In the last few weeks we’ve experienced temperatures in the 40’s as well as the 80’s! I guess that’s typical spring weather in New England, but it never gets easy. It’s challenging to get comfortable or even know what to wear on a given day, and it can be challenging for our lawns as well. Inconsistent weather has made it difficult for the ground and grass to slowly warm up and emerge.
In addition to the wild fluctuation in temperatures, we’ve also had a long period with no rain, followed by nearly three straight days of rain. Even with attentive care, some of lawns throughout the south shore are having a difficult time. If your turf isn’t quite where you want it to be at this time of year, don’t worry. Most of the lawns we have seen at Gardenin’ Angels are having difficulty adjusting after an extreme winter and an inconsistent spring, but they will thrive. Hopefully, more moderate and consistent weather is in store for New England and our lawns will flourish. Here are a few tips to help your grass get there:
As cheerful as those dandelions seem with their bright yellow heads or fluffy globe tops, they can easily overtake the grass in your lawn and the surrounding flowers in your garden. The broadleaf weed will drink up water and nutrients that are needed by your grass and flowers.
Getting dandelions under control is helpful for the long-term growth of your yard, but it can be quite difficult as their fluffy seeds can easily float far throughout your property. Being patient and persistent will be key for you to rid your property of dandelions.
There are a few methods to manage dandelions and it’s important to understand that none of them are truly permanent. Dandelion seeds can travel miles with the help of wind. So, even when you think the problem is solved forever, new dandelions may have taken root on your property. Knowing how to kill or remove them when you first see them will preserve your lawn and garden.
A pre-emergent is a chemical that prevents seeds from germinating. It should be applied your lawn or flower bed in late winter for dandelion control, as it’s only effective if used before dandelion seeds have had a chance to germinate. So now that you realize you’ve missed the boat on that, consider your other options.
A selective broadleaf herbicide will only kill broadleaf weeds – including dandelions – without killing your grass. This makes a broadleaf herbicide the ideal choice for ridding dandelions in lawns.
Non-selective herbicide will kill any plant that it comes in contact with – including your grass. “Round-up” and similar herbicide products (made of glyphosate), is the most common type of this kind of herbicide which is ideal for spot dandelion removal (in a patio, walkway, garden bed).
Herbicides of any kind will work best if applied prior to the flower developing. Once a dandelion has flowered, it’s far more resistant to herbicides.
The most effective option for controlling dandelions is to pull them out by hand. Of course, this is also the most time-consuming method. This should be done right when the first dandelions appear in spring. Using gloves with rubber fingers or special tools like “dandelion pullers” can be helpful with digging up weeds by hand, as you must remove the entire taproot of the dandelion (and the can be big and deep!).
Whichever method(s) you choose for minimizing dandelions on your property, just remember that the best thing you can continue to do is prevent the dandelions from going to seed. Once those fluffy globe heads filled with seeds appear, the amount of dandelions you’ll be fighting will only multiply.
Most people seem to think fall landscaping is all about the cleanup; removal of leaves and debris that start falling. While a thorough fall cleanup is important in late fall, we at Gardenin' Angels have always felt that autumn is the most opportune time to plant and care for your lawn and garden. The soil and ground temperature is perfect for planting and transplanting and the New England weather is pleasant to work in. There's also typically good rainfall and robust root activity of your plants and shrubs in fall.
We love this article "Get Ready for Fall Planting" from This Old House because it has great advice on fall care for your lawn, trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials and leaves. Check it out HERE.
It doesn't feel like fall weather in Massachusetts just yet, but it is nearly here. Fall is probably the best time for landscaping your property. Whether you're adding new plantings, transplanting old ones or treating your lawn, fall provides comfortable temperatures for you to work outdoors as well as the perfect temperature of ground soil to work with your plants, flowers and turf.
As far as lawn care in the fall, it's an ideal time to apply a balanced granular fertilizer that will help your lawn recover from summer stress. If you'r lawn has become dry or even changed from green to a more yellow or brown color, fertilizer and more frequent watering can help. After applying fertilizer, your lawn color will improve within 1-2 weeks with adequate watering or rainfall. This will bring back the vibrant green turf that may have waned with the summer heat.
It's also a good time to spot treat any broadleaf weeds that may be present. If you do this, you'll notice weeds will curl up within 2-4 days and slowly decline.
After applying fertilizer and weed treatment, avoid mowing the following days and avoid watering for 2-4 hours if weeds are present. Water your lawn within 7 days if it doesn't rain to help the fertilizer penetrate your grass.
Early fall lawn care suggestions:
Your lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that only 1/3 of the leaf blade is being cut off at one time. Overcutting your grass will hinder it's growth.
You should continue watering regularly for all sunny lawns. Frequency and quantity of watering needed will depend on rainfall frequency and your lawn’s grass types and soil composition.
If you have bare spots on your lawn, or even a large area of your property that you now want to add turf to, early fall is a great time to do so. This is because the ground temperature and climate are ideal. Read our previous blog on how to do this HERE.
If you have any questions or concerns about your lawn, call Gardenin' Angels at 774 284 1171.
In mid-summer, fertilizer should be applied to your lawn to maintain lawn color and health throughout the extreme heat of summer. With adequate watering or rainfall, your lawn color will improve within 2 weeks.
You should also continue to spot treat any broadleaf weeds present. After spot treating, weeds should curl up within 2 days and slowly decline.
Mid-summer is also a good time to apply preventive grub control again. Grubs feast on the roots of your grass and can result in dead patches of grass on your lawn. At Gardenin' Angels, we use and recommend MERIT Grub control, as it's the #1 insecticide in the turf market.
After fertilizer and treating your lawn for weeds and grubs, avoid mowing in the following days. Also, avoid watering for 2 - 4 hours if weeds are present. You will want to water in the fertilizer within 7 days if it does not rain.
Proper mowing and watering are critically important to maintaining a beautiful lawn through summer. Mowing height should be increased to 3” during warmer months. The lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that only 1/3 of the leaf blade is being cut off at one time.
You should be watering your lawn regularly now unless you have very shaded turf. Frequency and quantity of watering needed will depend on rainfall frequency and your lawn’s grass type and soil composition.
If you have any questions or concerns about your lawn, call us at 774-284-1171.
Early summer is an ideal time to fertilize your lawn, spot treat weeds and apply preventative grub control. This application will improve your lawn color within one to two weeks. You’ll notice weeds start to curl up in just one to two days and slowly decline.
Don’t mow your lawn right away. Be sure to water in the fertilizer and grub control treatment areas two hours after the application.
Proper mowing and watering are critically important to maintaining a lush lawn throughout summer. Mowing height should be increased to 3” as warmer weather approaches. The lawn should be mowed frequently enough so that only 1/3 of the leaf blade is being cut off at one time.
Unless you have a shaded lawn, regular watering should begin in early summer. Frequency and quantity of watering needed will depend on rainfall frequency and your lawn’s grass type and soil composition.
If you have any questions or concerns about your lawn, give us a call at Gardenin' Angels: 774 284 1171.
In the spring, you should apply a balanced granular fertilizer with pre-emergent crabgrass control. At Gardenin' Angels, we also spot treat any broadleaf weeds present. This treatment helps your lawn get off to a great start with essential nutrients while minimizing weed growth.
This application improves your lawn color within 1-2 weeks. Weeds should be curl up within 1-2 days and slowly decline. Some broadleaf weeds may germinate after the treatment as there is no preventative control for them. If excessive, you can call Gardenin' Angels for a free service call to retreat them. We go treat any weeds present again during your next lawn treatment in 6 - 8 weeks.
Normal spring rainfall will water this treatment into the soil. The crabgrass control applied forms a barrier to prevent crabgrass germination, so avoid heavy raking or otherwise disturbing the soil. Do not mow the lawn for 5 days.
Avoid letting your turf grow too high before mowing, this can “scalp” the blades of grass and temporarily ruin their appearance. The rule of thumb is to never mow more than 1/3 of the grass blade height. Mowing height should be set at 2 - 2 ½ inches through spring and 2 ½ - 3 inches when we start getting warmer weather.
Frequency and quantity of watering needed will depend on your lawn’s grass type(s) and soil composition. Weekly watering should begin for ½ hour per lawn area in late spring if we don’t get regular rains. As warmer weather approaches, more frequent watering will be needed to keep your lawn green and beautiful.
If you have any questions or concerns about your lawn please call Gardenin' Angels at 774 284 1171.
A lawn can go from lush to lousy with just a few, or even a single, bare patch. Bare spots in your lawn can be the result of draught, chemical burn (including pet urine), disease, soil compaction (usually caused by heavy foot traffic), and weed or insect infestation.
If the cause is heavy foot traffic, try to find a solution to minimize this traffic in the area. Perhaps you can install stepping stones or a gravel pathway to reroute traffic and protect your grass.
If the turf has been damaged by pet urine, it will resemble a patch of straw in the center with a dark green ring around the outside. The urine acts much like a fertilizer burn. Ohio State University scientists recommend watering the area to dilute the concentration of urine. If you are able to keep the pet off the lawn, the grass can be reseeded.
If insects or disease are the cause, investigate to determine the specific critters or disease to treat. Most treatment products require significant time after application to work before you can grow new grass. Information on the treatment product packaging will tell you how long to wait before sowing new grass seed.
The good news is that bare spots can be repaired pretty easily. Here’s how:
1. Using a garden fork, dig up the area roughly 4 - 6" deep, breaking up any clumps. (If the problem was caused by a spilled chemical such as gasoline or an herbicide, remove several inches of surface soil.)
2. Mix in topsoil to enhance the soil quality and help the new grass seed receive better nutrients for a healthy start.
3. Cast a thin layer of seeds on the area, and then gently rake the seeds into the topsoil. Cover it with straw or burlap to hold in moisture and protect the seeds from birds.
4. Using a fine spray from a hose, keep the soil moist, but not drenched. Water the seeds in the early morning and evening every day to prevent the soil from drying out. This allows the roots from the grass seed to enter the soil. Once they start to sprout, water the lawn every day.
5. Once the grass is established and growing well, fertilize it with a general lawn fertilizer and begin mowing the patch with the rest of the lawn.
If your lawn seems thin all over, try overseeding. You can follow the same, basic instructions for patching. Rake the area well, picking up any leaves or other debris on your grass. Cast the seeds over the turf, and then spread about a half an inch of compost or topsoil on the lawn. To get good seed-to-soil contact, gently rake the seeds and soil into the grass. Water daily.
Rodrigo Dos Anjos