Fall Lawn Care

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Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

What Are The Benefits of Aeration?

Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier and reduce its maintenance requirements through these means:

  • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
  • Enhanced soil water uptake.
  • Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
  • Reduced water runoff and puddling.
  • Stronger turfgrass roots.
  • Reduced soil compaction.
  • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
  • Improved resiliency and cushioning.
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown.

 

Equipment Affects the Outcome

The type of aeration equipment can determine how effective the treatment will be. In general, turf responds best when core holes are close and deep. Equipment with hollow tines removes soil cores. Equipment with open tines divots the soil surface. Aeration equipment also varies in tine size up to 3/4 inch diameter and in depth of penetration up to 4 inches, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn.

Why Is Aeration Necessary?

In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn.

Walking, playing and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Raindrops and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil.

Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer.

ROOT GROWTH – Core aeration allows air, water and fertilizer to better reach the root zone. This stimulates root growth to create healthier, stronger turfgrass plants.

Relieve Thatch Accumulation

Most home lawns are subject to thatch accumulation. Left unmanaged, it impedes water, fertilizer and pesticide effectiveness. Core aeration combines soil with the thatch debris, so soil organisms are better able to break down the thatch and reduce its accumulation.

How Often Should Lawns Be Aerated?

Most lawns benefit from annual aeration. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay or subsoils may need more than one aeration each year. Again, turf responds best when tine spacing is closer and penetration is deeper.

When is The Best Time to Aerate?

If you have cool season turfgrass such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, both spring and fall are ideal times to aerate. In spring, aerate between March and May. Perform fall aeration between August and November. Aeration before or at the time of late season fertilization enhances root growth and improves spring greenup and growth.

Warm season turfgrasses such as zoysiagrass and bermudagrass should be aerated in mid-spring to summer. Avoid aerating when warm season grasses are dormant – it may encourage weed competition. In addition, avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring greenup, and not until after their first spring mowing.

Herbicides, Fertilizers & Aeration

It’s best to aerate before you apply pre-emergence herbicides, rather than after. Aerating after a herbicide application can reduce the chemical barrier formed by the herbicide, allowing weeds to germinate. Applying fertilizer after aeration helps the lawn compete against weeds. Water the lawn after aeration, particularly in areas where drought and high temperatures are common.

What can you expect?

Immediately after aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, they break apart and disappear into the lawn.

About 7 to 10 days after aeration, the aerification holes will be filled with white, actively growing roots – a sign that the turfgrass is receiving additional oxygen, moisture and nutrients from the soil.

On compacted soils and on lawns with slopes, you should see an immediate difference in water puddling and runoff after irrigation or rainfall. After aeration, your lawn should be able to go longer between waterings, without showing signs of wilt. With repeat aerations over time, your lawn will show enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.

Remember, most lawns benefit from annual aeration. And while you shouldn’t expect miracles, especially with poor soil, lawns that receive this care will be healthier, more vigorous, easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems.

The Importance of Fall Leaf Clean Up

The Importance of Fall Leaf Clean Up

Fall is officially here in Minnesota and we are starting to see the beautiful colors that make this time of year the best.  However, before you know it those leaves will be falling from the trees and littering your lawn.

Although it may be fun making huge piles of leaves for the kids and pets to play in, your lawns health depends on you picking them up before the snow falls.

What Happens When You Don’t Pick Up Leaves

Leaf cover blocks air and light which is a necessity for your lawn to grow.  Leaves that are not picked up before snow fall will suffocate your lawn and cause brown and dead patches.  Furthermore, leaves can carry disease such as anthracnose.

What is The Best Practice for Leaf Removal

In Minnesota, we have tons of trees with tons of leaves which means your yard is likely to have too many leaves to make mulching a good practice.  However, if you yard does not have a ton of leaves, mulching is the best practice because they help keep moisture and warmth in the soil during the colder months.  Additionally, you can add leaf mulch to flower bed, trees and shrubs.

For lawns where there are just too many leaves, you will want to bag the leaves and drop them off at your local yard waste.  Before bagging though, be sure to place as much mulch as possible around flowers beds, trees and shrubs and possibly even rake some into your lawn for protection.

Our Leaf Removal Services

At Peter Doran Lawn, we use commercial mowers and custom made lawn vacuums that make leaf removal a breeze.  Our  lawn mowers mulch the leaves while our lawn vacuums suck up at 99 percent of the debris, leaving just enough through your lawn for protection.

You can request a free estimate online or give us a call at our new offices in Rogers, MN at (763) 595-1440.

5 Fall Lawn Care Chores That Promote Healthy Growth During The Cold Season

5 Fall Lawn Care Chores That Promote Healthy Growth During The Cold Season

Fall colors are beginning to show up here in Minnesota which means that you need to get your lawn ready for the cold season.  Completing these 4 fall lawn care chores will help promote a healthy lawn while it buried underneath the snow this winter.

Aeration

The first task you will want to complete this fall is core aeration.  Core aeration is the process of punching small holes throughout your lawn to decompress the soil.  This process allows water and nutrients to soak deeper into the soil so you lawn can soak them up.

Overseeding

Overseeding is the process of adding new grass seed to your lawn.  Combined with core aeration, overseeding allows the seedling to set roots deep in the soil for a healthier, stronger growth.

It’s important to overseed every few years because overtime individual blades of grass begin to weaken and die off.  Overseeding helps fill in bare spots and keeps your lawn looking full.  Additionally, overseeding will promote a healthy lawn and help prevent unwanted weeds from growing in your yard.

Fertilizer

Fall fertilizer will help provide water and nutrients to your lawn even as it is buried under a foot or two of snow.  We recommend using a slow release nutrient program so your lawn can continue to receive the nutrients it needs throughout the long winter months of Minnesota.

Leaf Clean Up

Leaf clean up is an essential part of any lawn.  Some may argue that leaves will decompose and are healthy for your lawn.  This may be true, however piles of leaves on your lawn covered by snow will ultimately lead to the smothering of your lawn and provide the right conditions for disease.

Gutter Cleaning

Finally, gutter cleaning is a task nobody likes to do but it has to be done.  Cleaning your gutters in the fall is best after the leaves have mostly fallen off of the trees.  Clear gutters will keep the water moving away from your house and prevent damage such as roof leaks and flooding.

There you go, there are 5 fall lawn care chores that you should complete this fall to keep your lawn and home in good condition.  If you need help with any of these chores, please give us a call at (763) 595-1440 or request a free estimate from us today.

4 Reasons to Overseed Your Lawn This Fall

4 Reasons to Overseed Your Lawn This Fall

Overseeding is the process of spreading seed across your lawn to fill in bare spots, improve lawn density and enhance your lawns color.  In Minnesota, the best time to overseed your lawn is in the fall when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below 65 degrees because this gives the new seed time to germinate where they can survive the winter and begin growing again in the spring.

 Now that we know what overseeding is and when it should be done, is this fall season the right time to overseed your lawn?  Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may consider overseeding this fall.

Do You Have Bare Spots?

If you have bare spots in your lawn then overseeding is a great solution.  Overseeding allows you to fill in those bare spots with new seed that will be ready to fully sprout come spring.

Is Your Lawn Thinning?

A thinning lawn means that your grass is old!  Like everything else in this world, grass has a life span and dies out over time.  Overseeding will help replace those old and dying blades of grass and will make your lawn fuller.

Change Grass Type

Overseeding is a great way to change the type of grass in your lawn without having to dig up the old lawn.  Simply choose the new type of grass you want in your lawn and overseed it for a few years.  After a few years you will have a yard full of your favorite type of grass.

Prevent Weed & Disease

Older lawns are susceptible to disease because they use less resources.  Younger lawns are stronger and use up more resources that help deter weeds and other disease from taking over your lawn.

Conclusion

An older lawn that has bare spots and is thinning should be overseeded.  Overseeding this fall will fill in those bald spots, thicken your lawn and help prevent weeds and disease.  If you plan on enjoying your lawn next summer, overseeding in the fall is the perfect time to start next years maintenance.

Why Aeration and Overseeding Are A Must In The Fall

Why Aeration and Overseeding Are A Must In The Fall

It’s hard to imagine but before you know it summer will be gone and the leaves will start to fall.  All those water fights and baseball practices in the back yard were fun but they also caused a lot of wear and tear to your yards grass and soil.

We often don’t think about “wear and tear” on our lawns but the fact is all those summer activities have compacted your soil torn some of your weakened grass’s roots from the soil.  As fall approaches, the warmer days and cooler nights provide just enough moisture in the ground that make it optimal for you to help your lawn heal itself.

Aeration

Aeration is important because it de-compacts the soil.  Putting all those little holes in the ground allows air, water and food to reach the roots and allows the roots to grow deeper into the soil.  Furthermore, aeration makes the lawn less susceptible weeds, insects, drought and disease.

Overseeding

Overseeding is important because your lawn is not invincible!  Overtime, individual blades of grass grow weaker and eventually die off.  Overseeding promotes the growth of new blades of grass and helps your lawn maintain its fullness and thickness year after year.  A fuller and thicker lawn also helps keep unwanted weeds from popping up in your lawn come spring.

Aerating and Overseeding?

Yes, aerating and overseeding go hand in hand.  Aeration punches the holes in the ground so the overseed can penetrate deep into the soil and grow deep healthy roots.  You should aerate your lawn every fall and overseed at least once every three years to keep your lawn healthy.

If your lawn is starting to look bare, ask yourself, when was the last time I had my lawn aerated and overseeded?  If it has been over that 3 year mark, you really should consider getting done this fall.  That is, if you want a healthy lawn come next spring.

At Peter Doran Lawn and Landscaping, when the leaves start to fall the phones start to ring.  Ensure you get on our schedule early enough by giving us a call now at (763) 315-0052 or fill out our online free estimate form.

What to do for Best Fall Lawn Care Results

What to do for Best Fall Lawn Care Results

Fall is the most critical time to pay attention to your lawn because what you do now will determine how healthy your lawn will be come next spring and summer.  For the best fall lawn care results you should do your best to complete the following tasks in order.

Aeration

lawn-aerationAerating your lawn early during the fall season is the first step you should take for a healthy yard through the winter and into the spring.  Aeration encourages good root development before the upcoming winter by loosening compacted soil to create a better growing environment for your lawn. 

You want to aerate your lawn early enough in the fall when the air starts to cool but also while the soil temperatures remain warm.  This will allow the soil in your lawn to de-compact and allows your lawn to absorb water and nutrients before the snow starts to fall and the ground begins to freeze.

Seeding

seeding-lawnNext, you will want to apply seed to your lawn before temperatures get too cold so it has a chance to get deep in the soil.  It is recommended that you apply new seed to your lawn about every 4 or 5 years because, just like everything else in this world, your lawn is not immortal.  After 4 or 5 years your lawn will slow down its reproduction rate which gives an environment for weeds to take over your lawn.

You can tell the difference in lawns that have been seeded every 4 or 5 years by their thickness.  Well seeded lawns will reproduce healthier, thicker, greener lawns for years to come.  Plus, well seeded lawns look professionally maintained, even if they’re not, and helps your lawn maintain its health.

Fertilizer

fall-fertilizerOnce the new seed has been down and has had a chance to dig deep into the soil, it is time to feed it!  A slow release fertilizer is essential in Minnesota because once the snow falls you will have to wait months before you can do anything with it again.  A slow release fertilizer will ensure that your lawn receives the nutrients it needs through the winter to give your grass the strong deep roots it needs to be healthy.

When choosing a fertilizer for the fall, besides using a slow release fertilizer, you will want to make sure it contains nitrogen.  A high nitrogen fertilizer such as a 25-5-5 will promote lawn blade and foliage growth to help your lawn look greener for the upcoming season.

Leaf Raking

Fall Leaf Clean Up MNBy now, the leaves should be falling off the trees and its time for the most labor intensive job of the year, raking leaves. It’s not a fun job but somebody has to do it because your lawn needs to breath and a lawn covered in leaves and snow will simply suffocate and leave you with a mud pit once the snow melts.

There are several ways one can “rake up” the leaves from their lawn.  If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a professional service.  If you don’t want to hire a professional service, you can grab the rake and leaves and manually rake up all the leaves yourself.  Alternatively, you can run your lawn mower over your lawn and either mulch the leaves into the ground or use a bagging system on your mower to bag your leaves.

Winterize Lawn Fertilizer

winterize-lawnThe final step to preparing your lawn for the cold months ahead is to winterize your lawn with fertilizer.  This application of fertilizer, unlike early fall fertilizer, should contain a higher level of potassium.  Potassium promotes a cellular level that strengthens and hardens plants from top to bottom that makes them more tolerant to cold Minnesota winters.  Potassium also helps your lawn absorb nutrients which balances the feeding of your lawn.

If you follow the fall lawn care steps in the order listed above, your lawn will survive the winter and be ready to sprout once the snow is gone and the temperatures warm up.  Peter Doran Lawn is a year round, full service lawn care company based in Minneapolis, MN.  If you need help with any of your fall lawn care needs, we are here to help.  Simply request a free estimate and we will be in contact shortly.