Clay can be so hard that a dry bit will be hard and sharp as a pebble. And they were glad they did: 62 percent of readers were completely or very satisfied with local companies, compared with only 46 percent for regional or national firms. Even thinking about thinking about all this can be exhausting, but it’s probably worth tackling. While selective herbicides with a combination of 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba are effective chemical alternatives, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers 2,4-D and MCPP possible human carcinogens. We also asked those of you who use lawn services to rate them. Is it one of your pet projects, or is it the step-sister to the garden, which you love? Fertilize? Check for grubs by cutting into the lawn near the edge of a brown area and lifting the sod. Top dressing adds to the layer. The soil should not be either soaking wet or bone dry. You might know the answer, but if you don’t (and that would make you like most of us) you’ve got several options. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, try to identify it using whatever resources come to hand, (friends, neighbors, the many plant ID sites on the web) or dig out a sample and take it, alive, to your local county extension office where for a small fee you can let the experts figure it out. Thatch is a … Do the weeds grow in dense patches, or are they interspersed in the grass? If your poor drainage area is a relatively small one and not too severe, you can lighten the soil by working in lots of organic matter. If you do use these, as with all herbicides and pesticides, be sure to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, long pants, closed shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt. Striking the balance of care needed for a successful lawn takes a bit of research and some practice. How big is the lawn? Adding a few inches of soil to a lawn that hasn’t been seeded is expensive but not impossible. The first attributes (texture, structure and density) determine how easily and freely water and air move through the soil, while its pH and its organic and mineral contents reveal what nutrients the soil contains and how available they are to plants growing in it. Pelleted for easy application. But staying off wet lawns could help delay the inevitable. Readers overwhelmingly chose local companies over regional and national ones, 65 vs. 19 percent. The result will be a lush, healthy lawn that knows who's … Bring a clump from your lawn to the nursery to match grass types. What kind or kinds of grass have you got? Packed earth impedes the movement of air, water, and roots themselves, and the grass suffers. But too many cause irregularly shaped sections to wilt and die. Give your lawn its first cut as the weather starts to warm. A barrier of chicken wire that extends 1 foot deep around your yard might help keep them out. Different tactics are successful with these different situations. Easy to use, just place your foot in the stirrup and step down firmly; pull straight up. Then keep crabgrass at bay by feeding the desirable grasses with ample water and fertilizer—and by mowing high. How much time do you want to spend on your lawn? It won’t break down … Here's PM's brutal but effective strategy: Kill it off, then start fresh. If your lawn is under the 50% mark, then how many weeds does it have, and what sorts? Also check the soil's acidity, or pH, and adjust it as needed. First, digging in bone-dry dirt is really really difficult. Spots of dead grass will often repair themselves eventually. First — and you probably don’t want to hear this — cultivate patience. Even if your lawn already makes the neighbors green with envy, you're likely to face a few of those common lawn problems. Do you care whether you have broad or fine-bladed grass? Install an underground watering system with a programmable timer, and adjust the timer according to the seasons. Rebuilding a damaged lawn takes about two years, so figure on investing a fair amount of energy on planning in the early days. Fertilize southern grasses in the spring after dormant lawns are revived and green, then again in July or August. Lawn grasses grow best in a soil pH between 6.5 and 7. What parts are in shade for most of the day? How much time do you spend caring for your lawn and how do you spend it? Trim back high hedges. Ice remains on lawn after snow has melted elsewhere. You may not want to cut into your lawn, but it’s the only way to get an accurate reading of the soil underneath, as the garden dirt right next to it probably gets treated very differently. This powerful, quick-release concentrate builds healthy soil and thick green turf! Watering once a week—long enough to apply 1 inch of water over the lawn—is the old rule of thumb. Night watering promotes mold and fungus. Now we get to the highly technical part of this test: scoop up a handful of dirt and feel it. Fill the jar with water, shake vigorously, and leave it overnight. Although there are plenty of grass varieties available that can tolerate a fair amount of shade, lack of sun can still be a factor in a failing lawn.Using shade-tolerant grasses like fescues is part of the solution, but other measures may need to be taken. You’ll only need to water for about 20 … And you should do so before the flowers mature and spread their seeds. About 4 of every 10 people in our survey water at the wrong time, and almost half are probably watering too often. But if you're reading this, you're probably not one of them. With the right lawn care products​ ​going organic is easy! Not only will it be more functional, it may look better, too. Depth. But you can test your soil's pH yourself using an inexpensive kit or meter. Grass roots extend less than three inches into top soil. For too many of us, the lawn becomes a box. Don’t stop at finding the best grass seed for your neck of the woods; think also about adding rock, meadow or ornamental grasses, shrubs, and garden beds. The Rapitest Soil Test Kit contains 40 tests (10 each for pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) with easy to use tablets. 4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Lawn Aerate Measure yours by setting empty containers around the lawn, running the sprinklers for 20 minutes, and measuring the depth of the water inside. It should not “dissolve” into tiny sand-sized particles, but break apart into many pieces of varying sizes. Sandy soils will feel gritty and fall apart even when they’re damp, and you cannot roll out a sausage or ribbon of them, or even squeeze them into a coherent lump in your fist. Foot traffic and lawn machinery can compact the soil under your lawn, creating a difficult environment for grass... Reduce thatch Regular top-dressing is the only way to improve the soil under an existing lawn; if the soil is seriously poor, you can top-dress in both spring and autumn for quicker results. Shallow roots cannot reach as many nutrients as can deep ones and cannot reach water for as long after a rainfall. Odds are, you'll see those milky-white, worm-like creatures with brown heads and three pairs of legs curled into a C shape. Prevents crabgrass, dandelions and many other common weeds. Start by removing a square foot of sod from your lawn; lay it aside in the shade while you work. Lawn. If it’s clover, consider that until the 1950s most grass-seed mixes included clover, which has pretty flowers, stays green all summer, and adds nitrogen to the soil, where grass can use it (see Establishing Clover in Lawns). For poor drainage, be sure the area is properly graded. Pretend you’re a stranger, and look at your lawn. An all-natural organic weed and feed for use on lawns. It turns out the grass is not always greener next door: More than 40 percent of you had complaints—neighbors who don't mow their lawns, let their leaves pile up, or let trash, leaves, or other debris blow onto your property. Combine Heterorhabditis nematodes (sold in paste-like form) with water and apply to the soil in the spring or fall. It's important to keep an eye on whomever you hire. Power raking will remove excess organic material and aerate the soil to allow your new lawn to take root, so you want to leave just the barest layer (about 1/4 inch) of thatch on the … Complete instructions are included, plus a chart of pH and NPK levels on over 100 plants. Do you care whether you have several kinds of grass in your yard? In either case, you’ll need to amend your soil to improve its drainage. You might need to mow more often during the peak growing season. Contains NO sewage sludge or bio-solids. Watering once a week—long enough to apply 1 … Burying an existing lawn, however, makes no sense unless you never liked that lawn much anyway and you’re planning to re-seed entirely. … How to get a perfect lawn. Weeds. If you’ve got twenty-five worms or more, you soil qualifies as “rich.” Congratulations! Knowing the square footage of your yard not only makes it easy to calculate seed and fertilizer needs, but it also protects you from awkward social situations, such as this sort of exchange at the seed counter: Its best to get out there with a tape measure and do the math. How long your sprinklers must run depends on how quickly they apply the water as well as how quickly your soil absorbs it. One of the best lawn-maintenance savers is less frequent but deeper watering. Not doing everything they were supposed to do was the biggest complaint (12 percent), followed by not showing up when promised (9 percent), and damaging the lawn or other parts of the property and not cleaning up (7 percent for each of those issues). Do you rake up the grass after mowing? This ... 2. Then replant the dead area with a suitable grass type. There’s a section on all this here: the 50% solution. Do you rake leaves? The home kits are relatively easy to use, but be sure to get a good one so that you can trust the results. Low numbers indicate high acidity; high numbers indicate high alkalinity. That’s our test. “Grass-cycle” your grass clippings. If you leave footprints on the lawn when you walk on it, the lawn needs water. One folk remedy is to kill ivy with a borax solution, but it is more harmful to desirable grasses and less effective than herbicides. Add layers of loose matter to the surface. Pull out any plants that become established in or near your lawn. Here’s what you do: Cut through the sod in an “average” part of your lawn, so you can get at the dirt beneath. It’s necessary to contact the company, let them know what you want, and await instructions. To germinate clover seed needs soil temperatures to be at least 7-8 ° C and must be kept moist. Almost half of you hire others to fertilize, mow, apply chemical treatments, aerate the lawn, or do spring and fall cleanups. If more than half is clay, you’ve got a very clayey soil. Eighteen inches of topsoil or more is optimal but rare; you can get away with six to eight inches. And we even checked up on the neighbors. Compost is filled with pore spaces for oxygen. In this case it’s probably time to kill it off, either the whole thing or one section at a time, and either all at once or over time. It's best to wait until the lawn needs water, say the experts. Down To Earth® Bio-Turf Lawn Fertilizer is easy to apply for long-lasting fertilization. Lawns that have not been recently aerated are likely to be compacted, as are those in recently built subdivisions where building and landscaping were done by machine. Instead, look for typical causes such as too much water, improper mowing, and fertilizing at the wrong time of year. However, chemical insecticides with imidacloprid aren't effective on mature grubs. That’s subsoil — a different creature entirely and all very well in its place, but quite inferior as far as growing plants. Watering an overseeded lawn is the exception to the once a week rule. From: That’s in fact exactly what you are trying to do — but don’t use a lot of pressure. The latter are "often problematic, "because people put them on and forget about them," says Ali Harivandi, Ph.D., environmental horticulturist at the. (Dig to check. But a thin layer of topsoil, for instance, will compact more quickly and completely than a thick one, so building up your topsoil helps to relieve and prevent compaction. It’s a good thing as long as it’s only about a quarter to half an inch thick, as it helps slow evaporation from the ground, provides organic matter to the soil, protects both soil and roots from summer’s heat, and to some extent slows seed germination, thus providing a minor barrier against weeds. Some soil test kits available at gardening stores can test for the three primary nutrients needed by all plants, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Over time, lawns can compact from regular use. Remember all those movies in which the farmer squats down, picks up a handful of earth, and feels it? Only 32 percent of you fertilized as often as you should. Grass prefers a slightly acidic soil, so a high pH would go a long way towards explaining an unhappy lawn. Or wait until grass-planting time—usually in the fall—and sow fresh seed after clearing away the dead grass and loosening the soil. See our, Deciding When It's Time to Upgrade Your Child's Car Seat, University of California Cooperative Extension. Most U.S. lawns cannot boast so much, largely because most of us have been trained to rake up mown grass and fallen leaves, thus removing the only natural organic additions available. Think outside it. Contains NO sewage sludge or bio-solids that are often found in commercial brands. Those small beetle larvae live in the soil and feed on lawn roots. So if you choose to use one, apply it in July and August when grubs are immature. Fortunately, there is one exception. The simplest way to assess the curb appeal of your house is to walk to the curb—or to the street—and view it with the critical eyes of someone who has never looked at it before. Your local cooperative extension or nursery can tell you the best time. He has been teaching lawn care classes since the 1970s and has helped thousands of homeowners improve their lawns. Well, it takes a little planning and patience! Trapping a mole is the only way to be sure you're rid of it. Your county extension office (again) will be able to put you in touch with soil analysis resources. Aerating the grass helps your soil to breathe, which improves nutrient absorption. A lawn is typically the basis of most landscapes and can either make or break the overall appearance. They’ll send you a collection kit with detailed instructions. Such differences affect moisture retention as well as light level, and these factors can affect planting choices. Nitrogen in the urine kills the grass in the center, where its concentration is highest, while darkening the grass at the edges. Easy to apply formula works on contact, yet is completely safe around children and pets! Those patches are weed-magnets, and if you don’t fill them with grass, then nature will fill them for you — and probably not with grass. 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