New Jersey Lawn Care News

New Jersey Lawn Care News

Fall Lawn Care Tip: fall fertilization, winterization, holiday gifts

Fall Fertilization:

Late fall fertilizing is a crucial last step in lawn care programs north of the transition zone. Although the exact timing can vary due to weather conditions, the final fertilizer application should be made sometime in November - when the grass stops growing or slows down to the pint of not needing to be mowed, but before the ground freezes.

Proper timing is essential. If fertilizer is applied too early, while grass is actively growing, it can invite winter injury and snow mold. Do not apply fertilizer to frozen soil or over snow or ice.

Cool season grasses recover from summer stresses like drought, heat, and disease in the fall. If the lawn is not hungry and has been properly fertilized in the late summer, grass can begin to store carbohydrate reserves in the stems, rhizomes, and stolons. Carbohydrate reserves help grass resist winter injury and disease, and serve as a source of energy for root and shoot growth the following spring. A late fall fertilization will also provide better winter color, enhanced spring green up, and increased rooting.



Sprinkler and watering systems:

Have your sprinkler system shutdown by a professional to insure no damage is done to the watering system. Once the ground becomes frozen the sprinkler lines can freeze and water will expand and crack sprinkler lines. This will cause unnecessary spring repairs.

You should wrap up hoses and sprinklers and store them for the winter in a safe location out of the elements.

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Aeration:

Aerating your lawn is a great way to reduce thatch, loosen up compacted soils and make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your turf.

Even with the best care available, lawns can thin out and lose color due to excessive thatch buildup, too much foot traffic or pet traffic through specific areas that create hard or compacted soils, or periods of high temperature, high humidity, or drought. Aerifying and overseeding is recognized by turf experts such as golf course superintendents as the best treatment to control thatch, helps reduce those compacted areas, fills in bare spots and revitalize growth.

Aeration/Seeding—
the two step process guaranteed to improve your lawn
An aeration treatment removes small cores of soil and thatch to allow air, moisture and nutrients to penetrate down to the root zone. The cores brought to the surface contain microorganisms, which help the breakdown of the woody thatch tissue layer just below the lawn's crown. As the thatch layer is broken down, it is converted into organic matter that will then combine with existing soil particles.

Also, as the cores begin to breakdown over a period of several weeks, the holes gradually fill in with a mixture of organic matter and soil, and the filled hole allows roots of existing grass plants to spread out and grow deeper, creating a healthier, thicker lawn.

Ideal time for Aeration
Because the aeration process is stressful on lawns, it should only be done during periods just before active growth is expected. For cool season grasses, those typically found in the northern half of the country, this would be in early spring or early fall, the 2 times of the year when cool season grasses really grow. During the hot summer months, cool season grasses really slow down in the growing department and this is not a good time to be aerating. If you're planning on aerating in the spring and you plan on using a crabgrass control product, you'll want to aerate before the pre-emergent application is made, which is as a rule around the time when forsythias first start blooming.

Overseeding in cool-season areas, will fill-in bare or thin spots and help build a thicker lawn faster. The new seed quickly takes root in the freshly aerated lawn and provides new life to your already established grass. As your lawn gets thicker and healthier, your new grass plants help reduce the chance of new weeds sprouting.

Lawn Establishment:

Slit-seeders are useful for lawn renovation projects. Slit-seeders combine vertical mowing with seeding. As the machine goes across the lawn, it opens the soil and deposits seed directly into the soil opening. Most slit-seeders have a roller that helps firm the soil after seeding. Seed is metered at a predetermined rate; it's suggested to apply half the desired seeding rate in one direction and the other half on a second pass perpendicular to the first.


Silt-seeding equipment is useful for lawn renovation.
Since the seed is placed in direct contact with the soil, seeding success is usually high when using slit-seeders. In addition, existing grass and debris does not need to be completely removed prior to the overseeding process. Timing should be the same as for conventional lawn seeding, which ideally would be late August into early September.


Sprinkler and watering systems:

Have your sprinkler system checked by a professional to insure all areas have proper coverage. It may be necessary to add sprinkler heads or more zones to cover all areas of the lawn.

Please contact us at 732-787-1488 for proper watering times and frequency this is based on soil structure and current weather conditions.

Lime:

Applications of lime are often necessary to raise soil pH into a good growing range for turfgrasses. Generally speaking, most lawns prefer a soil that is nearly neutral, in the range of pH 6.5 to 7.2 (pH 7.0 is neutral) Soil pH tells you how "acid" the soil is. A lot of rainfall can make soil more acidic, since rain contains hydrogen. Some lawn fertilizers can make the soil more adidic, like the ones containing ammonium forms of nitrogen.

If soil pH is too low or high, nutrients already in the soil become unavailable. Adjusting the soil pH can have the same effect as fertilizing since it "releases" nutrients that were already there.

Fall is usually the recommended season for applying lime, due to the upcoming freeze-thaw cycle during winter assisting with lime's penetration into the soil.

Tree Pests: Dormant Oil

The primary way horticultural oil kills insects is by suffocating them. The oil blocks the spiracles through which insects breathe.

Hort oils also disrupt the metabolism of insect eggs and the ability of some insects to feed, causing them to starve to death. Not a pretty picture, but remember that insects, like aphids, carry diseases from plant to plant by feeding. Hort oils need to be sprayed directly on the pests, to be effective. The excess oil evaporates and dissipates quickly, so there is no toxic residue and horticultural oil is considered safe to use around humans and pets. Adelgids, aphids, caterpillar eggs, leafhoppers, mealybug, mites, scale, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies are the most common targets of horticultural oil.



Late Summer Lawn Care Tip:

Mowing is always Number 1 cultural practice for a healthy, green lawn. Mowing should be done frequently, so that you only remove one third of the grass blade. When you remove more than one third of the grass blade you are doing two things. First, you are removing all the food and stimulating the plant to make more tissue to support food for that plant. This means that what little food that remains potentially goes to new growth and your roots are going to starve and die. Starved dying roots are short thirsty roots going into the summer. Secondly, the shorter you cut your grass, the shorter you roots are.

Lawns should be cut higher than 3" and should be cut when the lawn is about 4".

When cutting your lawn make sure you have a sharp blade on the lawn mower. Cutting the grass with a dull blade shreds the leaf tip and causes water loss and a brownish cast instead of an Extreme Green.

Sprinkler and watering systems:

Don't be too hasty to turn on the irrigation system or sprinkler. Have your sprinkler system checked by a professional to insure all areas have proper coverage. It may be necessary to add sprinkler heads or more zones to cover all areas of the lawn.

Please contact us at 732-787-1488 for proper watering times and frequency this is based on soil structure and current weather conditions.

Late Summer Lawn Issues:

Drought Stress
In nature, water is usually the most limiting factor for plant growth. This is also the case in home or commercial landscapes. If plants or lawns do not receive adequate rainfall or irrigation, the resulting drought stress can reduce growth more than all other environmental stresses combined.

Crabgrass
Crabgrass gets its name because it sprawls from a central root low across the ground. It can become a problem quickly because it is able to grow vigorously in hot, dry conditions. Before dying in the fall, a single weed can distribute thousands of seeds which will be ready to germinate in spring.

Late Summer Tree Pests:

Watch out for Bagworms:

Description and Habits

The cone-shaped bags, which they form, easily identify bagworms. These are carefully interwoven using silk and bits of leaves and twigs from the host plant resulting in a well-disguised covering. The tops of the young larvae are shiny black and their body undersides are dull amber. When fully grown, the bagworms are a dull, dirty, gray with darker markings toward the head. The adult male develops into a moth that can fly, but the female remains grub-like and stays inside the bag.

Late Spring Lawn Care Tip: Mowing, watering and Tree Pests

Mowing is always Number 1 cultural practice for a healthy, green lawn. Mowing should be done frequently, so that you only remove one third of the grass blade. When you remove more than one third of the grass blade you are doing two things. First, you are removing all the food and stimulating the plant to make more tissue to support food for that plant. This means that what little food that remains potentially goes to new growth and your roots are going to starve and die. Starved dying roots are short thirsty roots going into the summer. Secondly, the shorter you cut your grass, the shorter you roots are.

Lawns should be cut higher than 3" and should be cut when the lawn is about 4".

When cutting your lawn make sure you have a sharp blade on the lawn mower. Cutting the grass with a dull blade shreds the leaf tip and causes water loss and a brownish cast instead of an Extreme Green.

Sprinkler and watering systems:

Don't be too hasty to turn on the irrigation system or sprinkler. Have your sprinkler system checked by a professional to insure all areas have proper coverage. It may be necessary to add sprinkler heads or more zones to cover all areas of the lawn.

Please contact us at 732-787-1488 for proper watering times and frequency this is based on soil structure and current weather conditions.

Spring Tree Pests:

Watch out for Eastern Tent caterpillars and Pine saw Flies:

The tent of an eastern tent caterpillar is among the largest built by any caterpillar. The tents are constructed in the crotch of a host tree. These caterpillars can devastate an entire tree before it moves onto the next tree. Look for these pests in fruit trees.

Pine saw flies are a common pest of pines. The larvae are caterpillar like with three pairs or thoracic legs and eight pairs of pro-legs on the abdomen. They usually feed in groups and strip one branch of needles before moving on to the next branch. They prefer older needles. When defoliation is severe the tree dies.

These caterpillars and pine saw flies can be treated to prevent injury to your landscape with and insect control spray by Extreme Green Lawns.


Spring Lawn Care Tip: Raking, Get Ready

Raking is always Number 1 for a healthy, green lawn. You may ask why if you raked leaves in the fall, why is it needed in the spring? Raking is more than just removing leaves: it's for controlling "thatch", too. Thatch is a buildup of soggy, dead, partially decomposed plant matter. A thatch build-up of more than 1/2 inch is considered excessive.

Once the lawn does dry out, the single best thing you can do is give it a good raking. Raking with an old-fashioned hard tine rake removes winter debris and opens up the air spaces between grass plants allowing air to penetrate down into the crown to combat developing fungus problems. As you survey your lawn in spring, see if there are any matted patches of grass. This can be caused by a disease known as snow mold. New grass will have difficulty penetrating these matted patches. But a light raking will take up the matted patches or thin them out. Raking also removes any dead or dying grass plants and this too is good for the health of the lawn. Think of raking as giving your lawn a good spring housecleaning. Even if you completed a heavy Fall cleanup, it's still recommended that you do a Spring raking, so that grass that died in winter doesn’t become thatch.

Just when you should perform spring raking will depend upon Mother Nature. When you are pretty sure the snow season is over, begin raking. As a rule of thumb, applying preemergent herbicides should be done between the time forsythia bushes stop blooming and the time of lilac bushes begin blooming.

Get Ready for the upcoming Lawn Season. If you are doing your own cultural practices, i.e. mowing, raking, and watering, change the oil in the mower and sharpen or replace the blades. This way, when you have to mow, you’ll be doing it with a machine ready for summer’s long haul. Make sure your sprinkler systems are in good working order, or schedule sprinkler system turn on. If you are using a Lawn Service schedule a spring clean-up and set up mowing services for the year.

Winter Lawn Care Tip: Snow and Ice, Get Ready for Spring

Snow and Ice:

Prevent ice-melt damage to your lawn and gardens:

Salt is toxic to plants when it dissolves in water because sodium ions replace the needed phosphorous and potassium in the soil, keeping them from your plants and shrubs. Rock salt absorbs the water that would normally be used by roots. Roots dehydrate and plants are stressed. Salt reduces the cold-hardiness of plants, making them even more susceptible to frost damage.

Here are a few tips to keep your plants safe and your sidewalks and driveways clear:
•Don’t over-salt! Follow label directions precisely.
•Avoid using rock salt in extreme cold. Salt is most effective at temperatures just below the freezing point.
•De-icing agents with calcium-chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate, are salt-free and should be used in extreme cold.
•Also, in extreme cold, sprinkle water lightly over surface before you apply the ice melt for better results.
•Erect barriers with plastic fencing, burlap or snow fencing to protect sensitive plants.
•For plants that do get sprayed by salt, use a broom and lightly brush salt off of the plants. You may not see the damage to plants and trees by salt or ice melt until spring.
•Shovel ice and snow as soon as possible, and try to keep sidewalks and paths clear to avoid re-applying.

Get Ready for Spring:

Sprinkler and watering systems:

Have your sprinkler system shut down by a professional to ensure no damage is done to the watering system. Once the ground becomes frozen, the sprinkler lines can freeze and water will expand and crack sprinkler lines. This will lead to unnecessary spring repairs.

You should wrap up hoses and sprinklers and store them for the winter in a safe location out of the elements.


Service mower:

Service or replace your mower if necessary and be ready for the next growing season. As always make sure that the blades are in good condition and are sharp.


Clear leaves and debris:

Use a light rake or brush to keep the lawn free of leaves and debris. Specialist leaf sweepers and lawn vacuums are available for hire from local garden centers or DIY stores for larger lawns; although in winter it is better to keep heavier machines off.


Spring Season Will Be Here Soon:

Call today for a free analysis of your lawn. It's not to late to set up service for a friend or a loved one. You can even prepay for the service to save extra money, or be billed as the services are performed throughout the season. We can custom design a program to suit any lawn or budget.

Spring is the Time to Control Unwanted Crabgrass:

The spring months are the ideal time to control crabgrass. A preventive barrier is placed to keep crabgrass from germinating. Call Today for a Free Lawn Analysis to protect your lawn from crabgrass issues later in the season.