Keeping your lawn looking its best Spring, Summer, & Fall requires your year round attention.
Lawns this spring will be off color due to winter desiccation. The matted down areas indicate the additional presence of a disease called snow mold. In both cases, a light raking of the turf will allow for air circulation and sun light exposure, which will help the lawn to recover. In early spring, after a rain, additional raking may be required.
After you have raked the lawn, while mowing for the first time, place the blade at a lower setting of 1 1/2 – 2 inches. For the remainder of the season, mow at the recommended height of 2 1/2 – 3 inches. Always keep the mower blade sharp. Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass plant and recycle your clippings by leaving them on the lawn.
Mole tunnel below the surface of your lawn searching for food sources. They leave unsightly small piles of dirt at the surface. Their main source of food is the earthworm. The most reliable and proven method of control is the use of various trapping devices that are on the market.
Mice travel through the lawn primarily above the ground. As they go across the surface feeding on the grass plants, they leave a unique and distinct looking trail throughout the yard. Normally this damage is not permanent, and recovers easily once the lawn begins to grow.
Grubs will attact your lawn below the surface by feeding on the grass roots. Brown spots that can be lifted easily away from the soil usually will indicate grub activity. In spring, when infestation is found to be severe, a grub treatment may be necessary.
Long, extended periods of hot, dry weather may cause your healthy lawn to temporarily go off color. This is common with the grasses in Western New York, they are cool season varieties and the best growing temperature is between 50-75 degrees.
When the temperatures rise above 75 degrees, it is best to do the following to keep your lawn green.
It is best to water a lawn in the early morning, but any time is better than none at all. When watering, concentrate on a given area for 2-3 hours so as to soak the lawn deeply into the root zone. All lawns normally need this type of watering twice each week. Light frequent watering can be more damaging than not watering at all.
You can also help reduce summer dormancy through proper mowing habits
1) Extremely Important is the time of day that you cut the lawn. You will have far better results and a much greener lawn by cutting in the cool of the morning or evening.
Mowing during the heat of the day can cause severe stress and browning as well as leaving tire track marks in the turf.
2) We suggest the higher settings (2 1/2 – 3 inches is best). This will help the grass plants to conserve moisture and keep the hot sun from drying the root zone. Cutting the lawn at the higher setting will also greatly reduce weed development
3) Lawn mower blades should be sharpened 2-3 times per year to prevent shredding of the grass blade ends. This shredding will cause the grass plants to lose moisture and valuable nutrients, while leaving a dull whitish cast to the lawn.
4) Another helpful tip is to alternate the direction or patterns in which you mow the lawn each cutting.
Warm temperatures can be the ideal environment for surface feeding insects such as chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs and sod webworms. These pests can infest a lawn and do irreversible damage that may not be discovered until fall do to the fact the damage looks very similar to summer dormancy.
Proper watering and mowing habits, as described above, can greatly reduce any chance of insect damage and will help to keep your lawn looking its best.
LATE SUMMER – FALL TIPS
Lawns are recovering from summer stress this time of year. You can still do many things that can help in the recovery process.
Normally watering is not a huge requirement this time of year, but if there are extended periods without rainfall, it is recommended that you concentrate on any off color areas. Once rainfall occurs on a regular basis, watering is not necessary anymore.
You can also help the lawn recover from summer dormancy through proper mowing habits. We suggest that you continue to mow the lawn at a higher setting (2 1/2 – 3 inches). This will help the grass plants to conserve moisture and promote new growth from recovering dormant plants. Cutting the lawn at the higher setting will also greatly reduce weed development.
IMPORTANT: When mowing for the final time of the year we recommend that you cut with your mower blade at a lower setting. This will help to inhibit winter desiccation and disease activity. This procedure will also help to stimulate new growth and spring green up.
Keep the lawn free from leaves and debris. Items that remain on the lawn until spring can cause permanent damage to the turf.
Late September/Early October is the best time of year to seed any base areas. Always use premium grade seed for the best results. Rough up the soil and add top soil if necessary. Water the areas daily unless it rains to insure germination.
Insect Activity (Grubs)
They emerge as beetles in the early summer and lay eggs in the soil in August. The eggs hatch shortly after that and pose a particular problem because they begin to attack the lawn by feeding on its root system. You can be unaware of their presence until the damage becomes visible and renovations are needed. A Fall Grub Treatment can remedy this problem and also keep a lawn grub free for the spring.
Aerating the soil helps the lawn recover from summer stress and relieves soil compaction. While allowing water and nutrients to travel deep into the root, aeration can also help to break up the thatch layer.
Winterizing your lawn and landscape
A winterizer treatment for your lawn will maintain color through the fall and also help with spring green up process. A below the surface winter fertilization for your shrubs can be a very good way to help plants recover from summer stress and provide health and vigor to withstand our Western New York winters.