Why should I aerate and over seed my fescue Lawn?

After several years, mature plants begin to slow down their reproduction rate. Since a blade of grass lives only an average of 45 to 60 days, production of new tillers must continually outpace the dieback of older leaves. Young grass will produce tillers faster than older grass. Therefore, one of the most important secrets to maintaining a healthy, thick lawn is to make sure your grass is young. The practice of aeration overseeding lawns is the easiest way of keeping grass young.

• Overseeding lawns in fall reduces or eliminates competition from summer weedy grasses, such as crabgrass, foxtails, and other weeds.
• Soil temperatures are still warm in the fall, which is necessary for seed germination, while the cooler air temperatures are better for grass growth.
• Rain amounts and soil moisture is generally better in the fall.
• Overseeding lawns in the fall gives the grass a head start. The roots have become established before winter, which greatly reduces crop loss should you have a hot, dry spring.

Core Aeration

Before overseeding is the perfect time to core aerate. Core aeration is the process of pulling out a plug of grass and soil approximately one half inch wide and three inches long. Walk behind, motorized core aerators are very heavy machines, some weighing several hundred pounds and take a little practice to use efficiently. Deep watering or rain should precede aeration for effective core depth. Even the heaviest aerators have difficulty penetrating dry ground.
The removal of a plug during aeration relieves soil compaction, while increasing gas exchange and water availability to the roots. Two or three passes with the aerator in different directions is best. Don’t worry about picking up the plugs; they can be left on the surface to breakdown naturally. In a few weeks they will be gone.

It’s almost that time! We have started scheduling our customers for Fall Aeration and seeding. Be on the lookout for an email or a letter from Dreamlawns with a great discount for prepaying for this important fall service.

Dreamlawns provides a double core-aeration of the lawn, going over each area at least twice, and providing hand work in the areas that the aerator cannot reach. We then over-seed with the highest quality blue tag seed which is 100% weed free and recommended by Virginia Tech, applying 6 pounds of seed per thousand square feet ensuring excellent coverage. This is our only service where we require payment in advance so don’t miss out on getting scheduled.

How to Maintain the Grass in Extreme Heat

REFRAIN FROM CUTTING TOO SHORT

One common mistake made by both homeowners and commercial landscape maintenance companies is cutting a lawn too short. If a lawn is cut too short, it reduces the plants’ ability to produce energy for growth. When cut at the proper height, however, grass develops stronger roots that support more vigorous plants that are more tolerant of stress. Keep in mind that different varieties of grass have different growth habits that directly relate to mowing heights. For example, cool season grass and warm season grass types require somewhat different maintenance techniques. Research which cutting height is right for your lawn.

REMEMBER THE “ONE-THIRD” RULE

When deciding on the correct height to cut your grass, it is important to also remember the “one-third” rule: never remove more than one-third of the grass height at one time. By doing so, the lawn is kept cooler because less plant tissue is removed. In fact, cool season grass types actually benefit in the heat of the summer by setting the blade higher. If a lawn is normally cut at 2.5 inches, for example, increasing it to 4 inches in the heat of summer will come with many benefits.

LIMIT WATER INTAKE

One collective misconception about maintaining grass in extreme heat is the necessity to overwater. A glaring issue is that after rainfall, people still irrigate their lawn. A general rule to keep in mind is that turf grasses do better managed on the dry side rather than wet; when soil is constantly wet, it creates too many physiological problems for plants and soil organisms alike. The grass roots will be deprived of oxygen and may become more susceptible to disease because diseases thrive in wet conditions. In general, the drier the grass and soil, the less disease there will be.

Another rule-of-thumb is to water “deeply and infrequently.” Water deeply to wet the entire root zone, and then do not water again until the grass is dry. To determine next watering time, simply “eye-it.” If it starts to look dry, then water. If you would like to be specific, water the hot spots (spots that get dry faster than the rest of the lawn) and then wait for the rest of the lawn to dry out.

While it is important to be adequate on hydration, do not water the grass daily. Lawns need only one-inch of water per week, including rainfall.

WHEN IN DROUGHT

Avoid mowing the lawn during drought stress. Lawns under such stress are limited in their ability to recover from mowing and can be damaged even more. Instead, mow the grass after a rainfall or after irrigation day. Also, resist mowing wet grass to avoid clumping.

KEEP BLADES SHARP

When grass is cut with a sharp mower blade, the plant will heal faster than when cut with a dull blade. Dull blades will actually tear the plant tissue, not cut it; this torn grass tissue will develop a brown appearance at the surface and may become more susceptible to stress and disease. Sharper blades will prevent a brown appearance and help to prevent further harm to the plant.

DO NOT BAG GRASS CLIPPINGS

Return clippings to the lawn by using a mulching mower. Clippings are actually beneficial to the lawn, as they act as a slow-release fertilizer for the plant as they decompose. It is important to aim the clippings away from streets, storm drains, and bodies of water.

Flea and Tick Season is Here – Be Prepared!

In this guide, we will study how timely preparation can help you protect your beloved pets during the flea and tick season. A bit of prevention can go a long way in keeping your pets safe and healthy.

How to prepare for the flea season
Fleas and ticks are often hard to prevent and control, especially since they are able to thwart even the most professional methods and efforts of pest control. Additionally, and rather unfortunately, we humans are directly responsible for bringing these tiny pests inside our homes, mainly during the flea and tick season. We unknowingly create an environment that is conducive to the growth and well being of these parasites.

People in urban areas often wonder how their pets acquire fleas despite not being in contact with other animals. The answer lies in the fact that owners are usually walking the pet near tall grasses, weeds, trees etc. These trails/areas are invariably swarming with fleas and ticks and often the city public park maintenance is not up to required standards. The grass is rarely mowed or trimmed to a proper height. All this leads pets to be infested with fleas, ticks and other parasites. Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to provide clean, well maintained and hygienic surroundings for their pet, especially during the beginning of tick and flea season.

Let us look at some important ways of achieving this:
• Refuse and garbage areas must be sealed, tightly shut and kept as clean as possible. This will limit wild animals from inhabiting these areas, so that there is lesser likelihood of them bringing in fleas and ticks.
• Bird baths and feeders also bring in ticks and fleas during the flea season. Try and limit these visitors in your yard and prevent them from sharing your pet’s food or water.
• Lawns, trees and bushes must be well-trimmed. Garden fences may be used for limiting the pets’ access to the garden areas.
• There are many flea and tick preventing solutions and sprays available for outdoor usage. An example is the beneficial nematodes solution that can be sprayed around the garden to prevent fleas and ticks during the season.
• If you pet is housed inside dog houses/kennels, make sure you clean these from time to time as these can be breeding grounds for parasites. Inside your home too, make use of diatomaceous earth powder or Borax powder on carpets, rugs and pet bedding to kill fleas, eggs and larvae.
• As per your vet’s advice, do use flea/tick shampoos, drops, powders or pills for the pets before the flea and tick season arrives, as these can also help prevent many parasitic infestations.

Dreamlawns has an excellent program to control Fleas and Ticks throughout the summer months. Call or email us to get more information and signup for this important warm weather service.