Tag Archive | "tips"

Pine Straw Mulch Advantages


As the name implies, pine straw comes from pine trees, which shed their needles throughout the year. Once the needles drop to the ground, they are hand-raked, cleaned and baled without the need to cut down or harm the trees. This makes pine straw a very environmentally friendly choice for a landscaping and mulching material.

When applied correctly, pine straw prevents evaporation of water from the soil, reduces the growth of weeds, and helps to prevent soil compaction and erosion. Pine straw also protects plants from freezing conditions, helping keep the soil around the plants at a stable temperature. This is important for newer plants and those with shallow root systems. Plus, pine straw will improve the soil structure as it decays.

Types of pine straw can vary by region, and coverage will depend on the type, bale size, and application depth.

Some key advantages of pine straw mulch during their first year application:

  • Never leaves dirty residue or unpleasant odor.
  • Retains all natural, auburn color throughout the season and brightens up after a rainfall.
  • Less erosion from slopes and banks during rainfall.
  • Minimizes occurrence of molds, fungus, insects and rodents.
  • Retains essential moisture without becoming soggy or muddy.

An independent study at Texas A&M University by the Educational programs of Texas Cooperative Extension found a variety of pine straw mulch physical properties give it advantages over other organic mulches:

  • Stability – Pine needles interlock and hold together during hard rains, heavy winds, and even on landscapes with considerable slope.
  • Porosity – Pine straw remains loose and friable and does not form a top crust like grass clippings, leaves, and some wood mulches.
  • Weed Control – Pine straw mulch greatly reduces weed control efforts as wood mulches have a higher tendency to import weed seed in an ideal seedbed for germination.
  • Visual Appeal – The fine texture and uniform color of pine straw is simply more aesthetically pleasing to some users. Added annually, it gives landscapes a fresh clean and renewed appearance.
  • Longevity- Pine straw breaks down more slowly than wood mulch, so it needs to be re-applied less often or in less thickness after initial application.
  • Lightweight – Pine straw is easily handled because of its lightweight.

 

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Too Much Rain?


How Too Much Rain Affects Your Lawn – Partial Content by Reddi Lawn

Living in the south we are accustom to large amounts of rain periodically. While we enjoy the spring shower after periods of drought, there can be too much of a good thing. For many homeowners, soggy lawns could turn into big problems.

Lawn Problems Caused by Excessive Rain and Over Watering

  • Surface damage – Walking and moving objects like trash cans across a saturated lawn will not only compact soils, but it can leave permanent marks or tracks in your yard.
  • Drown grass roots – Grass needs oxygen to grow, and excessive water will fill the air gaps in the soil, effectively drowning the plants.
  • Disease caused by fungus – Too much water can cause grass roots to rot and can lead to disease which starts off as yellow patches in your yard; once fungus sets in, little can be done except reseeding the dead patches in the fall.
  • More weeds – Consistently over watering your lawn can cause a lot of hard-to-kill weeds to grow
  • Loss of nutrients – If your lawn gets too much water, vital nutrients are washed away before they can be absorbed through the root system.
  • Excessive fertilizer needs – Because your grass isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, you’ll have to use additional fertilizer to try and compensate.
  • Waste money and water – Your lawn can absorb a limited amount of water at a time, so over watering or watering your lawn when it’s raining causes you to pay for and use water the grass doesn’t need; and, as mentioned above, you’ll be spending more money on costly fertilizer treatments

Prevent Over Watering Problems

Of course, you can’t control the rain, but you can take steps to help your lawn get through periods of both rain and drought.

Make sure your yard has proper drainage
After a rain storm, check your yard for puddles or standing water. If there are low spots in your yard, bringing in some fill dirt and reseeding the area can help. Also, make sure your rain gutters are clean and that the downspouts have extenders on them to direct water away from your home’s foundation. You can even install extenders that can be buried to form a french drain system that disperses the water underground instead of on your lawn’s surface.

Know when and how much to water your lawn
Basically, your yard should be watered deeply but infrequently. Most lawns only need about an inch of water per week, and watering every day usually isn’t necessary. Letting the soil dry out between watering will encourage deep root growth and thick grass coverage, which means your lawn will withstand drought conditions better. You’ll need to adjust your watering plan throughout the season as your lawn’s water needs change.

If you have a sprinkler system, consider installing a rain sensor
Southern storms can pop up with little warning, but adding a rain sensor to your irrigation system controls will prevent the sprinklers from running when it’s raining. In addition to keeping your lawn healthy, you’ll save money and conserve water.

Need help setting up a watering plan or dealing with the effects of too much rain on your lawn? Give us a call today at 334-685-1588.

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Fall Leaves: Don’t Ignore Them


When to Act
by:www.bayeradvanced.com

As beautiful as fall can be when trees dress summer greenery in brightly tinted hues, those colorful leaves eventually tumble from treetops to litter your lawn. On the ground, leaves signal that it’s time to work. Follow these tips to make this year’s leaf gathering easier.

While a few leaves won’t harm your lawn, you need to remove them when they begin to pile up. Fallen leaves can smother turf, blocking sunlight from reaching grass blades and limiting air circulation, which can lead to turf diseases. The weight of leaves can actually prevent grass from growing properly. A leaf layer also keeps soil moist, which can cause turf roots to rot if the soil stays wet long enough. In short, ignoring leaves on your lawn isn’t an option – it could kill your grass.

In general, it’s time to deal with leaves when you can’t see the top half of the grass blades or when they cover more than a third of your overall lawn. If a deep cold snap triggers leaf drop that happens quickly over a few days, you can wait until the lawn is nearly covered with a single leaf layer. Just don’t allow grass to remain obscured with fallen leaves for more than a few days.

Whether you opt to rake or mow over leaves, it’s always better to act before rain arrives and transforms dry leaves into a soaked, clumping mat. Wet leaves won’t chop well with a mower, and they tend to clog rakes and leaf vacuums.

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Water the plants you want, not the weeds you’ve got


Tips for watering your plants
– Partial Content By: Barbara Pleasant

Put drought on your side by depriving weeds of water. Placing drip or soaker hoses beneath mulch efficiently irrigates plants while leaving nearby weeds thirsty. In most climates, depriving weeds of water reduces weed-seed germination by 50 to 70 percent. Watch out, though, for the appearance of deeply rooted perennial weeds, such as bindweed and nutsedge, in areas that are kept moist. They can take off in a flash when given the benefits of drip irrigation.

Beyond these strategies, enriching your soil with organic matter every chance you get can move your garden along down the weed-free path. Soil scientists aren’t sure how it works, but fewer weed seeds germinate in soil that contains fresh infusions of good compost or organic matter. One theory makes elegantly simple sense: When soil is healthy and well fed, weed seeds sense that they are out of a job and are less likely to appear.

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Spring is Here


Spring is Here – Partial Content By: Julie Day of Danny Lipford.com

As the world outside finally begins to turn green after a long winter, it’s time once again to pay attention to your lawn. Spring is a sensitive time for your yard – the soil is spongy, the plants are tender, and the weather is unpredictable. Your lawn will thank you for being gentle this time of year, but it will also thank you for addressing a few important spring tasks. Here’s how to go about taking care of your lawn in the spring.

Types of Grass

Spring lawn care depends on the type of grass you are growing:

Cool-season grasses include fescue, bluegrass, and rye. They have two growth spurts – a moderate one in the spring, and a big one in the fall. They go dormant and can struggle in hot summer months, so the focus of spring care is strengthening the plants for summer. Warm-season grasses—such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, centipede, and Bermuda—thrive in the heat and go dormant during winter. They begin growing after the last spring frost and really get going by midsummer. Understanding the type of grass you have and its peak growing season will help you address lawn care tasks at the correct time.

Clean Up – Gently!

Avoid heavy yard work in the spring until the soil dries out – foot traffic and hard raking can compact or disturb soggy soil and damage tender, new grass shoots. Once the soil is good and dry, give your lawn a good spring cleaning to encourage grass growth and discourage pests and diseases. Remove leaves and fallen debris, and gently rake to fluff up and separate the grass shoots.

In areas with heavy snowfall, leftover snow piles can smother the grass underneath and foster mold growth. As the weather warms, spread snow piles out with a shovel to encourage melting.

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Fertilzing


Fertilizing your lawn is another key to maintaining the brilliant greens of a well-nourished lawn. The three major nutrients that are the key to green are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

All three nutrients are essential in lawn care because they

  • enhance color
  • promote quick roots and seeding
  • improve winter hardiness
  • reduce the risk of disease

Give us a call and we will be happy to work with you on getting your lawn looking its best.

 

 

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Fall Lawn Care Tips


Fall is a great time to give your lawn that extra boost it needs to make it through the winter months. Cool-season grasses especially need a fall feeding to get ready for next spring. Here are a few tips on how to winterize your lawn. Fall Lawn Fertilizing

  • Fertilize cool-season grasses, such as ryegrass, fescue and bluegrass in September, October or November.
  • Fertilize warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, Bahia, centipede, St. Augustine and Zoysia in July, August or September. Don’t overfertilize centipede.
  • Specially formulated winterizing fertilizers are higher in potassium than regular lawn food. Potassium is the nutrient that makes grasses more winter hardy. Apply winterizers as the last fertilizer application of the growing season.

Controlling Lawn Disease, Weeds and Insects

  • To help prevent lawn diseases during the fall and winter, remove leaves from your yard. Leaves left on the lawn encourage disease by preventing sunlight and air from reaching the grass. Use a rake or blower to collect the leaves and add them to a compost pile. If you’d rather, you can go over them with a mulching mower, chopping them into a fine compost for your grass.
  • For weed control during the winter months, apply a pre-emergent weed killer. Some products feature a combination fertilizer and weed killer called “weed and feed.”

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Control Broadleaf Weeds


A well maintained lawn is an integral part of an attractive home landscape. Unfortunately, dandelion, plantain, and other perennial broadleaf weeds can become problems. When broadleaf weeds invade lawns, mechanical and chemical measures can be undertaken to remove or destroy the weeds.

In small areas, some weeds can be controlled by pulling and digging. This method is best accomplished after a good rain or deep watering. Unfortunately, pulling and digging is often ineffective on deep-rooted weeds.

In many situations, herbicides are the only practical method of weed control. Effective broadleaf herbicides include 2,4-D, MCPP, MCPA, dicamba, and triclopyr. The most effective broadleaf herbicide products contain a mixture of 2 or 3 of these herbicides as no single compound will control all broadleaf weeds.

Fall (mid-September through October) is the best time to control perennial broadleaf weeds in the lawn with broadleaf herbicides. In fall, perennial broadleaf weeds are transporting food (carbohydrates) from their foliage to their roots in preparation for winter. Broadleaf herbicides applied in fall will be absorbed by the broadleaf weed’s foliage and transported to the roots along with the carbohydrates, resulting in the destruction of the broadleaf weeds.

Broadleaf herbicides are important tools in controlling weeds in the lawn. However, good cultural practices are also important. Proper mowing, fertilization, and other sound management practices should produce a thick, healthy lawn. A dense stand of grass provides few opportunities for unwanted weeds. Good cultural practices, along with an occasional application of a broadleaf herbicide, should effectively control most broadleaf weeds in the lawn.

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Energy-Efficient Landscaping Tips


Sitting under a shade tree on a hot day makes you cooler, and standing by a wall on a cold, windy day makes you feel warmer. It seems pretty obvious. What’s less obvious is that you can landscape your yard to offer your home those same benefits. It just takes a bit of planning in the way you site trees, fences, and other elements.

  • A well-positioned tree can save up to 25 percent of your home’s energy for heating and cooling.
  • A tree-shaded yard can be up to 6 degrees cooler than a sunny yard. A shaded lawn can be up to 25 degrees cooler than sunny pavement.
  • Shading your home’s roof can increase your air conditioner’s energy efficiency by more than 10 percent.
  • A single shade tree equals the cooling power of 15 air conditioners — and it runs for free!
  • Three house-shading trees can cut your cooling bill by as much as half.
  • Windbreaks can cut winter heating bills by 10 to 30 percent.

Pay attention to the breeze and use fences or shrubs to help direct cooling breezes at your house. Likewise, help stop the sun from turning your home into an oven by planting large evergreen trees on the south or southwest side of your home. Decrease the effect of the humidity by planting drought-tolerant plants next to your home. Avoid siting thirsty plants next to your house; they’re better suited for other corners of your yard.

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Height Does Matter


Proper mowing is one of the most important practices in keeping your lawn healthy. Grasses are like most plants — if you clip off the growing points (for grass, it’s in the crown, where the new leaves develop), the plants branch out and become denser, which in this case, turns thousands of individual grass plants into a tightly woven turf or a lawn. If you didn’t mow at all, your yard would look more like a prairie than a lawn. But the mere act of mowing isn’t what makes a lawn look good. Mowing height and mowing frequency determine how healthy and attractive your lawn looks.

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