Lawn Care Tips
General Lawn Care:
-Mow from the beginning of March to the end of October (or mid-Feb through mid-Oct). Start every 7 days while grass is growing quickly in spring, then every 10-14 days when growth slows during summer,
returning to every 7 days in fall. Only cut 1/3 of the blade length at a time to a height of 2.5" (cut when 4"). Last mow of the year set the deck to lowest setting.
-Mulch when possible - grass clippings do not cause thatch.
-Sharpen blades (dull and unbalanced blades can cause shaft damage).
-Avoid over-watering (can cause lawn disease).
-Minimize evaporation by watering early in the day.
-Most lawns need only 1 inch of water each week to stay green during Seattle summers and only half that much in the fall (use small tuna can to measure the amount of water reaching the grass).
-Water dormant lawns once a month during dry summer season to control thatch buildup (thoroughly enough to wet to a depth of several inches).
-Aerate bi-annually and de-thatch every 1-3 years to improve water, nutrient and oxygen movement into the soil.
-Lawns in the Northwest respond well to fertilizer application 4 times a year: Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Fall, Late Fall.
-Do not apply fertilizer during summer months.
-Lime reduces soil acidity and provides a better environment for your grass (soils in Seattle are generally acidic and chemical fertilizers add to the soil acidity).
-Lime can be applied any time of the year, and no waiting period is necessary between liming and fertilizing; however, two weeks is typically recommended.
-When applying lime to an established lawn, it is beneficial to apply in conjunction with core aeration.
-It is recommended to do a soil test of your lawn every four years to determine the pH and nutrition needs.
-Perform 1-4 times per year, depending on type of soil, amount of use the yard sees, and growth rate of lawn verses weeds/moss.
-Go over the area twice, in different directions (two-pass) to ensure the best results.
-See aeration description under the Renovation Services section of the Services tab for more information.
-Perform every 1-3 years to improve access to water and nutrients and/or replace moss/weed invasions with healthy lawn.
-See de-thatching description under the Renovation Services section of the Services tab for more information.
When To Renovate Your Lawn:
Lawn renovation may be necessary periodically to provide the optimum growing conditions for turf. Certain methods of renovation will help to resolve different situations.
Bare Spots/Areas of Little to No Growth, or Lawn Easily Dries Out or Has Poor Drainage
These are all signs of compacted soil and an over-crowded layer of thatch (root system). Causes of these issues are: heavy foot or vehicle traffic, under watering, over fertilizing, consistently mowing when the grass is overgrown, or the natural seasonal cycle. We typically produce the desired
results of a healthy lawn when the following services are performed: weed/moss control & lime (when necessary), de-thatching, thatch clean-up, aeration, fertilizing, & broadcast seeding. When de-thatching is performed aggressively enough, and the thatch is cleaned up adequately, the seed generally has sufficient contact with soil to germinate without spreading a layer of top soil or compost (the next section describes the need for top dressing).
If The Lawn Was Established On Poor Quality Top Soil
During the process of construction the top soil is usually stripped and/or compacted by machinery and usually replaced by only a thin layer when landscaping. Aeration performed prior to spreading compost, top soil or sand allows the soil amendment to be worked down into the substrate. The type of soil amendment depends on the nutrient needs of the lawn or absorption ability of the existing soil.
The healthiest lawns we service have aeration and de-thatching performed every year as a preventive measure to keep the layer of thatch thinned out so the turf has the ability to establish a deep, healthy root system to provide access to water and nutrients. An alternative to de-thatching every year would be to aerate up to the recommended 4 times per year in Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Fall and again in Late Fall. De-thatching is really recommended every 1-3 years.
Lawn Care Following Renovation:
The process of aerating and de-thatching is hard on turf and it will take time for the grass to fully recover. Please follow these steps to ensure you gain the most from the services provided.
Day of Service
-Water lightly for approximately 10 minutes.
-Avoid foot traffic on newly renovated lawn.
Weeks 1 - 3
-Seeded area should be kept moist until the seed has germinated; frequent, lightly watering is better than watering heavily.
-Continue to avoid foot traffic when possible.
-You should start to see seedlings germinating.
-Once seedlings have emerged, gradually increase the watering duration.
-Mowing should first take place when a majority of the grass reaches a height of around 3-4 inches. Mow to a height of 2 1/2”.
-Depending on the amount of rain, watering duration can be increased and frequency reduced to help establish deep roots.
Yard Care Tips
General Yard Care:
Keep your entire yard looking great by pruning bushes and trees at the proper times of year and mulching flower beds. Keep everything neat and tidy to maintain the health of your plants. It is easier and less expensive to do a little bit at a time than everything all at once.
-Evergreen shrubs should be trimmed/pruned between late winter and early spring after they produce cones.
-Deciduous shrubs should be pruned in late spring or summer immediately after they flower.
-Rose bushes should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Remove older shoots, then cut the remaining 4-8 canes to 12-24 inches.
-Berry bushes can be pruned anytime, but it is best to prune after harvesting the berries in late fall or early winter to maximize the harvest.
-Evergreen trees should be pruned in late spring or early summer after substantial new growth is apparent.
-Deciduous trees should be pruned from mid fall to late winter while the tree is dormant.
-Fruit trees should be pruned during winter or early spring before the buds swell.
Flower Bed Maintenance
-Mulch can be added to flower beds and at the base of trees at any time of the year. The mulch layer should be at least 3 inches deep, and should be replaced when most of it looks more like dirt than wood chips (as it decomposes over time).
-Landscape fabric adds an additional weed barrier beneath the layer of mulch as a more permanent solution to prevent weed growth.
-It is much easier to keep flower beds weeded on a routine schedule rather than just every once in a while, as more weed growth means more weed seeds where you don't want them. Herbicides are available in both pre-emergent (before weeds sprout) and post-emergent solutions, but weeding by hand or using hand-tools is often preferable as herbicides leave the dead, discolored weeds in place until they decompose and the use of hazardous chemicals in the environment has negative effects on other biology.
-Seasonal changes produce yard waste debris (such as fallen leaves & broken limbs) and over-growth that should be cut back before new growth starts. Any brown areas of otherwise green (non-woody) plants should be pruned out to maintain the health and beauty of the landscape.
-Fallen leaves must be cleaned up and removed from grassy areas before they smother the lawn. If they are left for too long, they act as a mulch, suffocating the grass and allowing moss to grow in its place.
Exterior Home Maintenance Tips
Maintenance performed on a routine schedule keeps the home in good condition and prevents major repairs. At least a thorough inspection should take place to ensure systems are in good working order and structurally sound.
-Cleaning moss off of the roof, siding, patio, and walkway surfaces is more beneficial than for just cosmetic reasons. Moss build-up can cause water to pool, leading to leaks; promotes more rapid deterioration of building materials; and is a slippery surface.
-All debris should be removed from gutters 1-2 times per year. If downspouts are routed underground, the debris should be removed prior to entering the downspout to avoid clogs.
-Gutters should be inspected for leaks, proper attachment to the roof, and adequate slope for drainage.
-If the fireplace is used regularly, the chimney should be cleaned of soot and ash every year.
-Build-up of soot in the chimney is a fire hazard, and restricts the flow of smoke (which causes a dampering affect and lessens the combustion properties of the fuel to burn efficiently).