Louisville Lawn Care Blog
Before long the sound of lawn mowers and the smell of fresh cut grass will fill the air. A few things should be done in advance that will help your lawn to be at its peak.
- 1. Have your lawn mower serviced … soon! If you wait too long to have this done, there may be an extensive waiting list and your lawn may resemble a hayfield before your equipment is returned.
- 2. Servicing should include a cleaning of the mower deck undercarriage and sharpening or replacement of the blades. In the case of tractors or commercial-sized mowers, also check the tire pressure, belts and battery.
- 3. A minimum of 3 inches is preferred when cutting the lawn (usually one notch down from the highest setting). For the first mowing of the year it is generally suggested to mow at 2-2 1/2 inches. This will remove the dead upper portion of last year's grass blades and hasten the spring green-up. Don't forget to reset the cutting height back up to 3 inches for the rest of the year.
Remember, we have both warm and cool-season grasses growing in our region. The difference in green-up time can be as much as 2 months or more depending on temperatures. Nevertheless, the above suggestions apply to all.
Major seeding projects are best left for the fall of the year, but if you would like to do some spot seeding in early spring to fill in any bare areas in your lawn, we encourage you to utilize the following suggestions:
- A. Use a garden rake or weasel and rake thru/turn over the dirt of the bare spots.
- B. We suggest adding a little new topsoil to the bare spots for added micronutrients, enhancing seed germination.
- C. Sprinkle your grass seed over the topsoil. If you live in the Ohio Valley, Turf-type Tall Fescue is by far the superior seed of choice. Be 100% sure there are no fillers in your seed, like bluegrass, rye grass, or red creeping fescue. No need to add straw.
- D. Water the spots a little each day until you see the seed germinate
- E. It is better to spot seed about 2 weeks after your spring pre-emergent application and not before (Step A above will negate the effects of the pre-emergent, so your new seed will be able to germinate without hinderance).
REMEMBER: If you seed in spring, it is VERY IMPORTANT to notify your lawn care provider so any late spring pre-emergent does not get applied to the new seed until that new seed has germinated and you have been able to mow these spots twice.
Winter can be a difficult time for our lawns. If we get adequate snowfall, this moisture actually protects our turf. If we have a winter, however, with extreme cold spells and no snow coverage, concern arises over the ability of the turf to bounce back and green up again come springtime. So, whose turf is a greatest risk?
Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda, are most susceptible to winterkill but even moderate to cool season grasses, like fescue and bluegrass, can be at risk. The most concerning are high traffic areas in our lawns, such as walkways and dog run wear and tear.
How will you know if your lawn has winterkill? Once the lawns begin exiting their winter dormancy and greening up, winterkill areas will remain brown due to root damage from the extreme cold. These areas will benefit from some raking and overseeding, along with fertilization. If you plan on spot seeding in the spring, be sure to let your lawn care applicator know so that your spring pre-emergent application can be adjusted accordingly.
We all do it. Water hoses have been disconnected from their spigots. Crawl space vents are closed off. Pools have been closed down for some time. Shorts and flip flops have given way to sweaters and boots.
Your lawn and landscape also benefit from a good winterizing, helping them to better endure the winter months and recover next spring in splendid fashion. The following is a short-list of suggested steps for winterizing your lawn and landscape as the growing season draws to an end:
- If your lawn needs cutting…mow it! Leaving it uncut over the winter can contribute to some turf health issues, in addition to matting and a messier first cutting next spring.
- Be sure to remove leaf litter, not only from the lawn but also from around your shrubs. Excessive leaf litter can harbor insects and cause other problems. Accumulating leaves (like oaks) should also be removed as they re-accumulate during the winter months.
- Of great importance is a good, balanced fertilizing. This feeding will nourish the root system of your lawn and landscape, which remains active during the 'dormant' season. A healthier root system results in a stronger, more vibrant plant next spring.
Do your part to winterize properly. The time and product invested now will produce the desired results.
As we move through the last two months of 2017, we reflect on the stress our turf and its root system has endured over the past year. Now is the time for a few last efforts that will do much to help our lawns as we move through the fall season. We hope the following tips will be of help in your outdoor endeavors:
Fall Maintenance Tip #1 – Fertilization
Feeding your lawn in the fall and again in early winter is the most important of all tips. Fertilization at this time will help boost the photosynthesis rate of the turf, and build carbohydrate reserves in the plant to help lawns green up in the spring. Late season fertilization also helps to increase the lawn's winter hardiness and promotes deeper root growth, resulting in a healthier lawn next season.
Fall Maintenance Tip #2 - Leaves and debris
Keep your lawn clear of leaves and other debris. Leaves left on the lawn for extended periods can smother your grass and leave you with areas of dead turf. Excessive leaves left on the lawn can also cause an imbalance in your soil's Ph, making for more difficult growing conditions next year. Landscape areas also need to be kept clean. Excess leaf litter can be a source of unwanted insects. Keep those rakes and leaf blowers active!
Fall Maintenance Tip #3 - Mowing
When mowing, always set your highest settings, one that leaves at least a 3" blade. Leaving the grass blade taller helps promotes a deeper and stronger root. Cutting the grass too short will stress out the blade/roots and cause the grass to brown out and in some cases, die out. Make sure your mower blades are sharp, as a dull blade can tear the grass and lead to browning out and health issues with your turf.
Fall Maintenance Tip #4- pH Soil Testing
Fall is an excellent time to have a soil test performed. If the soil's pH needs adjusting, lime or sulfur/gypsum products can be applied to adjust the natural balance needed to grow healthy turf. Lawn Cure can provide this soil analysis service upon request. Please see the attached information for details!
Fall Maintenance Tip #5- Landscape pruning and fertilization
Final pruning of certain landscape plantings (i.e. knock out roses, ornamental grasses, etc.) can be done after freezing temperatures have been experienced. Your landscape's roots also reestablish themselves over the winter 'dormant' season. Call Lawn Cure today for information about our Landscape Deep Root Feeding program and receive 10% off the first service!
We wish you a warm and safe fall season!!