What is more important than a green lawn? A healthy lawn.
Here are some of the factors that go into making a lawn healthy and sustainable:
Ideal rainfall from April through November
Good nutrient balance
The correct ratio of fungi and bacteria
Optimal soil consistency
Ideal air temperature from April through November
Multiple different species of grass with the latest hybrid genes that improve tolerance to various harmful insects and diseases.
It gets complicated.
With our 6 application program, we provide your grass with a consistent supply of Nitrogen, Potassium and an assortment of micro nutrients to keep your lawn healthy and green. We also monitor and make recommendations on when and how much water you should be putting on the lawn. Because we all know that "ideal rainfall from April through November" is wishful thinking.
Most companies will charge you for a spot fungicide application when lawn disease like Dollar Spot breaks out. We're here to tell you that there are very few fungicides registered for residential use that will control these problems, and the ones that do are not very effective once the disease is visible. For lawn fungus outbreaks the best medicine is to fix the underlying problems by introducing more bacteria and organic matter to the soil and regulating the watering schedule.
An important part of keeping a lawn on the Jersey Shore is understanding what type of turf you have. Most of us have cool season turf - some combination of Fescue, Bluegrass, and Rye. This stays fairly green all year and really looks great in the spring and fall. Unfortunately in the peak heat of the summer it can get brown because it cannot take in enough water to keep up with evaporation. Our spring applications set the grass up to withstand the stressful summer conditions by keeping weeds and damaging insects under control.
Aeration and Seeding
Introducing new disease-resistant varieties of grass into your lawn, filling in thin spots, and reducing soil compaction are three good reasons to do an aeration and seeding every fall.
We apply lime to correct the pH of the naturally acidic soil found in this region, and to offset the acidification that occurs from a season of fertilizing.
It takes time to build a quality lawn. This means multiple applications over the course of time. The poorer the condition of the lawn at the start of the program, the longer it can take for improvement. Some lawns may even need power seeding in the fall to establish a full lawn. This means it can take upwards to a full season or little longer to get a lawn back into shape. Site issues can also limit results. One of the main limiting factors of poor turf performance and density is shade.
Programs that are started later in the program after crabgrass has germinated will also take time for improvement. Once crabgrass has germinated it can be extremely difficult to impossible to gain 100% control that season. Additional application beyond the normal six step program will be needed at an additional cost to try and suppress any crabgrass issues. Crabgrass is best controlled with a quality pre-emergent program prior to germination. Post-emergent crabgrass control is not included on any programs started later than May 15th and or have missed both lawn care steps one and two.
Building a quality lawn is also a team effort between the service provider and the customer. In order for your lawn to take full advantage of a lawn care program, cultural recommendations provided to you by your Technician should be followed. Their recommendations can help your lawn take full advantage of our program. The most common recommendations are for proper watering and cutting habits. They can also give you tips on site improvement.
The weeds will stop growing once the weed control is applied to the actively growing weeds. With most broadleaf weed controls the first sign of the weed dying is the twisting of the weed followed by browning. Other weed controls we use discoloration will be the first sign that the weed control is working. Symptoms of weed death will be noticed 48-72 hours after the application. It may take up to a month for the weed to fully die and decompose. Weed controls are also slower acting in cooler weather and results will take a longer time to achieve.
The best practice for watering your lawn is to water deep and infrequent. It is better to water for a longer period of time fewer days per week than it is to water for a shorter period of time every day. Proper watering is critical to the health of your lawn. Too little water will cause a weak thin lawn that lacks vigor and too much water at the wrong time can cause disease issues. Inadequate moisture is the number one cause for lawns going brown in the summer months. The brown is not the lawn dying but the lawn going dormant. This is the plants natural defense to protect it. It is best to try and keep your grass out of dormancy during the active growing months. A lawn can require 1.5-2.0 inches of water per week to stay healthy and green in the dead of summer.
The best time to start your irrigation is at midnight. This will be wetting the grass when it would normally have moisture on the leaf tissue in the form of dew. The idea is to having the irrigation completing its run cycle around or shortly after sunrise so the leaf tissue is already starting to dry. You want to avoid 10-12 hours of leaf wetness; this can lead to disease issues during the summer months. Shallow every day watering can cause disease outbreaks and weak shallow rooted plants.
The best amount of time to run your irrigation depends on the type of heads your irrigation system or zone has. For stationary heads 20 minutes per zone is sufficient, with rotor heads 60 minutes per zone. This is just a starting point. Some areas may need a little less; some areas may need a little more.
You should start watering your lawn once it is actively growing in the absence of beneficial rain fall. This can mean as early as May. You can start watering once per week in the spring and increase the amount of days per week as the season warms up. If you do not fall behind on soil moisture going into the heat of summer deep watering every three days should keep your lawn healthy. In extreme summer weather every other day watering may be required. In extreme situations even with in ground automated irrigation systems lawns may suffer from some browning. This will right itself once temperatures come down or an event of natural beneficial rain fall. Irrigation systems are designed to supplement Mother Nature not replace her.
All of our seeding is done from the begging of September and runs into mid-October. This is the optimum time for planting grass in our region of the country.
Optimum moisture is critical on the germination of the seed we planted. The seed shell has to be kept constantly in order for proper germination. Watering once daily for 30 minutes is usually sufficient when established lawns are aerated and over seeded. Lawns that are seeded that have more bare exposed soil or lawns that have been renovated will require light watering 2-3 times per day for 10-15 minutes per zone on rotor heads and 5-10 minutes per zone on stationary heads. When the temperatures are 75 and cooler twice per day at 7am and 2pm. When temperatures are above 75 it will be best to do water three times per day at 7am, 12pm and 5pm.
You must be patient when growing new grass. Germination may take up to 14 days. A grass seedling does not reach full maturity until 18 months.
Home lawns should be cut at around 3”. You should try not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue per cut. This may mean cutting your lawn every 5 days in the spring and early summer or every 7-11 days in the peak heat of summer and late fall. Letting the lawn get very long and cutting back hard will cause a weak lawn with a lot of discoloration after the lawn is cut. The plants have to use a lot of their stored energy to recover from this and will lead to a thin lawn with poor color. In most situations cutting every 7 days will keep your lawn healthy and looking good. Cut your lawn when it needs to be cut and always use a sharp blade.