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.
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?
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?
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 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.
Insects – Lawn 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