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!

Posted by & filed under fescue, lawn care .

We talked in our last blog about how to properly care for warm-season turf.  Today we want to look at the other side of the spectrum and talk about cool season grass, or more specifically about fescue.

As you might suspect a grass such as fescue that is part of the cool-season family of grasses doesn’t particularly like the heat of summer.  While it is true that fescue may not thrive this time of year, it is possible to protect it and prepare it for when colder weather returns later in the year.

First and foremost, make sure you are not cutting it too short.  Fescue, this time of year, should be maintained at between 3.5 to 4 inches in height (or taller) and should never be scalped, especially when it’s hot.  The taller the grass, the more shade it provides to the soil helping to keep the plant cooler and maintain essential moisture in the root zone.

Irrigation is vital as well.  Ideally, your lawn would receive at least 1.5 inches of rain each week.  Some weeks you may get lucky enough for Mother Nature to cooperate, but in most cases, you will likely have to utilize a sprinkler system or hand watering to supplement.  Watering in the morning is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for early mornings, anytime during the day is better than not watering at all.  It is crucial not to water late in the evening or overnight to help reduce chances of fungus activity.

Fertilizers can be applied in the summer, however, it is imperative that the fertilizer be comprised of organic material that does not contain quick-release nitrogen sources.  Quick-release products that are high in nitrogen will burn fescue in the summertime, causing more damage than benefit.  LawnAmerica utilizes a liquid organic product that in addition to a small amount of nitrogen also has iron, humic acid, and other micro-nutrients that not only benefit the plant but help to improve the structure of the soil.

Despite best efforts though, fescue will thin out during the heat of the summer.  Since most turf type fescues do not spread laterally, any thin areas will have to be overseeded later in the fall.  Applying seed in the heat will be of little benefit.  However, when the nighttime temperatures start to cool off in September and early October, seeding can be accomplished successfully.

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, lawn care .

It’s July, it’s hot, and unless you have been one of the fortunate ones to have a pop-up shower lately, it’s pretty dry too.  The temperatures in the upper 90’s, and a heat index approaching 110 degrees is making it pretty rough for our LawnAmerica guys out treating lawns.  It’s making it tough on turfgrasses as well.

Warm season grasses and cool season grasses each react to the summer differently.  Today we are going to discuss warm season turf.  In our next blog, we will cover cool season turf.

Warm season turfs such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass don’t mind the heat so much and actually thrive in the summer heat as long as they are adequately maintained and irrigated.

Irrigation can be a challenge in this heat, but maintaining a supply of about 1.5 inches each week will ensure the plant has enough moisture to look great.  Summertime in Oklahoma isn’t exactly known for Mother Nature helping with rain consistently making the use of a sprinkler system or hand watering a necessity.   Watering in the morning is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for early mornings, anytime during the day is better than not watering at all.

In situations where irrigation isn’t an option, and Mother Nature isn’t helping out, warm season grasses can begin showing signs of stress by turning a bluish-gray color before fading to brown. In cases like this, the lawn isn’t dying but instead is going dormant.  This is a way for the plant to defend itself during times of stress to ensure survival.  Once the stress of the heat is diminished or consistent moisture returns, the grass will resume growing as usual.

I don’t recommend allowing your grass to go dormant if you can help it as it will use up necessary reserves of energy breaking dormancy again and can leave your lawn thinner heading into winter which will impact not only the health of the turf next spring but the number of weeds present as well.  A thick, healthy lawn will always be your best defense against weeds.

Despite the heat, warm-season grasses still need to be fertilized. Bermudagrass does exceptionally well when adequately fed this time of year.  Utilize granular products with several sources of slow-release nitrogen along with natural organic content to help prevent burn potential and provide a consistent color without the excessive top growth that can come from the quick-release nitrogen sources.

It is also essential to maintain a consistent mowing schedule. Regular mowing helps bermudagrass to spread and stay thick.  Mowing height will depend on the type of bermudagrass you have.  The newer hybrid varieties can generally be kept shorter than common bermudagrass, but on average between 2 and 2.5 inches will provide excellent performance.  Just be sure that when you mow that you don’t remove more than one-third of the plant each time.  Removing too much top-growth will not only remove the color but will also stress the turf which is something we want to avoid. Contact LawnAmerica today for more information.