Monday, October 11, 2010

Don’t lower your mower

In the past it was thought that you should lower your mower height for the last cut of the season. Taller blades means better photosynthesis.  Roots and rhizomes continue to grow over winter and a little more help from sunlight could be a boost the plants need for exceptional growth. Keep your cool season grass cut at or above 3 inches. Our mowing height is set at 4 inches and we have found that leaving the grass taller over winter benefits the plant. Wait till Spring to lower the mower the first cut then raise it a half inch each week until you get to your normal mowing height.

See lawn mowing for more tips.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dethach in Early Spring or Fall

Most lawn care companies do not offer dethatching. Dethatching is time consuming and can produce as much as two pick-up truck loads of thatch. The method of collecting the thatch involves hand held rakes and tarps a labor intensive exercise.

Thatch as defined by Dr. James B. Beard is “a tightly intermingled layer of dead and living stems and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface.”

To remove thatch from a lawn requires a dethatcher or power rake, depending on the thickness of the thatch, between 2 - 5 passes with the machine and raking up the removed thatch between passes.

The cost of having dethatching done by a company can run between $65- $145 per 1000 sq ft. depending on the thickness of the thatch.
So if you had a moderate amount of thatch in a 5000 sq ft lawn your cost would be around $500.

If that seems like a lot, well it is. One thing you can do to help is to Aerate every fall which will help air and water to penetrate the thatch making things easier for microbes to decompose the thatch.  Another tip water heavily and deeply once a week - Watering frequently promotes surface root growth building up your thatch layer.

A normal amount of thatch  between 1/8" - 1/4" is preferred - Anything more should be removed as it is not letting water air and nutrients penetrate into the soil.

If you feel your lawn needs dethatching you can rent a dethatcher and do the work yourself or call on the professionals.  In Montgomery County MD Seneca Gardens can help.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How To Mulch

Mulch should be applied no thicker then 4 inches with 2-3 inches being the optimum depth.  Mulch should never be applied up against the trunks of trees or shrubs.

Mulch against a trunk can hold moisture against the trunk causing damage, provide insects with a cozy living and eating environment, and breed disease.  Mulch that is too thick can hold too much moisture and block oxygen from the soil.

A finer mulch is preferred as it breaks down quicker providing nutrients to the soil.

Fall mulching should consist of removal of all old mulch and weeds in bed. Turning of the soil should be followed by a layer of newspaper covered by 1 to 2 inches of fine mulch.  Fall mulch should decompose through out the winter and be ready to be turned into the soil with the newspaper in the Spring.

During the Spring check beds pulling weeds by hand and turning the existing mulch from fall.  If the mulch appears diseased remove it.  If you are to trim and prune hedges do so before adding new mulch.

Clean up the edge with and edger and shovels.  If this is a new bed with little or no plants you can add landscaping fabric as a barrier against weeds. This landscape fabric should be removed in the Fall.  Mulch is applied about 3 inches thick and leaving bare 4 to 6 inches around trees and shrubs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Over-Seed

Over-Seeding is broadcasting about a pound of seed per thousand square feet onto an already established lawn.

Golf courses over-seed in the Spring and Fall. You need only over-seed in the Fall to replace any grasses that have died over the year.

Nature does its own over-seeding at the end of summer when the grasses drop their seed. However your lawn is cut regularly so that the grasses do not go to seed. You must perform this renewal for your lawn or it will slowly depopulate.

Over seeding when done in conjuction with Aeration gives you the best results.

...For more Lawn Tips

This Months Weed

Chickweed is mat forming with numerous branched stems. The leaves are opposite, smooth, oval to broadly elliptic in shape. Chickweed's upper leaves are sparsely hairy with long petiole. The stems have vertical lines of hairs.

Flowers appear in small clusters at the ends of stems. They are white with five deeply notched petals. This plant reproduces by seed. The best way to control this weed is by a routine spraying program like one provided by Seneca Gardens.

Chickweed is a winter annual weed and a familiar site to Maryland lawns. It is recognizable by its white flowers in small clusters at the ends of its stems. The good news is Seneca Gardens can control Chickweed.

For More Lawn Tips

The Benifits Of Aeration

Aeration core
Increased oxygen availability to the root system allows increased respiration. Aeration decreases thatch. The soil structure is improved, allowing better surface water drainage into and through the soil. Water is used more efficiently, increasing conservation and decreasing water bill costs.