It is that time of year again – time for the last mow of the season! The trees have lost their leaves, the sunlight angle is getting lower and lower, and you are about to celebrate a time honored activity of mowing the grass for the last time before the winter sets in in earnest. Here are just a few things to consider when enjoying this last mow.
- Cutting Height – Remember the Rule of Thirds – cut no more than one third of the height of your lawn every time. This is just as true now as during the regular season. You will probably have it at about 2-3 inches for this last run through.
- Fertilization Care – Cutting your grass isn’t the only thing that you should do to get your lawn ready for dormancy. Apply a slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer several weeks before your final cut; while the grass will not use all of the fertilizer now, it will remain in the soil around the roots to help boost growth when the grass comes out of dormancy.
- Pest Treatments – Consider any pests or weeds you may have during the last mow in order to take care of them once and for all so they do not make a resurgence in the spring.
- Mulcher Mower – If you usually bag your clippings consider, for this last time using the mulching feature on your mower. The clippings left in the grass can serve as organic matter that will decompose into the soil and leave your grass healthier.
Enjoy the last mow of the season and know that you have cared for your landscaping well. See you next spring, sleep well lawn.
At Pro-Tech Lawn Care we deal with all sorts of pests and lawn disease. One that is particularly hard to spot but fairly easy to deal with are the gross little critters called grubs. Lawn grubs are small, white creatures that curl up into a distinctive C shape when disturbed. They are the larval form of several types of scarab beetles, including Oriental beetles, Japanese beetles, Chafer beetles and green June beetles. They typically damage lawns by feeding on grass roots. Grubs can be an issue in the Spring, Summer or Fall.
- Spring – In the Spring grubs awaken from their winter rest and begin feeding on grass roots. After destroying your roots they will develop into pupae and later beetles.
- Summer – The beetles will emerge from your lawn and begin feeding on foliage in your garden. After this the beetles will lay eggs in your lawn.
- Fall – The grub eggs hatch and begin feeding on your grass roots and thus destroy the grass. The cycle begins again until your lawn is destroyed.
Signs of Grub Infestation
Grubs are under the layer of grass but there are signs that homeowners should look for when trying to protect against grubs.
- Dead or brown patches that never turn green on your lawn in the Spring.
- Strange shaped dead patches in the late summer early fall. To test if it is grubs try to lift the grass. It will roll up like a carpet if grubs have destroyed the root system.
- Wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, or birds are always picking at your grass. This may be a sign that they are trying to eat the grubs underneath the lawn. Look for paw or digging marks around your yard.
- Spongy grass may be an early sign that grubs are under your feet.
Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for guidance and treatment options. Since young grubs are most susceptible to pesticides it is important to time treatment correctly. It may mean that treating in late summer or fall may be your best bet as they are newly hatched and are more likely to perish.
Talk to most people familiar with landscaping and they will agree fall is a great time for landscape maintenance and installation. Researchers at the University of Washington’s Community Associations Center believe that one of the main benefits of landscaping in the fall is increased moisture and cooler temperatures. This weather is beneficial as it helps new plants become established and provides a good growing environment for new or renovated lawns. It is also a good time to think about irrigation and drainage as the increased rain will reveal problem areas where water is pooling.
Despite this being a wonderful time to commit to landscaping there are still some Dos and Don’ts that every homeowner should follow.
- Take time to get rid of all the leaves. Leaves can get wet and moldy and cause the grass under it to die. Remember to get the leaves in the corners of your yard and in areas that are hard to reach.
- Consider aerating and fertilizing if your lawn has compact grass or bare patches.
- Seek help from lawn professionals like Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have weeds and pests that are choking out your lawn. Care now will allow for a healthy, beautiful lawn to prosper next Spring.
- Consider pruning both before and after the winter season.
- Clean all equipment and store properly.
- Prepare shrubs and bushes for the cold winter by wrapping.
- Do not cut the grass with dull blades or cut too short. For the last mow cut down to 2-3 inches.
- Don’t cut grass while it is wet.
- Don’t wait to rake until it is too late. The first snow could surprise you in October. You really don’t want the leaves to be left under snow!
- Don’t forget to trim bushes and prune trees one last time.
- Don’t forget to store equipment properly.
- Don’t leave lawn ornaments or patio equipment out all winter.
According to the United States Drought Monitor, New England, particularly Massachusetts and New Hampshire are in a historic period of extreme drought. For most of us this means that our city or town has put restrictions on outdoor watering. Those restrictions along with the extreme lack of rainfall can mean death or at least dormancy for our lawns. Is there anything homeowners can do to save their lawns and gardens during this unprecedented time?
- Water – This is a no-brainer if it is allowed by your town. According to the Lawn Institute, a nonprofit lawn-research corporation, it’s better to halt irrigation at the beginning of a drought than to water a lawn for a short period of time and then stop. A brown, dormant lawn may actually be in better condition to survive a drought than a lawn that was occasionally watered.
- Eliminate Traffic – If at all possible eliminate unnecessary walking traffic and lawn equipment. The weight of all this activity will compact the soil, making it more difficult for the lawn to absorb moisture.
- Aerate – An aerator, whether hand held or powered can create deep thin holes in your lawn that has become compact. The holes allow for any water to easily get to the roots and also allows for nutrients to be absorbed.
- Eliminate Thatch – Thatch can cover your lawn and create almost a blanket that shields the rain from being absorbed. Removing this blanket of dead organic lawn matter can be especially helpful during a drought.
- Redo – If the the lawn is in very poor shape a total renovation may be necessary. This would mean after the drought that you may need to reseed, patch brown spots or start all over again to kill the weeds that kept growing and encourage grass growth.
For many of us, Autumn signals the end of our weekend chores of mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and edging the garden. While these chores are ending, there are special steps that should be taken before the winter sets in for the long haul. Closing up shop properly in the Fall means that you will have an easier time gardening and landscaping next Spring. Here are a few steps we suggest when cleaning lawn equipment this Fall.
Garden tools come in all sizes and varieties including: hoes, shovels, rakes, edgers, and lawn mowers. Regardless of the types of lawn equipment you own, each piece should be cleaned thoroughly and stored carefully.
Garden tools have been hard at work all season long and probably have debris including grass and dirt soiling each piece. To keep each in proper working order here are some ideas for Fall clean up.
- Clean all tools with warm water and soap if possible.
- Dry each tools completely to avoid rust.
- For equipment with blades such as mowers and edgers, consider have them sharpened before storing for the winter.
- Consider also lubricating hinges, moveable parts and inspecting for rust/damage.
- Store in a dry shed or garage. Do not lean them against the wall or on the floor. Moisture is the enemy and walls and floors in garages and sheds can get very moist.
Lawn Mowers or Trimmers:
For larger pieces of equipment you may want to consider having a professional cleaning done now that the season is over. Avoid the Spring rush by getting your trimmer and mower in for a tune up now. Then you will be ready to go in just a few months.
If you do decide to clean and tune them up on your own, be sure to empty the gas tank, change out the spark plugs, and clean out the caked on grass with a hose. Store in a dry area where the mower can be protected from the cold, wind and precipitation.