Lawn Treatment Educational Content
TYPES OF GRASS
Lawn grasses fall into two classes: warm season and cool season. Warm-season grasses thrive in the hot, humid summers and mild winters of the southern US. Warm-season grasses go dormant and turn brown in the winter. Bermuda, centipede grass, St. Augustine, and zoysia are popular varieties of warm-season grass. Cool-season grasses are common in the northern and western parts of the US. These grasses are technically perennials, so they stay green almost year-round.
Cool-season grasses include tall fescue, fine fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Tall fescue is an excellent choice for a lawn that stays green all year. The Transition Zone is a region of the country with relatively temperate weather. It runs across the middle of the country from the east coast to the west coast. In this area, both warm- and cool-season grasses grow well. Some people who live in the Transition Zone even choose to mix warm- and cool-season grasses for a green lawn all year.
Discolored grass. Discolored grass during the growing season is generally a sign of trouble. Common causes are underwatering, a nutrient deficiency, or a disease. The grass could also be injured or stressed. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause without help. Your best bet is to have a lawn care professional assess your yard. They will diagnose the issue and recommend remedies.
Diseases. Two common lawn diseases are Dollar Spot Disease and Brown Patch Disease. Dollar Spot is most common in Bermuda grass. It appears as a series of brown spots, each about the size of a silver dollar. To fix the problem, a lawn treatment professional will fertilize the affected area. The symptom of Brown Patch Disease is brown circular patches of grass. It is more common in St. Augustine and is usually treated with a fungicide.
Insects. Some insects, like white grubs, can be found on lawns throughout the country. Others can be found in certain regions. Chinch bugs, for example, affect St. Augustine grass in southern states during summer. Grubs and chinch bugs both cause large areas of the lawn to turn brown and die if not properly treated. A lawn treatment professional will be able to determine which pests are most likely to threaten your lawn.
Weeds. Weeds are a year-round problem. They fall into two main classes: grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds. Grassy weeds include crabgrass, goosegrass, and Dallis grass. These types of weeds are most common in the spring and summer. Pre-emergent treatment can prevent some, but not all, grassy weeds. Broadleaf weeds include thistle, dandelion, and chickweed. They’re most common in the fall, winter, and spring months.
A thick, healthy lawn prevents weeds by starving them of both nutrients and sunlight. Getting grass to grow thick enough can be difficult. To help, lawn treatment companies can apply pre-emergent to stop weeds from growing altogether.
Once weeds are already growing, the lawn treatment crew can use post-emergent to control them. To limit stress on the grass, post-emergents should be used sparingly during hot weather. A benefit of working with a professional lawn treatment company is that you’ll receive service customized to your yard.
SEEDING AND FERTILIZING
Early fall months are generally considered the best time for seeding. If your area has acidic soil, your lawn crew might recommend a lime application to balance pH levels. Balancing the pH of the soil will give your grass seed a better chance to flourish.
Cool-season grasses should be fertilized and aerated in late summer to early fall. Fertilizing helps a lawn recover from environmental stressors. It also encourages the natural thickening process of the grass.
Aeration is the process of getting air through the lawn’s thatch layer and into the soil. Lawns that get heavy traffic or have poor drainage are good candidates for aeration. Core aeration removes plugs of soil and grass and puts them on top of the lawn. Spike aeration pokes holes into the ground so the air and water can move into the soil. If your lawn is seeded first, the spike aeration process will drive the grass seed into the ground. Both aeration methods loosen the soil, allowing water to flow in and fresh air to oxygenate the soil. Loose soil also makes any treatments more effective. A lawn treatment professional can tell you whether your lawn would benefit from aeration.
KEEPING YOUR LAWN HEALTHY
A healthy lawn looks better and doesn’t need as many treatments. Grass that has been neglected or poorly maintained is at a much higher risk of problems. Proper mowing is key to a healthy, dense lawn. Regular mowing encourages healthy growth and discourages insects and other pests. Properly mowed grass also uses both sunlight and ground nutrients more efficiently. Mowing helps strengthen grass, which means that it can form its own natural barrier to weeds. A general rule for any type of grass is to never remove more than one-third of the leaf height in any mowing session.
Making sure your lawn gets the right amount of water is also crucial to its health. This is especially true during extremely hot or dry weather. The general rule of thumb is to give your lawn at least an inch to an inch and a half of water per week during the growing season. It will likely need even more during prolonged hot and dry spells. Underwatered lawns will turn brown and thin out. They’re also more susceptible to weed growth, diseases, and insect infestation. Overwatering is a problem, too. Too much water encourages weeds and can drown the grass.
There are so many things that could be standing in the way of your lawn being lush and green. The best thing to do is enlist the help of a professional lawn care service. Experienced lawn pros can assess your yard and recommend treatments to get it back into great shape.
LAWN TREATMENT COMPANIES
The quality of lawn treatment companies varies, so don’t hire solely based on price. Some companies try to save money by using poor-quality products or not applying enough product to do the job correctly. Price matters, of course, but your best bet is to weigh reputation and experience first.