healthy lawn

  • Disease Prevention and Control

    The best way to prevent and control any diseases that may occur in your lawn is through continuous and persistent maintenance. This maintenance includes correct fertilization, irrigation (which includes watering and drainage), mowing height, appropriate maintenance tools that have been kept in good condition, placement in full sun, and use of disease resistant sod. Full sun is usually ideal for the health and proper growth of your lawn, but since this may not always be possible, it is important to remember that grass grown in shade will be more thin, weak and prone to stress. Along with exposure to sun, weather will also play a huge role in the outcome of your sod lawn. While we do have control over most factors regarding sod lawn maintenance, we don't have control over such weather conditions as temperature, drought or rain and the timing of it all. Since control over these factors are out of our hands, it is vital that we stay active and on top of the maintenance that we can control.

    There are several different types of disease that can occur in your sod lawn. A disease will usually start out small with a few patches or spots throughout the lawn and then spread if left untreated. Sometimes a problem that seems more severe and sudden may appear, and that can often be caused by stress due to something besides disease such as improper fertilization, sudden extreme heat, poor drainage, or incorrect mowing. Correct drainage and irrigation is crucial to preventing many sod problems and can often be the root cause for various problems like discolored lawns. Diagnosis is key before taking the next step of treating the disease.

    If the cause of the turf problem is a fungus, there are different types of fungicides that are meant to be used either preventively or curatively. Preventive fungicides work to activate a plant's natural defenses against infection. Curative fungicides can stop dead or diseased areas from getting bigger, but will not bring a dead patch back to life. It will take time for the grass to fill back in on its own, or it can be re-seeded. It can be helpful to keep a record of where the disease has occurred as fungus often occurs in the same areas year after year, so preventive fungicide can be accurately applied. Prevention is always best, which will include applying preventive fungicide, aerating, proper fertilization and irrigation maintenance.

    The most common summer disease found in grasses like tall fescue is brown patch. It creates large, tan-colored lesions on the blade of grass and expands into circular patches up to several feet wide. Brown patch is most aggressive when there's a combination of high humidity and temperatures above 90 degrees, but can also become active when temperatures at night are above 60 degrees, thus being active through summer and well into September. Preventive fungicides are the best option for brown patch when applied in the spring or early summer. Large patch can be found in warm-season grasses like St. Augustine. Tan or red-brown lesions can be seen on the leaf sheath and expands into circular patches, oftentimes 12 feet wide. Large patch attacks when warm-season grasses are growing more slowly, during fall, winter and spring. It becomes active when temperatures drop below 60 degree, which is the ideal time to apply preventive fungicide.

  • Your Grass Clippings; to Bag or Mulch?

    Most lawnmowers when you purchase them come complete with a clippings bagger. So naturally you will feel inclined to affix the bag to the mower with every use. But there are a few things you may not realize when you clip the bagger to the mower.
    Bagging Deprives Nutrients
    When you regularly cut your lawn, and the clippings aren’t over an inch long, it is wise to leave your bag off the lawnmower. That’s because these clippings return certain nutrients to your lawn that can be achieved with somewhat unnatural fertilizing, regardless of how organic the fertilizer may be.

     

    In fact, grass clippings can provide your lawn 25% of its total nutritional needs for the year, consisted of 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium and 1% phosphorus. But if you don’t cut your lawn as frequently, and your clipping are subsequently larger, they could actually deprive your grass of sunlight, crucial to the fertilizing process.

     

    Clumps are Bad

    Not only do clumps of clippings deprive your lawn of sunlight, as they rot they also actually kill the live grass underneath it. If the grass is growing quickly- as it often does in the summer- it is a little more difficult to stay on top keeping your lawn trimmed. To address the issue, evenly raking your clippings across your lawn easily addresses the issue. If you effectively break down the clumps by spreading the clippings across the grass, you balance the requirements of nutrients and sunlight.

     

    There are few exceptions to implementing the mulching process when cutting your lawn. And if you want smaller glass clippings, which will subsequently break down and release nutrients more quickly, you can actually install a mulching blade. This ensures you never have clumping, no matter how high you let your grass grow.

  • More Organic Lawncare Interest Give Rise to Practice

    Inc­­reasing concern about the environment and factors that contribute to our health have led to more interest in organic lawn care and maintenance practices. Most definitions define organic as of or relating to animal or plant constituents or products having a carbon basis, which leaves room for synthetic parts as well. A more common definition would imply that something organic is made up of natural occurring materials. Organic lawn care’s primary focus is on preserving the biotic character of the soil, and then maintaining that organic soil so as to minimize the need for consistent future treatments, although those treatments can be natural and organic as well. Preserving the natural soil will provide nutrients, high amounts of microorganisms, and good water retention.

    Maintaining healthy, fertile soil is an essential beginning step to taking care of your lawn. Performing a soil test is a great way to determine which nutrients need to be added to your soil. If nitrogen is needed, organic fertilizers contain a variety of nitrogen sources that are released slowly over time by microorganisms through natural activity of the soil. This mainly occurs during warmer months. Conventional, non-organic fertilizers are able to release nitrogen immediately and are more cost effective. With organic fertilizers having a slower green-up time and higher cost, conventional fertilizers end up being the most common choice. Various manures and composts also provide other vital nutrients, such as phosphate and potassium.

     

    Choosing a lawn variety that is disease-resistant is another excellent way to attempt to prevent lawn issues. There are several options that have disease-resistant qualities that will lower your chances of lawn damage due to pests, thus avoiding many maintenance needs. When trying to maintain an organic lawn and yard, there are several practices that promote natural, preventative pest control. Proper plant selection, extra care during establishment periods, correct mowing height, good drainage, proper soil pH, adequate air circulation, optimal watering times, as well as some composts and fertilizers that have proven to help suppress some diseases. Parasites in addition to organic sprays and botanical insecticides will also aid in pest management.

    While it may take more time and knowledge, organic lawn and garden care is possible for those looking to take a more natural approach.

  • Basic Sod Types and Differences

    We offer a variety of sod depending on where you are located. There are a few specific types that are a popular and great choice throughout California, often depending on personal preference.

    Our fescue and bluegrass blends are a great option for a number of reasons. This sod holds up great in high traffic areas, stays green all year, is both heat and drought tolerant, and is resistant to common disease problems. The fescue/bluegrass blend is made of up 90% fescue and 10% bluegrass, with the bluegrass helping to nicely fill in and thicken your lawn and maintain excellent reparability. This type of blend is considered your traditional sod lawn and has a slightly stiffer and thicker blade. If you are located in and having sod delivered to areas near Sacramento, Redding, or the Bay Area, we also carry another type of fescue/bluegrass blend. This blend has a finer, softer, taller blade, along with the other qualities of the traditional fescue/bluegrass blend described above. We also have the option of a 100% fescue sod in these same locations.

    Another popular sod choice is bermuda. We offer a few different types of bermuda depending on your location. Bermuda grass is excellent for high traffic areas, is both drought and heat tolerant, resistant to common disease problems, and can typically be watered less than other sod varieties. Bermuda can also be cut lower (usually 1/2"-3/4") and will look best when cut with a reel mower (forward moving blade that cuts close to the ground) as opposed to a rotary mower. Bermuda does go dormant (turns brown) during winter months, but can be over seeded with a perennial ryegrass. One type of bermuda, Tifgreen, has a very fine blade, is dense, dark green, has a carpet-like appearance, and is often used in locations like school playgrounds. Another type, Tifway, also has a fine blade, adapts well to shade and sun, and is often used for golf courses and football fields. Our Celebration bermuda has a blue/green color, a soft fine blade, establishes and recovers quickly, and can be used on a variety of sports fields, playgrounds and residential areas.

    Another sod variety is St. Augustine (offered in specific locations). St. Augustine grass establishes and grows quickly, has a thick, coarse, and tight blades, and is both heat and drought tolerant. It has a carpet-like appearance, and like most bermuda grasses, it needs to be cut with a reel mower and can go dormant in the winter.

    While most all sod types need a minimum of 5-6 hours of sunlight per day, we do offer a special Shade Blend that consists of fescue, bluegrass and various shade blends. It can withstand up to 40% daily shade, but will also do well in full sun.

    Another specialty sod type is our Mow-Free sod. This type has a relaxed meadow look, has slow growing, narrow, lax blades, and is dark green and glossy. It does well in the shade and is often used for slopes. Mow-Free sod is usually left unmowed or mowed once a year.

    Bluegrass (a four-way bluegrass blend) is a nice dark green sod that offers uniform growth and quick healing and recovery from heavy traffic and damage. It does well during colder months and in cooler climates, thus not being as heat tolerant as other sod options. It requires more frequent watering and mowing, but performs well at crowding out weeds.

    Blue-Rye is a 50% bluegrass and 5% premium ryegrass blend. This blend has a nice blue-green appearance all year, is heat and drought tolerant, and grows well in sandy or clay soil. This type of sod also performs will in high traffic areas and provides quick healing and uniform growth. Because of this excellent quality, it is often used on golf courses and sports fields.

    These are a just a few of our most popular sod varieties that are offered throughout the state. When selecting your sod, take into consideration your climate, location and how the area will be used. These factors, along with your own personal preference, will help determine your sod choice.

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