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LAWN CARE 101

Maintenance » Weeds » Mowing » Watering » Insects » FAQ's

OVER SEEDING:

overseedThere are two optimum times of the year to seed, spring and autumn, with the second seeding window being the best. The reason is simple; in the fall seeding is less likely to overlap with weed controls and pre-emergents that can restrict new seed germination. There is also less competition in the turf and weather conditions are more favorable to establishing new growth. At Durham Lawn Jockey we use CPR (spring & fall), and other premium grass seed blends. We are also an authorized dealer for Eco-Lawn grass seed.

More information on Eco Lawn.

CORE AERATION:

This application has many benefits. It creates a stronger root system, breaks up thatch layers where Chinch Bug hide, allows more moisture and oxygen into the soil, helps keep grub populations to a minimum. Although we also provide spring aeration, we recommend this application be done in conjunction with a September over-seeding for maximum benefit.

LIME TREATMENT:

This application helps restore the PH level of acidic lawns to a normal standard between 6.0 and 7.0 . It is an application that acts as a booster drink for your lawn helping with moss, mushrooms and other soil issues. It is recommended that this treatment be done once every three years or as needed. At Durham Lawn Jockey we also use Salt Stopper for canine urine.

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WEEDS:

weedWith as many as 150 weed seeds ready to germinate throughout the entire season for every square foot of soil, the potential for weeds is tremendous. In fact, in the top six inches of the topsoil, over a 1,000 square foot area, there may be as many as 3,000 weed seeds. These seeds remain viable for many years. Weeds are opportunistic plants. They compete with preferred plants for space, water, nutrients and sunlight. Just a slight weakness in the turf can allow a weed seed to germinate and become established. Cultural practices that help maintain health and vigor of the grass should end concern for weeds. Promoting a healthy lawn is the best defense against severe weed problems. Proper mowing and watering, regular fertilization, core cultivation, and annual over-seeding are the key ingredients in maintaining a healthy lawn. At Durham Lawn Jockey we use Fiesta© iron-based control when dealing with weeds. For more severe weed problems and poor lawn quality, soil testing may be recommended.

CRABGRASS:

Crabgrass is an annual weed that invades home lawns and gardens. Crabgrass usually establishes itself in mid to late spring. Crabgrass plants produce finger-like, purple seed heads when mature. Seeds are produced, over winter in the soil and germinate the following spring. Crabgrass normally invades lawns that are thin, weak and undernourished. Lawns that are properly fertilized, watered and mowed correctly are less susceptible to crabgrass infestations. Infestations usually begin along driveway edges, in boulevards and other high traffic and/or high temperature areas. Crabgrass will not germinate in heavily shaded areas.

When there is evidence of recurring historical crabgrass problems. Control is best implemented in spring, prior to the germination and establishment of crabgrass plants with the use of a pre-emergent control. However, it should be noted that current organic means have a limited effect window and should be used with that knowledge in mind.

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CUTTING:

cuttingYour lawn should be kept at 3 inches (6-8 cm) long. Mowing height should be increased during the hot, dry summer. In most areas the grass will grow more quickly in the spring and fall and require frequent mowing. Calculate mower blade heights by measuring the distance between the ground and the base of your lawn mower. The lawn should be mowed frequently so that only a small clipping is taken from the grass plant. This will also impede weed establishment. Never remove more than a third of the total grass blade. Removing too much of the blade length at one time stresses the grass and weakens your lawn. Because the system of a grass plant grows proportionately to the above ground parts of the plant, a longer cutting height results in a stronger, deeper root system. Lawn mower blades should be kept razor sharp. A sharp blade makes a clean precise cut of each grass blade. A sharp clean cut will recover quickly and resist disease attack. A dull blade chews and frays grass blades resulting in a gray appearance and greater vulnerability of turf to diseases.

The mowing direction should be altered for each cut. This procedure will keep the grass growing strong and straight while reducing weed infestation. Grass clippings should be left on the lawn when mowing. "Grass-cycling" recycleis natural and an environmentally beneficial practice. Grass clippings are about 90 percent water by weight. Because they are high in protein they should be left on the lawn to decompose and return vital nutrients back to the soil. The average lawn produces clippings at a rate of about 200 pounds per square foot each year. For every 100 m² of lawn, consistent grass-cycling done for the entire season returns one ton of nutritious clippings to the soil; which reduces waste and conserves landfill space. The use of a mulching type mower is ideal for grass-cycling as it results in a more uniform distribution of grass clippings, and allows for quicker decomposition. It is only necessary to remove lawn clippings if they are long and will smother the lawn, or there is a high weed population.

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WATERING:

waterYour lawn needs 1-1/2" (3-4cm) of water weekly. Under normal circumstances, early morning is the best time to water your lawn so that the leaves can dry slowly and naturally without too much evaporation, and instead with most of the water penetrating the soil. If you water at mid-day in hot weather, much of the water evaporates quickly. Evening watering can promote the spread of lawn turf diseases. Regular, fairly deep watering is better than daily light sprinklings. Deep watering and allowing the lawn to dry out between watering will force the roots to penetrate deeper in search of moisture. On the other hand, excessively heavy watering is wasteful and can promote lawn diseases. Again, 1-1/2" (3-4cm) of water weekly.

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CHINCH BUGS:

chinch bugChinch Bugs live in your lawn's thatch layer and feed on living grass plants. If you peer between the grass blades, you may be able to see the tiny Chinch Bugs scurry. They have reddish bodies in their younger stages. The tiny young mature into black and white adults. Chinch Bugs pierce the grass blade stem or crown, inject digestive juices, then suck out the plants liquids. Damage looks similar to drought symptoms, but of course, watering does not remedy the problem. Chinch Bugs attack during the mid-summer heat and can cause serious damage in a few days and devastate an entire lawn in a few weeks. Durham Lawn Jockey uses eco-friendly methods for the treatment of Chinch Bugs and other surface insects including the establishment of endophtic grass types most insects don't like.

WHITE GRUBS:

white grubWhite grubs can devastate your lawn. White grubs (European chafer, May and June beetles) are small, plump, white larvae which actively feed on grass roots. They live below the soil surface and actually chew off the roots of the grass. They are C-shaped, have a brown head and three large pair of legs. After they destroy the grass roots, the lawn will appear unhealthy, weak or possibly yellow in patches, as if the lawn is drying out. Other symptoms to watch for include: animals like skunks and raccoons digging up the lawn and birds feeding on grubs, leaving pencil sized holes. Often the damaged turf will roll back like a carpet. Durham Lawn Jockey uses environmentally friendly methods such as Core Aeration, Nematodes and the establishment of endopyhtic grass varieties which make the grass less vulnerable to grub damage.

LEATHER-JACKETS:

Due to their leathery gray-brown skin, the damaging larvae are most commonly referred to as "Leather-jackets". The adult crane fly resembles a giant mosquito and appears in later summer in great numbers. The female can lay up to 280 shiny, black eggs in the grass or soil. The eggs hatch within two weeks and the larvae begin feeding. They feed at the soil level on roots and seedlings almost continuously; growing from 3mm to 3.2cm (3/16" to 1-1/4") between August and late May. During the colder periods of the winter, they burrow deeper into the soil where they are better able to survive frost and flooding. As the temperatures moderate in the spring, they will ascend to just below the soil surface and resume feeding. Leather-jackets feed during the day at or below the surface of the turf on root hairs, roots and crowns. Damage to lawns first appears as brown patches that soon become bare if infestations are heavy. Durham Lawn Jockey uses Nematodes specially bred to deal with Leather-Jackets and pierce their shell.

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