Posted by & filed under fescue .

Now that summer is finally fading away (hopefully), now is the time to fertilize cool-season tall fescue to strengthen plant and turf roots so that it comes out strong next spring. Late fall is the most important fertilization of the season for fescue. As the warm season turf is slowing down and ready to go dormant, fall is when fescue does the best. Now that the leaves are starting to fall, it’s also important to make sure that they are off the grass before we come out and spray your Late Fall Application. Just like the other applications, we recommend watering the treatment into the soil within a day or two of us coming out.

For fescue turf that has been seeded earlier this fall, this fertilization provides a nice boost of nitrogen for growth, along with other soil nutrients for plant health. After not growing much during the winter, early spring warmth will then stimulate earlier spring green-up with the nutrition provided from the fall fertilization. “Fall fertilization is the foundation for a successful turfgrass fertility program,” says John S. Kruse, Ph.D, a research agronomist with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. “Winter survival and spring green-up depend, to a significant degree, on a sound fall fertilizer application, particularly when combined with timely cultural practices.”  We also will carefully spot-treat any existing winter annual broadleaf weeds with a liquid post-emergent herbicide at this time of year. There usually are not many broadleaf weeds now, and we have to be careful not to harm any new fescue seedlings.

We DO NOT apply a fall pre-emergent to fescue turf in the fall, as this would harm fescue seeding. We assume that homeowners will at least overseed in the fall, so we do not apply pre-emergent to fescue as we do on bermudagrass or zoysiagrass. About the only grassy weed that comes up in the fall may be some annual bluegrass. It usually blends in OK or is not much of an issue in healthy fescue turf. If it is, then we do offer a supplemental treatment of Prograss Weed-Control, which can be safely applied in early December without harming new fescue seedlings.

Fall is not only an ideal time to fertilize turf, it’s also an ideal time to give trees and shrubs that important boost as the winter months near. Late Fall is the ideal time for deep-root fertilization, so we’ll start this service sometime in late November and on into December.

Posted by & filed under Fall Deep Root Fertilization .

Do we really need to fertilize our trees too?

If you live anywhere other than undeveloped countryside, the answer is yes! However, it’s easy to understand why this service can be overlooked by homeowners when anyone can look out in the country at all the healthy, beautiful native trees growing fine on their own.

For the most part, as long as the soil is healthy, the trees growing from it will be healthy as well. Did you know that when we start adding landscaping, turf and concrete to a property, we might make it look prettier, but we also change how all of these things interact with each other. Trees in urban landscapes usually need additional help to get all the nutrients they need to thrive. One way that trees get their nutrients is from the leaves they shed in the fall. Once those leaves decompose, they provide an additional layer of organic material, which provides nutrients over time that feed the soil. Of course, not every homeowner has the option to let those leaves sit on their yard all winter long. Sometimes HOA’s have rules requiring leaves to be raked, or maybe you just don’t like having that mess and want it cleaned up. Other reasons for raking are unavoidable and you don’t really have a choice. For example, my wife told me that I have to rake the leaves at our house. She didn’t care much about the “natural organic material,” and just wanted it bagged up. So if you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, “How do I replace those lost nutrients?”

The nutrients required for healthy trees are the same as needed for healthy turf; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). Tree roots and grass roots compete for the soil’s nutrients, which means the deeper tree roots are often left hungry when a homeowner only fertilizes the surface of the soil. Trees actually require a higher rate of NPK than turf, however applying that higher rate on the surface would not only damage the turf, but prevent all of the nutrients from traveling far enough down to the roots to be absorbed. To ensure the nutrients get deep enough and are applied at the correct rate, we inject pressurized liquid fertilizer about 12 to 14 inches in the soil. The pressurization breaks up and aerates the soil, providing much needed oxygen to the root system as well. Tree roots are opportunistic and will develop wherever oxygen, nutrients moisture or space are present. Even through that crack in your sidewalk, unfortunately.

So what can you expect to see after our deep root fertilization? Your trees will have a much greener leaf color and thicker foliage. They will benefit from improved disease and drought resistance, healthier root growth, and additional protection against damage in the winter. The only drawback is that next fall you will have even more leaves to pick up unless you can convince your spouse otherwise. If anyone does manage to get out if it, please write in and let me know how you did it. If I don’t respond, I’m probably raking.

Posted by & filed under lawn care .

With summer winding down and fall right around the corner, we are starting up our fall fescue seeding program and sending out the seeding crews this week. The window for this service generally falls between mid-September to mid-October. That allows the seed to germinate and grow some before winter sets in. The more time the seed has to get established this fall, the better it will look come springtime and survive in the summer heat. If you are considering this service, don’t wait until the end of the season to pull the trigger, the earlier in the window you get it done, the better your results will be.

Our mission at LawnAmerica is to give our customers all of the benefits of having a healthy, green lawn without having to spend the time and money it would take to DIY. Out of all of our services, Tall Fescue Seeding requires the most help from you the customer to ensure great results. Once we aerate, prepare the soil, and get the seed and liquid starter fertilizer in the ground, we leave specific and easy to follow watering instructions for you to follow to maximize your results. Requiring the seed bed to be moist for the first 10 days or so, and making sure that it is not allowed to dry out is the most essential step in the process. We recommend watering your new seed three times a day for about 15 minutes. The easiest way to do this, is to set your sprinkler system and let it do the work for you. For those that don’t have an irrigation system in place, it can be a little trickier, you can find timers for outdoor water faucets and set up sprinklers in your lawn to help if you are not able to water during the day. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to get a little help from Mother Nature like we have this week, and the good news is that it’s hard to over water during those crucial first 10 days.

At around the three or four-week mark, we return to check on your seed and make sure everything is germinating and growing appropriately, adding any seed if and where needed. One common concern we get from customers is that their seed appears to be coming in too thin. Most of the time, the concern is unfounded. When Fescue seed first begins to peek through the moist (hint-hint) soil, the blades are thin and spaced out a little wide. This is completely normal and ideal. It is not going to come in like the green shag carpet our grandparents used to have in the 70’s. To fully develop into a full and thick turf, the seeds need space to grow and nutrients from the soil. We’re careful not to put down too many seedlings too close together because they will end up competing for the nutrients and water resulting in your turf not having the developed root system needed to survive next spring and summer. I promise, next spring, the blades will grow thicker and healthier and if properly maintained, your lawn will fill out and look great.


The bottom line here is that we need your help with the seed process. We want the best possible results for you and your lawn. As long as we are able to work together, manage our expectations and follow the watering schedule, your lawn will be thick and healthy come spring time! If you haven’t already scheduled your Tall Fescue Seeding with us, just give us a call or click here for a free estimate. We’ll get any questions you have answered. Remember, the sooner, the better!

Posted by & filed under acorn, tree care .

I have a beautiful oak tree in my front yard that has recently become the neighborhood gathering spot for what seems to be all of the local squirrels.  They are attempting to enjoy the abundance of acorns the oak tree has produced this year, many of which have already dropped despite still being green.

For the most part, I don’t mind the squirrels, though there is one that I am convinced doesn’t like me.  Every time I venture outside close to the tree, he drops half-eaten acorns on me.  I personally think he is throwing them at me, but that makes me feel a little crazy to admit that a squirrel would target me.  I’ve given him no reason to be mad at me, but he doesn’t drop (or throw) them at anyone else in my family so what other conclusion am I supposed to make?

It got me to thinking though, it’s still August but I have an abundance of acorns on the ground and many, many more still in the tree.  Why do I have so many acorns this year, especially since I had so few last year?

The first source I turned to was the Farmers Almanac.  For years folklore has suggested that an abundance of acorns was a sign of an upcoming harsh winter with cooler than normal temperatures and above average snowfall.   As with most folklore, this analysis has to be taken with a bit of skepticism.  Some years the theory proves true, but just as many years go by where it does not.

The second source I turned to was a book I read late last year, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.  Mr. Wohlleben has spent his life as a forester in Germany and now manages his own environmentally friendly woodland there.  In chapter 5 of his book, Peter discusses how the amount of seeds (acorns) is more of an indication of stressors on the tree from the previous season.  Periods of drought or insect infestation in the previous season will cause the tree to produce more offspring (seeds) the following season as a defense mechanism to ensure the survival of their species.

Peter’s analysis does fit with what we have seen with the number of stressors over the past year; everything from drought to late-Spring freezes, to extreme heat.  It only makes sense that acorns would be abundant this year.

So it looks like the squirrels and the deer will be eating well this fall.  It’s also a pretty good indication that we will have some tree saplings to manage next spring, but that’s another story for another day.

I have to admit though; there is part of me that hopes the Farmers Almanac is right.  A little snow this winter sounds good, especially on this warm August day!

 

Links:

Can Acorns Predict a Rough Winter?

20 Signs of a Hard Winter

The Hidden Life of Trees

Posted by & filed under fescue, fescue seeding .

I took a stroll through the store last night and was reminded that fall is just around the corner.

How is that, you ask?

Everything from coffee, cookies, and cereals all the way to air fresheners and body washes were flavored or scented in pumpkin spice.  Don’t get me wrong; pumpkin spice has its place, and many people swear by a hot pumpkin spice latte at their favorite coffeehouse, but man it feels a little early!

You know what’s not early?

Planning for overseeding if you have a fescue lawn.

Unlike warm season grasses such as Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, which spread on their own, Fescue requires overseeding to maintain thickness and density.  And a thick, dense lawn is your best defense against weeds throughout the year.

Fescue is a cool-season, clump type turfgrass, which performs best in cooler climates. However, it can be used in the transition zone for shaded areas, where warm-season grasses do not perform well.  Being a clump type turfgrass means that it does not develop its density from underground rhizomes or stolons on the surface.  Instead, it has to be seeded every year to help repair any damage from drought, disease, insects or heavy traffic.  Re-seeding, or overseeding, introduce new plants into the grass, which as they grow and mature, will develop into a thick, healthy lawn.

Fall is the ideal time for Fescue seeding.  Seeds planted in September and October have time to sprout and develop a robust root system before winter sets in, which is critical to a healthy plant.

Over the coming weeks, your Route Manager will be leaving behind information for fescue seeding. Our seeding operation consists of using a top-quality blend of fescue seed, with zero weed seed.  We aerate the soil, rake the bare areas, apply a starter fertilizer, and leave behind detailed watering instructions.  We also return in about three weeks after the overseeding to check for any bare areas and sow extra seed if necessary.

Call LawnAmerica today to make sure you reserve your spot on our schedule.  This way rather than spending your weekend behind a rake and an aerator, you can instead enjoy your pumpkin spiced oatmeal, while drinking your pumpkin spice coffee and enjoying the smell of your pumpkin spice scented candle.

Maybe we will jump on the bandwagon next year and have pumpkin spice coated fescue seed!