Winter is here, and many homeowners tend to think that there is no need for their lawn care service for the rest of the winter season. Quite often, people consider the wintertime a season of rest, staying indoors, and very little, if any, lawn care maintenance. However, winter can actually be a great time to pay special attention to your lawn and certain things can be done in order to ensure that your lawn is primed and ready for the spring season.
One of the first things that must be considered, is the local climate and weather conditions of your area. Warm season grasses, which are mostly the type of grass that we see throughout Alabama, don’t actually go dormant until the soil temperatures dip below 55 degrees. Depending on the type of weather that we are experiencing, a dip in the soil temperatures could be well into the end of the year, or even the beginning of the next year. Additionally, we often see winter days that reach into the 50-60-degree range. Throughout much of our state, lawns may not actually go dormant, but may be in a semi-dormant state throughout much of the winter season.
If you are a property owner or a property manager, then you know that taking care of a lawn can be a busy (and sometimes confusing) job. There is a lot to learn about taking care of a lawn carefully and effectively, and there is a lot of information available when it comes to proper lawn maintenance.
Throughout Alabama and other parts of the southern United States, many properties have a type of grass known as warm season grass, such as Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, or Eastern Gamagrass. Warm season grasses experience the main growing season in the spring and throughout the summer and early fall months. The grass will turn a light brown color if the winter temperatures dip low enough in the cooler months of the year.
We often hear from our clients that it’s difficult to keep up with when the best time of day or year is ideal to do certain lawn care tasks or projects, so we’d like to share the best time of day/year to water your grass, mow your grass, fertilize the grass, provide an application of weed control, fungicide application, and when to aerate your lawn as well.
Property owners all over the state of Alabama, and throughout the other surrounding southern states, are regularly searching for ideas on how to provide the best lawn care practices for their own thriving individual lawn. As a caregiver of your own piece of property, it is important to know the proactive practices that you need to do in order to give your lawn the best environment to grow, establish strong roots, and remain healthy, green, and attractive to everyone who visits your home or your business. One thing that you may be wondering is when is the best time of year to fertilize your yard.
Fertilizer acts like food for your grass. Some types of grass require more fertilizer than others, therefore, it is important to know what type of grass you have growing in your yard. Additionally, it is also important to know what types of nutrients are already present in your soil so you can determine what nutrients need to be added in order to provide for a balanced, healthy base for the grass roots. The best way to learn the condition of the soil that you have present is to conduct a soil test. Once you learn the condition of your soil, then you can make an educated decision about the best type of fertilizer to add to your lawn. We recommend having a lawn care company perform the soil test because they know exactly how to do the test and where to test the soil. They will also be able to provide specific recommendations for your lawn.
During the Fall and early Spring months, you (or a lawn care company) have worked diligently and expertly to ensure a healthy environment for your lawn. Now your grass is growing strong and tall, and the shade of your grass blades is rich in color and beautifully green. It’s that time of year when your lawn needs to be mowed regularly, and it’s important to follow proper mowing guidelines in order to maintain the healthiest grass possible. We have compiled a list of lawn mowing best practices that will help ensure your grass is being cut properly.
One of the most important guidelines is to mow your grass at the appropriate height. This may involve a little bit of research on your part, but the investment of your time is certainly worth it. The main point here is that you don’t want to mow the grass too low, because mowing it too low is damaging to the grass blades. Mowing too low allows weeds to thrive, threatens the water and food supply for the grass, and may turn the blades of your grass yellow or brown. Below we have listed the most popular grass types in our area along with the recommended height level for the grass blades.
Mulch is described as “a layer of material that is applied to the surface of the soil”. Mulch is typically applied to flower beds, around the base of trees, around the perimeter of a home or business building, and around any other area that a property owner wants to highlight throughout their landscape.
Mulch is often used for the purpose of beautification and for enhancing the area around one’s yard or home, but mulch also has many useful purposes. Some of the reasons people use mulch on their property are:
Although this is not necessarily a pleasant topic to discuss with someone, the accumulation of dog feces on your lawn is a topic that should be discussed with any dog owner, or property owner who has a lot of dogs that “visit” their yard on a regular basis. One may assume that dog droppings act as a natural fertilizer for their thriving grassy areas, but in reality, dog waste can not only be harmful for your lawn, but it can also be harmful to you, your family, or anyone else that visits your place. Scooping the dog waste off of your lawn is one of those necessary chores that dog, or property, owners must do routinely, along with feeding your furry friend, ensuring they have regular access to drinking water, playing with them, and providing shelter for them.
Dog feces in your lawn can cause the grass blades to burn from the toxic composition within the waste, and this causes unsightly brown patches along the surface. Unattended dog feces can also become a big problem for your local water table, because it can eventually dilute and spread apart before running into a drain pipe, a lake, river, or pond. Dog feces is one of the major contributors for contaminating local water sources. Furthermore, consider the fact that in 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled dog feces in a specific category of pollutants, along with other substances such as oil, grease, toxic chemicals, herbicides, and insecticides.
A healthy lawn is one that is provided with the proper amount of sunlight, oxygen, fertilizer, and moisture. Unless your lawn is receiving plenty of water from consistent rainfall, then it is important to ensure that your lawn is given water on a regular basis. The ideal amount of water that a healthy lawn needs is about one inch per week, especially during the warmer season. By using a rain gauge (bought inexpensively at a garden supply store), you can easily measure how much water your lawn has received each week. Remember that the one-inch recommendation includes rainwater, as well as water that you provide for your lawn.
Most lawn care professionals agree that watering a lawn in the early morning hours is the best option, preferably between the hours of 5am-9am. As the sun rises, the water droplets will have plenty of time to be absorbed into the grass blades, before evaporating due to extreme heat from the summer sun. Later in the day will probably prove to be too hot for proper watering, because the water will evaporate too quickly, and will not have time to be absorbed by the plants.
To rake or not to rake - this is an important question for homeowners who have trees in their yards that shed leaves during the autumn months. This is a question that has many different answers. Consider for yourself some of the arguments we have listed below regarding the chore of raking or not raking fallen leaves. Perhaps these tips will help you decide which answer is best for you and for your own surrounding landscape.
Traditionally, many people spend their autumn and early winter weekends raking, collecting, bagging, and dragging off their fallen leaves for proper disposal. For some, they do this annually in order to provide their lawn with the best possible care because the thought is that the fallen leaves will smother the underlying grasses if the leaves are left there for an extended amount of time.
Other people remove their fallen leaves because they strive for a perfectly clean and crisp appearance on their lawn. Whether you rake leaves off your yard for the health of your grass or for aesthetic reasons, the choice is yours, if you wish to continue to rake, collect, bag, and drag your leaves away.
Finally, the long, hot days of summer are beginning to cool and the leaves are starting to turn. For many of us, this past summer was extraordinarily hot and dry. Many people experienced high water bills as they made the attempt to keep their lawns quenched and free from drying out too badly. Even though the days are now becoming a bit cooler, the best advice is to not completely stop the watering process…just yet.
As many people who live within the southern part of the United States already know, just because the calendar says “Autumn”, the thermometer may still be saying “Summer”. Lawn experts generally agree that property owners should continue to water their lawns well into late fall. In fact, in areas that receive very little precipitation, say an inch or less during a week’s time span, then you may need to continue watering throughout the winter months, as well.
Most lawns, especially warm weather grasses, require moisture on a year-round basis. In the cooler months, even though your lawn will not require quite as much water as it does in the extreme heat conditions, it will remain “thirsty” and require some water all the time. The best practice is to monitor your grass on a regular basis and water as needed throughout the fall and winter seasons.
There is nothing like the sight of a lush, thick expanse of open grass area to run and play in on a warm, sunny afternoon. Whether you want to frolic in it or just enjoy the beautiful vision of the deep green-colored grass, one thing is for sure, and that is that a beautiful lawn is much more appealing and inviting than a struggling lawn. A simple task that you can do in order to ensure a beautiful lawn like this is to fertilize it properly. Although fertilization can be an expense, it is important for providing a healthy, welcoming area for you and your family to enjoy.
Many experts compare fertilizer for grasses as we would compare food for our bodies. Although we can last on water and minimal nutrients alone, we thrive and flourish if we are given well-balanced nutrients that are geared towards our particular body. The same is true for your grass. It is important to discover what nutrients your grass is lacking; therefore, you can provide fertilizer that it greatly needs. Soil testing is one way to discover what your lawn has and needs in terms of nutrients. Once a soil test is performed and you know the pH level of your grass, then you can easily determine which fertilizer to use.