A beautiful, lush green lawn does not happen overnight; it is a process. Maintaining a beautiful lawn is a continual work in progress. The greatest challenges to lawn care in the Greater Washington DC area are climate and turf disease. As the chart demonstrates below we are termed the Transition Zone. It is not ideal for cool-season turf or warm-season turf; however, most of the lawns are made up of cool-season turf; e.g., tall fescue, bluegrass, and fine fescue.
A simple way to break down the approach to a lawn care program is understanding the proper timing of application for establishing and caring for your lawn. Tall fescue lawns are best established in the late summer and fall months. In the spring and summer months, you can take preventative actions, prepare, and maintain the lawn with both cultural practices and management applications. The reason for this is that seeding a cool-season lawn is only recommended at the end of summer and the fall. Cool-season turf lawns only get thicker by seeding. If you do not seed your lawn it will not get thicker. Other items to consider with establishing a beautiful lawn are understanding the lifecycle of certain weeds, disease, and the turf plant itself. A lawn is made up of millions of individual grass plants and though they might
look alike they are all individual plants containing five leaves at maturity. Think of lawn care much like you think of your own health where it is a balance of diet and cultural practices that are a continual process.
The Year of the Cicadas
We have had several phone calls pertaining to raccoons digging in the lawn. This is the year of the cicada insect and recently we have noticed that raccoons are in search of the cicadas as a food source. We will discuss the cicada insect in April.
Early Spring Lawn Care Applications
During the early spring, we apply a special fertilizer to provide a green-up and general recovery of the turf as we come out of the winter. You may notice some parts of the lawn greening up faster than other areas based on soil condition, sun, shade, and moisture. The color will become more balanced after the first cutting of the season as new growth starts to occur. During this visit, we spray for weeds with a specialty weed control designed for use in the cooler
weather. Typically, the weeds we are spraying this time of the year are categorized as cool-season annual weeds such as chickweed, henbit, bittercress, or perennial weeds such as clover and dandelion. Though this weed control is developed to be used in cool weather it will take longer to translocate throughout the plant to kill it, so be patient. Remember when you kill a weed it does not just dissolve or disappear rather it is recycled back into the lawn after multiple grass cuttings. During this visit, we apply Dimension® crabgrass pre-emergent. Dimension® is applied as a split application meaning it will be applied twice per season, as University trials have shown this to be the most effective. We apply the crabgrass control at the maximum rate during a single season for cool-season turf in the Transition Zone.
Large trees are a very desired plant in the landscape. They provide many benefits to both people and the wildlife. However, sometimes abrupt changes can appear in the landscape that may seem alarming at first sight.
One such thing is finding your trees that suddenly have numerous holes on the trunk. Damage like this is sometimes caused not by an insect, but rather by other forms of wildlife. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is a good example of one type of animal that may cause this. A member of the woodpecker family of birds, sapsuckers are native to Canada as well as the northeastern portion of the US. Sapsuckers leave a distinct pattern in the trunk of the tree where holes made form horizontal staggered lines when feeding. These holes are made to reach the sapwood with the intention of drinking the sap and feeding on nearby insects that have been attracted in the process. Birds may return to the same feeding locations to continue feeding on affected trees and shrubs. Trees with softer wood such as birches, pines, and maples, as well as some shrubs like viburnums, are typically targeted for feeding in Virginia.
As alarming as the damage may seem, trees and shrubs will not necessarily die from the process of feeding. Plants typically produce a hardened tissue at the location of the feeding that helps to prevent infection from various pathogens as well as discourage insects from further feeding. In extreme cases, this tissue may extend into the phloem of the plant and cause girdling, the restriction of water and nutrients to other parts of the plant.
Controlling sapsuckers can be a tricky issue. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to intentionally harm or kill them. Because of this, the only means of stopping them is to repel them or remove access to the feeding areas. Applying a repellant such as a deer repellant spray to the affected plants can be effective in discouraging the birds from returning to feeding sites. Wrapping trees where the feeding locations may also be effective to stop further feeding on affected trees by taking away areas they may return to for feeding.
Change The Spark Plug in Your Lawnmower
As spark plugs get older, they affect the mower’s engine. Spark plugs should be changed at least every one hundred hours. Sometimes spark plugs go bad before their time. Symptoms of a bad spark plug include decreased fuel efficiency, the engine is harder to start, or the engine stops abruptly.
Sharpen the Blades
A season of lawn mowing takes its toll on lawnmower blades. Over time, our lawn mower blades get dull from grass and the occasional rock, branches, and roots. A dull blade doesn’t but the grass, it tears it. This leaves the crowns of your grass looking jagged and brown. For a picture-perfect lawn, you want to make sure your blades are sharp.
Get Professional Lawn Care From NuLeaf
There is a lot to be done throughout the year to ensure your yard looks its best. The professionals at NuLeaf are trained to do just that. If you want a yard that looks better than anything you’ve ever seen before then we are the lawn care company for you. Our lawn care program will put you at ease and prove to you that your yard is in good hands. Call us today at 703-989-9405 or contact us on our site. Don’t forget to check out our blog for more helpful tips on lawn care.