Tag Archives: Pro-Tip

How to Make your Lawn Thicker and Greener

When it comes to the old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side” it is always better to be the one whose grass is on the other side. Green, lush lawns  are great to look at and even better to enjoy for cookouts, parties, games, and other summer activities. By following a few basic guidelines outlined below, that each build on the other, you can be on your way to the green grass on the other side.   

Soil Test

What makes your grass look good above ground is dependent on what happens in the soil below ground. So, the foundation of a great lawn starts with knowing your current soil conditions, and a good soil test will reveal the specific nutrients your soil needs.  Based on the testing results you can then tailor your fertilization and amendment program to give the soil what it can use without guesswork or wasted product. If you are looking for a good testing option, lawnserv.com offers a great test for all new and existing customers.  

Fertilize

Just like the human body, your lawn needs food to be healthy and strong.  Regular fertilization, in the correct amounts and nutrient makeup for a given time of year, provide your grass the food it needs when it needs it.  In order to avoid wasting your time, and fertilizer, it is important to be on a program that is tailored to your lawns specific needs. Also, consider using a mulching blade on your mower to return clippings back to the ground and into nutrients that benefit the soil.  

Weed Control

Because weeds compete with grass for sunlight, water, and nutrients, the best weed control is a thick healthy lawn.  Early spring is a good time to kill potential weeds with a quality Pre-Emergent herbicide. If you are noticing weeds have already established a foothold in your lawn, there are both blanket post emergent and spot treatment options available.  You can even tackle weeds by hand, if they are not to overwhelming. A good trick is to pull weeds after a rainfall or watering, when the soil is looser.

Grass Cutting

Proper mowing is an often overlooked part of an overall lawn care plan.  Set your mower height so you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade, otherwise you risk stressing the lawn. Ideally grass should be kept at a length of 3-3.5” for the season. This height lets the grass block weed seeds, shades the soil, and reduces evaporation. Also, keeping your mower blades sharp will ensure the grass is cut by shearing rather than tearing.  A torn end will usually turn brown after a few days and become more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Water

Once you have your soil tested, fertilized, controlled for weeds, and the mowing is dialed in, following good watering practices will keep you on track for the thicker green lawn desired.  Germinating grass seeds need consistent moisture and should not be allowed to dry out. For established lawns it is generally accepted grass needs about 1” of water per week, either from nature or irrigation.  Less frequent watering, but in higher doses (to reach the one inch goal) has been proven to encourage deep root growth and an overall stronger more resilient lawn. Investing is a rain gauge or an electronic soil tester is also a helpful way to keep track of moisture levels.  

By following the plan outlined above, your lawn will look great for the entire growing season, despite the parties, barefoot traffic, and other summer fun it endures.  If you are looking for some more comprehensive help with several of the steps above, check out lawnserv.com for a DIY lawn service that takes the guesswork out of lawn care and delivers it to your door.  

Lawn Plan

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!

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