Category Archives: All Natural

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.

What to Consider When Choosing Organic Fertilizer

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:

  1. Organic fertilizers also promote the activity of healthy microbes, by providing rich sources of carbon to the soil ecosystem.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
Fertilizer How To

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!

See you out in the yard!

-Lawn Serv

How to use organic products
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Why We Love Our Lawns

You wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning, walk downstairs, grab a cup of coffee, and take your first mid-summer step out the back door to that fresh warm air over your backyard. It smells like heaven as you see those perfect lines still in the grass from yesterday’s mow. It’s the American Dream; it’s as ingrained as baseball and apple pie!

Watering Lawn
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There is no question we love our lawns, but why?  Well, we grabbed a few Lawn Serv employees and headed outside to discuss our favorite reasons for why we here at Lawn Serv love our lawns:

  • Let’s play! At the sight of a nice day we all look to run outside ASAP.  Nobody wants to hangout in a messy house, same goes for outside the house.
  • It’s a work of art! We take pride in cultivating and nurturing a beautiful lawn … but also in still being able to kick off our shoes to enjoy it!
  • The juice is worth the squeeze!  Lets be honest, lawn care isn’t always the easiest. It’s hot. It’s dry. You’d much rather be in the AC.  But, when you get it right–whether your friends and family see it or not–you sleep a little better at night!
  • A great workout. Many of our customers share their stories of enjoying the peaceful exercise they get when taking care of their lawns.  Getting outside, enjoying the warm summer air–taking care of our lawns is mentally and physically fulfilling!

Whatever your reason, we can all agree that having a few friends and family over, with a couple of lawn games and a fired-up grill is even more enjoyable with a lush green lawn!

Lawn Dream
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NPK – The Science, What They Are and What They Do

Lawn Fertilizer Numbers

Quick Pro-Tip’s:

  • Nitrogen (N): nitrogen is the food that aids a lawn to grow quickly, taller, and develop a darker green color.
  • Phosphorus (P): phosphorus is responsible for root growth and helps aid new lawn development
  • Potassium (K): potassium is a nutrient responsible guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance.


You look outside and notice your grass is brown, patchy, and generally dry looking.  So, you decide to head to the store to get some fertilizer. But, what do all those fertilizer numbers mean?? And, what do you need for your lawn??  Well, the short answer is that it heavily depends on a professional soil test (free with the Lawn Serv program). But, more on that later. For now, let’s take a quick look at those fertilizer numbers, what they are, and what they mean for your lawn.

how to test soil

What The “Fertilizer Numbers” Are:

  • Nitrogen (N), the first number: nitrogen is the food that helps a lawn to grow quickly, taller, and to develop a darker green color.
  • Phosphorus (P), the second number: phosphorus is responsible for root growth and helps aid new lawn development; phosphorus is often “0”, or very low, as there are restrictions around when and where phosphorus can be applied.
  • Potassium (K), the third number: potassium is a nutrient responsible for guarding the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance.

These are three of the core nutrients used to amend soil to grow a lush green lawn. It’s what you see on the front of a fertilizer bag when you see for example 20-10-10 (or 20N-10P-10K).  That is the percentage (by weight) of the three major nutrients required for healthy grass growth, always in the same order nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K). Why don’t the the percentages equal 100 percent? That is because there are other nutrients and filler product in fertilizer mixtures. This filler helps to apply the nutrients evenly over an area.

N-P-K Organic Fertilizers (plant-based):

If you are looking for an organic option, your best bet is to find a plant-based, manure-based, or blended version of the NPK fertilizer. This allows for a balanced fertilizer that stimulates through beneficial soil microorganisms and improves the structure of the soil providing long term benefits. Some plant-based NPK fertilizer are developed with alfalfa meal, soy meal, seaweed based, and cottonseed meal. These organic plant based fertilizers break down easier and have faster absorption than most.

So, What Do These “Fertilizer Numbers” Mean For Your Lawn?

These numbers are very important as your grass needs different percentages depending on what time of year, climate, and soil composition.  For example, your lawn may need a boost of Phosphorus if you’re applying new seed, or may need a boost of Potassium late in the season to promote deep root growth for the winter.  The best way to determine exactly what your lawn needs is through a professional soil test, which we offer free as part of our Lawn Serv subscription box! And, as always, feel free to reach out with any questions; we’re here to help!

Cheers!

The Lawn Serv Team

Best Lawn Process

The Benefits of Soil Testing, Why & How!

Quick Pro Tip:

  • Soil can be tested at any time of the year, but for optimal results get your soil tested in fall or early spring this gives you ample time to make adjustments before you start planting.
  • Use a soil composition (soil from around your yard combined) as most amendments are going to be deployed broadly around the yard and there are not likely huge swings in nutrient levels to warrant super specific small tailoring of amendments.  
  • Test every couple years to see how the amendments you have made are affecting the soil.
What is NPK

Why:

Testing your soil is incredibly beneficial to the everyday home-owner with a lawn. Testing your soil allows you to understand the fertility of the lawn and its specific nutrient levels and what it needs in order to prosper.  You can then tailor your applications to target the specific needs of your lawn. This should save you time and money while being more effective and better for the environment.

How to test your soil:

Hands down the best way to test your soil is through either an extension school/university or through a private lab.  The prices can range from $15 if you drop it off to $100 if you ship it in. The biggest problem is knowing what to do with the results.  They will provide you with a lot of language such as 3 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft. If that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you it might make sense to use Lawn Serv.

Things you will test for:

There are many different types of nutrients or lack thereof in a yard, and they can differ city to city or state to state based on a lot of different factors.  Some of the main lawn related items you should see in a soil test result are:

  • pH level
  • Organic Matter
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

You will see recommendations regarding nitrogen levels based on these factors and where you are located in the country also.

How to with Lawn Serv:

With Lawn Serv it is as simple as clicking a button.

Start by Clicking Get Started and we will go through the rest with you online!

Cheers!

The Lawn Serv Team

Best Practices for Lawn Care

Should I Aerate My Lawn? Should I De-Thatch? What About Overseeding?

We often have customers reach out to ask whether they should tackle any of these complex-sounding lawn procedures.  Does my lawn need to be aerated?  When should I dethatch my lawn?  How do I overseed…if I need to?

Great questions!

The good news is that these are actually much more straightforward than they seem.  And, we’re here to help along the entire way!

Read on for an overview of the benefits of aeration, dethatching and overseeding, as well as one of our favorite videos highlighting some of the key steps.

And, as always, feel free to get in touch  anytime with questions!

Machine Dethatching vs Rake
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FIRST:  WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LAWN AERATION, DE-THATCHING, AND OVERSEEDING?

  1. Aeration loosens compacted soil. Loose soil allows grass roots to plunge deeper into the soil, providing better access to vital water resources, particularly during times of stress (hot sun!).
  2. Aeration (and de-thatching!) reduces thatch. Thatch is basically grass stems and roots that accumulate faster than they breakdown. Excessive thatch creates an environment that pests and diseases love!
  3. Aeration opens access to the root zone. This allows much better circulation of air, moisture and food to the root zone, where nutrients are absorbed.
  4. Aeration yields greater seed germination. Aeration holes (from “core aeration”) provide a great little spot for seeds to settle and germinate.
  5. Overseeding introduces new grass variety and thickens existing turf. By diversifying your grass plants over time, you’re protecting against disease, drought, and pests. And, overseeding increases grass density, filling in bare spots, and crowding out weeds and pests!
  6. Overseeding builds resistance to disease. By incorporating different blends of grass seed, you reduce your risk to diseases that can wipe out the entire lawn.
  7. Aeration and overseeding will help to reduce weeds. Opportunistic weeds germinate in areas where they can be successful. Crabgrass grows in thin areas, nutsedge pops up in thin/low spots, and broadleaf weeds spread where there is little desirable grass. The best defense is to have a thick lawn.
  8. Aeration and overseeding will give your lawn an immediate, beautiful boost! If your lawn was attacked by fungus, insects, or animals this year a core aeration and overseeding will help. You’ll be able to see seed germination in 7-10 days.

AERATION, DETHATCHING, AND OVERSEEDING EXAMPLE: IN THIS VIDEO, THIS OLD HOUSE LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR ROGER COOK BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO AN OLD LAWN.

Lawn Renovation Steps:
1. Put on hearing protection and mow the lawn to a height of 1½ inch. Be sure to collect the grass clippings.
2. Run a de-thatcher across the entire lawn to remove dead plant matter.
3. Use a leaf rake to collect and remove all the thatch pulled from the lawn.
4. Run a gas-powered core aerator across the lawn.
5. Rake up and remove the soil plugs extracted by the aerator.
6. Spread compost over the lawn and rake it down into the holes.
7. Analyze the physical structure of the soil with a soil test kit; amend the soil as necessary.
8. Use a broadcast spreader to over-seed the lawn with new grass seed. Adjust the spreader to dispense seven pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet area.
9. Use backside of leaf rake to lightly work the grass seed into the lawn.
10. Lightly water twice a day to keep the lawn damp, not soaking wet.

Quick video on Dethatching, Aeration, and Seeding

Fertilizing After You Mow The Lawn

Quick Pro tip

  • You should fertilize after you mow your lawn.
  • If granular fertilizer, you should water in the fertilizer so it can get to the roots, or apply right before a rain.
  • If you can, mulch the clippings and leave them on the lawn, those are packed with nutrients for the soil! (just not clumpy)
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Fertilizing after you mow is important because you want the product typically to be able to reach the soil line.  If you fertilize on top of the tall grass the product can be wasted and in some cases even burn the grass leaves.

Some other things to note would be that you should never cut more than 1/3 of the blade of grass off when mowing, and be sure to always water your lawn if it’s been a while without rain!

Cheers!

Lawn Serv Team

Best Way to Mow Stripes

Watering the lawn video

Quick Pro Tip on Watering:

  • You need 1″ of water per week naturally or by you!
  • Use a sprinkler
  • Use a container to test how much water has fallen from the sprinkler

No matter how much you fertilizer your lawn or how perfect you mow it, if it doesn’t get enough water it will go dormant or die.  It is important to get at least 1″ of water per week when you consider natural rain and watering yourself.  It is also more important to water completely that frequently.  If possible, water for ~20 minutes so the water can soak deep into the soil driving the roots down vs. a light watering teasing the roots towards the surface water.  This is why using a sprinkler is the most effective way to water a lawn.  It can be time consuming to stand there hand watering, so setup your smart phone alarm for 20 minutes and go do something else.

Fertilizing and Mowing the lawn right
Changing the landscape of lawn care through the use of technology