SodLawn

  • Choosing the right grass

    Choosing the right grass for your property depends on many factors. You will need to take into consideration your climate, location of where the grass will be placed, how much sun it will have, and how the area will be used, such as whether or not there will be heavy foot traffic or used daily by animals or children. These factors, along with your own personal preference, will help determine what type of grass you should choose.

     

    Fescue and bluegrass blends are a great option for a number of reasons. This grass 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 typical fescue/bluegrass blend is made up of 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 usually considered to be your traditional lawn and has a slightly stiffer and thicker blade. There are also types of fescue/bluegrass blends that have a finer, softer, taller blade, along with the other qualities of the traditional fescue/bluegrass blend described above. A 100% fescue is also an option but is harder to find companies that grow that product for mass sales.

     

    Another popular grass choice is Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass is excellent for high traffic areas, is both drought and heat tolerant, resistant to common disease problems, has excellent weed resistance, and can typically be watered less than other grass 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, called 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 grass 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 grass variety is St. Augustine, which establishes and grows quickly, has 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 grass types need a minimum of 6+ hours of sunlight per day, there are special shade blends that consist 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 grass type is called mow-free. This grass variety 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 un-mowed or mowed once a year. (typical is once or twice mowing a year on this type of grass.)

     

    Bluegrass (a four-way bluegrass blend) is a nice dark green grass 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 grass 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 grass 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.

     

    Once you examine the area where you will be installing your grass and look over the characteristics of each grass variety, you will be able to find a great option for what suits both your location and your personal taste.

  • Drip Irrigation

    Irrigating by a drip system is becoming more and more popular among those concerned with water conservation. Not only are many homeowners requesting this type of irrigation but various states, counties and cities are mandating that low-flow or drip be used in new developments. This is becoming more common in states such as Arizona, California and Texas that critically scrutinize their irrigation and water supply. State and local governments that are requiring low-flow irrigation have shown that in certain areas drip irrigation saves so much water that many customers are able to continue watering even when their area is placed under water restrictions. Another factor to drip and similar systems gaining popularity is the rise in demand for “greener” landscaping practices.

    Again, the main reason home owners, businesses and government agencies are choosing drip and low-flow systems is for water conservation. Research has shown that when compared to sprinkler systems, it can save between 30-70 percent more water. With sprinkler systems, water can be wasted through overspray, mist, wind and evaporation. With drip, water is immediately and precisely directed to the plants and roots without waste. Many people don't like the overspray created by sprinklers because it can damage fences, stucco and concrete. Commercial businesses also don't want overspray on their sidewalks and buildings.

    Even with the benefits of a drip system, contractors are still hesitant about the idea of transitioning to mainly using drip systems. Often, it is getting over that fear of change and trying something new that is the biggest obstacle. Many homeowners and contractors also only think of the common way that drip systems used to be done, with lots of "spaghetti" tubing all throughout a yard. Another reason many people don't want to make the switch to drip is because of the up-front costs of installation along with the cost of maintaining the system, although proponents of drip will continue to argue that it saves in the long run.

    There are a few different systems that are different but the terms and names are often used interchangeably. While drip, micro irrigation, and low-volume systems all put out a low and slow volume of water at low pressures, they are different. Drip systems are made up of flexible tubing that can be laid above ground with emitters placed at the base of a plant, or buried underground with tubing brought up above ground and placed by the plant. Micro irrigation includes micro sprays, sprinklers and bubblers to deliver water right to the root of the plant. There are several options for various different types of planters, gardens and landscapes.

    While there are numerous reasons why drip systems are a great choice, traditional sprinkler systems may still be the best choice for certain areas. Watering a large area of grass would probably best be served by a sprinkler system. Also, some areas may be more difficult to install and maintain and using sprinkler systems may be the best choice, but opinions on this vary. There are always advances in technology occurring that benefit drip systems, namely new systems made of materials that use less raw material to produce and leave a smaller environmental footprint. With water sources and distribution becoming more and more precious, drip is a becoming a large part of the landscaping future.

  • Winter Lawn Preparation

    Preparing your lawn for the upcoming winter is crucial if you wish to maintain a healthy lawn and hope to see a green, lush lawn next spring. How you treat your lawn now can directly impact how well your lawn will do during the hot summer months of next year. There are several things you can do to help your lawn endure the winter months, along with continuing your maintenance and upkeep, with a few slight changes.

    Cut back on watering your lawn as temperatures begin to cool. Adjust your irrigation systems to avoid wasting water. During summer months your lawn typically required about 1" of water per week, but you can cut back to half that as temperatures cool, and almost completely if your lawn goes dormant (turns brown).

    As the weather cools, your lawn will grow more slowly and you can also cut back on mowing. You should continue to mow at a height of 2"-3", and you may even want to raise the mower a half an inch. This will help increase the leaf area of your grass, allowing it to capture more sunlight and store more food in the grass roots, which will help with earlier green-up in the spring. This will also help the grass become more dense, thus crowding out weeds and preventing them from establishing. Be sure to remove leaves off the grass, or even better, use a mower with a mulcher that will shred the leaves and distribute them back onto the lawn. Fallen leaves are a great source of organic matter and nutrients for your lawn.

    After you have given your lawn one of the last scheduled mowing’s before winter, aerate your lawn to help reduce compaction and make it easier for fertilizer to reach the roots of the lawn. Be sure to aerate your grass at least four weeks before the first frost is expected to occur. After a final mowing and after you have aerated, you will want to apply your fertilizer. Late fall fertilization is typically the most important fertilization of the year as it prepares your lawn for the following summer season. Be sure to apply fertilizer before temperatures are too cold and the grass starts to discolor. While nitrogen is normally the most important nutrient in your fertilizer, during fall and winter your lawn may be in more need of potassium. Potassium helps with winter hardiness and improves disease and drought tolerance.

    Winter weed problems can be minimized by applying pre-emergent herbicides in the early fall, before weeds start coming up. If seeds are treated now, they won't have a chance to sprout. Perennial weeds like dandelion are more easily killed by spraying an herbicide in the fall rather than a summer application. Which herbicide to use depends on what type of grass you have and which weeds have been problems.

    Overseeding your lawn is helpful in achieving a fuller and green lawn. You will want to overseed your lawn several (about six) weeks before the temperatures drop to freezing so it has time to establish and develop a strong root system. If you still have bare spots after your initial reseeding, try a second application. Be sure to continue to water the spots you have re-seeded, even if you have cut back on watering the rest of your lawn, to help the new seed establish.

    Taking the time to prepare your lawn for the winter months will have lasting benefits. Not only will maintaining your lawn help it stay healthy and strong during winter months, it will be ready to withstand the stresses of a hot summer.

  • Overseeding your Bermuda Lawn

    Most Bermuda grasses will go dormant (turn brown) during winter months. The most common seed variety used to over seed Bermuda, a warm season grass, is ryegrass, which is a cool season grass. Perennial ryegrass is dark green, does excellent in full sun, tolerates high traffic well, is stress and pest tolerant, and germinates quickly. October is a great month to over seed as the Bermuda is slowing it's growth rate but the weather is typically still warm enough for the ryegrass seed to germinate.

    Daytime temperatures should not be above 70 degrees and nighttime temperatures should not reach above 50 degrees. This usually falls two to four weeks before the first frost of winter. You can also tell it may be time to over seed when your lawn is starting to thin but is still in good condition.

    When preparing to over seed you will want to mow your lawn at a very low setting, helping to create a loose surface for seeding. Remove all clippings which can easily be done by raking. Next you will want to dethatch your lawn, making sure to remove any and all debris, and then aerate the soil which will allow moisture and oxygen to move through the soil. Next you will spread the seed throughout the lawn using a hand spreader, making sure you apply it evenly and thoroughly. If there are bare areas in your sod you can spread the seed again in that area. Rake and lightly roll the soil in order to cover the seed up to 1/8". Fertilize when over seeding and water well until the over seeded grass is well established, while also being sure not to leave any standing water. Continue to maintain your sod lawn throughout the winter with proper water, mowing and fertilization.

    It is important to correctly manage your lawn in the spring when the Bermuda (warm season) grass is coming out of dormancy. The ryegrass (cool season grass) can compete for moisture, sunlight and nutrients. It is important to stop fertilizing in early spring, but to continue once the bermuda has established itself again. Maintaining a proper low mowing height as the Bermuda grass re-establishes will stress the ryegrass, or cool-season turf, aiding in the Bermuda grass growth.

    Maintaining your sod lawn throughout the year, especially during over seeding in the fall and the establishment of your warm season grass in the spring, is vital to the overall health of your lawn. Disease and inability of the Bermuda grass to establish without struggle will be more likely if there is not proper maintenance year round. With a little time and effort it is possible to transition smoothly from warm season Bermuda grasses to cool season ryegrasses and have a green lawn year round.

  • 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.

  • How to Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

    Whether you’re trying to sell your house or plan on living in it for decades, as a homeowner you should take the time to ensure the exterior of your property is presentable. Increasing the curb of appeal of your home can go a long way towards ensuring it remains a valuable piece of property, which is essential no matter how long you plan on living in it. Proper landscaping is one component of increasing your home’s curb appeal, and you can utilize some of the following suggestions.

    The last thing you want is a house that is so overgrown with plants, grass, and branches that you can barely see the property itself. If you have to get through a small forest just to find your front door, it may be time to clean up the yard. Spend a day mowing your grassing, trimming hedges, and cleaning up any excess branches.

    Putting down a fresh layer of sod can radically transform any yard, even ones that haven’t been properly maintained for years. The greener the grass, the more it looks like you are putting thought and care into your home’s upkeep. Once you’ve taken care of your lawns grass, you can move on to more advanced projects like having walkways installed, placing exterior lights, and other ways to spruce up the landscape.

    If needed, give your home a fresh coat of paint. Also make sure you regularly clean any exterior shutters, wash your driveway, and remove leafs and other debris from your roof. These are all things that can be easily spotted from the sidewalk, and they shouldn’t be a problem if you stay on top of things in regards to your home’s curb appeal.

  • 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.

  • Environmentally-Friendly Lawncare

    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.

  • Springtime Lawn Mowing Tips

    There are few better ways to express pride in your home than with a well-manicured, great looking lawn, no matter what time of year it is. This is why American homeowners take a great deal of pride in their yards. Lawn watering, fertilizing and mowing are labors of love homeowners from coast to coast painstakingly put forth season after season, year after year.

     
    Many don’t’ realize, however, there are certain requirements that change with the season when it comes to lawn care. There's more to grass cutting than starting a lawnmower and pushing it across your lawn. Mowing height and frequency are crucial components to a healthy lawn.

     
    For example, cutting your grass short is harmful to your lawn in the long run. This removes nutrients stored in grass and exposes the soil to sunlight. This is where weeds can start to overtake your lawn. This is because taller grass is better able to compete with weeds with a larger root system, higher tolerance for heat and acts to shield the soil from transient weed pollen carried by the wind.

     
    Higher grass is also effective in shading the ground and subsequently retaining water more effectively. Determine what kind of grass you have and seek professional advice on what level is best suited for optimum health. These heights could range anywhere from 1-4 inches, so it’s quite the range.

     
    Moreover, you are going to want to mow your lawn often enough to remove no more than the top one-third of the blades- regardless of the type of grass- and use a mulching mower. This prevents stress on the grass and brown patches, as smaller clippings are able to decompose more quickly without killing any grass underneath. And the best food for your grass is grass clippings so avoid bagging.

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