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When it comes to lawn care, many homeowners repeat the same bad practices year after year.  Here are a few to avoid.

1.  Scalping the lawn to start the season.

Mowing grass too short is very harmful to the plant and can actually put it into shock. Cutting off too much of the grass blade will limit it's ability to absorb sunshine (known as photosynthesis) through it's leaves. This will make the plant less healthy and more prone to disease. Cutting the grass too short also encourages the weeds to grow as there is now less competition for the same space.  Observe areas where use of a weed eater has scalped the grass almost down to the dirt and notice how the weeds take over in these areas.  A nice healthy, thick lawn will crowd out many of the weeds and is always the best weed prevention.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

It is widely believed that cutting the grass short will cause it to grow slower.

Cutting it too short will restrict it's ability to absorb sunshine.

This will only cause it to grow even faster until it produces a blade long enough to absorb the sunshine necessary to store energy and remain healthy.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Automatic sprinkler systems are designed to use water in the most efficient way possible, but if used improperly they can also waste more water than they were designed to save.  A few simple and common sense adjustments can mean big water savings.

Adjust sprinkler clock settings for time of year

The biggest way most homeowners waste water is by not setting their sprinkler clocks properly. Grass needs far less water in the spring and fall than during the heat of the summer. Yet most homeowners only set the sprinkler clock once in the spring.  It continues to water the same, rain or shine, hot or cold.  This results in the grass getting way too much water when it doesn't need it and not enough when it could really use it.


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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Replace or sharpen mower blades before the first  mowing of the season. 

Mowing with dull blades will shred the tips of the grass blades causing “white tipping” of the grass. 

Torn grass blades are more susceptible to disease. Sharp blades will ensure a clean cut.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Crabgrass starts to appear in mid to late spring,

invading lawns as soon as the soil temperature

begins to warm up. 

 

 

Crabgrass grows best in full sun, so mow the grass

high to help shade the soil and apply a

pre-emergent crabgrass control in early spring to

prevent germination of crabgrass seeds.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Ask any homeowner what the least favorite part of maintaining a lawn is, and most would answer mowing. Lawn mowing is one of those necessary evils. A weekly chore for which we can find all kinds of excuses not to do. And yet proper lawn mowing is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lawn.

Scalping the lawn

Mowing height and frequency are vitally important for a problem free turf.  It is widely assumed that cutting the grass short will cause it to grow slower. Cutting it too short will restrict its ability to absorb sunshine. This will only cause it to grow even faster until it produces a blade long enough to absorb the sunshine necessary to store energy and remain healthy.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

 A cyclone or rotary spreader will apply fertilizer

granules much more evenly and help prevent the

alternating green and yellow stripes so often seen

after fertilizing the grass with a drop spreader. 

 Making a second pass at 90 degrees to the first

application will insure complete coverage.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

 A turf that has been neglected is much more

susceptible to weeds.

 

Growing and maintaining a high quality turf  with

proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing will

 make it much more difficult for weeds to take hold.

 

The best way to control weeds is with a healthy, dense

turf.

 

   

 

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Lawn care need not be hard or complicated. It can be as easy as following these 5 simple steps.

#1. Only water the lawn when it needs it.

Take your sprinkler system off the automatic setting and turn it to manual. The biggest way to waste water is to run your sprinkler system on the same setting all season. Grass needs less water during the cool months of Spring and Fall than it does during the hot months of Summer. This results in overwatering the grass during the cool months and under watering it  in the hot months. By setting it to manual, it will only run when it needs to (when you tell it to).

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

Why should I aerate my Lawn? 

Core aeration will remove cores or plugs of soil that contain thatch from the lawn, leaving holes in the ground to relieve compaction and increase air and water circulation in the soil.

A lawn that is aerated will absorb more water.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

How often should I fertilize my lawn?

As a general rule we should fertilize four times a year.

A good way to remember is to use four Holidays as a guide.

Fertilize on Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Halloween.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

 

It is estimated that close to 50% of the water used by homeowners is used to water landscapes, of which a large part is put on our lawns.  It has also been estimated that 20% to 80% of what is used is wasted.  With water resources becoming ever harder to replace as each year goes by it is important that we better manage the water that is used, so that it isn't wasted to begin with.

One place to start on the road to better water management would be with the sprinkler clock that we all rely on to water our lawns. Most homeowners only set their clock once a year when they fire up their systems in the Spring. It just keeps on watering the same every week, every month, regardless of weather or temperature changes. This results in overwatering in the Spring and Fall and under watering in the hot months of Summer.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard

The fact is most lawns are overwatered. Our lawns do not need to be watered every day or even every other day.  What we think the grass needs and what the grass really needs are sometimes two very different things. Watering your lawn under water restrictions usually means watering on specified days or watering a set number of days per week. Our lawns will not only survive but do just fine with less water than we think.

Use the following guidelines to water your lawn more efficiently and better manage the water that is available to you.

Water early morning or in the evening

This will keep the moisture in the soil longer and help to lessen water lost due to evaporation.

Don't water when it's windy

Watering when it's windy only insures that you will be watering driveways and sidewalks as much as your lawn.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Sod Installation Pallets

During times of drought homeowners need to take steps to prepare their lawns to  survive with less water.  The following lawn maintenance practices will help to keep your lawn strong and healthy and better able to survive during extended dry conditions.

Aeration

Improve soil conditions

Many lawns are grown on compacted soil, due to poor soil conditions and everyday foot traffic. Compacted ground is hard ground. It is not very porous and will not absorb water very easily. Aerating your lawn twice a year will allow the soil to absorb more water quicker, and enable water to penetrate deeper into the soil. This will reduce wasteful water runoff and lessen the need for frequent watering.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Sod Installation Pallets

A lawn is only as healthy as the ground it is grown upon.  If the underlying soil is unable to absorb and hold water, the grass will always struggle to survive without frequent watering.

The secret to a healthy lawn is aeration.

A majority of lawns are grown on compacted ground. This can be the result of improper soil preparation when the lawn was first installed or simply from the foot traffic a lawn must endure from year to year. Compacted ground is hard ground, not very porous and very difficult to keep wet. The solution is to loosen up the soil so it will hold water more efficiently. We can accomplish this through core aeration.

Aeration allows the lawn to breathe fresh air. Without enough oxygen, plants can not absorb the water and nutrients they need to maintain a healthy state. Compacted soil does not allow water and oxygen to travel through the soil where they can be utilized by the roots of the plant. The result is often sluggish growth, producing a thinner and dryer lawn, and needing more water.

Core aeration, done with a power aeration machine, will remove plugs of grass and soil leaving holes in the ground and helping to increase air and water circulation in the soil. These plugs will deteriorate over time. In areas with clay soils, core aeration should be done twice a year - in the Spring and Fall. In areas with more sandy soils, it should be done once a year. The benefits of aeration are many.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Sprinkler

While watering your lawn in the winter seems a bit eccentric, it is important to keep moisture levels up in lawns and landscapes during dry and windy periods in late Fall and Winter.

Although it doesn't always look it with snow on the ground at times, our Colorado climate is known for it's unpredictable weather that often includes frequent warm spells with accompanying extended dry conditions.

While we are enjoying weeks of mild weather, spider mites are invading our lawns. They tend to thrive during the warm, dry, and windy days of Winter. These tiny little pests, no bigger than the head of a pin, can kill the lawn, leaving large areas of dead, yellow and brown grass behind in the Spring. Damage can usually be found on West and South facing exposures.

To prevent mite damage this Fall and Winter, water your lawn every 2 to 3 weeks during extended dry periods. For those of us with sprinkler systems we turned off earlier, it means dragging a hose with a sprinkler attached and watering each area of the lawn for 5 to 10 minutes. Your lawn will thank you, as well as your back, when Spring comes and you are not faced with cutting out and replacing areas of dead grass.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Saving Water

Your lawns ever increasing need for more water may be a sign of poor soil conditions.

One way to use less water in maintaining lawn areas is by improving the water holding capacity of the soil.

The water holding capacity of soils is influenced by soil texture and the amount of organic matter present in the soil itself. Here in Colorado we primarily have sandy or heavy clay soils. Water will either drain through too fast or run right off the surface.

Soils composed of small particles such as clay, have larger surface areas than soils with larger particles such as sand. Large surface area soils will hold more water. In sandy soils water will often drain away too quickly before plants can begin to use it. Clay soils can bind up water so tightly it is unrecoverable by the plant.

The addition of organic matter such as compost will improve the physical properties of the existing soil. Organic matter will greatly enhance the water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. It will aid in water infiltration and drainage; enabling water to travel to the plants root zone where it can be utilized more efficiently.

The amount of organic matter present in the soil will determine its water holding capacity. The best and easiest way to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil is by adding compost Just a 1% increase of compost in the soil can dramatically increase it’s ability to hold water.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Fertilizing Lawn

It's time to go green and make that first application of lawn fertilizer for the year. To have a green and healthy lawn requires that we follow one of the basic fundamentals of lawn care and fertilize on a regular basis.

As a general rule, lawn fertilizer should be applied four to six times a year. An easy way to remember is to use the Holidays as a guideline. The Holidays to apply lawn fertilizer are: Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving

The fertilizer label on every bag of lawn fertilizer contains three numbers.

Nitrogen is the most important major nutient that lawn grasses need. It is always the first number on the fertilizer label. For example, Scien-Turf-ic's Turf Fertilizer 20-20-10 2Fe 3S, contains 20 percent nitrogen by volume. Nitrogen is needed to promote growth, green color, density and overall health of the grass plant.

Phosphorous is the second number on the fertilizer label. Phosphorous helps promote vigorous root growth. The third number is potassium or potash. Potash aids in protecting the grass plants against diseases and helps develop drought resistance. It is also essential to maintain overall health and vigor. Sulfur and Iron are other important ingredients necessary for chlorophyll development and plant health in our soils here in Colorado.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard
Sprinkler Winter Water

Winter watering is not just for the trees and plants in our landscape, our lawns need watering too.  Lawn areas are often overlooked when it comes time for Winter watering. It is important to keep moisture levels up in all parts of the landscape during dry and windy periods.

Our Colorado climate is famous for those frequent mild and extended dry periods we enjoy during the Winter months. One day it's snowing and the next it's mild and dry. While this is great for us, it is not so great for plants.

Insects such as Spider Mites can cause tremendous damage to lawns during mild and dry periods.  Last Winter was extremely dry, resulting in extensive damage to lawn areas.

During long periods of no snow cover it is important to water lawn areas for 5 to 10 minutes, especially on West and South facing slopes. This should be done every 2 to 3 weeks when it becomes mild and dry.

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Posted in Lawn Care By Mark Leonard