Lawn Aeration : Michigan And Cold Climates
Theres nothing better than a lush green lawn that lets you spend time with your family in the backyard, laughing and having fun. But, to keep grass healthy, techniques such as aeration are important.
This leads us to the questions, what is aeration, and when is the best time to aerate your lawn?
Simply put, lawn aeration allows your grass to breathe.
Throughout the winter, dead grass sits for months at a time. This layer of built-up components of dead grass, including stems and roots, is called thatch.
Once it builds up to more than half an inch thick, thatch can become a detriment to your lawn. Along with compacted soil, thatch created a thick layer that prevents the roots of your lawn from absorbing water and nutrients properly.
The process of lawn aeration is done by first removing the thatch layer, often with a rake. From there, tiny holes are made in the lawn, allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots more easily.
Depending on how dense and compact the soil is, aeration be done with either a simple rake for smaller yards or a core aerator for larger, more intensive projects.
A core aerator gets deeper into the ground than a rake. It has hollow tines that mechanically remove plugs or cores of soil and thatch from a lawn. You may be familiar with this, as it leaves behind little pellets of thatch and dirt on the surface of your lawn .
Your Guide To Spring Seeding In Michigan
Of all the lawn care decisions you make, how you seed is arguably one of the most important. The way you go about seeding affects not just the thickness of your grass, but also how vulnerable it is to the herbicide, grub damage, and a range of other factors.
It is essential that you time your seeding carefully and go about it in a way that will give the grass seeds all the nutrients and protection they need to get off to a strong start. Lush Lawn offers professional lawn care services which include spring seeding and lawn fertilizer service to homeowners all over Michigan. With our aid, youll have no trouble laying a strong foundation for growth and beauty all over your yard.
Fertilizing Your New Lawn
If Bay Landscaping installed your lawn, it was fertilized at the time of seeding or when the sod was laid. We recommend another light fertilizing after the lawn has been mowed the first time. This forces the grass to grow and spread into a thick turf.
Thereafter, we recommend four or five applications per year using a complete slow-release fertilizer each time.
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What Type Of Grass Do You Have
Most lawns in West Michigan feature a mix of Kentucky bluegrass, creeping red fescue, and perennial ryegrass. These are all classified as cool-season grasses that do great in spring, fall, and even a good chunk of the summer.
But when temperatures start to reach and exceed the middle 80s or so, they start to get stressed and can go dormant in order to conserve what little water they have remaining. Giving your lawn a little extra water at these times can be especially critical to maintaining their health.
Bluegrass and ryegrass are particularly fickle, as they require a fair amount of sun and good soil drainage, but they also tolerate drought relatively poorly.
That said, unless you know you specifically have a type of grass different from the norm in West Michigan, the general advice in this blog should apply to your lawn.
Mow Your Lawn Regularly
Its very important to mow your lawn regularly when its growing in the springtime. Not only does this keep your grass looking neat and tidy, but it also helps it grow healthy and strong. Mowing too low or not often enough can damage your lawn, so be sure to find the right height and mowing schedule for your specific type of grass.
In most cases, you should mow your lawn at least once a week. Make sure to adjust the height of your mower blades depending on the grass type, though most should be mown to about 2-3 inches.
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Turf And Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices
Irrigate properlyAdequate watering during summer is the number one factor that determines whether a lawn is green and growing or brown and dormant. Thus, supplemental irrigation is essential during many summers to maintain green, actively growing lawns.
Approximately 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week during the growing season is required to maintain green and active growth. Even when turf is watered, the growth slows during summers hot, dry days.When lawns and landscape are properly watered, appearance is maintained and pride of ownership enhanced. In addition, proper irrigation often decreases weed invasion and allows lawn grasses to better tolerate insect and disease pressure. On the other hand, improper irrigation practiceseither too much or too little watercan lead to poor lawn grass health and increased weed, insect, and disease problems.
Excessive wateringToo much water is not only wasteful but can also increase turf growth, which requires more frequent mowing. Saturated soil can cause poor soil aeration and, as a result, weaken turf making it vulnerable to diseases and invasions of weeds.
UnderwateredTurf becomes open and sparse, developing a poor appearance and allowing weed invasion.
If you cannot water in the late morning, choose a time that better fits your schedule, but try not to water after dark. Moist, warm and dark conditions will encourage fungal diseases, something you definitely do not want to have happen.
A Simple Summer Lawn Care Guide For Detroit Mi
Everyone loves the summertime. Detroit, MI has summer temperatures in the 80s, with less than ten days of precipitation, on average, each summer! That means a lot of swimming and fun in the sun. Summer is time for you to get that lush, green lawn you want to impress the neighbors with.
To ensure you are maintaining your yard correctly, we put together this simple summer lawn care guide for Detroit, MI residents. Make sure you follow these tips for proper lawn maintenance.
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What Happens If You Dont Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration acts as a renewal process that will help rejuvenate your lawn to a lush yard it once was, and if your lawn isnt aerated you can experience difficulties with your lawn that can result in money loss and lawn damage.
Something to look out for are the following:
- Discolored areas: Soil compaction is one of several reasons for discoloration in your yard. If you notice other warning signs in combination with yellow or brown areas, then its time to aerate
- Yard stops growing: The fewer nutrients the roots receive means the less growth youll see. Your lawn is likely suffering from compacted soil and is in need of aeration.
- Thick debris: A thick layer of debris, also known as thatch, is living and dead organic matter between the green vegetation and the root system . If the thatch becomes too thick , then it can be detrimental for your lawns health. Aeration helps to decompose thatch at a faster rate.
- Amongst other problems.
Get A Head Start On Your Spring Lawn Prep By Scheduling An Irrigation Start
When your yard starts to come out of its winter hibernation, it’s time to start thinking about spring lawn care! Now that warmer weather is rolling in, your lawn needs more attention and maintenance so it can survive and stay healthy throughout the summer.
Gradually watering your grass during the spring will help it beat the summer heat, which makes an irrigation start-up service a top priority on your spring lawn care checklist!
If you’ve had your entire sprinkler system winterized, our technicians will come and perform a complete spring start-up inspection and system turn-on so you don’t skip out on your spring watering schedule! Our company services both residential and commercial properties that are located near East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, MI, and other various cities in the Mid-Michigan area.
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Strategies To Reduce Outdoor Water Use
Curbing outdoor water use can help the region maintain our long-term supplies well into the future. CMAP recommends four strategies that communities can use:
Create common guidelines across communities
Prepare for the next drought
Target high outdoor water users
Encourage water-saving landscapes
Join forces with common guidelines
Communities must educate residents and businesses about watering guidelines and the importance of conservation. Research by the Alliance for Water Efficiency has shown that communication and messaging strategies are essential to reduce outdoor water use.
Be prepared for droughts or other water shortages
Having a municipal drought action plan is essential, especially in a changing climate. Illinois Drought Preparedness and Response Plan identifies a number of shallow groundwater-dependent communities in the Chicago region as particularly vulnerable to drought conditions.
Several organizations provide guidance on drought planning, including the American Waterworks Association and the U.S. Drought Portal. The year round-drought provisions in the NWPA lawn watering ordinance also are a great way to start. Although Lake Michigan communities are significantly less susceptible to drought conditions, their methods and communication can reinforce the messaging for nearby communities dependent on groundwater and promote wise water use.
Target high outdoor water users
Design water saving landscapes
Should You Fertilize Or Not
You might wonder if fertilizing during the summertime is a good idea. In general, fertilization during the summer should be limited. A dormant lawn isnt actively growing, so there is no reason to add fertilizer. Wait until the lawn comes out of dormancy to apply fertilizer.
For lawns that are watered regularly and stay green throughout the summer, summer fertilization can be beneficial. Apply a summer fertilizer at lower rates because summer grass tends to grow slower. Look for fertilizers labeled for summer turf application to ensure it contains less nitrogen per application.
The best time to apply fertilizer during the summer is in late August to early September. During this period, Detroit experiences cooler nights and more frequent rainfall. The nutrients from the fertilizer will encourage growth as the plants enter an active period of growth.
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Clear Off Dead Leaves And Debris
One of the first steps when preparing your lawn is to clear off any dead leaves that are left over from the fall. Do not try to till the leaves into your soil, as this will cause a lot of disruption for your grass. Instead, mulch them into small pieces and leave them on top of the soil. Then, they will decompose over time and provide your grass with the nutrients it needs for a healthy lawn.
Also, make sure to clear off any branches or debris that may have fallen on your lawn. Not only can this make it harder for you to mow and water your lawn evenly, but the debris can also restrict your grass access to light, causing patches to die off.
What Type Of Sprinkler Should You Use
Bar none, an in-ground irrigation system is going to be the best choice, provided its been properly installed and maintained. A good irrigation system ensures even coverage, low-angle and low-volume sprinkler heads that minimize evaporation, and other features that provide a high level of efficiency. Furthermore, because an irrigation system usually has a manufacturer-published flow rate, its relatively easy to calculate the amount of water your soil is getting per session.
If you dont have an irrigation system, your best choice for an established lawn is a pulsating sprinkler. Because it shoots water relatively horizontally at a high velocity, youre likely to get more even coverage, and the water is less susceptible to wind and evaporation.
Oscillating sprinklers are really only optimal for young, recently planted lawns, since the high water pressure of pulsating sprinklers can wash away the seed.
Regardless of the system that you use, we highly recommend that you get a timer that can turn off your hose automatically. They are very cheap, and they ensure you dont accidentally leave the sprinkler on way too long.
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Soak Six Inches Into The Soil
The spring heat can be overbearing and may most likely evaporate every surface moisture the sun shines on. To ensure your lawn retains a sufficient volume of water, water the soil down to about 6 inches below the surface. You can dip a stick on the soil, or unearth a portion of the soil to confirm.
When To Schedule Lawn Maintenance
It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.
- Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
- Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
- Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
- Crabgrass doesn’t develop until late spring or early summer, so don’t apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.
See Water-saving strategies for home lawns for information on how and when to water.
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What If I Dont Water At All
Thats really your call. Hot weather in Michigan most likely isnt going to kill your lawn just like in winter, your grass will simply go dormant to protect itself during extended dry spells. It just wont be nearly as green and vibrant until its revived by future rainfall. Youll have to decide how much that matters to you.
Still, under extreme drought conditions it is possible that your grass will lose enough moisture from the crown for patches to wither and die. A bare minimum of half an inch of water every second or third week will probably be sufficient to prevent the worst outcomes.
Ignoring Your Grass Needs
Taking a lawns age into consideration is important. A fully-grown lawn can handle a more powerful spray, whereas newly seeded lawns need a gentler touch. If you only have a small area of newly planted seeds, a Stationary Square Sprinkler works well for gentle spot-watering, while an Adjustable Length Wind-Resistant Rectangular Sprinkler can cover a bigger area.
For a sprinkler that will grow along with the grass, try the Circular Sprinkler Spike with on/off switch. The diffuser pin allows for a customized force of spray, from a steady shower for new grass to a more powerful stream for mature lawns.
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When Should I Start Watering
As the temperatures begin to climb on Long Island, many of our clients ask us when they should begin watering automatically. Watering requirements can be very different from one property to the next due to the type of landscaping, trees, shrubs, lawn and even types of lawn. Soil type is a big factor as sandy soils hold less water than clay soils and therefore require more frequent watering. There are microclimates to consider as properties near the water are cooler than those just a few miles inland.
Here are my recommendations for watering during April, May and June:
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Spring Lawn Care For Your Michigan Yard
When spring hits in Michigan, theres a short period before summer comes where you have the time to care for your lawn and make it presentable! Spring lawn care usually includes ensuring your grass is properly watered, mown, fertilized, and weed-free, so that you can have a bright, inviting yard that everyone can enjoy. Take a look at these spring lawn care tips to be sure you have the best lawn on the block:
- Clear off dead leaves and debris
- Treat for weeds early
- Keep up the maintenance
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When To Stop Watering The Lawn In Fall
You should not completely stop watering your lawn in the fall until the ground freezes. After the ground freezes, it would be pointless to water grass because the frozen ground would act as a barrier, blocking the water’s path to the roots.
This is why the cold temperatures of northern winters are said to create desert conditions. “Desert” might conjure up images of cacti and succulents growing in hot sands, but it also applies to regions in which water is locked up in the form of ice. Plants survive the lack of water by going into dormancy, a sleep-like state in which they don’t need irrigation.
Home Lawn Watering Guide
Reviewed by Brad S. FresenburgDivision of Plant Sciences
As much as 80 percent of the water used around the home during summer is used outside. Watering the lawn is the main outside water use. During dry summers, local water authorities may cut off water for outside use or only allow watering on certain days. Both measures are necessary and effective means of reducing water use and relieving the strain on city water supplies.
To avoid severe loss of turfgrass and to conserve water, homeowners should manage their lawns each year in anticipation of water restrictions.
This guide describes that will reduce the need for irrigation while improving the competitiveness and appearance of your lawn.
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