Dogs can be a great addition to a family. They often give us as many hours of entertainment and companionship as we give them. But unfortunately they can create a lot of problems for our lawns. The wear and tear from running around in the same areas will thin out quickly and prevent the grass growing back. If they have a favorite spot on the lawn for their bathroom habits, it’ll deteriorate a root system quickly. And then when you throw in all the other frustrations of keeping your lawn healthy it creates quite the headache. We can’t just get rid of our best friends. But we can incorporate some best practices to eliminate some of the wear and tear to our lawns.
Dog urine is loaded with nitrogen, especially the first release of the day, because all the protein they eat. And too much nitrogen is a killer for a lawn. Just don’t let your friend out to go where he wants, he’ll just keep going to same spot or where he smells other animals. Take a few minutes, specifically in the morning, to show them where you want them to go. Hopefully with time, they’ll learn to stay off the lawn. There are also supplements at your local pet store that help regulate the nitrogen they produce.
Don’t forget to pick up after them. Dog stool is a killer too. It contains high levels of nitrogen as well. As it break down it will transfer higher than recommended levels of nitrogen to the ground. Over time it will burn the grass as well. I know it’s not our favorite chore. But if you make sure you cleanup after your friend a couple times a week. It’ll go a long way to preventing dead spots.
Aerate and over seed your lawn routinely. Whether you have a warm or cool season lawn, it’ll be important that you repair those areas that get most of the wear. The aeration is needed to help with the compaction to help get nutrients back to the roots again. Then the over seeding will help restore grass to those areas. You’ll just need to keep your friend off the reseeded areas for a few weeks after it’s done.
Make sure the grass is getting the right amount of sun and water. Depending on the grass, too much or too little light will speed up the process of a thinning lawn. Your grass will also need a certain amount of water each week, typically one inch, to keep the root system from stressing too much. Any added stress will certainly make the problem worse. But consult your local lawn professional to see what is best for the type of grass you have in your yard.
When all else fails, you do have an alternative. Go artificial! There are several companies around the country that offer artificial alternatives to grass. With today’s technology in artificial grass, you’ll have many choices that will give you a similar feel and look to natural grass. It’s typically a sizable investment because of costs in material and preparation. But if you’re looking for a long term solution, it will certainly be money well spent.
After the snow comes and the cold sets in, it’s easy to forget about the lawn in the winter. Especially for those of us in the South, the last thing we want is to spend hours outside in the cold when there’s football on inside. But we do need to put a few hours here and there over the next few months to help promote new growth. Here’s a couple thoughts to be mindful of from your friends at ALF as we make the slow winter’s crawl to spring 2018.
1. Do a quick sweep of your lawn every couple weeks. Any objects that are left on the ground, even leaves, will leave impressions that could lead to dead spots in the lawn when it’s time for new growth. It will likely leave those areas stunted and thinner most of the year.
2. In periods of winter weather, you need to keep your driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice. Guests won’t be tempted to cut through the yard. And they won’t mistake your yard as part of the driveway. Even the smallest of cars or excess foot traffic can stunt or kill the grass as well as promote weeds when the temperature is just right.
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Snow in the Deep South is unusual in early December. But it’s a welcome sight this close to Christmas especially since we’ve seen spring like temperatures over the past couple years. Even though the snow is sometimes a fun by product of our winters. It can have some negative effects on our warm season lawns here in the South.
Bermuda and Zoysia lawns are susceptible to winter-kill when there are prolonged periods of ice, snow, or cold temperatures. The cold and wet conditions could create a fungus that infects the areas. Or the conditions could simply kill the crown of the grass keeping the area from generating new growth next growing season.
ALF recommends these four simple steps to give you the best chance of preventing winter-kill next spring:
1. Remove the ice/snow within 3-4 days.
2. Ask you turf care company about Fungicide Programs.
3. Eliminate any drainage issues where water sits more than 2 days.
4. Make sure your irrigation is off for the winter.
We get asked all the time what is the number one thing a homeowner can do to get their lawn in good order. Unfortunately, there is no “Magic Bullet” that we can offer you. If there was, we certainly would be the only game in town. At Atlanta Landscape and Fertilization (ALF) we help our clients identify their problem areas. Once we do, we will help the homeowner (the captain) Chart a Course for a Beautiful Lawn.
Your first voyage is now complete. You have successfully turned the neighborhood eyesore into the neighborhood envy. You’re a proud captain and have a proud crew. With time, good captains chart a new course and set sail again. There will always be new endeavors for your lawn and obstacles to overcome. Everyone at ALF is committed to being you first mate every step of the way. If you need any assistance with you lawn please call us at (844) 369-TURF or (706) 216-1254.
Last week we provided some great information for you to take care of your own yard. If you missed it, don't worry about it. Just click HERE! This week we want to continue on this topic and provide more information to you to help you have a Better Yard!
Why do I need service in the Winter?
Even though warm season grasses are dormant, leaves and trash that build up in the Winter months can smother the root systems. During dormancy, grass concentrates on root growth. If the nutrients can’t get to the roots, you’re going to have a rough start to the growing season with your lawn.
How much and when do we need to water?
One inch a week is suggested, preferably in the cooler, early morning hours. Watering during the day can turn the beads of water into a magnifying glasses. You may think you’re cooling things down but you’re really turning up the heat. During the growing season, it’s best to water sometime between 4am-6am when the temps are at their coolest. More water will absorb during this time, rather than evaporate, which will save you money in the long run. Plus, watering when it’s cool reduces the risk of pesky funge popping up.
When the cherry blossoms are on full display, you know Spring is near. When the grass starts turning green, you know it’s time to drag out the lawnmower. As we turn the corner from Winter, most homeowners are starting to think about their lawns again. There are a number of tasks that should be on your checklist even in the dead of Winter.
When should I start weed treatments?
Right now, but it’s always too late. Regardless of what acclaimed experts say, it takes about a year of treatments to get weeds under control. The main goal should be to protect your yard from getting weeds. To accomplish this, pre-emergent chemicals need to be used ahead of the weed seed’s germination period which is controlled by soil temperatures. If you wait until after the germination period, it will be too late and you’ll be fighting weeds the entire season.
What can I do to get my grass to green up quicker?
Scalp it! By the time we get to the end of March, we’re most likely past prolonged freezing periods. Go ahead and get rid of that dingy, old grass. It’s doing nothing more than getting in the way of new grass. The more sun that gets to the grass crowns, the faster the soil temps rise, and the faster the grass greens up. As an added benefit, it reduces the amount of thatch that’s produced each year.