Category Archives: Grass

Hydroseeding, Broadcast Seeding, or Sod?

Most homeowners who tend regularly to their lawn and garden want a healthy and aesthetically pleasing landscape. Our customers often seek out our help in regard to making their lawn full, green, and healthy. They often ask what method will best create the look they are hoping for: hydroseeding, sod, or broadcast seeding? Since each method has advantages and disadvantages, here is a quick breakdown to help you decide which method is right for you.

 

  • Budget – Deciding on which method to use to create a healthy lawn may come down to what the homeowner can afford. Sod tends to be the most expensive option, followed by hydroseeding, and then broadcast/hand seeding. What level of cost are you willing to meet to get the lawn you desire?
  • Germination Time – Sod is the quickest way to receive an instant lawn. Roll it out, water it, and voila! The hydroseeding procedure involves using a mixture or slurry of grass seed, wood-fiber mulch, fertilizer, and binding agents. These items help to speed up seed germination, which can take place sometimes within a week. Hand or broadcast seeding may take many weeks to even months to fully germinate and grow in. It may also need overseeding to get bare patches. How patient are you? Are you willing to wait for the perfect lawn or do you want it immediately?
  • Time of Year – When a homeowner wants the perfect the lawn, timing is a key component on which option to pick. For example, sod can be installed at anytime in the spring, summer, or fall. It just needs watering and some care so the seams do not shrink and become visible. Hydroseeding is best done from late spring to early fall. The best time to broadcast seed is in the fall, followed by summer, and then spring, respectively.
  • Other Thoughts – If your yard is large or has areas where erosion is common hydroseeding may be a good choice as it can stop the erosion while not costing an arm and leg, like sod would.

 

Do you need help getting your lawn to look fantastic? Having trouble deciding which option is best for your property? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Grass Types and the New England Climate

If someone asks you what type of grass you have growing in your lawn and your answer is “green,” then you may want to do a little research to find out what type of grass you have and how to care for each type. Different types of grass grow best according to certain factors such as: climate, shade, soil moisture level and environment in your specific yard. Let’s take a look at grass types and how to care for each.

New England is known for its picturesque landscape and changing climates. Due to factors such as rocky soil, freezing cold winters, sweltering hot summers, and everything in between, choosing a grass seed that is appropriate and will grow well can be a challenge. Here are three types that may do well in your yard. Check out the characteristics and qualities to see if it may be right for your yard.

Perennial Ryegrass Characteristics

  • Has a medium-coarse texture
  • Fast growing usually within 5-7 days
  • Tends to not survive more than a few years without careful care and pest control techniques
  • Grows well in a wide variety of climates and is a popular choice for overseeding warm season grasses
  • Leaf undersides are shiny and smooth
  • Often blended with other grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass

Fescue Grass Characteristics

  • Comes in two types – tall and fine
  • Fine fescue is well suited for conditions of shade, low soil moisture, low fertility, and soils with unfavorable pH levels
  • With proper care, fine fescue can last for years without getting bare in spots
  • Often blended with other cool-season turf grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass and sometime ryegrass
  • Germinates in roughly 14-18 days, and will fill in “bald spots” in the lawn as it grows

Kentucky Bluegrass Characteristics

  • Quick-growing, hearty seed that germinates within 18-21 days
  • Great for filling in bare patches during the cool months
  • Fairly resistant to disease and wear
  • Areas that are damaged or high traffic areas can fill in on its own
  • Grows best in full sunlight, but mixing it with a fine fescue helps increase shade tolerance

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you need help deciding what type of grass seed your property would do best with. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Is Snow Bad for Your Lawn?

New Englanders are accustomed to snow, ice, and wind, from November through till almost April. We have learned to adapt to the treacherous driving conditions, the freezing temperatures, and precipitation that can change from rain, to sleet, to snow in the matter of a few minutes. While we humans may be able to handle the ups and downs of winter snows, what about our lawns? Do snow, wind, and temperatures damage our lawns? Here is what the experts say.

 

  • Snow is an insulating blanket for our lawns. Snow cover of four inches or more during harsh freezes acts as an insulator and  protects plants and roots from the air and drying freeze conditions.
  • Snow protects your lawn from transpiration. Transpiration is a form of evaporation from plants such as blades of grass or young plants.
  • As the snow melts in the spring it is great for the groundwater supply. That water is absorbed into the roots and the soil to help during the long, hot, dry summer months.
  • An absence of snow during the winter months when the temperatures are extremely low and the air terribly dry can be harsh on your lawn. Without an insulating blanket of snow, the frost line can penetrate deep into the soil. This could damage tender plantings.
  • Walking on the snow on your lawn can cause damage to the crowns of your grass. As young children make snowmen or sled on your lawn the brittle crowns can be broken or crushed. They may not be able to recover in the spring. Just be careful where and how often you walk on your lawn while there is a snow cover.

 

For more information on protecting your lawn and garden during the winter months, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Finally the warm weather is here and we can all enjoy the backyard, patio, lawn or garden. Are you backyard ready? Preparing your property including the lawn, hedges, trees, and garden takes lots of work and time. Growing lush, thick, pest-free grass is not an easy thing to do. Keeping ticks and mosquitoes at bay is also a struggle from the spring all the way through the first frost of fall.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for backyard season.

 

  • Clean it Up – Remove any debris that has accumulated. Raking up areas that have been matted down by snow can help bring the grass back to life.
  • Seeding and Hydroseeding – Consider employing professionals to seed your yard, especially if you have large bare patches. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help you fill in brown spots and get your lawn back!
  • Aeration – This allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone faster. This can result in new growth and increased root development.
  • Repair – Salt and snow can really damage a yard, so do the needed repair work to make the entire yard look like new again.
  • Pests – Don’t forget that while all flowers and trees are waking up again this spring, so are pests! Grass, plantings and tree pests can damage, if not destroy, the lawn. Have a thorough inspection done by our expert technicians to ensure that your lawn and garden is protected this season.
  • Mulch and Prune – As you inspect your yard take note of areas that need pruning and re-mulching. Keep branches away from your home as they become a “bridge” for pests to enter the structure.
  • Soil Check – When was the last time you has a soil analysis? Ask our team to test your soil so you know how and when to fertilize, feed and water your lawn.
  • Protect Against Mosquitoes and Ticks – Do you tend to find ticks on your skin or clothes or get eaten alive by mosquitoes when you step outside? Talk to our professionals about treatment options for your property.

 

The First Mow of the Season

Feels like this time would never come right? This long cold winter had us all feeling like the warm spring weather would never get here. The first mowing of the lawn is a much anticipated event for so many homeowners just as a baby’s first haircut is for new parents. For those of us who “baby” our lawn, there are things you should do to have that first cut be a successful one. This is a brief checklist of how to prepare your mower for the first mowing of Spring.

  • Mower Blades – Make sure the blades of your mower are sharp and clean. If not the will dull blades will rip off the tops of the grass blades instead of giving them a clean cut.
  • Tune Up the Mower – Have a professional check out your mower and install new spark plugs. A tune up can also check that the motor is working well and will not break down in  mid season.
  • Use Fresh Gas – Hopefully at the end of last season you drained the gas from the tank or ran it until the gas was low. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol. A fresh tank of gas is a good way to start the season.
  • Change the Oil – A fresh can of oil is also a good idea to start the mowing season off right. Be sure to check the mower instructions so that you are using the right type of oil.
  • Inspect the Lawn – It is always a good idea to check the lawn before you mow to be sure that branches, twigs or items are not in the way of the mow path. This is especially important after a long winter where frost heaves, sprinkler heads and other items can be in the way of the mower blade.
  • Rule of Thirds – Mow height tends to be a personal choice but most experts recommend not cutting off more than one third of the height at a time.

Weed Woes

Nurturing our yards is something that New Englanders do not take for granted. After long, cold, harsh winters, we are ready and excited to plant and cultivate our lawn and gardens. That’s why it is especially painful to see weeks and months of hard work in our yards get ruined by weeds taking over the landscaping. It is very disheartening to watch as just a few weeks can begin to take control over entire sections of your grass and invade your planting areas.

 

There are hundreds of varieties of weeds that can make a mess of your lawn from broadleaf varieties, to grassy all the way to woody weeds. Identifying the type that has invaded your yard is always the first step in eradicating and preventing a recurrence. Contacting the experts at Pro-Tech Lawn Care is a great first step in stopping the weed problem in your yard. They can not only identify the weed variety but make recommendations as to how to get rid of them and follow up to make sure your lawn is growing in a healthy manner. They will also be able to help you cultivate a healthy lawn by showing you steps to keep your grass well watered, fed and aerated. Lawns that have the right amount of nutrients, sunlight and water are less likely to be invaded by weeds in the first place.

 

Weeds tend to be obnoxious and are tough to get rid of but with guidance from Pro-Tech we can help you get on the right path to a healthy lawn. Here are a few resources to look at that can help you identify if you have a weed issue as well as what type of weed.

 

Better Home and Gardens Weed Identification
UMass Amherst Weed Emporium

New England Grasses – Kentucky Bluegrass

Spring is such a great time for being outdoors and enjoying nature. Everything is coming back to life after a hard, cold winter and it is a time that we relish working in our yards. The birds, the bees, yard critters and flowers all seem to be growing and active. Spring is a time of year that many homeowners decide to replace or repair the grass in their yard either due to pest damage, water issues or weather damage. Establishing a lush and healthy grass takes time and diligence. It also means choosing the right type of grass for your region and yard.

 

Our Northeast Region is unique in that we have cold winters and moderate summers. We also battle with high humidity. These conditions can be a challenge for many plants and grasses. Therefore, cool-season grasses, such as bluegrasses, ryegrasses and fescues, prevail in the Northeast region of the United States. Northeast lawns need grasses that prefer cool temperatures and naturally resist diseases prevalent in this region.

 

For many homeowners Kentucky Bluegrass has been idea for growing in the climate we experience her in the Northeast. This cool-season, perennial grass delivers finely textured, deep-emerald-green blades and the hardiness needed for cold northern winters. Kentucky bluegrass spreads aggressively, but its root system remains relatively shallow compared to many other grasses. Drought induces dormancy in Kentucky bluegrass, but the grass rebounds strong with watering. Though some are slow to green in spring, Kentucky bluegrass blends well with ryegrass for faster greening. However, perennial ryegrasses can sometimes overtake Kentucky bluegrass, so minimize mixing.

Benefits of Lawn Striping

 

Pro-Tech Lawn Care offers many lawn care packages to help homeowners maintain the health of their turf. We take a comprehensive approach offering: soil testing, fertilizing, weed and pest control, disease mitigation, and aeration and overseeding. We want your lawn to look beautiful!  One service that we don’t provide but that we are commonly asked about is something you may see at ball parks or at famous locations – lawn striping.

Professionals who care for ball parks, golf courses and national landmarks have been using lawn striping systems for years. For the regular property owner mowing in different directions can do the trick. By changing mowing directions the light reflecting off blades of grass at different angles and create light and dark patterns. For example, baseball lovers probably saw the intricate design that the grounds crew at Fenway Park created in honor of David Ortiz for his retirement. They took lawn striping to the ultimate level with a full portrait of Big Papi in the outfield. Wrigley Field In Chicago is also known for its pinstriping, checkerboard and wave designs. If you are not a professional but would like to learn the basics of lawn striping you may find that it not only adds an aesthetic appeal to your lawn but can actually make it healthier!  

There are several benefits to changing the direction of mowing. Homeowners that always mow in the same direction tend to create ruts, edges or even grooves in the soil caused by the weight of the lawn mower. Changing directions actually encourages healthy grass growth. Mowing in one direction can often cause the taller grass to bend and shield the grass below from the sun light. This could eventually kill that sheltered grass. If you want to have your grass look like a mowing masterpiece, or at least want to impress your neighbors, try these links for how directions for lawn mowing design patterns.

Kkokk in Sculpture  – Making your Landscaping Beautiful

Scag Lawn Striping How Tos

YouTube Lawn Striping How to

Lawn Watering 101

We all learned in grade school that for things to grow they need food, water and sunshine for photosynthesis to occur. What they probably didn’t teach you in school was the amount and way that plants and grasses should be watered!  Our Lawn Care professionals want you to understand the best practices when it comes to watering your lawn. So here is our back-to-the-basics Lawn Watering 101 tips and suggestions for you to follow.

 

  • How often your lawn needs a drink depends on a host of factors, including things like soil type, sunlight, grass type and regional climate.
  • The majority of lawns need around one inch of water each week. Put out containers or rain gauges to collect water to ensure your lawn in getting enough. You’ll find gauges at most lawn and garden centers.
  • Water deeply instead of frequently. The best times to water are  between 6-10 AM. There’s less wind, less hot sun, and your lawn has a full day to dry. Watering mid-day and the water will evaporate too quickly. Water in the evening and it may invite mildew.
  • Allow dormancy if needed. In times of great stress and drought it may be best to allow your lawn to turn brown and go dormant. Grass will bounce back when rainfall and cooler temperatures return in the fall, especially if it was well fed in the spring.
  • Research your soil type. If you notice puddling each time you water your soil may have a high clay content. Take a soil test to learn what kind of soil is hosting your grass, and adjust irrigation cycles accordingly.
  • Avoid common mistake including: running automatic sprinklers right after or before a rainfall is predicted, watering the street and walkways by mistake, or watering when the sun is blazing and the wind is briskly blowing.

 

Leaf Spot

In the final part of our series on lawn disease we look at the disease known as Leaf Spot. Leaf Spot – or “melting out” in severe cases – is a common turfgrass disease in the United States, affecting a wide range of different grass plants. In northern climates such as ours, Leaf Spot damage occurs first in the spring and again in late summer to early fall. Let’s explore more about this common lawn disease.

Common Aspects of Leaf Spot

  • Leaf Spot can be identified by purplish-brown to black colored spots with tan centers on the leaf blades and sheaths of your turfgrass. As these dark spots or lesions expand, the center becomes lighter in color with a dark brown to black border. The “lesions” may also be surrounded by a yellow halo and the lower leaves can eventually become shriveled and wilted.
  • Conditions needed for Leaf Spot to occur include: the pathogen  Bipolaris spp., or Drechslera spp., a host includieng Bluegrasses, bermudagrass, fescues or perennial ryegrass, and environmental factors such as: moist to wet climates with temperatures ranging from 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit and soils with high nitrogen levels.
  • Tips for controlling Leaf Spot include: increasing the mowing height of your lawn, avoiding excessive application of fertilizers with water-soluble nitrogen in the spring,
    minimizing the amount of shade and increase air flow, and
    irrigate as infrequently as possible (when irrigation is performed, irrigate turf deeply).
  • Management techniques can also include: removal of the area of grass that is infected, keeping foliage dry, and use fungicides only when needed. If you are questioning the proper treatment of your lawn disease call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to schedule and appointment today. We can inspect the are and determine a proper course of treatment to manage your lawn disease issue.