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 if your lawn simply 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 which 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 really important 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 five engineered species of zoysia grass. Each has been developed from one of three commercially produced varieties; japonica, tenuifolia, and matrella. While japonica species may grow slowly, they are resistant 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 really simple 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.
In addition, seeding enables different grass types to be mixed together. This is a really effective way to gradually change the makeup of a lawn. It takes a long time, but if you plant the right seeds and maintain them carefully, you can eventually replace fragile or weed prone grasses with much hardier alternatives. This process is called ‘over seeding.’
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, however, drastic action needs to be taken. In the event that a lawn is so full of stubborn weeds that they are rivaling the grass for space, a lot of lawn care companies would recommend a full renewal.
This is an extensive process and not taken lightly, but the end results 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.
Around a fortnight after spraying, the lawn technician returns to respray any plant material which is still visible above the soil. The entire lawn must be removed. Otherwise, when the new seeds are planted, the old, vulnerable grass will also return. Ten to twelve weeks after the initial treatment, fresh seeds are sown. The alternative, if you don’t want to wait for the lawn to grow from seed, is a full turf replacement.
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 really important to know which species of grass is being treated for this very reason.
Zoysia has the ability to 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, in order 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 clever 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 manually aerated, but it is usually necessary if the ground has become rigid and compacted. To put it simply, the more squashed together the soil gets, the fewer holes there are from the surface to the roots.
This makes it harder for the good stuff to reach your grass and help it thrive. Fortunately, all that a lawn technician needs to do is manually create these holes. There is a special device, called an aerator, which penetrates the soil and opens up air pockets. These pockets prevent the roots from dying due to a lack of oxygen or nutrients.
Soil compaction is a common problem after laying turf, so freshly laid lawns are normally aerated over the weeks and months that follow. It occurs because the soil attached to new grass doesn’t always have the same consistency as the old soil. This layering up of textures disrupts drainage and traps water in the finer textured soil, but aerating is a simple solution.
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. Crabgrass is one of the most common. It is also one of the most unsightly, with its hairy stalks and long, spiky seed heads. Crabgrass can often be found trying to take over threadbare sections of lawn. Creeping Charlie is another unwanted guest.
It literally creeps across the surface of grass and stops the sunlight from penetrating. This weed poses the biggest risk to fescue species because it thrives in moist, shady conditions. The list goes on; burclover, bull thistle, brome, fleabane, mayweed, pennywort, and more are all common in Georgia and the other southern states.
Weed control is the area where most homeowners really appreciate having professional support. You cannot expect your lawn to live happily ever after with just one spray treatment or herbicide cycle. Weed management is a long-term responsibility because you can’t banish them forever without doing irreparable damage to the lawn itself.
Ultimately, wherever your grass can grow, so too can those pesky weeds. However, small changes like leaving the lawn slightly longer can make a big difference. Taller blades take up more space and grow into one another, and this protects the soil from intruders. If you’re keen to move away from traditional chemical killers, you can discuss alternative options with your lawn care provider.
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 the leafy blades of lawn grass.
What they don’t do is damage the roots, but they can still leave a lawn looking limp, lackluster, and brown at the edges. White grubs, on the other hand, do have the potential to destroy root systems and kill off sizeable sections of grass. Nevertheless, pest control has to be carefully considered, particularly if you have young children or pets who use the garden regularly.
It is always best to leave pest control measures to the experts because there is a fine line between deterring unwanted visitors and killing off your own plants. Plus, the last thing that you want to do is cause damage to any natural predators (like birds) which can help you keep pest numbers under control. With a professional service, you’ll have access to the finest tools, equipment, and techniques.
Why the Benefits of a Beautiful Lawn Are Endless
So, there you go. These are the most common features of a good 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 which 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.