Tuesday, 11 December 2018

8 Things to Do this Autumn to Love your Landscape Next Spring


Many homeowners believe that there is little yard maintenance to be done in the autumn. Au contraire, DIYers! The investments you make in your lawn and landscape now will help determine the health and appearance of your property next spring. Check out these eight things to do this autumn to love your landscape when the temperatures warm.
Feed your lawn for its long winter's nap. Northern lawns benefit from autumn fertilization while the grass is still green but has slowed its growth, generally sometime around October, before the soil freezes. (Fertilizing after the ground freezes is not recommended.) In the mid-south, lawns benefit from late summer fertilization followed by a November application. Properly fertilized lawns will green up early next spring and need less fertilizer as temperatures warm. 

 
​​Winter weed woes. If you have a southern lawn, it will likely go dormant after the first couple of frosts. During the winter when it is brown and not growing, winter weeds can sprout and grow without competition. If they are not treated, a green cover of winter weeds will emerge in the spring, delaying recovery of the health and vibrancy of your lawn. Talk with a professional about an application to prevent weeds before they become a problem. ​​​  ​​​​

 
Bye-bye bare spots. Autumn is absolutely the best time to seed thin or bare areas of your northern lawn. Seedlings will root better and be hardier next summer than if you delay this pro​​cess until spring.​​

 

 

 
Don't leave leaves behind. Don't let tree leaves smother your lawn during the long winter months. Ideally you can mulch them into the lawn with the help of a mower as that recycles the nutrients and organic matter they contain. If you have too many leaves, bagging them with a lawn mower and using them as mulch on plant beds or adding them to a compost pile are good alternatives. Be careful not to allow leaves to enter storm drains or waterways.

 
Prune plants. Autumn and winter are good times to cut back overgrown woody plant material. Often called "hard pruning" or "rejuvenation pruning," this practice removes dead branches and those branches that are growing back into the plant's canopy or rubbing against other branches. This practice can also be used to reduce plant size and to create new stronger buds in hedges that are repeatedly sheared during the growing season.​​

 
Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you. Before you put away your mowing equipment for the winter, prepare it for spring by running it out of fuel. Fuel left in equipment will spoil and may form gum on key engine parts that will prevent the equipment from starting. Rather than leaving gasoline in the gas can all winter, put the gas in your car and purchase fresh gas for your mower when you take it out next spring. Removing the spark plug and placing a tablespoon of oil in the head before replacing the plug is another good step before packing the mower up for winter. If your old mower is on its last leg, now might be a good time to check out sale prices at area stores.​​

 
Planting bulbs for spring. If you live in the north, crocus, daffodils, and tulips are the first flowers of spring. Prepare for their arrival by planting bulbs now so they will be conditioned by cold winter soils for flowering. These flowers are most dramatic when planted in masses. Color combinations are widely varied; however, don't be tempted to create a rainbow of colors from the bulbs. One or two strong colors make a powerful impact statement. ​​

 
Get professional help. Renew your lawn and landscape care contract. Although most lawn agreements renew automatically, some states require an annual renewal process. Many companies that are planning for next season may offer special pricing to continuing customers willing to recommit early. If you don't already work with a professional, it is a good time to research companies and select the right partner to help you love your outdoor living space.​​

A Seasonal Guide: Autumn Lawn and Landscape Care


Autumn is the forgotten season when it comes to caring for your lawn and landscape. Many people just focus on cleaning up leaves and don't realize that their yard still needs care in order to keep it in good health for the next spring. Here are some tips to keep your yard healthy.​

·        Pull weeds - Do it now and you'll have fewer weeds next seaso​​n.
·        Rake and remove the leaves in the yard to avoid damage to the grass so you can enjoy a healthier lawn next summer. Doing so also can protect water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass plants, and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate (and nitrates). If these chemicals run o​ff frozen ground during spring snow melt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water. Consider composting the leaves.​​
·        Seed and fertilize – Autumn is the ideal time to give your lawn the TLC it needs after the heat and activity of summer and before the harsh winter months. Generally, cool-season grasses should be fertilized September through November and warm-season grasses should be fertilized a bit earlier.  Seed dead or bare spots and overseed the full lawn to get dense, plush grass, rich in color.
·        Keep your grass at 2 to 2½ inches tall throughout the autumn. If your grass gets much taller (more than 3 inches) it will mat, and this could lead to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold. If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you'll severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring and encourage weed growth.
·        Give trees and shrubs a deep watering​ after the leaves on the trees drop and just before turning the outside water off for the season.
·        Cut most perennials back close to the ground.
·        Shut off water lines to the outside. If you have an automatic irrigation system, avoid damage by having it blown out with compressed air before the water freezes in the pipes.​
While not an exhaustive list, following these seasonal recommendations will help ensure the health of your yard. Your landscape professional can offer additional ideas an​d suggestions to make the most of your outdoor living space.   

January Lawn Tips


• I hope you all have had a very merry Christmas and happy new year. After a very mild and wet run up to Christmas, the frosty mornings are now back. Whilst it’s a pain scraping it off the car, the benefits mean that it will check any grass growth and also help control any soil based grubs or bugs.
• Those with fine lawns should wait until the frost has lifted before going on, as you can bruise the grass, leaving unsightly black footprints which can turn brown as the grass leaf dies.
• Leaf and debris collection should continue when conditions allow. If leaf litter is left, it will stop the light from getting to the grass underneath and, as the nights have drawn in, the grass will need all the light it can get.
• Please don’t forget about arranging to have your mower serviced. At the very least, wash it down and grease or oil the working parts; if it’s a petrol mower, please remove any remaining petrol, as this can go stale and won’t allow the mower to start later in the year when you come to use it. Organising the machine to be serviced by a reputable mechanic is far preferable.

February Lawn Tips


• After the rain and the storms come a mixed bag of cold and frosty weather. Hopefully, that will help dry everything up a little
• As the frosts return, those with fine lawns should wait until the frost has lifted before going on the lawn as you can bruise the grass, leaving unsightly black footprints which can turn brown as the grass leaf dies.
• The strong winds from the gales and storms have been blowing debris across the garden and probably damaged trees and plants as well. Please collect leaf litter and debris when conditions allow. If leaf litter is left, it will stop the light from getting to the grass underneath and, as the nights have drawn in, the grass will need all the light it can get.
• These excessively wet conditions have brought out the moss in certain areas of the country; moss control can be achieved with the use of Iron based feeds; these feeds can either be soluble or granular types. Look to apply these towards the end of the month with the aim of raking out the dead moss in time for the new spring growth
• If you haven’t had your mower serviced yet, please do so; time is running out. Before you know it will be spring and you may find yourself at the back of a very long queue.

March Lawn Tips


With this “Arctic Blast” now upon us, please wrap up warm as it is set to last until the middle of the month.
With the cold now set for the next couple of weeks, I would check for frosts before walking over the lawn and examine its overall condition. If they are frosted, please keep off them until the frost has lifted.
Once the frost has lifted, I’d collect any leaf litter or debris around the garden. If leaf litter is left, it will stop the light from getting to the grass underneath.
Once things start to warm up again, if the lawn’s looking hungry, make a small application of fertiliser. A feed on lawns that are thinning and looking unhealthy will certainly help reverse that and provide a nutrient boost as it starts grow again.
If moss is showing though the grass, then a moss control can be achieved with the use of Iron based fertilisers; these feeds can either be soluble or granular types. Look to apply them towards the end of the month with the aim of raking or scarifying out the dead moss in time for the new spring growth.
Aerate the lawn by lightly pricking the surface with a garden fork; this will improve oxygen levels and help rain and irrigation to penetrate the surface and more easily reach the grass roots.
These aeration holes are also very useful for re-seeding any areas of the lawn that have either died off or have thinned.
The lawn and paths will be looking a bit rough around the edge after the winter, and will need to be re-established again with long handled shears and/or cut out with a half-moon spade.
If you haven’t had your mower serviced yet, please do so; time is running out. Before you know, it will be spring and you may find yourself at the back of a very long queue.



April Lawn Tips


• After the weather’s equivalent of a mixed bag (mild, wet, cold and very cold!), things have turned the corner with it starting to get warmer.
• The heavy rains over the winter may have encouraged moss in the lawn, (some people have already rang saying they have more moss than grass), I would look at applying Iron to kill it. This can either be sprayed on or applied as a granular. Once it is dead, then it will need to be raked or scarified out.
• Following this with some fertiliser will help the grass fill the gaps caused by the removal of the moss.
• If there are any bare or thin patches in the lawn, then those areas will need to be reseeded. Please ensure that adequate irrigation is applied as a lack of water is the most common reason that a re-seed fails.
• If the lawn is looking hungry, make an application of a spring/summer fertiliser. I would recommend using slow release type as this, alongside regular mowing, allows the sward to thicken out.
• Aerate the lawn by lightly pricking the surface with a garden fork; this will improve oxygen levels and help rain and irrigation to penetrate the surface and more easily reach the grass roots.
• These aeration holes are also very useful for re-seeding any areas of the lawn that have either died off or have thinned
• Maintain neat lawn and path edges by trimming back excess grass growth with lawn edging trimmers on a regular basis.
• If you haven’t had your mower serviced yet, please do so; time is running out.



May Lawn Tips


• After lasts month’s ‘mini heat wave’, temperatures have dropped to normal or just below, so the cooler nights may check the growth spurt from the warm weather. But, as mowing has started in earnest, please have a read below:
• Before you start to mow, please ensure that your height of cut is set at between 15-20mm (higher if it is not a fine lawn) and the blade is sharp and clean. A nice clean and sharp blade will cut the grass cleanly, whilst a dirty blunt blade will tear at the grass, and also take a lot of power out of the machine in the process. Also, with the amount of grass going through the mower, you need as few obstructions as possible.
• Please don’t try and ‘push’ the mower though dense grass. Allow the mower to cut at a pace that it can cope with; it may take a little longer, but you will get a far better finish. (Allett supply a wheel kit for cutting longer grass)
• Trim lawn edges, as and when required, with edging shears to keep them looking neat and tidy.
• Look to pull up isolated weeds or carry out spot treatment of weeds with a proprietary lawn weed killer. Note: make sure the weed killer is suitable for grass, otherwise you will kill the grass as well as the weeds.
• If you planning to fertiliser your lawn, try using a slow release fertiliser that will help keep the lawn green without too much top growth. You probably have enough grass as it is.
• If you still have any moss, it can be controlled with the use of Iron Sulphate, either in a liquid or granular form. This will turn the moss black, and then it should start to die off not long after. Afterwards, lightly scarify to remove the dead moss and allow the grass the chance to recolonize the previously mossed areas.
• Please keep an eye on any seedlings and be prepared to water. There may be some rain about, but as soon as the summer sun makes an appearance, it will quickly dry things out.