For many homeowners, the picture of a perfect property isn’t complete without a beautiful, green lawn. While it’s easy to take our gardens for granted, it is one of the first things that people look for when buying a new house. When the warm weather arrives, and the summer sun bathes the southeast in light, getting out onto our lawns becomes a top priority.
The question is, what do you do if your lawn isn’t up to scratch? How do you fix yellow patches, weedy corners, and lackluster tones, so that you can enjoy the benefits of soft, healthy grass all year round? Well, the bad news is that it isn’t easy. Lawn maintenance is a full-time job, and even the greenest fingered gardeners can struggle to keep up.
The good news, however, is that you don’t have to do it alone. With the help of a professional lawn care service, weeding, fertilizing, watering, and pest control is managed as part of a comprehensive package. Within weeks, you could have a stunningly beautiful lawn that is free of bare patches, yellow spots, unwanted bugs, pesky plants, and more.
This guide to the benefits of high quality, regimented lawn care will show you why it is a great idea to get the professionals in.
Identifying Your Grass Species
The three most common species of grass in the United States are fescue, Bermuda, and zoysia. They each have unique needs and characteristics, so it is essential for lawn care experts to identify the species they are treating. Fescue comes in more than thirty varieties. It is surprisingly diverse and resilient. It thrives in shady areas, where other species tend to struggle.
Bermuda grass, on the other hand, is ideal for those living in southern climates. It is a hardy turf species, which can withstand hot temperatures and survive with only small amounts of water. This makes it an easier grass to maintain, particularly if you live in a dry area of the country. As it is a low growing, wiry variety, it is also a good choice for families with pets. It is tough enough to bounce back when stepped on.
There are many engineered species of zoysia grass. Each was developed from one of three commercially produced varieties including japonica, tenuifolia, and matrella. While japonica species may grow slowly, they are resistant to many types of weeds. They are the most tolerant of cold conditions. Currently, most (if not all) of the zoysia seeds sold in the United States are of the japonica variety.
The most common gripe which homeowners have with their lawns is that the grass doesn’t grow evenly. Some sections are lush and green, but others grow stunted or yellow and seem to struggle to keep pace with the rest of the garden. There are many possible reasons for this, but the underlying problem is either that different sections are growing at different speeds or conditions across the lawn are not uniform.
Seeding is a straightforward way to deal with this, and a good lawn service will do more than just sow extra grass seeds. They monitor the progress of the seeds and try to bring them in line with the height, size, and speed of the rest of the lawn. While seeding is a lengthier solution than laying turf, the grass is more likely to adapt and adjust to its new environment.
It takes a long time, but if you plant the right seeds and maintain them carefully, you can eventually replace dead zones with vibrant grass. This process is called ‘overseeding.’
Full Lawn Renewal
For the most part, damaged lawns can be categorized in two ways. Most are either weedy, patchy, or yellowing in places, but there is still a reasonable amount of healthy grass to treat and nurture. If this is not the case, and the lawn is completely overrun with weeds, a lawn care service might recommend a full lawn kill and just start from scratch.
This is an extensive process, and not to be taken lightly, but the end result can be remarkable. To get there though, the entire lawn is artificially destroyed to make way for a healthy new beginning. It is a necessary evil when weeds or pests have all but decimated what grass there is left. First, the lawn is sprayed with a powerful grass and weed killer. It makes its way into the soil, where it will remain active for around two months.
A few weeks after spraying the initial dose, the lawn technician returns to respray any living plant material which is still visible above the soil. You then have to wait two months, till the soil, put down a fresh layer of new soil and either put down sod or new seed.
If your grass requires full or partial seeding, lawn fertilization will usually follow afterward to ensure that the new seeds grow strong and healthy. This process may be started before sowing if your lawn care service identifies a PH imbalance in the soil. As explained, it is essential to know which species of grass is being treated for this very reason.
Zoysia can grow in a variety of soil types, but it prefers a PH of 6 to 7. Bermuda grass favors a slightly less alkaline soil and thrives in PH 6 to 7. Most fescue varieties prefer their soil to be more acidic still, at PH 5.5 to 6. To raise the PH level and create more alkaline conditions, a fertilizer such as pulverized limestone is added.
Conversely, if the soil needs to be more acidic, to nurture fescue seeds, a fertilizer containing sulfur is used. The thing to remember is that the process is quite delicate. Lawn fertilization must be carried out with care, and you’ve got to be willing to keep a close watch on the soil to make sure that plants are getting the right nutrients. This is why many homeowners choose to hire the help of a professional lawn service.
One smart way to ensure that water, oxygen, and nutrients from fertilizers make it to the roots of your grass is aeration. Not all lawns need to be aerated, but it is recommended if the ground has become rigid and compacted or if you notice puddling on your property.
Whether you bring your lawn up from seed or take a shortcut and lay a turf replacement, careful watering is the secret to success. It is also the area of lawn maintenance, where people tend to make the biggest mistakes. They assume that, as long as the grass receives some form of moisture, it doesn’t really matter when or how it happens. This is not the case.
Any good lawn maintenance team will you that watering needs to be done as early as possible. It can be left until the early afternoon, but the ideal time is in the morning before the sun is high in the sky. This is vital because all plants need plenty of time to dry off before night arrives, and temperatures drop. If they remain wet, their chance of contracting certain diseases is substantially higher. So, water early and give the grass time to dry out.
Newly laid turf can be just as vulnerable. It generally needs around four weeks of careful, consistent watering before it can fend for itself. Your lawn repair team will water the new grass immediately, to a soil depth of roughly 100mm. It will be your job to ensure that the ground remains damp in between visits from the experts. If it rains, you may not need to add more water. Adapt your routine to the conditions that develop in the garden.
Weeds are a frustration for every lawn. In the southeast, they come in an abundance of varieties and forms. It is imperative for homeowners and property managers to have a year-round program in place.
Caring for your lawn doesn’t end with regimented weed control because some unwanted guests are a little more mobile. Take armyworms, for instance. They are a common problem in Georgia and the surrounding areas during summer. They arrive in large numbers from South America as soon as the weather starts to heat up. These little caterpillars feed on grass and can destroy a lawn overnight.
It is recommended that homeowners and property owners keep a bottle of broad-spectrum pest control that isn’t harmful to lawns available for use.
Why the Benefits of a Beautiful Lawn Are Endless
So, there you go. These are the most common features of a great lawn care service. It isn’t a comprehensive list because all providers are different. It also depends on the size, condition, and shape of your garden. In some cases, for example, it might be necessary to take labor-intensive measures and cut down tree branches that are obstructing the light.
Most lawns, however, just need a little love and care. It is always an option to carry out lawn maintenance and repair by yourself, but there may be reasons why this isn’t viable. The beauty of hiring a regular team is that you never have to worry about letting weeding, fertilizing, or seeding routines slip. Your lawn care experts will be on hand at precisely the right times.