• How to Have a Lush Green Lawn

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    Schumacher Companies
    Schumachers have been working the soil for generations. The Schumacher family farm in Lexington inspired David’s father, John, to found a landscaping business in 1965 that eventually became one of the largest landscape companies in Massachusetts. David is proud to carry on that tradition with The Schumacher Companies.
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    The Grass is Always Greener on the Healthier Side

    A lush green lawn like this one is a delicate balancing act involving the type of grass, the amounts of food & water, and even mowing methods.

    What happens when that balance is thrown out of order and what can we do to avoid letting that happen?

    No other element of your landscape has a greater impact on its beauty than your lawn. A green lush lawn can make any landscape look good, and yet a distressed lawn can make even the most well-gardened landscape look bad.

    Unfortunately, if conditions are favorable, any disease-producing organism can cause damage to your lawn. The good news is that these diseases only act under favorable conditions and as soon as those conditions change, the lawn recovers on its own.

    If conditions don’t change, however, and the disease is allowed to persist, then damage can be more extensive and your lawn may take much longer to recover. There are herbicides that can help mitigate the effects of lawn diseases, but they’re not always effective and they can kill as many beneficial organisms as damaging ones. The best way to battle these diseases, then, is to control your lawn’s environment so they never get a foothold.

    Lawn Photo 2Three things to improve  your lawn’s ability to fight disease

    There are three things you need to do to improve your lawn’s ability to mitigate disease-producing organisms.

    1)      Plant the correct lawn varieties for your area.

    2)      Utilize correct feeding and watering patterns

    3)      Assure that correct mowing practices are upheld.

    Planting the right grass varieties for your climate is the first step you can take to avoid weather-related stresses. Cool season grasses such as fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass do well in cooler climates.

    They grow well in spring and fall, although they suffer somewhat in the very hot summers. Warm weather grasses such as Zoysia, Bermuda grass, and St. Augustine, on the other hand, do well in hot and humid climates.

    When the weather turns cold and nears freezing, however, they quickly go dormant and are subsequently slow to green up in the spring.

    Too much food and water can negatively affect your lawn as much as too little food and water can. All lawn fertilizers contain nitrogen, which greens up your lawn, but they also contain mineral salts. Excessive use of fertilizers causes mineral salts build up in soil, making it much more difficult for grass to absorb water. In these cases, lawns dehydrate and “burn.”

    Lawn Photo 2Excessive nitrogen also directs much of your lawn’s energy and nutrients away from root development to leaf production. Consequently, these underdeveloped roots are less efficient at absorbing water and nutrients, a condition which essentially starves the lawn. Of course, not enough nitrogen also leads to poor root development and leaf growth.

    Give your lawn enough water

    We’ve all seen the consequences to a lawn that does not receive enough water, but running irrigation too often also leads to an unhealthy lawn. Grasses in lawns that are watered too often do not need to reach their roots down vertically into the soil in search of water.

    As a result, they develop a shallow root system, which is less resistant to high heat and drought conditions and less able to draw and absorb nutrients from the soil. A healthy watering program is one that waters less frequently and more deeply (for a longer period of time), ensuring that your lawn reaches down into the soil in search of water.

    There is also a direct correlation between root depth and grass height, so the higher you cut your lawn, the deeper its roots will grow. This doesn’t mean that you should let your yard become a hay field, only that you should mow it at a height of at least 3.5 inches and preferably 4 – 4.5 inches.

    Other factors that can affect lawn health include dog urine, compaction, herbicides, poor drainage, insect damage, extreme temperatures, and deep thatch layers. People often mistake the layer of dead, matted grass that sits on top of their lawn’s soil as thatch; this is not the case. The thatch layer is constructed of partially decomposed organic material (roots, stems, crowns, tolons, rhizomes) and sits at the soil’s surface.

    The thatch layer is extremely beneficial and acts like a mulch layer for grass by insulating roots against extreme temperature swings and by reducing the loss of water vapor. Too much thatch, however, can impede the absorption of water and oxygen into the soil.

    Diseases like Red Thread, Dollar Spot, and Leaf Spot are all knocking at the door waiting for an opening to attack and infest your lawn. Correct mowing, watering, and fertilizing practices will keep these and other diseases at bay and ensure that you have a healthy, lush, green lawn year after year.

    July 17, 2014