A lawn can be kept looking green and growing all summer and who doesn't want the best looking lawn on the block.
To help have a healthy green lawn all summer requires a couple of steps.
1) Cut the grass at 3 to 3 1/2 inches. This length gives the grass blades the ability to shade the soil helping to prevent high soil temperatures and to retain water better. The blades of grass will catch the water and funnel it down toward the soil. Longer grass blades will also encourage a deeper root system.
Cutting the grass short will cause the grass to develop shallow roots, dry out the soil faster. This can cause the lawn to develop bare spots which weeds will be happy to take over.
2) Water deeply twice a week. You should try to water early in the morning to help avoid evaporation stealing the water from the lawn before it can soak in. Grass needs about 1 inch of water per week. If you water twice a week at 1/2 inch per watering you can simulate a heavy rain and are much more likely to keep the grass from going dormant. You need to use a rain gauge to be sure you are adding enough water, the water pressure and efficiency of your sprinkler will have a dramatic effect on how long it takes to get enough water down.
3) Be consistent. While you can keep the grass from going dormant by watering it you have to be consistent. Allowing the grass to go dormant , then watering it to bring it back just to allow it to go dormant again will stress and weaken the lawn. Unless you plan to stick with the watering it would be better to let the lawn go dormant for the summer .... but that is not going to dominate the neighborhood with the best looking lawn :)
Spring is right around the corner so it is time to start thinking about what you want to do with your lawn this year.
If your lawn was thick last year you could consider fertilizing the existing lawn. A thick healthy lawn will crowd out weeds. It may be all that is needed to keep the lawn going strong is some fertilizer and pre emergent weed control. Cut the grass at 3" and water as needed to keep a thick green awn all summer. With a thick lawn you generally want to over seed in the fall.
If your lawn was thin and had a lot of weeds you have a more difficult decision to make. With the mild winter we have had it is likely the weed seeds that are in everyone's yard will be germinating early this year. A thin lawn is prone to weeds. You will have two choices to try and get the lawn going. First you could consider aerating the lawn and over seeding it to try and thicken up the lawn, then using a post emergent weed control. With this course you would want to over seed again in the Fall. Depending on how thin the lawn is this could take two or three years to get the lawn as thick as it should be. Watering the lawn would be essential to get the grass thriving.
With either a thick or thin lawn another option after aerating would be to top dress the lawn if the soil is compacted. This IS an expensive option it involves multiple steps to do right and is very labor intensive. Part of the process is to measure the yard and bring in enough compost/topsoil to apply a 1/4 inch layer on the ENTIRE yard. It has to be raked in then watered in for best results. For best results it should be done when the grass is growing well so early Spring or Fall. For Spring especially you have to watch the weather, you need a couple of days without rain in the forecast, it is nearly impossible to spread the material in the rain. Top dressing will also help fill in ruts and low areas. If we have a wet Spring this can be difficult to get into the schedule.
The appearance of our lawns has a lot to do with the curb appeal of our homes.
Yellow spots like these can be caused by several things including low spots in the lawn. After rain the water can collect and drown the grass especially if the lawn does not drain well. In this case adding top soil in the low spots can help. If the spots are deep you would want to reseed the area as a deep layer of top soil will take a long time to have grass grow back into it on its own.
These yellow spots can also be caused by our pets urine. You could either water the area well immediately after the dog urinates (who has time for that) or try spreading a handful of sugar over the spot. The sugar will neutralize the nitrogen in the urine and you should soon see new grass growing.
A lush green lawn not only looks better but will have fewer weeds. The hard part is getting it to that stage. Some of the things you can do include:
1) Don't mow too short. In the cool weather grasses we have here, you should mow at about 3". This provides a good surface area for photosynthesis, provides shade for the soil and helps with water retention. Cutting the grass shorter stresses the grass and dries out the soil faster.
2) Water in the early morning. Watering at night can lead to disease as the grass may not absorb the water before dew sets in making the lawn too wet.
3) Mulch the grass clippings. A good mulching mower will chop the grass into small pieces that will break down and add nutrients back into the soil.
4) If you have a thin lawn consider over seeding OR using a weed and feed product on the lawn. If you try to do both in the Spring you need to over seed first, then wait 5 weeks after germination to add the weed and feed type products, depending on the product. Many weed killers will prevent new grass from germinating or kill the young grass. Waiting 5 weeks after germination gives the grass time to mature before the weed killer is applied. Another option is to weed and feed in the late Spring and over seed in the Early Fall.
Last year was our first year and we decided to do Spring and Fall Clean ups. Actually since we started so late in the year only Fall was done.
We knew we needed a machine to help us get the job done in a reasonable time and found on Craigs List a Sears 4 in 1 Lawn Vacuum.
While this machine did a good job it had some serious issues to try to use it for a business. To be fair it was never designed as a business machine but could be used on the small residential properties we do. The hose does a nice jog getting into the landscaped beds to pull up the leaves and it does vacuum up most leaves. It's main problems as a business is that it is heavy and does not have a self propulsion system. Pushing it as the bag gets fuller can be difficult. On a property with just a few trees the machine does a very good job. Even on a heavily wooded lot with a LOT of leaves this is much faster than trying to rake the leaves. All in All a good machine for use especially in areas that there is not much room to work. We will be using this machine again this year for some parts of the yards but the real workhorse will be a machine we just finished putting together. It is the final purchase for this year.
Our new machine is a DRPower Lawn Vacuum.
This machine should greatly increase our productivity. It hooks behind the riding mower and has a hose that connects to the side discharge on the mower. So as we mow the leaves the mower will chop them up and then an impeller in the Lawn Vacuum chops them again. This will allow the bag to hold far more than the smaller unit so there is less dumping. On properties that have an area for composting the leaves we can dump them on the compost pile or we have a second hose that can be hooked up to blow the leaves from the collection bag out into a wooded area if the property has one. When we have to we can still dump them onto a tarp to haul away as we did last Fall.
We learned a lot in our first year that should make this year a lot faster and do a better job of removing the leaves and this DRPower Lawn Vacuum is a big part of the Spring and Fall Clean Up plans.
Happy New Year everyone ! We hope this year will be your best ever.
No one wants their lawn to look like this, and unfortunately many here on the Island did. So what can you do to help reduce this if we have another hot summer ?
Keeping your lawn looking it's best can involve several steps depending on how much you want to spend to have a green lawn. Most of what you can do is not expensive though.
1) Keep your mower set at 3 inches. Cutting the lawn too short will stress the grass by not providing enough surface area for good photosynthesis. At 3 inches the grass will help shade the soil and retain moisture. A stressed lawn is more prone to weeds developing while a healthy lawn will crowd out many weeds.
2) Keep the lawn mowed. Many people stopped mowing last summer as the grass was not growing quickly, but that gives weeds a chance to take over and go to seed creating more weeds.
3) In the Spring have the lawn aerated. This can also be done in early Fall if you don't get to it in the Spring. Aeration helps break up compacted soil making it easier for water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the root system. The roots will be able to grow better and provide a healthier grass.
4) After aeration, overseed the lawn. You can apply a starter fertilizer to help the new seeds get going if you want. Do NOT use a weed and feed after overseeding for about 6 to 8 weeks so the new grass is strong enough to take the herbicide in the weed and feed. You will want to water the lawn for several days after overseeding to get the new grass to germinate. You want the grass damp but not saturated so several short waterings are better than one long soaker. If you can get this done early enough in the Spring the rains will do most of the watering for you.
5) IF you have many low spots or bare spots you can consider top dressing the lawn. This is labor intensive and expensive to do the entire lawn. It involves measuring the area you want to top dress and ordering enough compost to cover the entire area about 1/4 of an inch deep then raking the compost in so the grass blades stick through. Then overseed the lawn and water to settle the compost and seeds.
Sadly a long hot dry summer will turn most lawns yellow if you don't water but having a healthy lawn at the start of the summer will keep it green longer and help it bounce back when the rains return in the Fall. Keeping the lawn at 3 inches will mean lass watering and give the grass a chance to retain what mosture there is longer so the occasional rain may be enough to keep it green all summer.
When winter has its grip on our area it is the perfect time to think about how we can better serve our customers.
We have a few purchases in mind before Spring, the first was this 6 X 12 trailer from LOE Inc in Tonawanda. It took a lot of discussion back and forth to settle on the type of trailer we wanted to get. Many lawn care companies use an open trailer.
We decided to go with an enclosed trailer. We felt this would give us a number of advantges, some of which an open trailer could match but some the enclosed trailer will be much better.
Some of the advantages is a dry area to store the equipment without having to load and unload it every day. We had "E Track" added to the walls on both sides for hanging storage and tie down rings put in the corners to secure the mowers.
In the nose of the trailer I will, over time as the design solidifies, build shelves to hold spare parts, bags, tools and other small items that we might need on a task. The side door and light will let us work inisde the trailer when raining or at night if we need to. This is also why we chose a 12' trailer so there is enough room to put everything we need inside the trailer
The rear door drops down to create the ramp needed to get the mowers into the trailer. This trailer has LED lighting and should look pretty sharp when it gets dark.
One other nice thing about using an enclosed trailer is that we can design nice graphics to be added later.
Stay tuned for a couple other additions to our equipment before the Spring arrives.
When you see this view out your window it is really hard to think about getting ready to mow the lawns.
But we have been looking around for new equipment for this year. Today I went to Bison Turf Equipment Inc. and talked to Eric Weinreber. I got a lot of information from Eric and at the moment we are leaning toward getting a Worldlawn Gater for next year. This is a small rider that can fit through the gates many of our clients have. It looks like a really good fit for us to better serve our friends.
I then went to LOE Inc. in North Tonawanda, there I looked at both open and enclosed landscape trailers. The enclosed trailers are of course more expensive but I like the idea of being able to use the trailer to store the equipment in the winter freeing up space in our shed. Also, we will be able to add graphics to the side of the trailer later as well as having the easy option of securing the equipment while mowing. The open trailers are in some ways easier to load since small equipment can be loaded from the sides and they are lighter so have less of a fuel impact. This is going to be a tough decision.
So while the grass is dormant under the coating of snow, Island Mowing is planning for the upcoming mowing season. If you want to ensure your spot on our schedule contact us for a FREE estimate
Last week the first snow of the season moved into the area. While it wasn't much on here on Grand Island it did put an end to the lawn care season.
The grass has gone largely dormant as the days don't get warm enough for the grass to grow quickly. Most home owners have raked the leaves and only the stragglers remain on the trees, these few leaves won't present much of a problem as they continue to fall. If the weather is dry enough it is a good idea to mow the leaves so they mulch into the grass and will decay faster as nature takes its course.
In areas of a yard where leaves pile up they will need to be dealt with in the Spring if you can't get to them before heavy snow arrives or they will damage the lawn. BUT wait some say, no one rakes the woods and the leaves break down just fine. They provide natural fertilizer for the trees!!
While this is true, you don't see much lawn type grass growing in the woods because the heavy layer of leaves would prevent the sun from reaching it and kill off the grass so a home owner that wants to have a cleared (lawn) area around their home needs to deal with these thick layers of leaves. Also for those living near woods here on the Island keeping the area around the house clear can help reduce unwanted pests that hide in tall grasses and bushes such as field mice and ticks.
But for now it is time to winterize the lawn care equipment and enjoy the holidays. Soon the winter winds will blow in storms that can make us forget how green the yards look most of the year. In a short time (not short enough for some of us :) ) it will be time to once again consider how to best care for our lawns. Perhaps you would consider using Island Mowing this coming year. You can contact us for a FREE estimate and be put on our schedule for 2017.
Fall is the most colorful time of year in Western NY and many people look forward to the color show put on by Mother Nature.
As beautiful as it is Fall also creates a lot of work for homeowners. Some will "leave the leafs where they land." This is becoming a popular idea as an effort to conserve space in landfills. In our modern yards too many leaves can cause problems for the lawn so home owners have to consider the possible damage caused by too many leaves or remove them from the yard.
Leaving the leaves can also create a problem when they blow into the roadway and get rained on. Wet leaves can be nearly as slippery as ice. Also It also could present a hazard in piles if they are near where cars travel and kids play in the piles.
Raking up the leaves can be a back breaking, tiring effort. Some communities let you rake the leaves into the street but most don't as then the community has to remove them or have a lot of extra leaves getting into and clogging the storm drain system. Some communities require that you use brown lawn refuse bags and pick them up on the same day as trash collection in an additional truck.
Homeowners also have the option of hiring a lawn care company to remove the leaves for them. Homeowners on Grand Island NY can contact us to be put on our schedule and we will either mulch the leaves into the yard when mowing or bag and remove the leaves along with small branches as the homeowner prefers. Contact Island Mowing today for your free estimate!
The heat of the summer is behind us and as cooler weather arrives it will soon be time for the leaves to change colors. For many of us this is a favorite time of year as the hills come alive with the changing of the leaves.
But after the color show ends the leaves fall and have to be dealt with. While some people choose to leave the leaves on the ground, a thick layer of leaves
can cause problems for the lawn. If your lawn doesn't get too many leaves on it you could just mow over them to mulch them into the lawn and not have to rake the leaves. But, most of us will have to rake the leaves up and bag them for disposal. This can be a time consuming project that many would rather not have to do. If you prefer not to do the work yourselves we are ready to add new customers to our Fall Clean Up schedule.
Contact us for an estimate on your property and let us do the work while you enjoy your time off.