Tips and FAQ
Mowing Tip:The mowing height depends on the weather conditions and the type of turf you are cutting. Always raise the mowing height during hot, dry conditions. Higher cut turf helps avoid drought stress by keeping the soil temperature cooler due to the shading effect. Higher cut turf also makes it difficult for young weeds to grow and establish. We recommend 3" as a standard height during the summer months. Early in the mowing season and later in the year you can lower the mower deck. Turf grass should be mowed frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade is removed. Scalping or cutting too short weakens the grass plant, allowing weeds and unwanted grasses to fill in the thin areas. If you are unsure about your cutting height, look at the mowing pass you just made and compare it to the uncut grass. You will have no trouble identifying a scalped lawn.
Watering Tip:Proper watering is deep watering. Light watering forces the grass roots to grow upwards towards the moisture. Deep penetrating watering moves the water down to where the root zone is. Generally, your lawn needs about 1.5 - 2 inches of water per week to stay healthy and strong. A simple rain gauge ($2.00-$10.00) will help you determine quantity of precipitation. The first sign of drought stress is wilting and generally dull appearance. During drought stress, your lawn is very susceptible to insect and diseases. Also, do not wait until your lawn turns brown before you start watering. Understand drought stress symptoms and begin your efforts early on.
Hard Soil Tip:Heavy clay soils are difficult to grow a healthy lawn in. Clay restricts the water from reaching the root zone. Aerating, or plugging is the most effective way to relieve soil compaction. Aeration removes small cores of soil from the turf, making it easier for water and fertilizer to reach the grass roots. Having your lawn aerated once a year will reduce compaction and thatch build up while giving your grass roots room to expand.
Older Lawn Tip:If you have an older lawn that is not responding to lawn treatments, don't continue to waste your money. You should consider lawn renovation. This process will get rid of the old weaker lawn grasses and replace them with new, healthier grass plants. You can expect a new lawn in about 6 weeks. Country Lawn Care can quote a price on lawn renovation.
Q. Does Country Lawn Care do other things besides lawn programs?
A. Yes, we do many lawn care services. Look at our Tree & Shrub and Other Services page to see how we can help you improve your lawn. If we don't do it, we'll help you find someone who will.
Q. My lawn consists of ugly grasses with different types of textures and growing habits, why are they there?
A. It is very common to have some undesirable grasses in the lawn. Creeping Bent, Tall Fescue, Zoysia, and Poa Annua are examples of common unwanted grasses. These grass varieties are usually not intentionally planted, but the reason they are in your lawn is their seed is simply in the soil. The soil your lawn grows from holds billions of seeds. Some are broad leaf weeds and some are undesirable grasses. They can also stay dormant for many years, waiting for the perfect opportunity to germinate. Broad leaf weeds are generally easy to control, but grassy weeds like the varieties mentioned above are very difficult to selectively control. In many cases, a non-selective herbicide (Round UP Pro) is necessary to kill out unwanted grasses and then seeding is needed to repair dead areas. It is important to understand that this process only controls the existing growth and not the seeds in the soil. Call for more info.
Q. How long after a treatment should we wait to go on the lawn?
A. We suggest waiting 12 hours if we made a liquid application. We want the material to be dry before walking on the lawn. If we made a dry granular application, you don't need to wait.
Q. Should I mow before or after a lawn treatment?
A. Mowing before a treatment is always good. If a treatment is applied before your lawn is mowed, we encourage waiting a day. In most cases this is enough time for the material applied to be effective.
Q. When I mow, should I return the grass clippings back to the lawn, or pick them up?
A. We recommend returning the grass clippings back to the lawn because they are a valuable source of nutrients.
Q. Should the last mowing of the year be cut taller or shorter than normal?
A. Shorter. Lowering the mower deck just one or two notches will decrease disease activity in early spring and promote root nourishment.
Q. When is the best time to water?
A. Early morning is best for a couple reasons.
- Absorption is maximized while evaporation is minimal because of cooler temps.
- Prolong leaf wetness, which can promote disease, is avoided because of rising temps of the day.
Q. Should I water the lawn after a treatment?
A. Water is needed to activate most materials such as, fertilizer, insect control, and lime. However, immediate watering after a treatment can rinse away the herbicide used to control the weeds. We recommend waiting 8-12 hours before irrigating.
Q. What is the difference between surface insects and grubs?
A. Most lawn damaging insects are surface dwellers. They feed in the upper areas of the grass plant. Subsurface insects, such as grubs, feed in the root zone. It takes a special, stronger material to control them. It's important to keep in mind that not all insects are damaging to your lawn. Some are beneficial by praying on the damaging ones. Also remember, damaging insects are always in the lawn and control measures may not be necessary until their population per square foot surpasses a threshold.
Q. What are grubs?
A. Grubs are the larvae of the common Japanese and June Beetles. We normally see beetles around the first week in July. They feed on the leaves of plants and lay eggs in sunny areas of the turf. In a few weeks, from mid August through late October is when we see signs of grub activity. You will be able to roll back the turf in areas damaged by grubs.
Q. What are signs of grub activity?
A. Sunny areas of the turf will turn brown. You may think this is normal stress from hot dry weather and not realize what is happening until the grass dies. At this stage it is too late to save the damaged areas. Also birds, skunks and raccoons often dig up the turf during the night in search of an easy meal. The most positive sign of grub activity is the "pull back test". Reach down and pull the turf back as if it were a rug. If it pulls back easily the grubs are probably visible right there. Grub control is needed immediately and new seed should be planted to repair the damage.
Q. How do I know you were at my property to do a treatment?
A. We will leave a small yard sign near the driveway to let you know we were there. The invoice will be left at the door with the time and date of the application. The payment is due at the time of the treatment. We realize that you won't be home each time we service the property so we leave an envelope to mail back to us.
Q. What if a treatment doesn't work?
A. If you think there is a problem or the treatment is not working, please call us within two weeks after application was done. We will come out and reapply if needed at no cost to you.
Q. My lawn does not improve with fertilizer treatments. What can I do?
A. Have a lawn specialist diagnose the problem. It could be a number of things. Poor soil conditions, heavy shade, tree roots, or undesirable grass varieties. Any of these problems can be solved eventually.
Q. I have little mounded tunnels in my lawn. What are they from?
A. Probably moles. During the winter these little guys borrow deep to stay warm, but as soon as the weather breaks in early spring they come up to the subsurface to tunnel and feed. A great informative web site dealing with moles is www.themoleman.com. The most effective way to reduce the mole population on the property is to use traps, not poisons.
Q. What is thatch?
A. Thatch is the spongy layer of un-decomposed organic matter above the soil line. Heavy thatch can rob the grass plant of key nutrients and water. It also provides prime living conditions for damaging insects. Some thatch is healthy, but if the thatch layer is 1/2 inch or greater, aeration or dethatching is necessary to help break it down. Heavy thatch is common with hard clay soils. Aerating annually helps control thatch and promotes overall healthy grass plants.
Q. Why should I aerate my lawn and how often?
A. Aerating once a year is encouraged especially if you have heavy clay soil. Consistent annual aerating will loosen soil compaction, promote root growth, and decrease heavy thatch.
Q. When is the best time for aeration?
A: Any time the soils are soft enough for pulling a soil plug. Late season is when we do the majority of our aeration's. The main objective of aerating is to relieve soil compaction and to promote root growth. The fall and winter season is the ideal time for this, because the plant carbohydrates are utilized in the roots and not the plant leaf. Also, avoid aerating in the spring if crabgrass pre-emergent is applied. The penetrating tines of the aerator will puncture through the pre-emergent barrier that prevents crabgrass from growing.
Q. When is the best time for seeding?
A: Seeding can be done at any time of the growing season, although early fall is the best time. August 15th through September is ideal because weather is usually favorable for seed germination plus competing weeds are declining. The next best time for seeding is Spring. Though, the downside to spring seeding is aggressive competition from germinating weeds. Also with spring seeding, you must avoid applying any Crabgrass pre-emergence since it would prevent the desirable grass seed from germinating as well.
Q. How does crabgrass pre-emergent work?
A: To be effective, crabgrass pre-emergent should be applied anytime before soil temperatures reach the mid 50's. This is generally before June 1st. A pre-emergent actually forms a barrier on the soil surface, which prevents the crabgrass seed from germinating.
Q. What is the difference between pre-emergent and post-emergent?
A: A pre-emergent is a control material used to help prevent the germination of weeds and grassy weeds. A post-emergent is used to control the plant after germination. Both are effective if applied correctly.
Q. What is soil pH?
A: Soil pH is the most recognized measurement when growing plants. For turf and ornamentals, the optimal pH range is from 6.5 to 7.5. Maintaining the plant in this ideal range is critical to obtain maximum nutrient utilization. If soils have a low pH then they are acidic. Lime is applied to these soils to help correct acidity. If the soils have a high pH then they are alkaline. Sulfur is normally applied to these soils to help lower the pH to an optimal range. Most lawns in northeast Ohio are slightly on the acidic side. Taking a soil test is the most accurate way to determine a lawns pH.
Q. I have mushrooms growing in my lawn, why?
A: Mushrooms live on decaying organic matter in the soil. Most types of mushrooms do not damage the lawn, but most people find them annoying. The above ground mushroom part is the reproductive structure of the fungus. There is no permanent or chemical remedy for mushrooms other than mowing them down.
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