Lawn Tips and Advice

Proper Mowing Procedures

Some who mow their grass find it therapeutic, however there is another group  who loath getting out in the summer heat to give their lawn a cut. You either love grass mowing or you hate it. Either way it has to get done.  Good mowing practices are critical to the appearance of your lawn. If you follow these general guidelines, you’ll surely increase the health and appearance of your lawn.

  • Make sure your mower blade is sharp. A lawn mowed with a dull blade appears gray shortly after mowing, and the tips turn brown within 48 hours.
  • Cut often enough to remove no more than one-third of the grass blade. This will help avoid scalping, which puts the grass under stress and reduces its vigor. Mowing at the correct height also shades the soil, keeping temperatures lower for optimum growth.
  • You may leave clippings if you mow often enough. The grass clippings will recycle nutrients back into the soil, and they don’t contribute to thatch buildup. This process is called grasscycling.
Proper Watering Procedures

Are you throwing you money away by watering at the wrong time? You might be growing fungus in your grass by watering to early in the morning. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of watering this season. You want to make sure you’re not over watering , so the grass grows an extensive root system to provide adequate moisture during those long hot summer months.

Proper watering procedures help maintain lawn color, resilience and proper root development. A lawn should be watered regularly, before it has a chance to wilt and turn brown. To ensure proper watering procedures, follow these simple instructions:

  • Be aware of early signs of wilt. Two common signs of wilt are grass leaves that have a bluish green cast caused by folded grass leaves and footprints that stay in the lawn instead of bouncing back up.
  • Apply enough water to wet the soil to a depth of approximately six to eight inches. A soil probe may be used to check moisture depth in soil. Maintaining a soil moisture depth of six to eight inches usually requires a rate of one to two inches of water per week. You can place opened cans in the sprinkler pattern to determine the amount of water being applied.
  • Water may be applied any time of day, but morning watering is usually most efficient. This is due to the higher humidity, negligible wind and wetness caused by dew, which usually accompanies this time of day. Night watering is not recommended, as it encourages disease and insect development.
Thatch: The Good and the Bad

Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed stems, roots and other plant parts that build up between the grass blades and the soil in your lawn. It acts like mulch to insulate and protect the grass plants. However, if there is too much thatch – half an inch or more – it can cause problems for your lawn. Thick thatch can act as a barrier to air, water and fertilizer. It also harbors disease and insects.
Dixie Green’s beneficial Core Aeration and pH Balancing services are especially important to control thatch in your lawn.

Leave the Clippings

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn not only reduces the problem of limited landfill space, it also provides many benefits for you and your lawn. Dixie Green recommends grasscycling for the following reasons:

  • Improved lawn quality: Decaying grass clippings release valuable nutrients, which improve soil and feed grass plants. This helps you enjoy a greener, healthier lawn.
  • Save time and money: A recent study found that homeowners who quit bagging grass saved an average of seven hours of yard work at the end of six months. These same homeowners saved money as a result of not having to purchase as many garbage bags.
  • Clippings don’t cause thatch: Thatch is caused by the build up of roots, stolons and other plant material. It has been found that leaving clippings on the lawn contributes less than one sixteenth of an inch to the thatch layer each year.
  • All mowers can grasscycle: No special equipment is needed.  Check with your mower dealer for advice about attachments that improve your mower’s grasscycling performance.
  • Grasscycling is an environmentally responsible practice:  Landscape waste, including grass clippings, accounts for almost 20 percent of all curbside waste. Grasscycling provides an environmentally important opportunity for you to participate in reducing landfill volume.
How to Handle Drought

Before taking corrective steps following a drought, a lawn care professional should make a diagnosis of the type and extent of the damage. Drought conditions weaken your lawn’s root system, which results in the grass turning brown. Insect damage and lawn diseases, which attack the surviving roots, often compound the problem.
After a summer drought, it’s essential that you provide a proper combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, potash, iron and micronutrients to help develop a strong root system over the winter. This will help your lawn get off to a good start next spring with less threat of weeds, insects and diseases. If the entire lawn has been seriously thinned, Power Seeding may be necessary to restore your lawn to its optimum condition.

When and How to Prune
  • Pruning landscape plantings is a useful way to control growth and repair damage. Follow the tips below for pruning your ornamental plantings:
  • Minor pruning can be done at any time of the year.
  • Major pruning projects should be done in the early spring, before new growth begins.
  • Flowering bushes should be pruned shortly after blooms fall.
  • Plants injured by storms, accidents or vandalism should be pruned to remove damaged areas as soon as possible.
  • Pruning should be done on dry days, when limbs and twigs are dry.
  • After trimming diseased plants, tools should be disinfected to prevent transferring infections to healthy plants.
How to Use Mulch

Using mulch around the base of plants has many benefits, including retention of soil moisture and prevention of heat loss. However, when applying mulch, one should be careful not to use too much, checking to see that it’s not smothering the base of plantings and is not more than four inches high in the beds.
The key symptoms that indicate over-mulching are off-color foliage, small leaves, poor twig growth and tieback of older branches.
Over-mulching can cause many problems, if not corrected in a timely manner, including root oxygen starvation, inner bark death, disease and insect promotion, and chewing rodent harborage.

Weeds, Pests & Diseases

Lawn Weeds

It doesn’t take many weeds in your lawn to make it look terrible. They seem to creep in when you least expect it and take hold in your lawn with a vengeance. Don’t let lawn weeds turn your lawn into an eye sore, take control of those weeds. We’ve got several article to help you understand weeds, identify the different lawn weeds, and how to get control of them. Also be sure to check your type of grass to see if we’ve specifically mentioned the lawn weeds you are having trouble with.

Lawn Pests and Insects

Some lawn pests you can see, and some you cannot. Whether you can see them or not doesn’t really matter because these guys can destroy your lawn. They can cause damage that could take years to repair. However, with a proper lawn care regimen these guys should be kept at bay. In the event you’ve got a big pest or insect problem check out all our articles to find a remedy. If you don’t see your particular problem please contact us and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Lawn Diseases

There are several parameters that need to be in check to ensure you’re lawn is healthy. When one of these parameters are out of the normal range your lawn becomes susceptible to disease. These diseases can kill your entire lawn very quickly so if you notice something is not right, get to the bottom of it as soon as possible

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