Should I Rake, Mulch or Leave the Leaves?

We’ve enjoyed a beautiful fall, but one look at the trees – or your lawn – will tell you that it is quickly coming to an end. The leaves are falling, more than likely into your lawn!

It can feel like an endless chore – you rake the leaves one day, only to have your lawn covered with leaves again by the next day. What should you do with the leaves – leave them on the lawn or remove them all before winter? Before you pull out the rake and leaf blower, here are some things to consider.

In some respects, it is a matter of preference. If you prefer a clean lawn with no leaves, removing leaves on a regular basis is recommended. Don’t let them pile up to thick or the job is more difficult. A think layer of leaves can become wet after a rain and can form a mat that becomes impenetrable which can suffocate the grass and breed mold and fungus.

Dry leaves can be mowed into tiny pieces with your lawn mower and left on the lawn. Leaves can serve as mulch for trees, shrubs and gardens, and if left on the lawn they may actually help impede weed growth in your lawn.

leaves front

If you don’t want to rake, pull out the mower. Regular mowing with the bag attached to the mower will make the task more manageable and prevent opportunities for the leaves to become wet from rain or morning dew. If you are going to mow instead of rake, don’t let the leaves pile up too much or they will clog the mower.

Before you get rid of all the leaves, consider this – fill your flower beds with leaves, they will decompose over winter and act as a fertilizer for your perennials. And it will save you a little bit of time raking and bagging leaves now!

It won’t be long before freezing winter weather is here, so get out there now and enjoy the beautiful weather – it makes the raking, mulching or mowing the leaves more enjoyable. Remember to call the experts at Turf Care now if you would like our help with lawn maintenance in the spring.

 

 

Update on the Seed Slicer

A few weeks ago, we showed you the yard of a client who accidentally killed a patch of grass after mixing up his lawn chemicals. The Turf Care repaired the dead patch with a seed slicer which cuts through the soil and drops seeds into the furrows created by the blades. The process ensures that the seeds are placed directly in contact with the soil and is a more reliable method than spreading seeds onto the lawn.

We sectioned the area of the lawn off to prevent foot and pet traffic on the new seed and instructed the homeowner to keep the area adequately watered.

Mark Ryan

We visited the yard about 10 days after the treatment. The weather had been favorable, and we found healthy growth in the patch.

Mark Ryan day 10

We checked back a second time, and just three weeks after the seed slicing treatment, the grass had grown and blended in perfectly with the rest of the yard.

Mary Ryan day 21

Mistakes happen, even with experienced homeowners. It is too late in the season to begin a repair like this now but keep this in mind in spring if you see similar patches in your lawn. If you’d like to leave your

Get Your Yard Ready for Winter Now!

snowflake

Winter is coming! More than likely we have only a few more days to take advantage of warmer weather to get our yards ready for the long, cold winter.

 

Here’s a checklist of things you can do now to make sure you have a beautiful lawn in the spring:

  • Watering: As we have said before, you should continue to water your lawn, plants and shrubs until the first freeze. After the first freeze, let Mother Nature take over and you can stop watering until spring.
  • Sprinkler System: Call our friends at Millard Sprinkler to schedule a time to flush out and turn off your sprinkler system. Avoid a costly repair from frozen pipes that burst.
  • Raking: It is ok to leave some leaves on your lawn, but thick piles of wet leaves can trap water and create a perfect environment for mold. Rake up thick layers or piles of leaves, particularly around the foundation of your home, to avoid problems.
  • Fertilize: If you haven’t applied a winter fertilizer, do it now before the first freeze!
  • Mowing: With all the rain we have had recently it’s been difficult to find a dry day to mow. Take advantage of the next dry day to mow your lawn one last time but raise the height so it’s kept a little longer.

Take advantage of the last few nice days to give your yard a little attention – the payoff will be a beautiful lawn and healthy plants, trees and shrubs next spring! Call Turf Care if you have any questions or you’d like to get on our spring schedule!

 

Ask The Expert – What Can I Do When I Accidentally Kill My Grass?

You know the old saying – we all make mistakes? Mistakes happen all the time when it comes to lawn care, and we can all relate!

Mark Ryan

We were recently contacted by a homeowner who was frustrated by the weeds in his backyard and tried to take care of himself. Unfortunately, he confused his lawn chemicals and ended up killing a large patch in the middle of the lawn.

Sod would normally be a solution for a dead patch this large, but not this late in the season. We used a machine called a slice seeder on the dead patch. The blades of the slice seeder cut through the soil and the seeds are dropped into the furrows created by the blades. The process ensures that the seeds are placed directly in contact with the soil and is a more reliable method than spreading seeds onto the lawn.

slice seeder 2      slice seeder

We aerated and over seeded the rest of the lawn, which is recommended at this point in the season. (link to last blog) We recommended that the homeowner keep the repaired patch adequately watered until the first freeze – and that he leaves weed killing to the experts at Turf Care!

 

Importance of Fall Seeding and Aerating

The first day of Fall brings the promise of cooler temperatures, and less lawn care!

Summer is hard on your lawn. Intense heat, drought conditions and insects take their toll, not to mention the overuse from traffic on the lawn. It can be stressful for your lawn but Fall offers a time for repair and regrowth.

Fall offers warm days and cool nights, creating an optimal time for new seedlings to establish their place and begin healthy growth. Over seed your lawn now and provide some TLC for the next several weeks, and you will be rewarded with a healthy lawn in the spring.

aerator

You will have the best luck with fall seeding if you first rake to dethatch your lawn, followed by aerating to loosen compacted soil. This process will create a perfect growing environment and ensure the seeds will make direct contact with the soil.

Apply a fertilizer with the seeds and lightly rake to ensure good contact with the soil. Maintain regular watering, be careful to avoid overwatering, until the first freeze of the season.

Large patches of dead or diseased of grass may require a different approach.  Depending on how large the area is, you may need to remove the dead grass and replace with sod. The experts at Turf Care can diagnose and repair these areas.

Don’t give up on your lawn just yet. You will be rewarded in spring for the extra effort now!

Ask the Expert – When Can I Be Done Watering My Lawn?

With all the rain we have had in recent weeks, you may be thinking you can be done watering your lawn for the season. That may not necessarily be true. As a general rule, you should consider watering your lawn until the first freeze!

rain on grass

Late summer/early fall is an important period of growth for your lawn and proper irrigation during this time is crucial. Much of the growth during this time of year takes place underground as the roots grow and strengthen after a hot and dry summer. An adequate water supply is necessary for grass roots to absorb enough nutrients and aid recovery from the summer.

While watering is important right now, be careful not to overwater. Keep an eye on the rainfall. As the temperature continue to cool, your lawn will need less and less water than it did during the hot, dry days of summer. Overwatering during early fall can lead to significant problems, so scale back to watering no more than twice a week. If rainfall amounts are high, hold off until we have an extended period of dryness.

Growth during early fall will be significantly slower than during the summer, but as long as your grow is growing, you need to continue mowing. A sharp blade will ensure a clean cut and prevent the mower from pulling at the grass blades.

Don’t give up on your lawn maintenance just yet. This is an important period of growth for your lawn so continue watering and mowing – the reward will be a healthy lawn next spring!

 

Ask the Expert – What Can I Do About This Brown Spot in My Yard?

If you are noticing patches of brown, dead grass in your yard, don’t worry – you have options!

brown patch Aug. 2018

It’s not uncommon after a long, hot and dry summer to find brown patches in your lawn. Heat, drought conditions that are characteristic of summer, and diseases often combine in areas of your lawn and the result is a patch of dead grass.

If the rest of your lawn looks pretty good, as it does here, you’re in luck. You can address the problem area with one of these options:

  • Do Nothing: This is the obviously the easiest and least expensive option, but it will also take a longest. If the surrounding area of the lawn is green and healthy, rake the dead grass out and wait for spring for the patch to fill in with healthy grass.
  • Grass Seed: Now is a good time to repair the patch with grass seed – but the window for this to be effective is now through the end of September, so don’t wait too long. Clear the dead grass away, keep the soil moist but avoid overwatering. And be patient – grass seed take times!
  • Sod: If you would like instant results, sod is the way to go! Just be sure the sod well-watered, and don’t neglect watering next spring!

Summer may be winding down, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy a healthy, beautiful lawn! Call the experts at Turf Care Inc. if you have questions, or to learn more about our regular lawn maintenance.

 

Why is There So Much Crabgrass in My Lawn

Are you noticing patches of crabgrass growing in your lawn? If you are, you are not alone! Homeowners across the Omaha metro area have been contacting us with concerns about the appearance of the weedy grass, despite regular maintenance of their lawn.

Crabgrass is a green clumpy weed with wide, coarse blades. It grows quickly and can spread and take over your lawn by taking nutrients from your healthy lawn.

The conditions we have experienced this summer have been ideal for the growth of the unsightly weed. If you used a preemergent on your lawn this spring, the extended period of rain we experienced in early summer may have washed some of it away or diluted it enough to contribute to its ability to grow now.

The good news is that the crabgrass will die this fall and will not return next spring.

You can pull the weeds by hand but be prepared for a bare spot in its place. It is early enough in the summer that we will undoubtedly have extended periods of extreme heat in the coming weeks, so grass seed would struggle to grow in the bare spots. If the crabgrass has completely taken over your yard, give the expert at Turf Care a call to discuss possible chemical treatments that are safe for the particular type of grass in your yard.

If you are would like to minimize the appearance and prevent further spread of the weed keep your lawn well maintained. Routine mowing at a height of about 3 inches and regular watering will help prevent further growth. Be sure to apply a preemergent in the spring.

As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.

“This is why I work with Turf Care”

A number of clients have noticed an occurrence of brown spots in patches on their lawn. One of our clients recently called and asked us to come out and take a look. Our Tech, Doug, left this note for the happy homeowner who shared the image of his lawn, and the note.

tco-hand-note

TCO-Yard

Other homeowners may be noticing similar issues. POA is a type of bluegrass that often react negatively during the heat, and sun, of the summer months. This fescue typically rebounds and greens up when the temperatures become more temperate.

As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.

Environmental Threats

The Omaha metro area is experiencing two environmental threats that are new to the area in recent years – Japanese beetles and emerald ash borers. Both can wreak havoc on otherwise healthy trees that they attack.
A look around your yard will reveal some tell-tale signs of both nuisances.

Japanese beetles like a variety of trees, including pin oak, linden, birch and many fruit and shade trees. They like several shrubs and bushes as well, including roses, burning bush and boxwood. If you have any of these particular trees or shrubs in your yard, pay close attention around them for the following signs:

  • Look for the bugs themselves. The beetle measures about half an inch and is recognizable by its metallic head and copper back. They will often be in large groups.
  • Leaves that have been eaten, leaving just the veiny spine. The beetles like the meat of the leaves.
  • Eaten flowers and fruit – favorites of the Japanese beetles!
  • A tree where all the leaves are brown, particularly on the canopy, could indicate a heavy infestation of the beetles.
  • Fallen leaves before autumn is another indicator of an infestation.

If left untreated, a plant or tree that has been infested by Japanese beetles will slowly die.

The emerald ash borers only like ash trees but is even more destructive. Look for these signs of an infestation of the insect in your ash tree:

  • The emerald ash borer is bright metallic green, about a half inch long and an eighth of an inch wide.
  • A thinning of the leave in the canopy of the tree. The insect attacks the water vessels of the tree, essentially strangling the water supply from the extremities.
  • Look for sprouts along the trunk. The tree will push these out as the upper canopy is dying.
  • Examine the trunk of the tree for tiny holes where the insect has exited.

A tree that has been infested by the emerald ash borer with die within about two years of the initial symptoms so don’t ignore the signs of either pest. Call the experts at Turf Care today if you are concerned that the Japanese beetles or emerald ash borer have infested one of your trees.

 Call Turf Care today.