Category Archives: Lawn Care

Common Lawn Bugs That May Be Hurting Your Lawn: See Any of These? Let’s Chat! (Part 1)

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

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!

Treating grubs in lawn

Grubs

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!

Treat Bugs in lawn



How to Prepare for Effective Overseeding

Overseeding Lawn

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?

How to prep for seeding

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!

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How to Prep Soil for Grass Seed

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…

  • Loosen up the soil with rakes
  • Level the area to be even
  • Remove debris like stones or twigs
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How to Revive a Dead Lawn

You lawn is likely not dead.  It is likely dormant waiting to be revived.  If you have bare patches (not a dormant lawn) think about seeding not reviving.

Check out this HowCast video below and be sure to read the bullets below that with additional helpful hints…

  • Try to stay off of it
  • Water it – please use a sprinkler (but be committed to continued watering)
  • Provide the lawn with a boost of food. Try an All Natural fertilizer to start with that has Nitrogen and make it a hose-end application product as that has great absorption
How to revive a lawn
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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
Learn more about managing your lawn here ^

Should I Be Following a Lawn Program?

Lawn Care Plan

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!

Lawn Plan

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!


Lawn Care Advice

10 Things We Love About Soil!

Why Test Soil

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!

Lawn Serv DIY Lawn Care Subscription Box
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Benefits of a Beautiful Lawn!


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Natural air filter for your yard.  Turfgrasses trap an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the U.S. atmosphere.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
How to get a great lawn

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.

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
Lawn Serv’s DIY Subscription Box Plans Make Lawn Care Simple

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
Come love your lawn more with us!

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