We got a chance to sit down with Jacy from Fix It Home Improvement to talk about Lawn Serv recently. It was a great opportunity to discuss why homeowners should use the service and things they should be thinking about when taking care of their lawn!
Our portion of the interview starts at 14:40 minute mark.
Contrary to popular belief, not all bugs are bad bugs! In fact, there are TONS of beneficial insects for your lawn. Healthy lawns are actually packed with a wide variety of insects–those that you can see, and many that you never will. These insects serve as tiny little grass protectors, helping to fend off invasive and damaging pests, and promoting a living, breathing lawn ecosystem.
But, there are several types of insects that, if left uncontrolled, may cause significant damage to your beautiful grass. We’ve shown some of these below, and provided some tips on how to identify these, but as always, feel free to reach out if you suspect certain insects are harming your grass.
Chinch bugs typically like hot, dry conditions, basically using your grass as tiny little water taps. As they rob your grass of its valuable moisture in the summer heat, large brown patches–often with clear “boundaries”–will quickly emerge as the grass dies off. Chinch bugs reproduce very quickly, and in very large numbers, so acting quickly is very important!
Grubs are one of the more easily-identified lawn pests due to their distinct white, curled-up appearance (like a letter “C”). But, grubs are actually the larval form of several different beetles, including Japanese beetles, “June” beetles, and chafer beetles.
When grubs are active in your lawn, you can usually find them a few inches down into the soil, right where your grass’ roots are. In fact, that’s where they love to be–grubs love to eat grass roots! Although grubs are typically inactive during the winter months, younger grubs have a big appetite during the Summer and Fall months, where they do the most damage (grubs will feed in the Spring when they “wake up”, but typically much of the damage done is seen in the Fall).
Some of the symptoms of grub activity? Spongy soil, random dead/brown patches that do not green up, and birds/skunks/moles digging into your lawn (looking for snacks!). One way to confirm you have grubs is to pull back a section of your grass. If it peels up like carpet and/or you see numerous small/white grubs underneath, you may need to treat for grubs. Typically, fewer than ~5 grubs per square foot is not a problem for healthy lawns, but more than 6-10 per square foot could result in significant damage over time.
Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this blog series for additional bug identification, as well as tips and tricks for getting rid of unwanted pests!
Here at Lawn Serv, we get a lot of questions about overseeding–what is it? When is the best time to do it? How does this change my strategy for applying nutrients, weed products, etc. throughout the season? Well, the answer is … it depends! But, the good news is that overseeding is one of the best things you can do for your lawn to help improve the density of grass, fix bare spots, crowd out weeds, and keep your lawn healthy. Read on to find out more!
What is “Overseeding”?
Overseeding is pretty simple. It’s the process of laying down new grass seed to (mostly) already seeded areas of lawn. Overseeding is ideal for thin lawns; if your lawn is mostly bare in spots, but generally in good shape, you may want to consider a seeding program that is more focused on those spots.
When should I overseed my lawn?
Fall is generally the best time to introduce new seed to your lawn, particularly in cool grass areas (think roughly the top half of the U.S., where cool season grasses are most prevalent). While there are also benefits to overseeding in the Spring, this tends to be a “pickier” time to do it. If you seed too early in the Spring, late freezes and frosts–and snow!–can still hurt your seed’s chances of germinating. If you seed too late in the Spring, your grass may not have enough time to develop deep enough roots to survive the summer’s heat.
What should I do before Overseeding?
In general, you cannot just open the bag of seed and throw it down! The sun will cook your seed, the wind will take it away (if the birds don’t!), and the seed is unlikely to make the contact with the soil that it needs to sprout healthy roots.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for overseeding is aeration. This involves pulling small cores of soil from your lawn using an aeration machine. There are manual aeration devices (ever seen those spikey shoes that you strap on?), but we don’t recommend these–they’re a lot of work, and might actually compress the soil more! Aerators can generally be rented at your local hardware or rental store and are very effective.
By aerating your lawn, you’re allowing water, air, nutrients, fertilizer and seed to reach deeper down into the soil ecosystem, providing a much greater environment for your grass to grow deep, healthy roots. In particular, aeration greatly improves the soil-to-seed contact that will allow the best chance at seed germination and seedling growth.
Wait, why should I overseed again?
In addition to promoting a more dense, beautiful lawn, overseeding also introduces new and improved types of grass to your yard. This diversity protects your lawn from disease, bugs and drought, and generally improves your lawn’s ability to resist the harsh stresses of summer!
But, in order to do all of this, you need to make sure you’re applying the highest-quality grass seed, as well as addressing any underlying challenges that your lawn may be facing. The best way to do this? A Lawn Serv subscription, of course! Our plans are all tailored specifically to your lawn by using the most advanced soil testing available. And, we work directly with some of the leading grass seed suppliers–including those that supply professional sod farms with their seed!–so we can offer our customers the highest quality seed and best advice along the way.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions–we’re here to help along the way!
The key to grass seed really taking to a new area is getting great soil seed contact. You want to take the time up front getting the area prepped so the seed has the highest likelihood of success to maintain moisture during germination. Some quick tips and a HowCast video below should get you there…
At Lawn Serv, we love our organic products. When used correctly, organic products can be a fantastic, effective–and very safe–way to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive. But, what are the differences between organic fertilizers and traditional? And, what do these differences mean for how you should be using organic fertilizers to maximize the benefit?
Let’s take a look!
First, what do we mean when we say “organic fertilizer”?
Organic fertilizers are usually made by processing waste from plants or animals (e.g., compost, or manures). Organic fertilizer components are often found in non-organic products, but because those contain synthetic ingredients, they cannot be called “organic”. Keep an eye out for clear labeling that says “organic”, or “approved for organic gardening” when choosing an organic fertilizer.
Are there any benefits to using organic fertilizer?
Yes! To name just a few:
Organic fertilizers also promote the activity of healthy microbes, by providing rich sources of carbon to the soil ecosystem.
Organic fertilizers contain organic matter, which enhance soil structure, and as a result, greatly improve the soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients.
Organic fertilizers are also sustainable and environmentally friendly! According to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizer increases species biodiversity by 30% compared to other fertilizers. That’s a lot of healthy activity in your yard’s ecosystem!
But, there must be disadvantages, right? Well, sort of.
Although the organic fertilizer market is well-controlled and regulated, the quality of some products on the market may vary. And, since organic fertilizers often contain more natural and complex nutrients, they may be naturally slower to release; you may not see overnight results–it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
So, what’s the best way to use organic fertilizers?
Well, the easiest way is a Lawn Serv All-Natural Subscription Box, of course! Lawn Serv only works with the highest-quality organic fertilizer suppliers to ensure quality products and great results! Your subscription deliveries are timed throughout the season–and are targeted to your specific lawn through soil testing–to ensure effective use of organic fertilizers. If you’d rather choose your own organic fertilizers, that’s ok too! Just be be sure you’re choosing well-known products that have been reviewed by trade associations, universities, or other experts, as these will be the safest, most effective products for your yard.
As always, reach out with any questions–we’re here to help!
Many lawn products and programs are focused on short-term bursts of green in your lawn, and do not address the issues that result in unhealthy grass plants. If left unaddressed, these problems will get worse each year, leaving your lawn vulnerable to bugs, and allowing brown/bare spots and weeds to overtake your yard!
But, there is good news: by following a consistent, tailored program, you can greatly improve the health of the underlying soil ecosystem, fortifying your soil and nourishing your lawn to build a beautiful landscape!
Benefits of following a consistent lawn plan (like ours here at Lawn Serv!) include:
Less fertilizer: consistent application of the right fertilizers at the right time boosts your lawn’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs to grow naturally. As a result, you can drastically reduce the need for large amounts of fertilizer to get the same results!
Less pesticides: consistency in your lawn program will build stronger, more resilient plants, crowding out weeds and bugs, and allowing you to reduce overall pesticide use.
Less water: a consistent lawn program grows thicker, stronger, healthier root systems that access water and nutrients deeper in the soil. These healthier plants are also able to retain more water, leading to much more efficient use of water.
Eliminate runoff: by applying smaller, more consistent amounts of nutrients for your lawn—focusing only on the nutrients that your lawn actually needs, identified through a comprehensive soil test—you are greatly reducing any potential runoff.
The even better news? Following a lawn plan is not difficult! There are some basic steps that you can take that will really make a big difference, including finding out how big your lawn actually is right here! And, get your soil tested. By the way, <–that soil test is free with all of our Lawn Serv plans!
Feel free to reach out anytime with questions, we’re here to help!
Let’s face it: not everyone wakes up thinking about soil and how amazing it is. But, the reality is that soil is very much alive, so there is a lot to love! Soil contains vast amounts of living matter, including a wide variety of organisms that are beneficial to your grass. Ultimately, maintaining a great lawn begins with maintaining a healthy soil base. Don’t worry, though, we’ll take care of all of the science behind it. For now, we’d love to share some of the amazing things we love about soil!
10. There are 70,000 different types of soil in the U.S.!
9. 1 Tablespoon of soil has more organisms in it than there are people on earth!
8. 1.4M earthworms can be found in an acre of cropland …
7. … And each of these worms pass 15 TONS of dry soil through them each year!
6. 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are stored in the soil.
5. The top 6 inches of an acre of top soil contains 20,000 pounds of living matter.
4. Soil acts as a filter for underground water, filtering out pollutants.
3. 0.01% of Earth’s water is held in soil
2. Soil plays a huge part in supporting planet’s biodiversity
1 . At least 500 years(!) is needed to form one inch of top soil!
Why do we brave the hot sun on summer weekends to tackle that grass? Well, in addition to having the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood, there are actually a ton of benefits to maintaining a healthy lawn–to you, your family, and to the environment.
These benefits include:
Erosion protection! With up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant in its roots, it makes a very efficient erosion prevention device, also removing soil particles from silty water.
Natural air filter for your yard. Turfgrasses trap an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the U.S. atmosphere.
Natural water filter for your yard. Turfgrass helps purify water-entering underground aquifers — its root mass and soil microbes act as a filter to capture and break down many types of pollutants.
It’s just … more comfortable! Playing fields covered with dense turf have proven safer, as demonstrated by a simple egg drop test. When a dozen raw eggs dropped from a height of 11 feet onto a 2-inch-thick piece of dense turf, none broke; two-thirds of them broke on thin turf from that height; and from just 18-inches up, all broke on an all-weather track!
It makes great financial sense. A Gallup Survey reported 62% of all U.S. homeowners felt investment in lawns and landscaping was good or better than other home improvements. The investment recovery rate is 100-200% for landscape improvement, compared to a deck or patio that will recover 40-70%. Proper and well-maintained landscaping adds 15% to a home’s value, according to buyers.
Grass is rain’s best friend. Healthy dense lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field. Sodded lawns can absorb 10 to 12 times more water than seeded lawns, even after 2 years of growth, thus preventing runoff and erosion.
Did we mention a natural air filter for your yard? A turf area just 50 feet by 50 feet absorbs carbon dioxide, ozone and other atmospheric pollutants and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four. The grass and trees along the U.S. interstate highway system release enough oxygen to support 22 million people.
Your lawn and landscape can make all the difference to the environment and your family! So take pride in your lawn this year and celebrate the hard work of your investment.