MYTH: By mowing your grass shorter, you won’t need to do it as often.
By adjusting your lawn mower to its shortest setting, you’re exposing sensitive root systems to excess sunlight, allowing weeds to capture more sunlight and grow themselves, and limiting your lawn’s ability to produce sugar from photosynthesis. Your grass then is overworked trying to produce new blades using additional sugar reserves. Letting the grass grow long, then cutting it short can shock your lawn system. Dramatic cutting removes more of the leaf, leaving mostly bare stock. Thus, the plant is unable to produce extra shoots and brown patches are often the result. This, in turn, leads homeowners to think their lawns need more watering, a dangerous course of action for a lawn already weakened by shortened blades.
MYTH: You should water grass at night.
Many homeowners avoid watering their lawn during the day because they think the sun will absorb most of that water before the grass can benefit from it. This leads many to water lawns in the evening. However, by watering later in the day, moisture that's not absorbed will sit on the grass all night — which can invite mold or fungi. Ideally, homeowners should water early in the morning if possible.
MYTH: I don’t need professional landscaping services.
Many homeowners think that landscaping services lack the technical skill requirements of siding or plumbing installation and that it’s essentially a Do-It-Yourself project. While it’s true that most people can mow a lawn or plant shrubs, the opportunity provided by a professional landscaping contractor shouldn’t be dismissed. In fact, professional landscaping is one of the most common, moderately-sized home improvements out there. Along with asphalt roofing and bathroom remodels, residential landscaping is one of the top three home improvement projects searched by homeowners seeking a professional contractor. The return on investment for homeowners can be significant.
MYTH: All landscaping is good landscaping.
While a poorly-maintained lawn is a missed opportunity to enhance your home, poorly-executed landscaping projects can cause more damage than it’s worth. One of the most common mistakes is to plant and cultivate trees and shrubs too close to a home. Trees may allow pests to infiltrate your roofing and attic space, inhibit roofing ventilation, or broken branches may directly damage your roof. Hedges, meanwhile, can trap moisture in your siding and lead to mold and rot. Another major error by landscapers with little expertise is to install a hardscape patio that does not have a grade to allow for water run-off, or wrongly incorporating a grade. This can result in pooling of water or water runoff into your foundation or other sensitive area. These and other, less common mistakes are also important reasons to consider hiring a professional, experienced, landscaping contractor. Their general landscaping expertise as well as understanding of local weather patterns, native plants and regional considerations will help identify potential dangers before they occur.
This summer has been especially hard for lawns in Massachusetts. With rainfall much lower than average this season, our turf has been thirsty. Many towns have to enforce water restrictions or complete bans on outdoor watering which makes it even harder to maintain a lush lawn. Thankfully there is rain in the forecast! For lawns that have struggled through these last few months, we recommend that you make a plan to aerate and reseed after the summer season.
Aeration can be a critical component of a healthy lawn because it allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow stronger and produce a more lush, robust lawn. The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients within the soil. The best time to aerate is during the growing season, but when there is less heat stress on your lawn. This would be early spring or early fall.
While some folks use a spike aerator to poke holes in the lawn, we recommend using a plug aerating machine. A plug aerator completely removes 1 - 2" plugs of compacted soil from your lawn, while a spike aerator may make some areas more compacted when it creates holes from the spikes. You can rent a plug aerator from a big box hardware store or equipment rental shops. Alternatively, you can hire a professional landscaper who knows the ins and outs of aerating a lawn to do the job for you. Either way, consider aerating your lawn to help your grass get the nutrients it needs.
Over time, grass thins out, some areas turn brown, and some areas completely die. These areas of your lawn look worn out and can also encourage weeds. Reseeding your lawn in early fall can help revive your turf without tearing everything out and starting over. It’s relatively quick and inexpensive. It’s also a great way to introduce a new type of grass if you think you want to try a grass variety that may work better for your lawn conditions (lots of sun vs. lots of shade).
The best time to reseed your lawn in New England is in early fall. The soil is warm but the air is starting to get cooler, and there aren’t as many weeds competing with your new grass.
Kids, pets, and this summer weather have been tough on our lawns. Lack of water, too much heat, summer wear and tear, and other problems have made for some dry, brown lawns. Once the temperatures drop in early fall, reinvigorate your lawn by aerating and reseeding.
If you’d like some help, give us a call at Gardenin’ Angels: 774-284-1171.
Rodrigo Dos Anjos