Everything to Know About Thatch

thatch

Lawn thatch is a term you may have heard thrown around, or maybe you’ve even seen it up close a few times, but how much do you truly know about it? The lawn care pros at Spring-Green have compiled a guide to help you get schooled up on thatch. Everything you need to know has been gathered up in this easy-to-read format so you can get your overview quickly and then return to your busy life. Of course, we’re here for you to help you with any and all your lawn care needs related to thatch or otherwise.

Lawn Thatch 101

So, What Exactly Is Thatch? Thatch is a mix of dead and living plant matter that typically forms at the base of your grass, right at the point where the grass stems meet the soil. Some popular types of grasses are more likely to experience thatch buildup than others. It’s common for grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, Bermudagrass, and creeping fescues to get thick thatch that requires dethatching. On the other hand, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass rarely have thatch problems.

What Causes Thatch? Normally, organic matter, such as small grass clippings or mulched leaves, breaks down quickly. However, sometimes these materials and others can go too slowly, causing a buildup layer that leads to thatch growth.

Should I Be Worried If I See Thatch in My Lawn? A common question homeowners have is whether thatch is good or bad for their grass or plants. The answer is – it depends. If the thatch layers grow beyond one inch of thickness, they become barriers to the health of your lawn and plant life. Thick thatch can block the needed water and fertilizer from reaching grass roots leaving your lawn and plants vulnerable to heat and stress. As you continue to water your thatch covered lawn, the irrigation can trap moisture, creating a breeding ground for disease and insects.

How Do I Get Rid of Thatch? If your lawn’s thatch has grown to over two inches of thickness, you may call in the professionals to get rid of it. Excessive thatch removal has to be done gently to avoid damage the roots of your grass. If your thatch has not gotten overly thick, you may be able to take care of it yourself.  You can dethatch your lawn in three ways:

  1. Dethatching Rakes – Manual dethatching rakes are one option to get rid of the thatch in your lawn. These special rakes have curved blades that can be used to dig into your lawn and pull up thatch. These are good for small dethatching areas and for general maintenance of small areas.
  • Power Rakes – A power rake is another option if you have a larger area to dethatch. Power rakes are similar to a push mower but have rotating devices that pull out the thatch. Power rakes are a good choice for lawns with thinner thatch layers and tough grass that can take the powerful removal of thatch.
  • Vertical Mowers – Verticutters, also referred to as a vertical mower, are a third option in the DIY thatch removal effort. They have vertical blades sharp enough to dig down through the thatch layer to pull out the thatch forcefully. The downside is they often pull out the grass as well. Verticutters are a good option if you are completely overhauling your lawn.
thatch raking

Can I Prevent Thatch from Popping Up? While there is no fool-proof way to prevent thatch from occurring, there are a few steps to take to prevent it.

  • Keeping an eye on your lawn’s soil pH balance, for example. Lawns with low soil pH are more prone to thatch.
  • Another common factor to thatch overgrowth is too much fertilizer or using products with too much pesticide.
  • One final tip is to monitor the thatch growth and deal with it at its beginning stages. If left too long, the thatch becomes harder to remove and the damage to the grass becomes more significant.

Are There Special Steps I Should Take After I Dethatch? When you finish your dethatching work, be sure to rake up all thatch debris and water your dethatched lawn thoroughly. This is also an ideal time to seed your lawn, now that you’ve cleared the space for new, healthy growth. As a preventative maintenance step, you can also start to test your soil to ensure its pH is at optimal levels.

Spring-Green, the lawn care leader since 1977, can help you determine the why, when and how around dethatching your lawn. We’ll help you get your lawn back on track and then provide the guidance to keep it there.  Count on our team of pros to help you enjoy a beautiful, healthy lawn – thatch-free.

Get in touch with a Spring-Green pro today.

Animal Hibernation in My Lawn: Should I Care?

bunnies

From rabbits and raccoons to skunks and other critters, you likely have animals hibernating in your neighborhood at this very moment and they’re about to wake up. The question is: should you even care? Are these hibernating animals simply a part of our ecosystem that we should live and let live with, or are they posing a threat to the health and wellbeing of our lawns? This is a common concern of home and business owners worried about keeping their outdoor landscapes looking good (and healthy) all year long.

The good news is, Spring-Green, America’s neighborhood lawn care specialists, has all the information you need to understand hibernation patterns, how to prevent damage to your lawn during this time, and what to expect when the seasons change. So, let’s get started in learning about animal hibernation and protecting our lawns from animal-related damage from winter.

What You Need-to-Know About Animal Hibernation and Your Lawn

  • When, What, Why, and How Do Animals Hibernate? Rabbits, raccoons, skunks, and most insects are the more common animals that can be found hibernating near an average homeowner’s lawn each winter. It’s an interesting thing this hibernation and the way Mother Nature helps animals survive winter. Here’s how it works:
raccoon

During the winter months, many animals go into hibernation in order to conserve energy during the harshest season. During hibernation, their body temperature falls, their metabolism, heart rate, and breathing slows, and their fat stores are only used to perform essential functions, such as breathing. With an internal clock that “wakes them up” just in time for warmer seasons, hibernation naturally comes to an end in Spring and Summer. Hibernation lengths vary based on the species and location but range from three to six months on average.

  • How Do Animals Impact My Yard When They Go into/Wake Up From Hibernation? Now that we’ve gotten schooled on the details of hibernation, let’s get at the real question – how does all this impact my lawn, trees, and shrubs? While the phenomenon of hibernation makes for interesting reading, it can wreak havoc on winter and spring lawns. The types of animals that hibernate in your neighborhood will vary by region, and some are more destructive than others. Here are a few examples of the types of damage that can occur…
    • Digging Holes in The Lawn – This is the most common issue caused by animals that hibernate as they feed on grubs or other insects before resting for the winter.
    • Burrowing in the Lawn – Burrows can cause many problems, including damage to the lawn, and are typically caused by groundhogs and woodchucks as they prepare for winter hibernation.
baby skunk
  • How to Reduce Animal Damage? Coyote urine is a deterrent for keeping raccoons and skunks at bay. Gardeners also have luck by adding netting around the perimeter of their lawn to keep these rodents at bay. Deer can be kept away with a store-bought deer repellant, especially applied to blooming tulips or other tasty plants. Some people hang bars of very fragrant soap around the plants that deer like to feed on during the winter, such as arbor vitae, to keep away the deer.

If you’re unsure how to rid your lawn of unwanted pests or of what’s causing damage to your trees, shrubs, and plants, you always have a team of lawn care professionals standing by to assist, at Spring-Green. Contact our team to help you determine the cause of the problem and develop a plan of action to keep your lawn healthy all year long.

Contact a Spring-Green Lawn Care Pro Today!

Deer Damage – Protect Your Landscape This Winter

Deer are beautiful animals and a sight to behold when discovered in nature. They can also be pesky unwanted visitors to your garden, causing damage to your lawn, plants and even your property. Discouraging deer from getting comfortable in your lawn is shrouded in tales, tips and myth; some that hold true, and some that are a true waste of time. In this guide, we’ll unpack the tips you need to follow to keep deer away from your lawn and prevent them from damaging your outdoor sanctuary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Preventing Deer Damage

1. Are my plants attracting deer? The answer is likely, yes. In fact, most of the time that homeowners or business owners experience issues with attracting deer, and the resulting damage they can cause, is related to the plants and flowers. Some examples of trees, shrubs, and plants that deer love include Blackberry, Spicebush, Juniper, Hawthorn, Flowering Dogwood, Fruit trees and Rhododendrons. Flowering plants that attract deer include Asters, Clover, Sunflowers, Verbena, Wild Strawberry and Geraniums.

2. Are there smells that can repel deer? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is you can either make your own or purchase deer repellent sprays to keep deer away from your lawn. Both store-bought and homemade options may work as deer have a strong sense of smell and use it as a form of protection from danger. Lemon balm, for example, is an excellent deer repellent that leaves a fragrance that is pleasing to most humans.

3. Do DIY deer repellents work? Keeping deer away from your garden doesn’t have to drain your savings. In fact, there are many do-it-yourself tricks you can whip up to keep deer damage under control.  You might even be able to keep deer away from your plants and trees with ingredients you already have in your home:

  • Option 1: Homemade Deer Repellent Recipe – One cup of milk, One egg, One tablespoon cooking oil, One tablespoon liquid dish soap, Four cups of water, One gallon jug, Spray bottle
  • Option 2: Red Pepper Deer Repellent Recipe – One gallon of water, Three tablespoons red pepper flakes, Two teaspoons liquid Castile soap, Spray bottle
  • Option 3: Coffee grounds that offer many additional benefits, including fertilizing the soil and repelling other unwanted pests and animals, not only deer.

You can make these homemade deer repellent compounds that are environmentally friendly and safe right in your own backyard, and rest assured that you won’t harm the deer but will keep them out of your yard. Simply create whichever option you choose and apply generously to the edges of your yard. Reapply several times a month to keep deer away.

4. Can I plant something to keep deer away? To deter deer from getting comfortable in your yard, plant grasses and shrubs that are bitter, spiny, or potent. Deer avoid eating foul-smelling and bitter-tasting plants such as sages and herbs. Especially focus on planting these deer-deterrent plants around the perimeter of your yard.

5. Do electronic deer repellents work? Electronic deer repellents are ultrasonic devices that emit sounds at wavelengths only animals can hear. The results are mixed regarding the effectiveness of these devices, and they can be expensive as compared to other deer prevention options. Especially in suburban areas, deer quickly learn to tune out noises that are not a true threat to them.

Deer are beautiful animals, no doubt. Who doesn’t love Bambi, right? But, when it comes to your beautiful lawn and landscape that has taken you years to perfect, deer damage is something to avoid at all costs. You may, without even trying, be attracting deer just by planting plants they love and not taking some simple actions to keep them at bay. From deer resistant plants to deer repellent tricks, there are a multitude of ways to keep deer out of your yard.

deer yard

At Spring-Green, we like to eliminate the guesswork for our customers and lend our expertise to help them find the easiest way to achieve their goals. These tips for preventing deer damage can help you protect your outdoor landscape, but, of course, the pros at Spring-Green are here if you need more consultation. For more tips on how to prevent deer damage or repair damage from deer, contact Spring-Green today.

Seedheads Developing on Cool Season Grasses

Some customers get worried when they see little seedheads covering their lawns, usually starting around the middle of May when sunlight reaches 12 hours a day. It is a natural process of the grass to produce seed, and fertilizing and proper mowing practices will help keep the lawn healthy.

The seedheads are forming on tiny stalks that the grass plant sends up. Depending on its abundance, the seedheads can make the lawn look pale. Once the stalks are mowed, which don’t cut as easily as grass blades, they may shred and give the lawn an almost white appearance.

Seedhead development usually occurs on cool season grasses such as Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue during this time of year. Annual bluegrass (Poa Annua) produce seedheads earlier in the spring and sometimes in the fall.

seedheads

Tips For Lawns Forming Seedheads

Continue mowing at 2½ to 3 inches, but you may have to mow more often. Be sure to keep a sharp mower blade and mow high. It is not recommended to mow short or lower the mower blade to remove or reduce seedheads. It takes extra energy to produce them so your lawn may look a little pale for a couple of weeks, but it will recover. The old seed stalks will break off and will decompose into the lawn.

Unless the seedheads can ripen for about 4 months, the seed will not germinate in the lawn or, if you compost your clippings, in your compost pile. Be sure to continue your fertilization program and provide an inch of water per week as we move into the warm summer months.

Keep in mind that seedhead development is a natural process, but with proper lawn care practices you can minimize their impact. If you have any questions, contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green.

Are Spring-Green Lawn Care Services Safe for Pets?

pets lawn care safety

A general concern that comes up every year is if the pesticides we use are safe for pets and children. The majority of the pesticide products Spring-Green uses are considered “General Use” and can be purchased and used by homeowners.

Spring-Green will post every treated lawn and leave instructions to stay off the lawn until the application has dried. While the drying time is influenced by weather, in most cases, keeping pets and children off the treated area for 2 hours after the application is a good practice and recommended. After the drying time, your pets and kids can enjoy the yard!

Always check the invoice left at the time of the application for any other specific information.

Protecting Pollinators

We appreciate your concern for bees and that dandelions are a food source of bees. For the majority of lawns that we service, dandelions or other flowering weeds that may be food for bees, are usually not found in large numbers. For those that are present, we will apply a weed control application on a spot treatment basis.

A great way to support pollinators is by adding diverse flowering plants in your yard that bloom from early spring to late fall. You can also make your own hummingbird nectar by mixing 1 part sugar with 4 parts water, and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present.

There are a certain number of lawns that do have an extensive weed problem when they begin our service and this situation requires that the entire lawn to be treated. There are an abundance of flowering weeds in parks, vacant lots, commercial sites and residential lawns that provide food for bees and other pollinators.

The weed control products that we use are labelled for residential use by the US EPA and we adhere to those label directions. When properly applied by licensed and trained applicators, they pose no unreasonable risk to the environment.

Spring-Green Lawn Care Has Over 40 Years of Experience

Spring-Green has over 40 years of experience in applying pesticides. We require appropriate protective equipment when making applications to lawns and/or landscapes and all our Field Service Professionals are trained and appropriately licensed to apply these pesticides.

Each pesticide we use is registered for use on residential properties by the Environmental Protection Agency. The registration process can take up to 10 years to complete and may cost $100 million or more before it is available for residential use. Additionally, each pesticide must be reviewed once every 15 years. The EPA considers the effects these products have on pets, humans and the environment during the initial registration process and during each review process.

In summary, the products that Spring-Green uses are registered for use on residential properties as determined by the US EPA and when applied based on label requirements by a licensed and trained applicator, pose no unreasonable risk to humans, pets or to the environment. Spring-Green offers the highest quality service in an environmentally responsible manner. Spring-Green also offers an Organic-Based Fertilizer program that introduces organic materials into your soil.

If you have any additional questions, contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green or submit your question to our lawn care expert on the left side bar.

Happy National Lawn Care Month – We’ve Got All The Tips!

national lawn care month

It’s April. It’s spring. The temps are rising, the birds are chirping and it’s National Lawn Care Month! At Spring-Green, we love April for all these reasons, and we want to spread our love of the lawn with you with some fun facts and interesting tips to celebrate.

In Honor of National Lawn Care Month: 3 Ways Our Lawns Make Our Lives Better

1. They protect us from ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and fire ants. A lawn treated with safe and environmentally-friendly pest control products will protect your family’s health. If left untreated, we could be exposed to the diseases and discomfort that these pests can cause, such as:

  • Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other diseases can be transmitted via tick bites.
  • West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Chikungunya and the Zika virus are all linked to mosquito bites from infected mosquitoes.
  • Anemia-causing tapeworms, as well as murine typhus, have been traced to flea bites.
  • Life-threatening allergic reactions, more than just a painful nuisance, are linked to fire ant bites.

2. They make us happier. Our lives are enriched by having green spaces around us, and the science backs up this assertion. In fact, a study put out by Housley and Wolf showed that just by looking (even through a window) out at plants, trees and green lawn, we can reduce our stress levels and lower our blood pressure – not to mention the endless hours of fun the kids have playing tag on hot summer evenings! A green environment has also been shown to improve focus and memory. Greener neighborhoods also tend to have lower crime rates. Coincidence, we think not.

3. They make us healthier. Keeping your lawn properly mowed can keep us healthier by reducing the effects of seasonal allergies. The pollen in grasses is produced at the tips of the top of the blades. By keeping your lawn maintained at a height of about two inches, you’ll help the allergy sufferers in your family avoid the pollen that makes them miserable. Just a few of many reasons, we celebrate National Lawn Care Month.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Lawn Care This National Lawn Care Month (And All Year Long):

Do mow often, but don’t mow too short.
Do use fertilizer to control weeds, but don’t use harsh chemicals.
Do stick to a watering schedule. Don’t overwater.
Do cut your lawn at the right time of day, but don’t cut it if it’s wet.
Do adjust your lawn care plans based on the season. Don’t forget about clearing away debris, leaves and branches regularly.
Do learn what things make sense for you to do yourself. Don’t hesitate to bring in an experienced lawn care professional to help you with your lawn care.

While National Lawn Care Month is top of mind in April of every year, it’s top of our minds here at Spring-Green all year long. We understand just how important, and sometimes challenging, it can be to have and maintain a lawn care regimen. That’s why we’re here.

In fact, for over 20 years, we’ve been perfecting ways to help home and business owners enjoy beautiful lawns with no stress and no worry about what to do and what not to do. Our experienced professionals are up-to-date on the latest lawn care techniques, dedicated to providing the very best in customer service and standing by to meet your needs.

Contact your Spring-Green lawn professional today!

Weed And Feed 101 – Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know

weed and feed

Like many things in life timing matters. If you want a healthy, vibrant lawn year-round, it’s just as important to understand what it needs as well as to understand when it needs it. A foundational link to your lawn’s health is providing protection from the weeds that can threaten its very existence. Weed killers, weed and feed and the timing of it all, however, can be mystifying to homeowners seeking answers.

Not to worry though, you’ve got a neighborhood lawn expert at your disposal! Spring-Green has the basics of weed killer best practices, timing recommendations and more. Before you go out to administer any weed and feed, check out this primer on the when, what, where, how and why…well, we know the why, right?

Common Weed And Feed Questions Deboned

What is weed and feed? Weed and feed is an interchangeable, universal name given to a wide variety of lawn chemicals that have the purpose of strengthening the lawn by killing weeds. It generally improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and food and adds necessary nutrients which promote healthy growth.

A healthy lawn, in turn, discourages weed propagation, enabling the use of a reduced amount of the product over time. There are many types of weed and feed that we will drill down on for further learnings.

What is the “weed” in my weed and feed? The weed component is comprised of herbicides (typically Dicamba, 2, 4-D and/or MCPP). These chemicals are designed to squelch dandelions, dollarweed and the most common green leafy weeds.

What makes up the “feed” in my weed and feed? The “feed” is a fertilizer. Typically, it is a combo of nitrogen, phosphorous and/or potassium. The blends vary, but all are designed to help your lawn flourish.

How does weed and feed work? Granules are applied to and absorbed by the leaves of the weed but doesn’t kill regular grass (unless too much is applied). In addition to the granular form, liquid forms are available that can be applied with a sprayer.

What is pre-emergent weed and feed? Pre-emergent weed and feed, as the name implies, targets weeds before they appear. Pre-emergent weed and feed does not control existing weeds. Annual applications over the target area for best results. Water in your pre-emergent weed and feed to activate the herbicide and create a barrier against weeds before they grow.

What is post-emergent weed and feed? Post-emergent weed and feed is the most common form for ridding weeds from lawns. When you already have weeds, the post-emergent weed and feed varietal is in order. Using a mixture of chemicals, they kill the weed and keep it from growing back.

How do seasons impact my weed and feed strategy? To be effective with your weed and feed strategy, you need to get the timing right. As a rule of thumb, time the application of weed and feed with the fertilization of the lawn during the last week of March or early April.

Keeping weeds out of your lawn can often be a chronic struggle that requires a strategy that is comprehensive and continuous. Understanding when to use pre-emergent weed and feed versus post-emergent as well as getting the timing right can be the winning combination to help you reach the finish line.

Whether it’s weeds or routine upkeep you’re in need of, Spring-Green is America’s go-to for neighborhood lawns and landscapes care since 1977. We are locally owned and operated and take our commitment to our community seriously.

Contact your nearest neighborhood Spring-Green lawn care professional today.

Has Spring Finally Sprung? Tips For Your Lawn This Spring Season!

spring season lawn tips

Spring has taken its sweet time to arrive for most of the U.S. If you live in the more northern states like Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan, you may be thinking that spring may never arrive since these areas still have snow. Receiving some snow at this time of year is not uncommon for these folks.

Even the lawns in the warmer parts of the U.S. are greening up at a much slower rate than normal. Warm season turfgrasses such as Bermuda or Zoysia, often turn brown during the winter months and don’t begin to start growing until temperatures are consistently above 70 degrees. There have been warm days, but not enough in a row to get these grasses to start growing again.

Tips to Prepare Your Lawn For Spring

Except for the lawns in the great white north, there are still plenty of things that you can do for your lawn and landscape to get a jump start on the year. The first thing to do is to take a walk around your lawn and look for any areas where the grass may be matted down.

This can be the result of foot traffic across the lawn, excessive levels of snow or even some snow mold that may have developed in the late winter of early spring. For the most part, lightly raking the area to fluff up the grass is all that is necessary. Be sure to wait until the lawn has dried out some before raking. Raking wet turf could result in pulling out the new growth.

You can also check your lawn mower, power equipment, and gardening tools in case they need to be repaired or replaced.

Should I Core Aerate My Lawn This Spring?

Core aerating your lawn in the spring is a good thing to do, but the timing is important. For warm season areas, it is best to wait until the turf has begun to turn green. The roots grow best when temperatures are between 80˚ to 95˚ F. The roots of warm season grasses are growing the most in the spring when soil temperatures are between 75˚ to 85˚ F.

For cool season grasses, such as Perennial Ryegrass and Bluegrass, roots grow the best when temperatures are between 60 to 75˚ F and roots grow best when soil temperatures are between 50 to 65˚ F. Core aeration for cool season grasses can be performed on the lawn now, but it is best to wait a couple more weeks before aerating warm season grasses.

Most lawns don’t need to be seeded in the spring. Even a thinning lawn will improve dramatically over the next couple of months. Also, if a lawn is seeded in the spring, it will be difficult if not impossible to control annual grassy weeds like crabgrass or to control germinating broadleaf weeds like dandelions.

Spring fertilization is also important to get your lawn off to a good start and “wake up” from dormancy. Contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green to schedule your important spring fertilization treatment for a green, healthy turf this season.  Be sure to learn more about our additional services, such as core aeration, that we have to offer to help you enjoy your lawn and landscape this spring!

How Cooler Temperatures Are Affecting Lawn and Landscape

Is It Spring Yet?

As is the case with most years, sometimes it will warm up early, fooling a lot of plants, including turfgrasses, to start the annual spring green-up. Only to be broadsided with an arctic blast and cooler temperatures that pushes plants back into winter dormancy.

Cool-season turfgrasses like bluegrass, ryegrass and the fescues are somewhat accustomed to these weather fluctuations, but the warm-season grasses, such as Centipede, St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses can be greatly affected by a cold snap after they have been coaxed into an early spring green-up by an early warm up. Such is the case with many lawns in the warmer parts of the United States.

Roland Freund, Franchise Owner in the Houston, Texas area, posted some information on his Facebook page about lawns in his area that are turning a purplish color due to some cooler temperatures that have pushed southward. Turf turning a purple color is often a sign of stress and when warm season grasses that have started to come out of winter dormancy get hit with freezing temperatures, the result can cause turf to turn an off-color. Luckily, it is a temporary condition and the turf generally recovers on its own.

Some warm-season grasses that have started to green-up can display an usual camouflage-like pattern when subjected to cooler to freezing temperatures, such as what you see in the picture below. This can happen to Bermuda and Zoysia grasses. Just as is the case with St. Augustine, this is a temporary problem and the grasses usually grow starting growing and the damage disappears as new grass blades cover up the blades that have turned brown.

grass in cooler temperatures
The one unknown for warm-season turfgrass lawns is how the extremely cold temperatures that affected much of the South in early to mid-January. Temperatures in the single digits is a common occurrence in the areas where cool-season turfgrasses grow, but this year many parts of the south experienced near record setting cold weather for an extended period. It is still a little early to tell if those temperatures had a lasting effect on lawns and landscapes in the South. I will tell you that I was conducting a training session in Lake Charles, Louisiana towards the end of January, and I saw many palms trees whose fronds were badly damaged by the cold weather. It is going to take some time for those trees and the lawns to recover from the cooler temperatures.

Caring for warm-season turfgrass lawns at this time of year focuses on controlling existing winter weeds and preventing the growth of annual grasses like crabgrass and goosegrass. Weeds are much more durable than turfgrasses and will quickly come back from the onslaught of freezing temperatures. It is almost time to start fertilizing these grasses, but patience is necessary. Applying fertilizer too early can have detrimental to these grasses.

As the South gets ready for the beginning of spring, what about the lawns and landscapes in the cool-season areas? Spring applications have started for lawns in the Transition Zone where Tall Fescue is the predominate turfgrass. Except for parts of Northern California, Oregon and Washington, it is still too early to prepare for the first application of spring.

It is a best practice to wait until the ground is no longer frozen to apply the first application. In many northern states, this is mandated by law to prevent run-off from fertilizer or weed control products off of the frozen ground. It is still early and spring will be here before we know it, unless, of course, the area is hit with a late winter storm – not an uncommon occurrence in March or even early April. The best thing to do is make sure the lawn mower is tuned up and plan ahead for the season. Spring is just around the corner, so remember you can count on your local Spring-Green to make sure your lawn looks green, and thick for the upcoming season!

Thicken Your Lawn: It’s Time For Overseeding!

overseeding

Overseeding, sometimes called reseeding, is the process of distributing grass seed over an existing lawn. According to information provided by Pennington Seed, there are two primary reasons for seeding existing turf in this manner. First, to either rejuvenate a patchy or thinning lawn or to prevent one. Many grass types will thin out as part of their natural maturing process. Your turf may also develop thinning or bare spots due to the stresses of heavy traffic as well as certain diseases or pests. Simply put, if your lawn is receding, consider reseeding.

Purpose of Overseeding a Lawn

Lawn care professionals will frequently use overseeding as a preventative measure. Instead of waiting for the thin areas or bare spots to appear, they will reseed the lawn so that the new grass plants appear before the weak areas are able to develop. Rather than fixing a poor-looking lawn, this proactive approach keeps the turf looking full, green, and healthy.

The second reason for overseeding is to bring up color when warm season grasses go dormant in winter. This is done by seeding the warm season lawn with a cool season grass seed mix that will produce color during those months when the warm season grasses are dormant. It may seem odd to plant cool season grass seed on a warm season lawn but the very conditions that cause the warm season grass to go dormant—milder daytime conditions and cooler nighttime temperatures—will allow the cool season grass to thrive, if only temporarily. The desired result is year-round green color.

How and When to Reseed

So far we’ve looked at what overseeding is and why to do it. Now let’s address when and how. Cool season grasses of the northern regions enter a period of vigorous growth during late summer and early fall. The soil is still warm enough for the seed to germinate and the cooler temperatures, along with moist conditions, stimulate growth. This is the best time to overseed a northern lawn, with spring being the second best.

By comparison, warm season grasses experience their active growth beginning in late spring, which makes that the better time to overseed a thinning lawn or to prevent one. If winter color in a southern lawn is the goal, fall is the time—just as the existing warm season grass is beginning to turn brown and go dormant.

Without proper preparation and execution, one can spend a great deal of money on overseeding and not see great results. In order for grass seed to become grass plants, it must have an opportunity to germinate and thrive. Simply distributing seed, even good seed, over a lawn may not be good enough, especially if the soil is compacted, there is an excessive thatch layer, or both.

Improve Your Lawn With Core Aeration

Grass seed that cannot get into the soil and receive the necessary moisture and nutrients has a good chance of becoming bird food. Spring-Green’s core aeration service disrupts the surface of the lawn and the soil beneath it by extracting plugs of soil and plant material and then depositing them on the lawn’s surface. This process helps loosen compacted soil and break down thatch, allowing water, nutrients and grass seed to penetrate the soil. For this reason, we recommend scheduling core aeration and overseeding in combination.

Proper seed selection is also important. Use a quality seed mix that is well-matched to your growth region as well as to your overseeding objective. One objective may be to thicken an existing lawn without substantially altering the grass type. Another is to augment the turf by introducing additional grass types to it, such as the introduction of cool season grass seed to a warm season lawn in order to enhance winter color.

Watering, feeding, and weed control practices during the weeks following core aeration and overseeding may also vary according to the specific needs of your lawn. Contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green to obtain more information, ask questions, or schedule this service.