fbpx

How big is my yard and sizing your lawn

Typically homes are bought and sold with information such as the square footage of your house and a total lot size. However that doesn’t give us great lawn care information. We as homeowners and yard maintainers really need to know the grassy area eliminating the house, driveway, shed, and other non-grassy areas. 

Fertilizer How To

The great part about technology is we can now do that measurement from ANYWHERE! Lawn Serv built a tool leveraging aerial photography built off of the Google Maps database that you can use for free here — http://www.myyardsize.com/ .  Below is a video on how it works.

It is very simple:

  • Put in your address
  • Plot points around the item you want to measure (cutting out your house, driveway, shed, etc). 
  • Read the number in the top left

Alternative Method:

  • Measuring Tape – section off areas, do a length by width calculation, add them all together
Lawn Care Subscription Box

Beginner Lawn Knowledge

At Lawn Serv we developed our DIY subscription box based on simple feedback from our customers and years of knowledge in lawn care. We identified a few things everyone should be thinking about and made the process simple by doing all the hard work leveraging science and data. 

Here are some of those items:

Measure Your Lawn

Why? Over or under treating your lawn could be bad for your lawn or bad for the environment. The easiest way to do this is with the MY YARD SIZE website that we developed just for you! The alternative of course, is to use a tape measure and do some math. 

Identify Your Turf

Why? Different types of grass require different mowing heights and lawn treatments. See the map below for understanding where you live and what type of grass you might have. 

Cool-season grasses grow in the north and most of the transition zone. They grow best at 65-75 °F. Examples: Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, fescues, bentgrass.

Warm-season grass of the hotter southern states grows best at 80-95 °F. Some examples are St. Augustine, zoysia, bermuda, bahia, centipedegrass.

Learn When Your Lawn Grows and How to Feed It

Different grass types grow at different times of the year as you can see in the images above. It’s important to fertilize the lawn at the right time to fuel that growth and create a thick, green lawn.

Warm-season grass. Grows most vigorously during warm weather. Begin feeding in spring. Instead of seeding warm season grasses try grass plugs in the spring.  They will grow and spread throughout the strong summer growth season. 

Cool-season grass. Grows the best during the spring and fall, with a tendency to go dormant during the heat of summer. Battle the heat by applying at least 1 inch of water a week in deep less frequent waterings. You can also cut the grass higher to cool the roots. Root length is typically proportional to grass length, and deep roots help in summer heat. 

Lawn Plan

4 Simple Spring Lawn (and Yard) Care Tips

Spring outdoor chores aren’t hard, but they do set the stage for getting your grass ready for the growing season. Plus after a cold winter getting outside provides a healthy dose of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise

  1. Tune up your lawn mower and weed wacker. 
    • Change the oil, air filter and spark plugs. 
    • Hopefully you cleaned them in the fall but if not try to remove any dirt and grass clippings-just be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade. 
    • Sharpen the mower blade, or replace it if it has large nicks or gouges. Think about keeping an extra blade on hand this year. Check the string on your weed wacker and add more if gone. 
    • Fill the gas tank on the mower and if your weed wacker uses mixed gas and oil put together a fresh batch. 
  1. Clean up the yard. 
    • Walk around paying extra attention to fence or tree lines and gather any tree limbs or other debris that show up. 
    • Go the extra mile and give the yard a quick rake. Getting some of the dead grass, thatch, and blown leaves out of there. 
  1. Feed the lawn and tackle the weeds
    • Take the time to hand pull up weeds now, so the surrounding grass can get its best shot at growing tall and strong
    • Apply pre-emergent weed control. This stops weed seeds from germinating (like crabgrass) and will save your lawn down the road. Best to get this down before the soil temperatures reach 55 degrees well after the air temps do. Follow that up a month later with post-emergent weed control which knocks down weeds that might have made it through and sprouted up.
    • Apply a fertilizer. You should test your soil to know exactly how much but typically a spring fertilizer will be high in Nitrogen and Potassium. The bag or bottle might be something like 10-0-4 as an example. 
    • If you have any bare spots that need seed be sure to not apply weed control to that area or think about applying seed later in the season if it can wait. 
Lawn Care Subscription Box
  1. Edge the beds and apply fresh mulch. 
    • The spring soft soil makes edging the grass by sidewalks and driveways much easier.  Try to keep those looking fresh with a quick trimmer pass of the weed wacker each week. 
    • The winter can dull a mulch bed. Everything looks better with a quick topping off of new mulch. Think about applying a pre-emergent weed control to flower bed or shrub areas to help knock down the weeding later in the season.

Extras: 

  • Check the irrigation systems for any problems and prep for the season. 
  • Clean, sharpen, and oil your pruning shears so they are ready when the time comes
  • Trim the trees and shrubs. Be careful of limbs that will produce flowers though. 
  • Power washing the deck sure would look nice! 
  • Check the lawn for fungus and mold growth. Some details HERE
Lawn Fertilizer

Fall lawn and yard maintenance checklist

Hopefully you’ve already Dethatched, Aerated, and Over-seeded (D.A.O.) after Labor Day and before the temperatures really drop in the cool season grass zones up north.  If you’re in a transition zone (middle of country) and have fescues, rye, or kentucky blue grass and the temperatures are starting to drop, it is a great time to get out in the yard and start!

Here is a list of post D.A.O. fall fun:

  1. Fertilize: the grass is going to benefit from ideal growing conditions and plant (especially the root) preparation before the winter. This is going to really help the grass bounce back in the spring. A fertilizer with all three N-P-K numbers is great but Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (K) are a must and generally available in many fertilizers without restrictions.  The Phosphorus (P) is a great addition to newly seeded lawns but can be restricted around water and you may need to complete a soil test to use a product with P.
  2. Water: water the lawn to help drive the roots down into the soil. Soak soil around trees and shrubs if rainfall has been light to ensure that plants enter winter fully hydrated.
    • Before winter fully hits and after your last mow (sad face!)….empty hoses, fountains, and sprinkler systems – ensure any standing water is removed from your watering equipment and store items in a dry place.
  3. Remove the leaves: while the leaves may look nice and be fun to play in for the kids, they aren’t great for grass. They block the sunlight and trap moisture. So when the leaves are falling, blow or rake them away as often as you can. Even after the trees are empty, continue raking out the corners where the wind piles leaves up.
    • Clean out the gutters: leaves can build up if you don’t have guards and block drains leading to damaging ice buildup.
  4. Protect Evergreens: Your boxwood, holly, rhododendrons, or similar often suffer in winter because their leaves lose moisture on sunny and windy days without replacing it from the soil when the ground is frozen. Surround these plants with a shelter of burlap or old sheets. The idea is to create shade and slow harsh wind, both of which help to retain moisture so the plant doesn’t dry out and die.
    • Provide additional protection by using an anti-transpirant spray on the plant after the first hard frost. The spray will dry into a thin film that reduces the moisture lost by transpiration.
  5. Keep Mowing: keep going every week or so until grass has stopped growing. Feel free to mulch or bag leaves also to save time! You might have to switch to afternoon mows with damp grass in the early morning.
  6. Clean tools and store them: Don’t throw your gardening tools in the garage or shed and forget about them until next year! Go that extra mile to clean and add a light coat of oil to mechanical equipment to prevent rust over the winter.

EXTRA FUN: Plant Bulbs: the fall is a great time to plant crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs. Try a few, see how it works and add more the next year. 

Overseeding – Cool Season Grass in the fall

BACKGROUND: Overseeding is the action of adding grass seed to an existing lawn. This may be considered by people for spots where bare areas show, or even better over the whole yard! Overseeding is a great way to improve the density of grass that has become thin while introducing new innovative grass that is likely more resistant to disease, drought, and bugs.

THE RULE (KIND OF): if 50% or more of you lawn is in good condition, overseeding can be a positive effort worth trying. If more than 50 percent of the area is in poor condition (weeds, dog spots, etc), you will want to consider a new lawn from sod or seed (bigger project).

NOTE: Pick seed that is appropriate for your lawn type and area. You probably want to make sure you are buying perennial not annual grass so that it comes back the next year. It will say right on the label of the bag.

Best Practices:

MOW LOW: We don’t typically advise this…. but because you are trying to grow grass from seed take into consideration that the seed will be competing with that existing (taller) grass and its nutrients (sunlight, water, fertilizer, etc). To give the seed a better chance MOW LOW in gradual steps. Normally, you should cut grass to a height of 3 to 3.5 inches. In this case, reduce that height to 1.5 to 2 inches. Also, bag or rake up the clippings in preparation for overseeding lawns, even if normally you do not. You want to give seeds the best chance of making good contact with the soil, and clippings would just get in the way.

RAKE TO LOOSEN SOIL: You will need good seed-to-soil contact for the new seed to germinate. Prepare areas by raking. Use a light touch, so you break up the soil surface without raking out the existing grass.

RAKE TO HELP SEED SOIL CONTACT: We recommend applying seed with a spreader to get more even coverage. Use the recommended rate for your selected seed when overseeding. Rake the area again lightly with an upside down rake after you overseed to improve the seed-to-soil contact.

APPLY STARTER FERTILIZER: apply a starter fertilizer for improved and faster results. We think going half application rate 2 weeks apart is a real pro move if you have the time.

WATER, WATER: The grass seed must be wet in order to germinate. The soil should be kept evenly moist, which may mean several water applications per day for a few weeks. Try not to over do the watering leading to flooding the area and making the seed move.

After the grass blades sprout, you’ll still need to water a couple of times per day and try to take it easy on the lawn for the first couple mows. Definitely don’t go heavy traffic, it will die. Keep up with your regular fertilizer applications and enjoy!

The best time for overseeding lawns that have cool-season grasses is in September in northern climates. You are looking for that not too hot, not going to frost too soon time frame.

How to Manage MOss In the Lawn

Moss in and around lawns is a common occurrence for the average home owner, don’t sweat it! We’ll try to explain how this happens and how to manage the next steps.

HOW THIS HAPPENS: Moss typically tells you that grass is weak and the environment (in the soil) is better for the moss than the grass itself. Moss can also be prevalent in conditions of excessive shade, compacted soils, poorly drained soils, low soil fertility, high or low soil pH, and poor air circulation. Poor lawn care practices are another source of moss problems. General lack of care, including irregular mowing and little or no fertilizer applications are common problems leading to poor soil conditions and therefor bad lawns.

FIXES: 1.)Amending the soil with lime is a common go to for homeowners to balance pH which is a typical sign when moss is around. However, this shouldn’t be done unless a soil test has shown the pH needs to be raised (which is what lime will do).

Lawn Serv’s DIY Lawn Care Subscription Box includes the management of pH after we test the soil which is included in the subscription plan too! Making this first fix super easy!

2.)IRON sulfate / Ferrous ammonium sulfate / ferric sulfate can be used to control moss and another plus is that this product will give a really deep green color to your lawn where it is applied. AN EXAMPLE PRODUCT HERE

1.) + 2.) Should also include raking out moss or using a spade shovel in 100% moss areas to remove it and allow product to get to the soil more easily. All of this should be followed by reseeding as these areas are usually thin with grass.

3.) Too much shade for acceptable grass growth is a common underlying cause for moss invasion. Pruning trees and shrubs to improve air circulation and light penetration is a good idea.

4.) Reduce soil compaction by aerating the lawn to help correct drainage problems.

Start there! Those correct 99% of the moss problems in the lawn world. If the problem persists really take a look at how the area is different than the other areas in your yard without moss and try to understand the underlying differences and work back from there.

Typical Lawn Disease & How to Fix IT

Maintaining a healthy, vigorously growing lawn is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak in turfgrass. Executing the lawn game plan with optimum amounts of water and fertilizer along side the right mowing regime is a solid start. Not forgetting to aerate and setup for well-drained soil is next level. If any of these factors are missing or in excess, the grass may become stressed and more susceptible to disease. NOT GOOD!

Many common diseases are active only under specific environmental conditions and with some lawn love can be put back on track in a short period of time. The key is taking action quickly when you see it! Getting down an appropriate fungicide might be needed to stop the spread and start to cure the disease. Bagging clippings when mowing will also help to stop the spread. Understanding the disease’s favorable conditions and doing your best to counteract those is going to be necessary. If excess water is a problem… turn off the irrigation, or try to regularly aerate your lawn annually as an example. We cannot control the weather so doing our best to react will keep us on our toes.

Red Tread Lawn

Red Thread. 
This disease is common under conditions of rising air temperatures 60°–75°F in spring with extended periods of leaf wetness and is likely prevalent where there are low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Red thread is a relatively harmless disease that can be used as a good indicator that it’s time to fertilize the lawn. Cool season grasses like fescue, ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and bentgrass are most susceptible.

Brown Patch.
Brown patch appears as circular patches in the lawn that are brownish yellow in color and range from 6 inches to several feet in diameter. It affects all cool-season lawn grasses but is especially harmful to ryegrass and tall Fescue. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues can occasionally be affected, but the damage is usually minimal in these species. Brown patch also affects a variety of warm season grasses including St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Brown patch is most likely to occur during extended periods of heat and humidity when night-time temperatures remain above 68° F.

Powdery Mildew
This fungal disease is common to many plants beyond grass even, each with its own species of the disease. Powdery mildew on lawns is most common on cool season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass specifically. Powdery mildew can appear quickly on a lawn, mainly in shady areas and more frequently during cloudy or overcast periods. The presence of powdery mildew is evident by a white dust appearance on the leaf blades.

Grey Leaf Spot

The conditions favoring this disease start with daytime temperatures of 85°–95°F along with high humidity or rainfall. The symptoms as seen in the picture below include irregular blighted patches of turf with bleached spots with dark edges to the spotting on the blades of grass.

Snow Mold
Will appear in the early spring as the snow melts. There are two types of snow mold. Grey snow mold and pink snow mold. Pink snow mold infects the crown of the plant and can cause more severe injury than gray snow mold which only infects the leaf tissue. Snow mold is caused when there is an extended period of snow cover on the ground that is not completely frozen. Snow mold more easily under leaves that have not been cleaned up before winter or with long grass that should have been mowed once more before winter set in.

HOW TO TREAT:

This Bayer BioAdvance product can help to stop the spread in a diseased lawn while also aiding in the cure. Additionally, applications to help prevent turf damaging diseases could be necessary if you see favorable disease conditions helping to stop the disease before they become very noticeable. This rainproof formula provides up to 1-month protection against most common lawn diseases including Anthracnose, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Fusarium Patch, Powdery Mildew, Red Thread, Rusts, Stripe Smut, Summer Patch, and Snow Mold. VIEW PRODUCT HERE

Don’t forget that disease and fungus are normal parts of maintaining a lawn. You might see these problems every year or every few years depending on where you live in the country. Not your fault, just do what you can to try to maintain it and have fun working on solving the problems!

Continue to amend and manage your lawn ecosystem appropriately with LAWN SERV!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

While you may groan at his jokes, or question his fashion choices, Dad is deserving of something special this Father’s Day.  So skip the necktie, coffee mug, or any of the “worlds greatest dad” items and consult our curated dad’s day gift guide for ideas that expresses how awesome you think he is.

Lawn Serv

Does your dad love his lawn?  This year save him some serious time and aggravation with that green oasis of a lawn by signing him up for a monthly subscription to Lawn Serv.  Along with a free soil analysis, Lawn Serv will send Dad just the right amount of fertilizer, for exactly what his lawn needs. No more going to a big box store to pick out fertilizer and no more confusion as to what to put down and in what quantities, Lawn Serv has him covered for each month of the season.  

https://lawnserv.com/pages/pick-your-product

Murphy’s Naturals

This mosquito repellant bundle is the perfect gift for any outdoor or backyard patio enthusiast.  Each kit comes with multiple all natural ways to ward off pesky mosquitoes, with incense sticks, sprays, balms, and candles and they are natural also.  They even have a bite relief balm in the event one sneaks through the defense system. Show dad you’ve got him covered this year, at least from mosquitoes.

https://www.murphysnaturals.net/shop/mosquito-repellent-bundle

Mystery Tackle Box

This is the original monthly lure subscription service, which has featured over a hundred different brands in their boxes and introduced tens of thousands of anglers to new products they have come to love. They ship out over 2 million baits a year and continue to grow as customers love getting their boxes every month.  As and added bonus, if you enjoy fishing, this will give you a great opportunity to spend a little casting time with Dad while also trying out some new tackle.

https://shopkarls.com/subscribe

Bacon Buff

If Bacon wasn’t good enough on its own, how about having it delivered to Dad’s doorstep each month.  The Bacon of the Month Club shipment features the most artisanal bacon from around the country and not the stuff you can easily find at your supermarket. Each month Dad can also expect a few extra treats along with some super-excellent bacon. Bacon Buff is the only bacon club that features a variety of diverse bacon makers, to really help you taste the Bacon Rainbow.  Set dad up with a steady supply of bacon and then make sure your around to sample the Rainbow.

https://www.baconbuff.com

GSI Outdoors

If Dad is the type of guy that loves nature and likes to get away from it all, this cooking set from GSI outdoors will make his trip.  The Halulite Ketalist combines an integrated cooking and eating solution with an ultra-durable hard anodized aluminum 1 liter camping kettle. Efficient and ultra-light hard anodized camping kettle set integrates a Folding spoon, insulated mug with sip-it top and nesting bowl into a 33 fl oz (1 liter) tea kettle with insulated handle and enough room to store a 110g fuel canister and all in a convenient, half-mesh storage bag.

https://gsioutdoors.com/halulite-ketalist-ii.html

Farm to People

What fathers day gift guide would be complete without something for the grill.  The Burger Wardrobe is that something, and it is what your burger would bring home if it went “clothes” shopping.  Even if Dad is not big on upgrading his wardrobe, at least he’ll have the most stylish looking burgers on the block. Help dad up his burger game with this offering from Farm to People.  

Whether it’s saving Dad time caring for his lawn, setting him up with a continual supply of bacon, or any of the other options on our list, you can’t go wrong when you show dad how much he means to with just the right Father’s Day gift.     


Managing Weeds In your Yard While keeping the grass

Everyone wants a weed free yard. Understanding where to start and setting realistic expectations is going to save you the frustration though as managing weeds in a lawn is an ongoing battle.

1.) Hand pulling weeds is going to help whenever you have established mature weeds already.

2.) Using a spot treatment is going to help on any weeds that are less mature or that are really hard to hand pull

3.) Preventing weeds is going to save you time on step 1 and 2, so be sure to apply your pre-emergent weed control religiously and using a broad post-emergent early is going to be more effective against less mature weeds.

We talk about attacking weeds in a bunch of ongoing mini-battles a lot here at Lawn Serv. We personally like to try to spend 5-10 minutes before mowing the lawn to walk the area, pick up sticks, and pull any mature weeds. After the mow take another 5-10 minutes pulling any mature weeds you saw while mowing while walking around with the spot treatment spraying anything too hard to pull.

After a few weeks of repeating that process you will have made a lot of great progress!

Enjoy the lawn!

Lawn Serv Team

https://lawnserv.com/

How to fix bald spots in a lawn

Bald spots on a lawn are something every homeowner experiences at one point or another in their pursuit of the perfect lawn.  Typically these spots can be fixed with a few easy steps, some water, and a little patience.

Cause of Problem

Most important is to determine what caused the spot to develop in the first place.  Without determining the underlying issue there is the potential the spot could return regardless of how well of a repair was completed.  The following is a fairly extensive list of potential culprits, some of which may require a little detective work with a shovel.

Excessive foot traffic

Animal urine

Dull lawn mower blades

Scalping by cutting your grass too short

Chemical spills

Poor soil condition caused by thatched grass

Lack of fertilization

Buried rocks or other debris

Erosion from water runoff

Tree or shrub roots

Drought

Dormancy due to the type of grass planted

Grub infestation

Chinch bugs and other insects

Fungal disease

Once you’ve determined the underlying issue and corrected as necessary the area is now ready for  some prep work.

Prepare Soil

Just sprinkling seeds and hoping for the best is not recommended for best results.  If there is a thatch layer or any debris over the spot, remove it with an aggressive raking to expose the topsoil below.  Once the soil is exposed, loosen up the top inch or so and then spread evenly so the entire surface is level with the surrounding soil.  It the spot is lower than necessary, add some quality top soil to bring it up to the correct level. Keep in mind loosen soil will compact a bit over time, so if the area is up to a ½ higher than its surrounding, that is ok.  

Spread Seed

With the soil prepared properly it’s time to spread some grass seed.  Remember to choose a seed that is appropriate for your climate and sunlight exposure of the area you are repairing.  Typically spots are repaired when needed, but keep in mind, cool season grasses do best when planted in late summer to early fall, while warm season grasses perform best when the seed is sown in spring or early summer. Once seed is spread, lightly rake the area to work the seed into the soil, paying careful attention to keeping the seeds spread evenly.  

Cover

Covering the seed is not necessary, but can be beneficial for a few reasons.  A light cover of peat moss will help retain moisture until the grass is established, which is especially important when performing repairs during the more humid times of the season. Covering with a bit of compost or enriched soil will give the seeds a bit of a nutrient boost, but be careful not to bury the seeds to deep or there is a chance they will not germinate.  In the absence of covering with soil, peat, etc. it is a good idea to cover the area with some straw, which helps a bit with moisture retention, but more importantly keeps the newly strewn seed from becoming a hungry birds snack.

Water

Of course no how-to dealing with grass goes without mentioning watering.  Water the seeds in the early morning and evening until they germinate, but also check throughout the day to ensure the area never dries out.  When watering, water well, but not hard. A gentle spray, like raindrops, or even a mist, is necessary so the seeds do not get pushed around by an aggressive water stream.

Final Steps

Hold off on mowing until the grass blades are over 3 inches tall, and even after the first mowing,  let the area grow slightly longer than the rest of the lawn until the colors of the two match. There is no need to fertilize immediately, as experts tend to agree that starter fertilizers are not useful until after the grass is established. Within a few weeks the spot will barely be noticeable from the rest of your lawn, and within a month, the trouble area with be just a memory.  

Bitnami