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Let your Lawn Breathe

Aerating a lawn allows essential nutrients such as Oxygen, Phosphorus and Potassium to better penetrate the roots of grass. The process involves mechanically poking thousands of holes in the ground, using an aerator machine.

Here are three signs that it could be time to aerate your yard:

    1. Your lawn is thinning. If your yard seems to be thinning and you can’t trace any other obvious cause, such as a new source of shade or watering changes, the reason may be soil compaction.

 

    1. Lawn fertilizer doesn’t do much good anymore. When soil is highly compacted, the lawn fertilizer nutrients are unable to reach the roots of grass. If you fertilize but don’t see much in the way of results, you may have overly compacted soil.

 

  1. You have a lot of runoff. Overly compacted soil doesn’t absorb water as well as soil with space between particles. If you’re starting to see more runoff than normal, and more rain or irrigation isn’t the cause, you may need to aerate.

If you think your lawn could use a little more breathing room, aerating is not as daunting as it might seem. Call Stevens & Son Lawn Maintenance and we can help  you tackle the job in an afternoon–which means both you and your lawn can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Lawn Institute suggests that the best time to aerate lawns is approximately two weeks before applying the year’s final fertilizer, or five to six weeks before the first frost.

Just as with every lawn problem, there is no easy solution to the issue of excessive thatch. Though some thatch is necessary for a healthy lawn, more than about 1/2 inch of it can eventually lead to serious problems, including insect problems, drought stress, and a brown lawn.

Proper Watering for Less Thatch

Contrary to popular belief, grass clippings do not lead to excess thatch. Grass clippings break down quickly and easily, providing even more nutrients for your lawn. The problem comes when the grass clippings lay on top of a thick layer of thatch, thus making it even more difficult for water to get to the roots.

If you have a significant amount of thatch on your lawn right now, it is best to handle lawn dethatching as soon as possible. Once that is done, the goal should be to promote a healthy amount of thatch without letting the yard get out of hand. The best way to do that is simple: It comes down to proper watering.

Shallow or infrequent watering doesn’t get down to the roots of your lawn. Instead of digging deep into the ground, the grass begins growing shallow roots, and eventually your thatch problem arises again. However, keep in mind that overwatering can cause the same problems.

Deep watering, at least one inch across the entire lawn, can help you avoid lawn dethatching. Depending upon the weather and your climate, you may need to water every day. Not sure how much is enough? Use an empty tuna or cat food can as your handy gauge. Put it under the sprinkler and when the can is full, your lawn has just had an inch of water. Move the sprinklers until your entire lawn gets the same treatment.

by: Shannon Dauphin

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Management or IPM is an environmentally responsible way to manage pests. In this Blog I will be strictly dealing with IPM and how it relates to Lawn Care. Over the years our clients have increasingly asked us if we offer Organic Lawn Care. Our answer has always been yes, but that if they are looking for a healthy, vibrant lawn it is extremely difficult to achieve with strict organics. There are many reasons for this and would constitute an entire post on it’s own.

So what is IPM- at its core is a method of pest prevention that focuses on having a strong healthy lawn that is resistant to pests. One of the most important aspects is monitoring of the lawn. Monitoring the soils available nutrients, the soils PH or if there are pests present. We monitor the available nutrients to see how much of which nutrients to enhance. We monitor the PH (acidic level) to see if we need to ad lime to reduce the level of acidity in our lawns. As an aside most soils in our area are more acidic than alkaline, lawns do best in a slightly acidic soil. If a ph of 7 is neutral then 6-6.5 ph is what we are looking for. We also scout to see if pests are present. It is not necessarily a bad thing if they are present. There are thresholds where pests become a problem. So for example if you see a grub in your lawn, it may not be an issue. First you have to identify what type of grub it is, and then see how many are tolerable per square foot then how many are actually present per square foot. At that point and only at that point can you devise a plan to deal with them.

In terms of the Nutrients, there are many ways to ad nutrients to the soils. There are conventional Water soluble or insoluble fertilizers, there are organic pellitized materials, there is also topdressing with composts or sand. All of these methods have there place in an IPM based approach and all should be utilized.

When dealing with pests whether fungus, disease or living creatures there are a host of options that we can use to control the issue. We can of course use chemical treatments, in many cases cultural practices such as when and how much to water can control slight outbreaks of disease and fungus. In some cases we can remove and replant.

Cultural practices (or the practices that we use to maintain and care for our turf), is as important as how much fertilizer we use or don’t use. Watering to a proper depth at the right time is critical to turfs health. Also compaction is a serious problem that can be affected by shade, watering practices as well as foot traffic. All of these things are manageable under an IPM approach. Conventional lawn care programs work and work quite well, but an IPM approach can work and work better. It also works in a way that can be more environmentally friendly than either a pure organic method or a more conventional approach. What you must understand is that it comes at a price, the price in terms of dollars is more than the conventional programs. But in terms of your personal environment the benefits are priceless.

Spring Clean-Ups

We have started our spring clean-ups. So call early and get put on our list for your yard to be cleaned up. We look forward to talking to you.

New Website Launched

Welcome to Stevens and Son Lawn Maintenance’s newly launched website. During your visit you will likely notice several new features as well as an improved user interface. Our newly developed website is an homage to Stevens and Son Lawn Maintenance’s lasting reputation as the premiere lawn care company for personal, family and business in Central Massachusetts.

Designed and developed by Elite Web Labs in Worcester, this new site will be our platform for the future. Designed to grow over the years, fresh news and pictures will be added from time to time so please join our mailing list for updates.