Tag Archives: Lawn Care

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.  

3 Steps to Getting Rid of Those Weeds

Crabgrass! Dandelions! Chickweed! Oh my!  Without prevention and proper control, weeds can germinate and spread very quickly.  The best way to prevent weeds in the first place is to grow a thick, healthy lawn, which will crowd out and block weeds and weed seeds from getting access to your lawn’s nutrients and even the sun.  But, once weeds have taken hold, they can be difficult to rid from your yard. Luckily, though, there are a few relatively simple things you can do to prevent those pesky weeds from ruining your beautiful lawn.  We’ve included our recommended approach–the weed-eliminating trilogy–below. Just remember, like lawn care in general, getting rid of weeds is a marathon, not a sprint!

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions–we’re here to help!

STEP 1:  PULL, PULL, PULL!

Many types of weeds (like crabgrass, chickweed, etc.) can be hand-pulled relatively easily, so it’s definitely worth trying to make a dent manually.  Earlier in the season is usually better, as the weed roots are still relatively shallow. Similarly, hand-pulling when the soil is moist is usually most effective.

STEP 2:  SPOT, SPOT, SPOT!

Once you’ve taken a few passes through your yard hand-pulling as many weeds as you can, you may want to use a targeted spot treatment for weeds.  These usually come in a spray bottle, or jug with a wand attached.

Spot treatment is usually most effective when you can target the center/base of the weed, as well as the major weed leaves.  When applying spot treatment, it should not harm the lawn, but you should try to avoid overspraying your weeds anyway–you’ll use less product overall, and your grass will be under less stress!

STEP 3:  PREVENT, PREVENT, PREVENT!

The Spring and Fall are key times for getting ahead of weed growth.  Once weeds become more mature during the summer, your grass is often too stressed to be able to fight back!  So, don’t forget your pre-emergent weed preventer in the Spring, and if you’re not planning to overseed in the Fall, you may choose to apply another round of pre-emergent.  

But, don’t forget that growing a healthy lawn is the best prevention there is! So, don’t forget to mow a little higher, water your lawn at least once a week, and take the time to walk through your lawn each week to spot potential weed germination and other lawn stresses before they start to spread!

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

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
Check out Lawn Serv’s DIY Lawn Care Subscription Box NOW!

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