soil.  Aerate, change your watering habits, or fix your leaky sprinkler pipe. 

I referred to Nutsedge as a swamp grass or a water grass earlier in this article.  Nutsedge will show up in soils that are waterlogged

The reason I bring it up, is that the Treasure Valley climate is considered a semi-arid or steppe region.  However, we are on the low rainfall side of the spectrum.  To be classified as a desert the area needs to have 10 inches or less of rainfall every year.  We get 11 inches.  So for all intents and purposes we are a desert.  All the responsibility without the cool title or benefits!

Yet even in our climate, Nutsedge can grow if it has a constant source of water.  This can be from poor drainage in the soil, watering too frequently, or you have a sprinkler pipe leaking.  Leaky pipes are easy enough to fix.  Poor drainage can be a result from a compact soil.  An aeration will help relieve this issue.  However, a vast majority of the time that we see Nutsedge, it is on a lawn that is being overwatered.  Unfortunately, some homeowners’ lawns have become a main tributary for the Boise River via their ever flowing sprinkler system.   Without that constant source of water, Nutsedge, would have a hard time growing naturally.

The modern sprinkler system has done wonders for moving water in an efficient way to help with lawns, but it has taken away our ability to think like a farmer or remember our 3rd grade botanical lessons.  When summer rolls around and temps get about 100, we think our lawns need constant watering.  Your lawn does not like that often of a watering.  But you know what does?  Insects, fungus, disease….and certain weeds like NUTSEDGE.  It’s easy to get carried away with the watering and slowly bad things will begin to happen to your lawn.

Avoid overwatering your lawn.  We live in a desert, but if you water strategically, your lawn will get the moisture it needs, and unwanted non-desert swamp plants will not.  3 times a week for a good period of time is all you need even when it is REALLY, REALLY HOT.  Not 4 times a week, nor 5 times a week. Not daily, NOT TWICE DAILY!  You get the point…

If you have questions about watering, please refer to an earlier article we published.

If you don’t get the waterlogged soil resolved, you will be fighting a losing battle.  You have to solve this before any other resolution will be effective.  Nutsedge will come back over and over and over again, worse each time.

Mechanical Practices:  Pulling Nutsedge can become an exercise in futility unless you catch the plant early.  When you pull on the Nutsedge blade, they will just detach from the tuber.   The plant is still alive and has the reserves to produce more shoots.  The key catching the plant at an early stage where it has to use up its reserves to produce new shoots before it can reproduce more tubers.  Usually you can do this when it only has 3-4 blades coming up.  Be warned:  This is a very slow and arduous process.

You can also dig up the tubers and remove the plant through tillage.  Again, not the best option for a lawn.  Great advice for a garden area where digging up the weed will not disturb the surrounding plants that are wanted.

Another digging option exists that we are aware of:  PIGS!  Pigs love to eat the tubers of Nutsedge.  They are very quick to find the buried tubers and will dig them up and eat them.  This is probably not the best option for you finely manicured lawn though.  If you happen to have a Nutsedge problem in a field though….

Chemical Practices:  Really the most effective and quickest way to deal with Nutsedge is through herbicides.  Currently, there are preemergents available to help reduce Nutsedge, but they do require a professional pesticide applicator.  Unfortunately, preemergents for Nutsedge are not safe to use on turf grass….so post emergent is the best option for Nutsedge in the lawn.

You can kill Nutsedge with Round up, however, Roundup will kill everything else around it as well, unless you can spray the Nutsedge with surgical precision.  Selective herbicides labeled for Nutsedge will work to kill it without killing your lawn!  Selective herbicide is the way to go.

Always be careful when applying herbicides, and please read the label and follow directions accordingly.  Better yet, hire Weed Man to take care of the issue for you.  We can also help diagnose and advise on watering habits to prevent re-occurrences.  Give us a call!  208-888-9911, www.weedmanboise.com #wecareforyourlawn

What Is That Dirt Plug On Your Lawn?

Aeration.JPG

Welcome back to the Wonderful World of Weed Man.  Again, my name is Brian, and I will be your guide!  This week is our 9th installment of our ‘The Grass IS Greener Over There!’ series.  We appreciate your continued readership.  It is important to us that we provide value in educating our customers, or to the average homeowner who loves taking care of their own lawn.  As always, if you have questions or would like to make a suggestion on a topic you would like to learn about, let us know in the comment section.

This week will be a primer on Aeration!  Mechanical Core Aeration is pretty straight forward; however, we do get frequently asked questions about the service.  Here are the top FAQ we answer.

What is it?  Mechanical Core Aeration is the process of removing plugs of grass and soil (cores) from your lawn so air, water, and nutrients are able to settle deeper into the soil.  Most homeowners who are familiar with aeration recognize the thousands of little soil plugs that are left on the lawn after the service has been completed.  This can be somewhat unsightly, but it is best to leave the plugs on the top of the lawn.  The good news is they won’t stay very long on your lawn.  When they dry out they will be pulverized by your mower and will break back down into the soil and become a top dressing for the lawn.

Why do I need to do it? Simply stated, it can vastly improve the health and beauty of your lawn.  The grass root system that is present in your lawn needs several things to survive and thrive.  Water, nutrients, and air.  Over time, the soil can begin to compact.  The more compact the soil is, the more difficult it is for water, fertilizer, and air to get to the root system.  Aeration will relieve that compaction resulting in a lawn that is more resistant to diseases, insects, drought and heat stress.  Pulling out core plugs will also improve drainage, air circulation, and fertilizer movement in the soil.  As a result, you have less water runoff – which in turn generally means less water usage over the summer.  All around, a more beautiful lawn!

Can I do it myself?  Yes, you can.  We do have some customers who own an aerator.  However, if you don’t have the budget or space for an aerator, you can rent them from a local equipment rental store.  Some considerations you want to address before renting an aerator is the cost and hassle associated with it.  There generally is a per hour fee, or an all-day fee.  Either option can be costly.  You will also need a vehicle that can tow a small trailer, as aerators tend to be a large piece of equipment.  It’s not something you can stuff into a van or small car.  IF you pick it up by yourself, you would be hard pressed to get the aerator in the back of a truck.  They are larger than a lawn mower, and are significantly heavier.  Aerators are typically self-propelled as well.  With such a heavy machine it can be very difficult to handle, and can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.   Usually with all the time, effort, and cost associated with renting and aerator, it can be comparable to hiring someone to do it for you.

If you do hire someone keep in mind a few factors when making your decision.  Do they own their own equipment or is it rented?  Are they maintaining their own equipment and investing in quality equipment?  What kind of guarantee do they offer in regards to broken sprinkler heads?  All good questions to consider when looking to hire someone to aerate your lawn.

When should I do it?  Spring or Fall.  Aerating your lawn can be stressful for it.  Spring or Fall is a great time to do this as the temperatures and weather are conducive to help it deal with the stress of aeration.  The summer is definitely a time to avoid aerating as the lawn is already trying to deal with the stresses of heat, drought, disease and insects.  It would not be good to add more difficulty to the mix.

I like to dethatch, is that ok?  We are not big fans of dethatching.  If you ask us if we recommend it, we will say no.  Is there a time and place for dethatching?  Yes, however we won’t offer the service, and it is very limited circumstances when it would be needed.  Dethatching is the process of removing and excess buildup of thatch in the lawn.  Thatch is the layer of dead and living grass shoots.  It’s a layer that is decaying, but there are circumstances that can contribute and excess buildup of thatch.  If the thatch layer is too thick it can restrict the flow of water, air, and nutrients much like the soil being too compact.  Basically the thatch layer gets built up quicker than it can decay and be broken down naturally.

The reason we do not recommend dethatching is that it is VERY VERY VERY stressful for your lawn.  It also does not resolve the root cause of the thatch buildup in the first place.  If that doesn’t get addressed you will have to continually do it, and over time you will have a thin unhealthy lawn from the stress of the application and from the root cause of thatch buildup not being corrected.  Generally speaking, aeration will provide the same benefits of dethatching and more, with a lower level of stress to your lawn.  Aerating will also be significantly cheaper than dethatching as well.  It will also help to resolve the root cause of the thatch buildup occurring in the first place.

The only time we would recommend a dethatching is if the layer of thatch is so thick an aeration would not help resolve it.  By aerating you are helping to restore an imbalance to the decay process of the grass roots.  Sometimes even with an aeration there will still be too much thatch to try and break down naturally.

So where does the excess thatch come from?  It can occur for a variety of reasons, but essentially when you water the lawn, the water stays at the root level instead of moving down deeper into the soil.  This can be caused by a compact soil.  This can also be caused by watering for a shorter period of time frequently vs a longer time less frequently.  So if you water 30 minutes every day vs 60 minutes 2-3 times a week.  Both a compact soil and short frequent watering result in the water just sitting at the root level, which forces the roots to grow and fill in at that top surface level of the soil.  They won’t be broken down very quickly and this causes the thatch to buildup.

Whether you aerate your lawn yourself, or you have someone do it for you, make sure it happens consistently.  We recommend every year or every other year depending on the lawn.

If you have more questions about aerating or want someone to do it for you, give us a call.  Let us help you. 208-888-9911 www.weedmanboise.com #wecareforyourlawn.

Lawn-Care-Minneapolis

The Grass IS Greener Over There!

Fertilization.JPG

Welcome to the wonderful world of Weed Man!  I’m Brian and I will be your guide!  We started this blog to help inform and educate our customers so they will get the most out of their lawns.  Whether you are a Weed Man customer or not, you are welcome here, and we hope you gain something by your visits.  This week I would like to overview where we are headed in the near future – lawn care tips!

It happens…you work hard on your lawn.  You spend countless hours and untold amounts of money to get the results you want to no avail.  Your neighbors lawn looks amazing and you just can’t seem to match the deep green lawn that he has.  On the other hand your other neighbor has a black thumb with a degree in growing weeds…that like to invade your lawn.

Just before you give in and give up let us offer some advice!  Sure you could hire a professional – Weed Man Boise, in particular.  We would love that!  Nevertheless, even Weed Man customers are given the expectation that achieving and maintaining a great lawn is really a partnership.  So whether you take the professional lawn guide approach or DIY approach we would like to help you have an amazing lawn.

Over the next weeks, we will be detailing how you can have an AMAZING lawn your neighbors will be joyously talking about.  (They may talk anyways, but lets be honest, nobody wants to be the black thumb homeowner who specializes in weeds.)

We have 11 tips for lawn care that every homeowner should be aware of:

  1. Mower Startup
  2. Fertilization
  3. Sprinkler Startup/Maintenance
  4. Over seeding/Lawn Repair
  5. Weed Control
  6. Watering Practices
  7. Mowing to the Season
  8. Bug Care
  9. Aerating
  10. Mulching
  11. Hire Weed Man!
  12. Addendum: I did everything you said, MY Grass ISN’T Greener Over HERE!

Each tip will have a separate posting unpacking the details of how to take advantage of each practice.  Please check back often to get updated!  We would also love to hear from you about any lawn care questions or subjects you would like discussed.  Feel free to leave a comment below and we will incorporate it in our 11 tips!