Lawn-Care Timeline

Here at Nassar Landscaping and Irrigation we are busy getting the local landscape ready for Summer. Right now, is the time to start lawn fertilization, and irrigation system of our client’s ready for the long growing season ahead. We thought we would share this article by Sal Vaglica of This Old House magazine. It is a lawn care timeline that covers the basics of lawn maintenance. Although our processes are more involved, it is a good educational article when used as a guideline. If you need help with your Landscaping Services and you live in Salem NH, Atkinson NH, Windham NH, Hampstead NH, Pelham NH, Londonderry NH, Derry NH, Methuen MA, Andover MA, N. Andover MA, Haverhill MA, we would like to help.

When to fertilize, water, mow, and deal with weeds and pests depends on where you live

By Sal Vaglica of This Old House magazine

 

When to fertilize, water, mow, and deal with weeds and pests depends on where you live. Find your region and follow our lawn care timeline below.

North: Zones 1, 5, 6

March 
•Rake up debris and leaves from winter.

April
•Growing season starts. Mow grass 3 inches high. Leave clippings on lawn.
•Apply first dose of fertilizer.
•Treat for crabgrass with pre-emergent herbicide or eco-friendly corn gluten.

May
•Pull or spot-treat dandelions or treat whole lawn with post-emergent weed control or lime.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after first dose.

June–July
•Water if rainfall is below 1 inch a week.
•Treat for grubs using beneficial nematodes.

Late August–September
•Dethatch and aerate with core aerator when rains resume and ground softens.
•Fertilize and seed.
•Spread weed-and-feed over entire lawn or spot-spray with lime juice and vinegar.

October–November
•Rake leaves.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after last feeding.
•At final cut, after a few frosts, mow 2 inches high.Grass zone map

South: Zones 2, 3, 4

March
•Growing season starts. Mow 3 inches high (1 to 2 inches for Bermuda grass). Leave clippings on lawn.
•Apply first dose of fertilizer.
•Treat for crabgrass with pre-emergent herbicide or corn gluten.

April
•Plant seed.
•Dethatch and aerate.

May
•Water if rainfall is below 1 inch a week.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after first dose.

June–July
•Treat for fungus, if necessary.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after second dose.

Late August–September
•Mow and water until grass turns brown.
•When grass greens up again, apply final dose of fertilizer.

October–November
•Rake leaves.
•Continue mowing until grass stops growing.

Pro Advice: Roger Cook, This Old House Landscape Contractor says, “To find out how much water a sprinkler delivers in an hour, place empty coffee cans on the lawn and run the sprinkler for 15 minutes. Pour collected water into one can and measure its depth. Divide by the number of cans and multiply by 4 to get the inch-per-hour rate. Then you’ll know how long to water to make sure grass gets 1 inch a week, ½ to 1/3 inch at a time.”

Secrets To A Gorgeous Lawn

It is that time of the year again. Here at Nassar Landscaping and Irrigation we are busy getting the local landscape ready for Summer. Right now, is the time to start getting the irrigation system of our client’s ready for the long growing season ahead. We thought we would share this article by Ami Albernaz on professional lawn secrets. Although our processes are more involved, it is a good educational article. If you need help with your Landscaping Services and you live in Salem NH, Atkinson NH, Windham NH, Hampstead NH, Pelham NH, Londonderry NH, Derry NH, Methuen MA, Andover MA, N. Andover MA, Haverhill MA, we would like to help.

By Ami Albernaz

 

Springs here and, despite your best efforts, the lawn looks . . . not so great. It’s patchy, studded with weeds, and don’t even talk about color. So, what’s gone wrong? We asked landscapers, lawn-care professionals, horticulturists, and soil specialists for help, collecting their top tips for getting grass greener and healthier. Turns out, one secret to having a great lawn is knowing your property and accepting the fact that, for better or worse, your lawn may be different from your neighbor’s. That said, there’s plenty you can do to get your lawn

FILL IN EVERY AVAILABLE SPACE WITH GRASS SEED

“You want to have a thick, full lawn,’’ said Chris Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Country Gardens in Scituate. “Mother Nature or whoever you believe in is trying to fill every inch of soil in. So if there’s space, a weed will probably grow in. I usually say grass seed is your friend; if you use it to fill in where you have empty spaces, there won’t be room for the weeds.’’

Kennedy says you can seed anytime there’s a space in your lawn that could use filling in. If you do put seed down, though, you’re going to have to commit to watering frequently, especially at the beginning.

“This is an important tip,’’ he says. “If you can’t afford a sprinkler system, you could buy a timer for $50. Hook it up to your outdoor faucet, hook a hose to that, and run it to where you’re putting your seed. You can hook a sprinkler up to it. You can set it up to turn on for a few minutes several times a day.’’

Once the seeds have germinated and the grass is high enough to have been mowed a couple of times, you can water it less often, but for longer amounts of time.

“You might be watering every other day or every three days at that point,’’ he says. “Instead of five minutes several times a day, it may be 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.’’

The reason for less frequent but more intense watering is so the water seeps deeper into the ground and the roots reach down farther. Ultimately, Kennedy says, “the deeper the roots go down, the better they can handle dryness and fluctuations.’’

Should you be wondering what type of grass seed to use, Kennedy recommends “a diverse portfolio.’’

“You don’t want to invest all your stock in bluegrass, or ryegrass, or fescue,’’ he says. “The predominant one people are talking about now is fescue. It tends to tolerate tougher conditions.’’

DON’T CUT YOUR GRASS TOO SHORT

The most important lawn-care tip to keep in mind during the summer is mowing height, said Bill Joseph, plant health care manager at Lynch Landscape and Tree Service in Wayland. “You want to cut the grass to 2 1/2 to 3 inches in the summertime. In the spring and fall, maybe starting at the end of August, you can bring it back down to 2, 2 1/2 inches.’’

SA longer length helps the grass retain more moisture, minimize evaporation, and keeps the ground cooler, he says. “Cutting it short in the summertime it will turn it yellow real quick,’’ he says.

Another tip: Don’t bag the grass clippings. “If you can use a mulching mower and leave the clippings, they’ll go back and feed the lawn,’’ he said. “There’s a good amount of nitrogen in those clippings, so you could probably use about a quarter less fertilizer. That little layer of grass clippings also helps retain moisture and helps conserve water.’’

Joseph recommends mowing often, at least once a week. “The rule of thumb is you don’t want it to get too long,’’ he says. “You don’t want to take more than one-third of the grass blade off at a time, because you’re taking a lot of its stored nutrients away.’’

In terms of watering, aim for around an inch a week, Joseph said. If you don’t have a rain gauge, you can use a tuna can or other shallow can to measure water.

ALTERNATE THE DIRECTION YOU MOW

Besides keeping grass 3 inches high and making sure the mowing blade is sharp, you should also alternate the direction of the mowing.

“If you mow in the same direction every week, you might see tire marks in the turf grass,’’ Richard Carter, owner of My Lawn Guy, LLC in Andover. “If you mow one week in one direction, and then one week in the opposite, and another at an angle, there won’t be tire marks. You’ll see a checkerboard pattern. It looks fantastic.’’

Grass mowed this way will also be healthier, Carter adds. “If you’re mowing in a certain direction, grass will grow in that direction, and sometimes die in that direction.’’

As for watering, Carter and others we spoke with say the early-morning hours are the best. “If you’re watering at night, the moisture just sits there. It’s on the turf grass much longer than you want it to be. You want the sun to dry it off.’’

TEST YOUR SOIL

“The most important thing to know if you want to have a healthy lawn is that if you hire a professional, that’s only 50 percent of the battle,’’ said Ted Wales, turf specialist with Hartney Greymont in Needham. “The other 50 percent is the most important. It’s cultural practices like mowing and watering. Without proper mowing and watering, these other things aren’t going to solve the problem. It’s a partnership. You have to take an interest in it; you can’t just hire it out.’’

Plants like a steady environment, Wales said. In terms of mowing, grass “can be 1 inch, 3 inches, or 6 inches, but keep it to that.’’

 

Wales recommends soil testing every two years. The pH probably won’t change significantly from year to year, but it’s important to keep an eye on it.

“PH affects nutrient availability,’’ he says. “If the pH isn’t properly balanced, nutrients won’t go in.’’ For soil that is acidic, as it tends to be in New England, applying lime, which is alkaline, is recommended. (See the next tip.)

APPLY LIME, BUT NOT DURING THE SUMMER

Applying lime in the spring or fall (or both) will help your lawn along, Paul Solomon, owner of Solomon Landscaping in Dedham. Fallen pine needles and other debris contribute to acidity in the soil. Lime helps neutralize it.

Solomon advises against putting down lime in the summer “because it can sit in the sun and burn the grass,’’ he said. “You also don’t want to put down lime with regular fertilizer, because the combination would be too strong.’’

Solomon recommends pelletized lime and a spreader to apply it. Both can be found at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, he says. While you’re applying lime, it’s also a good time to put down grass seed to fill in any bare spots.

“If you see a week that’s going to be 65 or 70 [degrees], you want to put down the grass seed then,’’ he says. “Put down a starter fertilizer [which is gentler than a regular fertilizer] and lime along with the grass seed to fill in any dead areas.’’

THINK ABOUT GOING ORGANIC, AND KEEP YOUR MOWER BLADE SHARP

“We’ve been conditioned to think that if we use a [commercial] four-step process, we can have a disease-free, trouble-free lawn,’’ said Paul E. Rogers, independent horticultural consultant and instructor at the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College. “What we’re doing is keeping plants on a life-support system. The grass doesn’t have much choice but to live.’’

Some fertilizers have very high amounts of nitrogen which promotes top growth and that strived-for emerald green shade in relation to potassium and phosphorus, the latter of which aids root growth, Rogers says. This means even though grass might look green and lush, its root system may not be so healthy.

“I talk to people about using something as simple as a Triple 10 fertilizer [which has equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium] or any one of the organic fertilizers on the market,’’ he says. “When you go with an organic product, you move toward a more natural ecological system.’’

When grass is overfed with nitrogen, he adds, it becomes an ideal site for feeding insects because the grass “sweats out’’ excess sugars into small globules on the outer surface. Some commercial lawn care companies simply follow up with a pesticide, which can wreak havoc with the environment.

Rogers says mowing a lawn to the proper height and making sure the mower blade is sharp enough are crucial. “The season should have started out with a newly sharpened blade,’’ he says. “A blade that isn’t sharp enough will fracture the grass and leave room for damage. It leads to an oozing of the sugar from the grass, and leaves room for diseases.’’

TREAT SHADED LAWNS DIFFERENTLY

Shaded lawns need to be treated differently from lawns that get a lot of sunlight, said Matt Noon, president of Noon Turf Care in Hudson. “For shady lawns, we’ll cut back on the amount of nitrogen. Too much nitrogen with a shady lawn will kill it off,’’ he says.

For most lawns, he encourages overseeding, or sowing seed over existing grass, in the fall. He says spring is the best time for shaded lawns, though, since there are no leaves on the trees. He recommends aerating the lawn (you can rent a machine to do it yourself or have a lawn-care specialist do it) or raking to turn up the ground before putting down the seed.

“Some homeowners might just drop seed on the lawn, but you need soil-seed contact,’’ Noon says. “It’s not going to give you a brand-new lawn but will help.’’

Noon recommends overseeding lawns that get sunlight in the fall because the grass seed won’t have to compete with weeds. “When the temperatures drop, crab grass and broad-leaf weeds will die, but lawns will survive the cold longer than weeds will,’’ he says. September or October is a particularly good time to overseed, he adds, since the grass will have germinated before winter hits.

DON’T OVER- WATER

A minimalist yet attentive approach can give you a healthy and attractive lawn, says Scott Ebdon, professor of turfgrass science and management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “It’s about maintaining with a minimum amount of maintenance,’’ he says.

Fertilizers aren’t as necessary in the summer as they are in the spring and fall, the seasons when grass is better able to absorb nutrients. If you are going to apply fertilizer in the summer, Ebdon recommends using a product in which at least half of the nitrogen or, even better, 75 percent is in a slow-release form, and is gradually available to the grass.

“When you use fertilizers with a lot of readily available nitrogen, the plant picks it up quickly, and it promotes vertical extension,’’ he says. “This increases the need for mowing. So in the summer, we want to keep growth to the lowest possible level.’’

By stimulating growth, high-nitrogen fertilizers also increase watering requirements, since more water is lost from the grass blades. Excessive blade growth hinders the root system, and the grass becomes more susceptible to drought.

Ebdon advocates a tough-love approach to watering. “I think a lot of homeowners will kill the plant with kindness by giving it too much nitrogen or water,’’ he says. “The plant has to be allowed to experience some stress, some dehydration.’’

He recommends watering grass just after it starts to show signs of mild dehydration. The blades will have started to roll up, and you’ll see your footprints when you walk across the lawn.

“The plant will make a rapid recovery,’’ he says. “If you do that repeatedly over the summer, it’ll promote physiological changes in the plant. It’ll promote deeper rooting and enhance drought-resistance, so the plant can go further under a lack of rainfall.’’

WHEN USING LAWN PRODUCTS, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS

With lawn-care products such as fertilizer or a pesticide, “the label is the law,’’ said Karen Connelly, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals. “If it says it covers 5,000 square feet, for instance, or that the product must be diluted, or that you must use one teaspoon of the product, that will guide you on how you should do the application.’’ Don’t stray from the instructions because you think your grass needs something different.

Connelly also recommends being mindful of the ways in which products are disposed. You might keep leftover fertilizer in an airtight container in the garage until you need it next, but if you’re going to get rid of it, “don’t put it down the disposal or out with the garbage,’’ she says. “It is a growth agent, meant for a specific purpose. If you put it in the trash, it won’t be utilized in that specific way, and it’ll end up in soil or water.’’ She advises checking in with your town hall to find out if there’s somewhere you could take it.

Getting to know your own property can guide your decisions in how you care for it, Connelly says. She advocates integrated pest management, which aims, in part, to reduce pesticide use. For example, if you see that dandelions are coming up, you can spot-treat them early, without applying weed killer to a large area.

“You use much less because you’re treating individual spots,’’ she says. “The key is dealing with it before it gets too large, dealing with it sooner rather than later.’’

Ami Albernaz can be reached at ami.albernaz@gmail.com

7 Steps To More Ecological Fertilization

It is that time of the year again. Here at Nassar Landscaping and Irrigation we are busy getting the local landscape ready for Summer. Right now, is the time to start fertilizing our client’s lawns. We thought we would share this article by Helen Stone on ecological lawn fertilization. Although our processes are more involved, it is a good DIY or educational article. If you need help with your Landscaping Services and you live in Salem NH, Atkinson NH, Windham NH, Hampstead NH, Pelham NH, Londonderry NH, Derry NH, Methuen MA, Andover MA, N. Andover MA, Haverhill MA, we would like to help.

HELEN STONE

Fertilization services can strengthen turf roots by providing them with the nutrients they need.

But concerns about runoff, watershed contamination and soil health have made some question this sometimes-automatic practice. Evaluating what products you use and how you use them is always smart business. Continue reading

WHEN TO FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN

It is that time of the year again. Here at Nassar Landscaping and Irrigation we are busy getting the local landscape ready for Summer. Right now, is the time to start fertilizing our client’s lawns. We thought we would share this article by Lance Walheim on the frequency of lawn fertilization. If you need help with your Landscaping Services and you live in Salem NH, Atkinson NH, Windham NH, Hampstead NH, Pelham NH, Londonderry NH, Derry NH, Methuen MA, Andover MA, N. Andover MA, Haverhill MA, we would like to help.

By Lance Walheim, The National Gardening Association

When and how often you should apply fertilizer to your lawn depends on the type of grass you grow. Grasses need nitrogen and other nutrients during their seasons of active growth, and they grow best with an even supply. Fertilize grasses when it’s naturally dormant, and you’re wasting fertilizer. Space your applications too far apart, and your grass grows fine for a while, then slows down, and then speeds up again with the next application.

 

Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass, grow rapidly in warm weather. Generally, you need to feed warm-season grasses from late spring to early fall. If you feed too early in spring the nitrogen likely promotes rapid growth of cool-season weeds. You don’t want that. If you fertilize too late in fall, the grass is likely to be less hardy as it enters cold weather and more susceptible to winter injury.

Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue, grow most vigorously in the cooler months of fall and spring. In mild-winter climates, such as the deep South and southern California, cool-season grasses can grow throughout winter. So the most important time to feed cool-season grasses is in fall and spring, and sometimes in winter. Fall, in particular, is a very important time to feed cool-season grasses, keeping them growing longer into cool weather and providing the reserves needed for quick green-up in spring. In fact, you also should avoid fertilizing cool-season grasses too early in spring. You end up with overly lush top growth at the expense of root growth, and that can mean trouble. Besides, if you fertilize in fall, the lawn doesn’t need another application until later in the spring, anyway.

Even though cool-season grasses stay green, avoid fertilizing during the heat of midsummer. Growth naturally slows down in very hot weather, and applying fertilizer at that time can actually weaken the lawn. The exceptions are those lawns growing in far northern or high-elevation climates where the weather stays relatively cool all summer. You can feed lawns in those areas throughout the growing season

For maximum appearance, fertilize your lawn about once every six to eight weeks during their active-growth period. Simply break up the yearly requirement of nitrogen into the appropriate number of applications, say one or two in spring and two or three in fall for cool-season grasses, three over the summer for warm-season grasses.

If you’re not up for the higher-maintenance lawn (that is, frequent mowing), fertilizing once in spring and once in fall for cool-season grasses, and once in early summer and once in late summer for warm-season grasses, gives you a pretty nice lawn.

Got even less time? Fertilize cool-season grasses in fall and warm-season grasses in late spring. Just remember, no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet with each application.

 

How To Choose And When To Apply Grub Control Products For Your Lawn

Here is a great article from the University of Michigan on one of our biggest lawn killers, grubs. There is how to information on control and maintenance. At Nassar landscaping we control grubs and all the other pests that lead to poor lawns. Maintenance is the key to a full Spring Summer and Fall surrounded by beautiful green scapes. Industrial, Residential, Commercial We have the expertise to maintain any size property. Here are some other spring services we offer; Spring cleanup/Edging, Bark Mulch Installation, Plantings (Annuals/Perennials), Hydroseeding.

We offer Landscaping Services For: Salem NH, Atkinson NH, Windham NH, Hampstead NH, Pelham NH, Londonderry NH, Derry NH, Methuen MA, Andover MA, N. Andover MA, Haverhill MA.

Give us a call today to receive a Free Estimate.

 

Not all the grub control products on store shelves will be effective this spring. Here’s how to choose and use the right one for your lawn. Continue reading