4 Ways to Make Your Lawn Work for You This Year

make your lawn work for you

“I’m tired, I’m thirsty, these weeds are bothering me, I don’t feel like growing in this spot—it’s too shady, hot, wet….” Do you ever feel like you’re a full time employee for your lawn? You work hard, you spend time and money to control the constant nagging of your turf, and sometimes there’s nothing to show for the service you give to your lawn.

We’ve compiled a list to turn the turf in your favor. Stop working for your lawn; below are four ways to make your lawn work for you, so you can sit back and relax.

Replace the M with a B

Be the boss of your moss, not the employee. Many people spend lots of time and energy trying to control moss on their lawns. Try to work with your lawn, not against it. Instead of worrying about how to control moss, replace it with mulch, hostas, or another shade-loving plant. Be wary when you spread fertilizer—moss loves to grow in the cracks and crevices where fertilizer collects on hardscapes.

Let The Weather Do The Watering

make your lawn work for you

Installing a rain barrel can save you money and take care of your flowers at the same time. Rain water can also help stabilize the pH in soil, creating better growing conditions for your plants. In addition, collecting it can divert water away from your foundation and prevent unwanted runoff. It’s a win-win-win.

*Be sure to check your local laws and regulations; some governments/municipalities claim rainwater belongs to them, not your 50 gallon drum.

*Don’t use rainwater on edible plants if your roof has been treated with zinc or anti-algae chemicals.

Mow the Right Way

make you lawn work for you

You may think that mowing shorter means you have to do it less often, but that’s just asking for trouble. Don’t ever take off more than a third of the total grass length. Mowing regularly is a great way to ensure your turf grows thicker. Keep the mower deck high to keep your grass healthy and the weeds at bay. You can get away with mowing shorter in autumn, when there is less sunlight available for your lawn. You should also vary your mowing pattern: mow east to west one week, north to south the next.

Let It Reign

make your lawn work for you

Exercise your newfound power over your lawn to take matters into your own hands. By following a specific water regime—letting it rain—you can encourage healthy lawn growth. Watering longer and infrequently is preferred over light and frequent watering. A good soaking encourages deep penetration and saturation. This watering method also encourages roots to reach deeper for a drink when they need it, which leads to a healthier lawn. If the lawn gets a small sip every day, the roots won’t penetrate to get the water since it’s on the surface, resulting in a shallow root structure and a lawn less likely to recover from damage. Don’t water during the peak sunlight hours, stick to early morning if you can.

If you have any questions about how to follow these tips or would like some help beautifying your lawn, make sure to contact your local Spring-Green —our lawn care professionals will give you the peace of mind that your lawn is in good hands. We’ll become the full-time employee for your lawn, and we know just what the boss wants. Now you can relax and laze away your Sundays!

5 Tips to Controlling Moss In Your Lawn

Moss in your lawn

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you are all too familiar with the annual battle to control moss in your lawn. The long periods of cool damp weather that the area is known for sets up the perfect climate for moss development. It is generally a problem in the spring, but it can persist and grow throughout the remainder of the year if environmental conditions are conductive for its growth.

Moss can be a problem throughout the US, not just in Washington or Oregon. Here are 5 best practices that will reduce moss growth in your lawn:

Eliminate shade

One of the best ways to control moss is to improve the amount of sun that reaches the turf. Consider pruning trees and shrubs to increase sunlight penetration.

Improve drainage

This can be accomplished by adding a bioswale or a rain garden to catch stormwater runoff.

Water deeply and infrequently

Over watering is a great way to increase moss growth as well as several types of algae. Allow your lawn to dry out before applying any more water.

Mow high

Mowing short will reduce the vigor and growth of most home lawns. The grass blade is the food producing part of the plant. The shorter it is, the less food will be produced, which in turn will lead to a weaker plant. Weak plants cannot out-compete moss.

Fertilize properly

Except for Centipedegrass, most lawns require anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of turf per year. Check with your County Extension office for the recommended amount to apply to your lawn on an annual basis.

There are several approaches to controlling moss, potassium salts or sulfate products such as ferrous sulfate or ammonium sulfate. There are also herbicides that will control certain types of moss. Look for products that contains carfentrazone as one of its main ingredients. Be sure to read and follow all label directions when using any of these products.

moss in your lawn

Consider having your soil tested. Most County Extension offices offer this service at a low cost, usually less than $20. If the pH of the soil is too low (acid), the addition of lime may help reduce the amount of moss by encouraging better turf growth through improved nutrient utilization by roots of the turfgrasses.

Core aeration will also help by reducing compaction and will help the turf roots to grow and expand. Keep in mind that it is especially a good idea to plant grass seed that is shade tolerant if the area has a good deal of shade.

Finally, it is important to understand that if there is too much shade, grass will not grow well. The area may need to be replanted with shade tolerant ground covers or perennials. Most grasses need about 70% sunlight during the day to grow well. There are a few turf grass types that will tolerate a little more shade, but it is sometimes easier to stop fighting the battle and change to ground covers or hostas.

To find out more about moss and ways to control it, contact your Neighborhood Lawn Care Professional at Spring-Green.

Don’t Let Drought Stress Overtake Your Lawn!

drought stress

With high temperatures and humidity during the summer months, drought will have most visible impact on lawns and landscapes. Lawns will often turn brown and without proper mowing and watering, your lawn may suffer from heat stress. Learning how you can green up your grass and tips to recover your lawn from drought will help it survive in time for fall and winter dormancy.

Symptoms of Drought Damage On Lawn

Purpling, also known as moisture stress, are the beginning stages of drought which causes the grass to turn a slight purple-like hue. The most noticeable impact of heat stress on a lawn is the brown appearance. The brown area becomes almost straw-like, entering a state of dormancy and will remain so until it gets a sufficient amount of water.  It’s also important avoid walking over the damaged area as the grass plant will not spring back up from any foot traffic on the lawn. Excess thatch layers in the lawn will experience drought stress quicker. Core Aeration will help in the fall to rejuvenate and get the lawn healthy again.

Treatment for Drought Stressed Grass

Watering

If mother nature does not bring any rain, watering the lawn will be beneficial. It’s important to replace lost moisture in a lawn, as water
weakness gives lawn diseases an easy entry. Lawns need at least 1 inch of water per week. If you cannot water your lawn one inch or more per week, you may consider getting an irrigation system to make sure your lawn and landscape is getting the necessary amounts of water at a time.

A grass plant will enter into dormancy as a defense mechanism. It shuts down all of the essential process, which is mainly the top growth, in an effort to keep the crown and root system alive. As long as the crown is alive, the plant will survive (up to 3 weeks) even if the top growth has all turned brown. You can water less if you mow high. It may take a little while to get used to, but your lawn will look better and you will use less water keeping it looking its best.

Mowing

Hot temperatures will often result in people wanting to mow short to avoid having to mow it frequently. Mowing short will actually remove the food producing part of the grass plant and will make your lawn turn brown. During the summer you want to mow high to conserve water and shade the soil.

Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 2 ½ to 3 inches from the first mowing in the spring until the end of the year. The lawn will be greener, healthier and more weed free. If this rule is followed. If you have been mowing your lawn short, by all means raise it up to the highest or second highest setting. For those who live in the Transition Zone, you should be mowing your Tall Fescue at a minimum of 3 inches. For those in the warm-season areas, Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede may be mowed at around 1 ½, but Centipede grass grows much better when it is mowed high, at least 3 inches in height.

Adding lawn treatment and fertilizer should be pushed back if your lawn is suffering from heat stress. Although drought damage is unsightly, it is temporary until temperatures begin to cool down approaching fall. Keeping in mind best practices for mowing and watering will help your lawn recover and avoid further damage. Your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green can provide further information and recommendations to keep your lawn green and healthy during the hot summer months.

Smart Sprinkler Systems: Upgrade Today to Save Money and Water

sprinkler system tips

Saving water should be everyone’s concern. Water is a limited resource and its availability is becoming a greater concern every year. Unfortunately, as homeowners, we don’t think about water usage as frequently as we should. We turn on the faucet and water comes out, we turn on our garden hose or sprinkler system and water our lawns and landscapes without hesitation – Everything is good!

Being smart about how much water we use is going to become a greater issue in the future. This is especially true when it comes to watering your lawn or landscape. It is estimated that outside water usage can reach 70% of the total water used during certain months of the year. We want our lawns to be green and our landscapes and gardens to flourish. Being green is a good thing and growing healthy plants is good for the environment, but you may be using more water than necessary to keep your lawn and landscape green and healthy—that’s where smart sprinkler systems come into play.

How Do Smart Sprinkler Systems Work?

If you have a sprinkler system, you should have an automated irrigation controller. Most of these have a season adjust or water adjust feature to allow you to cut back on water at certain times of the year. Try decreasing watering by 10 % and then wait a week or two to see if your lawn or landscape becomes stressed. If not, you were over watering. Try reducing it by another 10% and see what happens. If parts of your lawn show signs of drought stress, but other parts of the lawn look okay, then you may have a problem with sprinkler uniformity, which is compounding the problem.

Investing in a new controller that has water-smart features or installing rain gauges and moisture sensors will quickly pay for themselves. These smart sprinkler systems are designed to automatically determine how much water your lawn and plants need and irrigate accordingly without wasting water. Rain gauges are also helpful to shut the system off when it rains. Even if you only replace your current controller with one that has water smart technology will help. Then, over time, add moisture sensors and rain gauges to become even more efficient.

Saving water should be everyone’s concern. Do your part and upgrade your sprinkler system. You will save money and water, which is a win-win.

Water Conservation Strategies

Irrigation_675x265

Dwindling supply, higher costs and eventually governmental regulations have led to innovative products to help homeowners conserve water and save money at the same time. Have you ever witnessed a lawn sprinkler system running in the middle of a rain storm? It’s one of those sightings that causes you to scratch your head and wonder how someone could be so wasteful. Well, back in the day when control options were limited, there were few irrigation system accessories that were both affordable and efficient. Thankfully that time has passed, and today homeowners have several options to serve their interests in maintaining a healthy lawn and landscape without wasteful use of water.

Today we have irrigation system accessories like rain sensors and moisture sensors that come in both hardwired and wireless technologies. Rain sensors are now capable of not only detecting the presence of rain and signaling the sprinklers to shut down, some are sophisticated enough to work in combination with a smart controller to monitor weather conditions and make adjustments accordingly. Rain sensors are typically mounted on the eves of a home in a location that receives unobstructed exposure to rainfall. Moisture sensors have the added capacity to monitor the presence of moisture in the soil and override the irrigation schedule programmed into the controller when adequate moisture is available to support the needs of grass and ornamental plants.

In a recent article appearing in Irrigation and Green Industry magazine, Brian Muller marketing manager for new product development at Rain Bird Corporation, is quoted as stating “The savings typically associated with a rain sensor is about 30%, versus an irrigation controller that is just a timer, doing schedule-based irrigation. A soil moisture sensor gives you about 45% water savings against a schedule-based controller.” “So if you install both a rain sensor and a soil moisture sensor on the same controller, you can save up to 70%.” That’s pretty clear evidence that water conservation is achievable with today’s irrigation system technologies.

But it’s not as simple as install it and forget it. Rain sensors do require an annual check to be sure the system is functioning properly and if you have a wireless device the batteries should be replaced annually to ensure uninterrupted performance. On the other hand, soil moisture sensors may only need to be relocated as the landscape matures to ensure good performance.