Thatch: An invisible menace threatening many lawns...When thatch is allowed to accumulate in your turf, you can end up wasting money on lawn care. Fertilizer and chemical controls will be less effective because they’ll have a harder time getting to the root zone, and water won’t be absorbed as efficiently. Among the other problems you can expect from excessive thatch are: a) increased disease and insect populations; b) localized dry spots; c) chlorosis (yellowing); d) increased scalping; and e) decreased heat, cold and drought hardiness.
Thatch is a tightly matted layer of living and dead grass stems, crowns and roots that accumulates between the green foliage and the soil. A small amount of thatch is acceptable, providing a cushion and insulating the soil. But when thatch builds beyond about 1/2", the disadvantages can make themselves known very quickly.
Prevention and cure...Core aeration is the preferred method of decreasing thatch. Through this process of mechanical cultivation, cores pulled from the soil become a top dressing as they “melt” down. The aeration pockets create growth zones for the root system while allowing improved penetration of air, water, fertilizer and pest controls into the soil.
Turf cultivation can also be done by means of vertical mowing (or verti-cutting), which slices through and removes a portion of the thatch. This process usually brings some soil to the surface and mixes it with the remaining thatch to speed thatch breakdown.
Finally, well-managed and fertilized turfgrass tends to become acidic, which slows thatch breakdown. And often, the thatch layer itself is much more acidic than the soil. The best thatch-decaying action is achieved when the pH is near neutral. Because of this, in addition to vertical mowing and core aeration, frequent, light applications of lime are sometimes beneficial for keeping thatch under control.
If you suspect a thatch problem in your lawn, give us a call today.
Causes of thatch...Acidic conditions, dryness, and low oxygen levels all slow down the microorganism activity necessary for the reduction of thatch levels. When infrequent mowing removes more of the plant than just the grass blades, stems and other more fibrous parts are returned to the thatch zone. This also results in heavier thatch, because these plant parts are more resistant to decay.
Fall fertilization key to good spring start...Your landscape plants use cooler fall weather to begin building up a stockpile of food that will be needed for the growth demands of spring. They do this by converting the nutrients from fertilizer into carbohydrates that they can store as food.
Older roots grow thicker and fatter, and new roots form to absorb and store the available food. The more extensive and healthier the roots become during this important growth period, the better prepared the plants will be to green-up earlier and thicker while fighting off problems caused by disease, temperature or pests as the spring season progresses. With the recommended heavy fall fertilization, we can jump-start this important process of root development.
The many benefits of fall feeding...Improving the root system and building adequate food reserves has significant and direct positive results on your plants. Below are a few of the reasons your landscape and lawn should be heavily fed every fall:
As with the growth and health of people and animals, both your lawn and landscape need regular, healthy food to maintain vigor, fight off sickness, and discourage pests. Although the feeding cycles are different between people and plants, it’s just as true that depriving your valuable landscape plants of proper nourishment when they need it the most will lead to much poorer performance and possibly higher maintenance costs in the long run. For more information, give us a call today.
Deep-root fertilization for your trees and shrubs...When applied professionally, fertilizer replaces the nutrients that your trees and shrubs would normally get in a forest setting. To increase the effects of fertilizer, we utilize a pressurized injection system that applies nutrients directly to the root zone for more even and efficient distribution. This process, known as deep-root fertilization, enables us to more closely match the way trees and shrubs collect nutrients in their natural habitats.
Getting annual weeds before they get you...One of the most beautiful parts of any really attractive landscape is what isn’t there. The things that are missing can give your entire property a smooth, finished look that is an unmistakable sign of good management and careful maintenance. We’re talking about the absence of crabgrass and other annual weeds.
Crabgrass and annual weeds appear out of nowhere soon after the soil warms up in the spring. These unwelcome visitors energetically go to work smothering good grass and generally giving the properties they inhabit a ragged and unkempt look.
Pre-emergents provide the best control...Pre-emergent herbicides operate by attacking weed seeds just as they begin to germinate. Properly timed and applied, one or two applications per season can virtually eliminate several annual weed problems from your property.
Most pre-emergents are non-selective. They stop most annual and perennial seeds within the control zone at the very beginning of germination. For both annual and perennial weed control, pre-emergent herbicides are effective tools on nearly every part of your property.
Timing is key...Timing of pre-emergent treatments should be scheduled prior to weed germination whenever possible. Applications should usually be made prior to weed emergence in the warmest areas of the property. Some pre-emergent products deliver post-emergent control of very young annual weeds. Using this type of material makes applications slightly less time-sensitive.
Pre-emergent herbicides play a critical role in any integrated grounds management program. By guarding your lawns and planting beds against unwanted weeds, they help assure that one of the most beautiful parts of your property will be the crabgrass and other weeds that simply never appear.
Whether We like it or not, weeds will always be here...Even though they live only one year, annuals do a good job of propagating their own kind through seed. As an example, consider crabgrass. A single plant can produce between 2,000 and 4,000 seeds to be deposited into the soil of your property in just one year. For this reason, effective annual weed reduction programs require the use of pre-emergent weed controls...applied before these thousands and thousands of seeds begin sprouting in the spring.