Archive for the ‘Lawn Care’ Category
The spring of 2013 has been a long time coming, but it will get here. Are you ready for your spring cleanup and spring lawn maintenance? When spring arrives it will warm up fast and will make us forget about the long winter we have endured. We know spring is just around the corner… the crocus is peeking up through the snow giving us a glimpse of springtime in Rock County, Wisconsin.
What does this mean for your spring lawn care? Whether you are looking for commercial lawn care or residential lawn care, you will be facing the same challenges this year. Recovery from last year’s drought will take some extra planning and specific lawn maintenance geared to drought lawn recovery.
Usually when the Forsythia bushes blooms, you would put down a pre-emergent for crab grass control. If you do that this year, you will not be able to plant grass seed to recover your lawn. Remember a pre-emergent does not allow the grass seed to germinate, be it crab grass or Kentucky Blue grass. You will need a different strategy this year. In fact, it may take a couple of years to recover your lawn.
Your lawn is probably depleted of its nutrients. Last summer it was difficult to fertilize as it was hot, dry and the fertilizer was not effective. Most spring fertilizers have a pre-emergent in them. If you are planning on reseeding or over-seeding your lawn, you will want to make sure that the fertilizer you use does not have any pre-emergent such as Halts in it.
Spring is the time when the roots of your lawn should be your priority. A good root structure developed in the spring will help your lawn survive the summer. The fertilizer you choose should be geared toward root development. The first number in the fertilizer is for nitrogen (N). With a new lawn or an over-seeded lawn, this number should be lower. The new grass and seedlings are not ready to handle the top growth that would be stimulated with an influx of nitrogen. The middle number of the fertilizer is for Phosphorous (P). This is the main nutrient that helps with root growth. You will want to see a bigger number in this nutrient. The third number in the fertilizer is Potassium (k). This nutrient helps with cell structure, food manufacturing process, and disease resistance. This is also a good nutrient for a new or recovering lawn. If the first number on the bag is high and the other two are very low, you may see instant green, but it will fade fast and actually do damage to your lawn.
Next, this would be the best time to plug aerate your lawn. This breaks up the soil and allows the water to sink down in. The hot dry weather did a lot of damage and compaction to the soil last summer. It is very important to break up that hard damaged soil. At the same time, you should over-seed the lawn that is mildly damaged. The grass seed will fall into the holes created by the aeration and will start to grow. Your lawn will come in fuller and greener with the growth of the new grass intermingled with the surviving grass. It may take a couple of years and more than one application of over-seeding to completely restore your lawn or commercial landscape.
If your lawn has large areas that have been destroyed due to the drought, you may want to consider lawn restoration in those areas.
Fall is time for cleaning up your gardens, getting your trees trimmed up and getting your lawn ready for the winter. With the hot, dry summer that Janesville experience it is very important to go into the winter with your plants and lawn in the best condition you can. Many plants were stressed and will require some TLC this fall to survive the tough Wisconsin winter.
Things to do for your fall clean up.
Clearing out your gardens. Whether you have vegetable or flower gardens, it is important to get the old, dead plant matter out of the garden. Leaving this over the winter can cause fungus or disease to remain in your garden over the winter. This may cause major trouble in the spring for your new plants.
Trimming trees. Fall is the perfect time to trim trees. When the bug population dies down and there is still time for tree to recover from the trim cut is the best time. This fall it is even more important as many trees lost branches to the drought. Leaving dead or dying branches on your trees or bushes will invite rot into your plant. This will further stress your plant and may result in loss of the tree.
Lawn fertilization. The summer has wreaked havoc on our lawns. The weeds are more plentiful than grass. This fall is the best time to fertilize and get those grass roots stronger. A strong root will encourage better growth in the spring.
Lawn aeration. Breaking up the compacted soil and getting oxygen back in will help keep those grass roots strong. Aeration also helps the soil to accept rain and melting snow in the spring. Rain will be more likely to run off compacted soil and won’t sink in as well.
Dethatching your lawn: Getting the dead grass out is important to the health of your lawn. Not only is this a place where bugs can thrive, it will hinder the growth of new grass in the spring. Get the thatch out of your lawn in the fall and you will give your lawn a jump start in the spring.
Planting spring bulbs: What is more beautiful in spring in Wisconsin than a garden full of tulips and daffodils? Planting fresh bulbs in the fall will refresh and make your garden beautiful in the spring.
Raking: Keeping up with raking as the leaves fall from the trees is sometimes hard to do, but so important. Your lawn still needs the rain and sun to stay healthy until the cold weather comes. If you have a layer of leaves on your lawn, it will struggle that much more to survive.
If you want to enjoy the fall and still get your fall clean up done, give Joe Rebout’s Complete Lawn Care and Snow Removal LLC a call at (608) 373-0769. We can make your fall chores easy!
Fall is the perfect time to restore your lawn. The weather has cooled down and there is still enough time to get your new seeds started. The summer can be brutal on the new sprouts. Spring can be wet and difficult to get the work done. Fall is really the ideal time to restore your lawn.
Lawns that have been damaged by drought can take quite a while to restore. You may notice that there are parts of your lawn that have been totally destroyed and may have parts that are patchy. You may also notice that once the rain began again, the patches started turning green again, but not with grass, with weeds. What is the best way to restore your lawn after the drought?
The first thing that will help your lawn is to get that dead thatch out. That dead grass is not going to miraculously come to life. Dead grass is dead. Get it out! All that dead grass will do is attract insects that love to live in that thatch. This is not good for your lawn.
Now is the decision you need to make. Do you want to totally reseed your lawn? Unless you have the time and money to do this properly, you will not likely want to do this. If you have wanted to put in an irrigation system and sod, that will be an expensive venture, but one that would be well worth the effort. Fall is the perfect time to do this. It will give your sod enough time to set roots and enough moisture in the spring to really get a good start. However, if you are like most home owners or commercial enterprises, you don’t want to rip out everything and start over.
So what do you do? We recommend that you plug aerate your lawn and overseed with new grass seed. This breaks up your soil and allows water and air to the roots of the grass that did survive the drought. The hot, dry summer has resulted in your soil to become compacted and hard. The rain that we do get cannot easily soak into the soil. Plug aeration pulls little sections of soil out and lets the rain in.
As you are pulling these little plugs out of your soil to let the nutrients in, what better time than now to put new seed down? These seeds fall into the holes left by the aeration. As the soil plugs break up and fill the holes back in with soil that is now crumbled into wonderfully oxygenated soil, the seeds will be covered naturally. These new seeds will sprout into your existing grass and give new life to your lawn.
With a treatment of fertilizer after the sprouts are big enough to avoid fertilizer burn, will give your lawn restoration a kick. This needs to be timed just right. Too early and you could damage your new grass sprouts. Too late and your grass won’t have enough time to turn the fertilizer into energy to survive the winter.
Depending on how badly damaged your lawn is after the drought you may repeat this process in the spring. Your fall lawn restoration will have had time to get started and grow in. With another lawn aeration and overseeding new grass seed in the spring, you will be able to see your lawn recover from the damage of the drought.
Restoring Your Lawn
How do you restore your lawn after a drought? Many people in the Janesville, Beloit Wisconsin area are asking themselves this after the summer of 2012. The drought and the heat have really taken a toll on lawns in the southern Wisconsin area. Even if you watered your lawn daily, the extreme heat has stressed lawns in our area.
So what do you do to get your lawn back after a drought? How do you actually restore your lawn to what you had before the lack of rain destroyed your lawn?
Lawn care after a drought starts with a major de-thatching. The first step is to remove the dead grass and the best way to do this is to de-thatch your lawn. This does a couple of things for your lawn. It obviously gets rid of the ugly brown, dead blades of grass. It also will help to get rid of the bugs that love to live and eat the dead and decaying grass. It will take that layer of thatch off the grass top so that the ground is more able to absorb the rain when it comes. It will allow the air to get into the grass that you have left and give it space to grow.
The next step is to plug aerate. This summer has been brutal on the soil. The heat and lack of rain has really compacted the soil. It is difficult for the weaken grass roots to grow in compacted soil. Plug aeration will take soil out in little sections. The surrounding soil around these areas will break up and fill in the holes. This lets oxygen into the soil and provides room for the grass roots to grow. This is a critical step in restoring your lawn after the drought.
Finally, overseed your lawn. This should be done right after you plug aerate. This way the grass seeds will fall into the unplugged areas and start new grass. By overseeding your entire lawn after you have aerated, the new grass will be incorporated into your entire lawn. This makes for a more even look when the new grass grows in. It grows over your entire lawn and not just in one spot.
If we are still experience a lack of rain, you must provide a water source to the newly over seeded lawn. Whether you decide it’s finally time to put in a sprinkler system or just put a sprinkler on your lawn, you need to make sure that the new grass gets watered until it is strong enough to survive.
Give Joe Rebout’s Complete Lawn Care and Snow Removal a call to see how we can help restore your lawn after the drought. Contact us at (608) 373-0769.
Looking across your landscaped yard can be relaxing and enjoyable, or deeply frustrating if you see you need to get rid of crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual weed that acts like a perennial in that it returns and grows in the same spot in your yard year after year starting the same spot and overtaking your lawn. It lives just long enough to go to seed then it dies. The new seed sprouts up seeming like it never died off at all.
Crabgrass can be identified by its thick, course growth that seems to radiate out in a circle pressing down surrounding grass to hog the sunlight and grow an ever larger patch. Getting rid of crabgrass requires some diligence and is equal parts prevention and treatment to be successful.
The first thing you need to do is to kill the crabgrass that you currently have. Depending on the time of year there are several different ways to do this. You can reach for the herbicide but lawn experts all suggest this as only a last resort. You can start by dumping boiling water on the crabgrass patch or digging out the patch with a shovel or hoe. Either way put a nice healthy scoop of compost on top of it. This will both smooth out any holes as well as burn off any crabgrass seeds that may be around.
Next is to treat your lawn in the prevention of future crabgrass. Just mow your lawn down to the lowest setting on your mower. If your grass is currently very long you may want to do this in a couple of stages over a couple of weeks so as to not damage your good, healthy grass. Next spread some pre-emergent fertilizer. This will nourish your current grass will preventing the growth of future crabgrass. Do this again every spring and fall. When the Forsythia bush is in bloom is the time to put your pre-emergent down. You can do this with or without fertilizer, but as long as you are going to do the work, why not feed the rest of your lawn?
If you see new tufts of crabgrass start to emerge either pull them out by hand or use the steps above followed by the compost to burn out new seeds. Also make sure you seed your lawn for new grass as suggested after the pre-emergent time limit has expired. Putting new grass seed down will be futile as the pre-emergent doesn’t know the difference between crab grass and good grass seed. It will prevent all grass seed from sprouting. It is important to seed your lawn with new grass seed to encourage the growth of the healthy grass variety that you want in your yard.
After your have spread out both the pre-emergent fertilizer and waited the recommended time, you can then followed by the grass seed, water it deeply.. Allow your grass to grow up tall and thick so that it can now choke out any crabgrass that may sprout up.
Following these steps will work to remove the crab grass from your lawn. In a matter of just a season or two your lawn will be smooth and crabgrass free. Getting rid of crabgrass is not easy and requires diligence over time to thoroughly remove.
If you have nothing but crabgrass you may want to consider putting on a herbicide and starting all over again. Or there is always the option to sod your lawn for an instant lawn.
Fertilizing your lawn in Janesville is pretty much the same are other areas in Wisconsin for the most part. The early pre–emergent herbicide for crabgrass control may be a little earlier than other places in Wisconsin due to our microclimate. The best clue of when to put down your crabgrass control is the Forsythia bush. If that beautiful yellow flowering bush is in bloom, then you know it’s time for your crab grass control. This could be as early as late March or into April. Only apply this to an established lawn. If you are seeding, the pre-emergent will also prevent your grass seed from sprouting.
For the rest of the season, think of your holidays as lawn feeding time.
Memorial Day – Time to put down fertilizer and perhaps an herbicide for broadleaf weed control. The best defense is a strong, healthy lawn. However, you don’t want to give those dandelions a chance in your beautiful lawn.
4th of July – Celebrate Independence Day by giving your lawn another feeding of slow release nitrogen. This may also be the time to put down grub control to prevent those nasty Japanese Beetles from establishing a home for their grubs under your turf. They love lush well kept turf, so an ounce of prevention in this case is a good idea. Please apply this after you have had your cookout in your lawn. You will want to avoid playing in the area for the recommended time.
Labor Day – It’s once again time to labor in your lawn. Be careful to not apply fertilizer or weed control if the conditions are not right. If it is hot and dry, you may need to wait until it rains or if you have watered your lawn throughout the summer, you may just need to wait until it is not scorching hot. This is again a good time for broadleaf control.
Halloween – It’s time to scare those weeds if you have any left. A good slow release fertilizer will give your lawn a good feeding and help it to survive the winter. If you add a broadleaf herbicide you will get those dandelions as they are sucking the energy down into the roots for the winter. If you only do a weed control once a year, this is the time. The herbicide will be sucked down into the roots and will be more likely to destroy the weed for good.
Consult a professional lawn care expert if you have any questions about the care recommended for your lawn. If you are experience specific problems you may need a regimen tailored to your needs.
Early spring is the time to assess the damage that old man winter has done to your landscape. The late snows in spring of 2012 were wet and heavy. There was damage to pine trees and bushes with the heavy weight of the snow. This damage should be removed in order for new growth to occur.
Winter road maintenance can also take a toll on your lawn when the municipal plows come by. The plows push salt and heavy snow into your yard, causing problem areas. These areas need to be assessed to see what repairs need to be made. Getting on these problems quickly can give you a head start on the repair.
Now is the time to look at you’re your trees and what trimming is necessary. The time to trim is before the sap starts running. Also to give your trees and bushes time to heal before the bugs get out in full force. Be careful if you are trimming spring flowering trees or bushes. You don’t want to trim off this year’s flowers. If you shape a lilac bush in the spring, you will cut off all your flowers as they are already set to bloom.
If you are looking for a lawn care service to help you out this season, early spring is the best time to call. We are switching gears from winter maintenance to summer lawn care maintenance. Getting on the schedule early will assure you that your lawn maintenance needs will be taken care of. Give Joe Rebout’s Complete Lawn Care and Snow Removal, LLC at 608-373-0769 to discuss your lawn care needs.
Spring in Wisconsin is beautiful and summer in Wisconsin is a great time to play. Let us worry about your lawn care needs and go out and enjoy the wonderful Wisconsin seasons.
Winter is over and within three weeks of good weather, the grass begins to turn green and grow. Improving upon and maintaining that green growth is the goal of most gardeners. Here are some lawn care tips to help you achieve a lush green lawn throughout the growing season.
Look to your soil: Without the right soil, you cannot achieve a decent lawn. The soil ideally needs to be a loamy mix of sand, clay and silt to support good growth. If there is too much of any one of these there will be problems. Clay that is overly heavy will cause water and nutrients to sit on the surface and not be absorbed. It can cut off oxygen to the roots killing the plant. Sand can be added in to offset the clay. Too sandy a soil will dry out rapidly and not hold moisture for your grass. This can be corrected by adding in some organic matter such as compost.
Check the pH of your soil with a tester. It needs to be slightly acidic which will show a test level between 6.5 and 7. You can add sulphur to make it more acidic or lime to reduce the acidity. Further testing can be done at your garden center or local extension to determine if you need other additives.
Aeration will help to improve the soil by allowing oxygen and nutrients into the soil which in turn supports the lawn. Grass naturally builds up a thatch from grasses that extend into each other as they grow. This needs to be broken up and can be done with an aerating tool or by a professional landscaper. Aerating should be done at least once a year so that roots go deep rather than staying on the surface.
Another way to encourage deep root growth is to not water more than once a week and then do a deep watering. Usually this is about one inch of water at a time. You can use a water gauge of put a cup or a tuna can where it can catch the water for a measurement. Grass should be dry and compress easily before watering.
Choose grasses that are suited to your area. It is more difficult to fight your climate and circumstances than to start with a grass that adapts easily to your situation. A poorly chosen grass may never establish itself well and may always require considerable care. Check with your gardening center or a professional landscaper when choosing grasses. It is better to pay a higher price for seed or sod and know that you will have a good start.
Throughout the growing season, mowing should be done on a regular basis, but the grass is better kept longer than mowed too short. With most grasses, about three inches or a little longer is a good height. Maintaining this height will help shade and oxygenate the grass, helping to avoid erosion and exposure of the roots. At the end of the fall season the lawn can be mowed down to about two inches for the winter.
Following these lawn care tips can make your lawn healthier and beautiful.
Your yard care after the winter begins with cleanup, which usually means raking off the dead matter and if necessary, dethatching.
Once this is done you will want to use a pre-emergent herbicide like corn meal gluten which contains a small amount of fertilizer to help deepen the green of the lawn. This will help stop the growth of weeds by preventing the germination of any seeds that may have blown into your yard or be left over from the previous year. Do not put it on areas that were bare and have just been freshly seeded or you will not get any new grass. It does stop the growth of all seeds.
Many people think they need to jump into spring lawn fertilizing, but early spring is not the ideal time of year to put nutrients into the soil. You want to wait until late May, so as not to over stimulate the early growth. Applying fertilizer too early will actually weaken the grass because of too much top growth. The growing plants will naturally be putting down new roots to absorb what they need from the soil. This is what you want. The deeper the roots, the plusher your grass will be. Once the temperatures are up and the soil is warm you can apply what you need to create a lush, green lawn.
It is better to focus on the condition of the soil, before applying any fertilizer. No amount of fertilizer can make up for a poor soil. You need to make sure you are giving the soil what it needs to help the plants flourish.
If the soil is too acidic or alkaline it will need to be adjusted to help the grass grow properly. Natural ways to correct too high of an acid content is to spread dolomitic limestone also known as magnesium limestone. Too much can neutralize the soil. If your soil is highly acidic it is better to do this in two applications over two different seasons, like one in the spring and one in the fall, rather than overdo. You want the soil to be slightly acidic.
Most soils tend to be alkaline. Years of toxic fertilizers and rain waters running off and leaching out the soil cause alkalinity. An alkaline soil can be improved by adding gypsum. This will also help break down compacted soils and increase water absorption. You can use soil sulphur, but you will need to mix in some iron to help the plants absorb what they need.
Lawns need a healthy mix of nutrients to grow properly. Mowing the lawn and leaving the clippings to decompose will also help fertilize the yard naturally. Later in spring you can add organic matter to help build the soil. Many of these mixtures are available at your local gardening center or through a lawn care professional. Treat your lawn right and you will enjoy a deep, green lush yard throughout the growing months.
Dethatching Your Lawn is an Important Part of Lawn Care
Thatching is a normal part of lawn growth. Some thatch is healthy but too much chokes off growth, keeps moisture from penetrating and creates lawn problems. Too heavy of thatch occurs when grasses begin extending new growth faster than the break down of the old growth, often trapping accumulations of dead matter. The surface growth extends between grasses creating a thick mat.
Some gardeners recommend that you dethatch and aerate your lawn at least once a year. Much depends on the type of grass and the care it has had. Some grasses are more prone to thatching than others. You may have to dethatch more or less often depending on which type you have. Rye grasses are less prone to thatching than other grasses.
You will know if your lawn needs dethatching as it will have a spongy or bouncy feel when you walk across it. If the area between grass blades has an intertwined growth of a half inch or more, then it needs dethatching.You can check it by cutting out a plug and seeing how much growth there is between the surface and the soil area. If the thatch is 1/2 inch or more thick, it is time to dethatch.
Generally, the best time of year for this is in the mid spring or early fall. You do not want to dethatch when weed seeds are germinating or you will spread them throughout your lawn. It is important to dethatch while the grass is still growing so it has time to recover before the heat of summer or the winter cold.
Sometimes a build up of thatch can due to errors in the care of the lawn. When watered too frequently, lawns will not put down deep roots and will tend to start putting out growth on the surface. This creates more thatch than normal. Application of too much nitrogen can increase rapid growth of grasses causing excessive thatching. Insecticides and fungicides can destroy natural microbes in the soil needed to break down decaying matter. They can also kill earthworms which are needed to help aerate the soil.
Compacted soils, soils with heavy clay content and poor drainage can also cause heavy thatching. Water sitting on the surface will cause the roots to stay shallow and growth to stay on the surface of the lawn. Aeration, proper drainage, and adding some sand to clay soils can improve this condition. Where drainage is a problem, as near downspouts, a french drain can be installed or a garden area can be landscaped with plants that can absorb large amounts of water.
You can accomplish dethatching your lawn with a rake and a lot of hard work, but if you have a large yard this can be physically demanding. There are special dethatching rakes. You can also use a dethatching machine. Usually these are available through rental companies. There is a dethatching blade which can be used on a lawnmower, but this won’t do a complete job. Call Joe Rebout’s complete Lawn care and Snow Removal at (608) 373-0769 and we will take care of all your lawn care needs including dethatching.