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Carpenter Costin Blog

Renovate Your Lawn For Optimal Health

Overview

Lawn renovation is important to keep your lawn strong, healthy and lush. The healthier your lawn the easier it is to keep weeds from growing. In this post we will go over two of the main cultural practices; core aeration and over seeding and when you should have them done.

Core Aeration Process and Results

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Core Aeration is the process in which a machine pulls out plugs of soil. The result is small holes which allow air, water and nutrients to reach the turf roots. The soil plugs are left on the lawn which then break down naturally. When the turf roots receive more air, water and nutrients they are able to produce a much more vigorous lawn.

The main reason to aerate your lawn is to reduce soil compaction. Soil compaction is a form of soil degradation. When the soil is compacted it compresses the soil and limits the amount of air and water available to the roots of the turf.

When Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

When to aerate your lawn is the big question. Should you do it in the spring? Summer? or Fall? The answer is anytime during the growing season. This is because during the growing season you will allow the turf roots to expand into growth spaces created during the core aeration process. All lawns need yearly aeration. No aeration can cause compaction issues and a struggling lawn in the future.

Over Seeding

Overseeding

Over seeding is the application of seed over existing lawns to improve the density. Although it seems simple, there is some specifications that you'll want to know when deciding when to over seed.

When Should You Over Seed?

The ideal time to over seed your lawn is in the fall. The reason is that in the fall the soil is still warm but the air is cooler. When the air is cooler and soil is just warm there are fewer weeds for the new grass to compete with.

Signs your lawn needs overseeding:

  • Brown spots spreading across your lawn.
  • You haven't overseeded in the past few years.
  • Your lawn has thin spots or bare areas

It is far more cost effective and efficient to over seed than to remove the existing turf and install a new lawn from seed or sod.

Our lawn care experts can advise you on these cultural practices, and provide the necessary services to improve the health and beauty of your lawn. Please inquire for a free consultation with one of our lawn care pros, and get your lawn looking healthy, lush and strong!

Consult With A Turf Pro

Contact us at 877-308-8733 or info@carpentercostin.net

How to Identify and Remove Yellow Nutsedge From Your Lawn

What is Yellow Nutsedge?

Yellow nutsedge is a difficult weed to control that is found in grass areas. It is important to know that yellow nutsedge is not a grass or broadleaf weed, it is a sedge. 

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Yellow nutsedge is a perennial plant that reproduces by its underground tubers also known as "nutlets". These "nutlets" form at the end of Rhizomes (horizontal roots that allow new shoots to grow upwards). One plant can produce up to several hundred tubers during the summer.

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Yellow Nutsedge Life Cycle

Yellow nutsedge actively grows during the summer. It will continue to grow until the first frost in autumn but it doesn't stop there! A frost will only kill the part of the plant that is above the soil. The remaining portion of the plant (tubers) still remains and overwinters in the soil. Tubers that are not "active" can still germinate and come up the following season!

How To Identify Yellow Nutsedge

 

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Yellow nutsedge is easiest to identify during the summer, as it's leaves grow much faster than grass and it will stick out like a sore thumb! Even if it is not summer there are other ways to identify it. For example, yellow nutsedge can be identified by its stem, leaves and color. It has a triangular stem as well as having leaves in groups of 3 (three-ranked). These leaves have a shiny/waxy look to them which sets them apart from the normal grass. The leaves are a light green to yellow color which can make it difficult to spot. If you look close enough it does not have tiny hairs on the leaf blades which many grasses do.

Natural Ways To Control Yellow Nutsedge

If you only have a few yellow nutsedge plants in your yard, you can hand pull them which will "eliminate" the weeds themselves. The tubers will still be in the soil. If you have a few of them and do pull them out the best way is to remove the ENTIRE plant by digging around the base leaving no trace of rhizome which can be difficult.

Yellow-Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge is best controlled when your yard (turf) is well-drained and cut properly (not too short). Yellow nutsedge can still occur in well-drained areas specifically thin grass. The best way to solve that issue is to focus on growing a dense and healthy yard (turf) that can withstand a fight with weeds. To grow the dense turf consult a professional who practices proper turf management, fall fertilization and an irrigation system that can maintain the turf. A few ways to encourage dense grass growth is with core aeration and overseeding which work wonders together. 

Control Yellow Nutsedge with Herbicides

The only reason to consider herbicides is if you have very large patches of yellow nutsedge in your yard. The herbicides generally used for dandelions and crabgrass are ineffective against nutsedge due to it being a sedge. Even with the proper herbicide it still may take multiple applications to control it due to the tubers that are in the soil that have not yet begun to produce a plant.

If you have any questions about yellow nutsedge, interested in our turf management programs, or are interested in any of our other services please contact us at 877-308-8733 or email us at info@carpentercostin.net. We are here to help!

Consult With A Turf Pro

 

Caring for Drought-Stressed Lawns

To help your lawn recover from drought stress and enhance its vigor and overall health, our turf experts recommend Core Aeration and Overseeding for your lawn this fall.

Core Aeration and Overseeding are an essential and necessary component of any lawn care program. Due to the extended lack of moisture, some lawn areas may not recover even when cooler temperatures and fall rains arrive. To solve this problem, we recommend Core Aerating and Overseeding to reestablish the lawn in these dead areas.

Core Aeration:
Loosens compact soil, creates room for new turf growth, and allows more water and nutrients to reach the root zone. Core Aeration is so essential to lawn health, that golf courses Core Aerate their turf two times per year.

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Overseeding:
This process will introduce new grass plants into your lawn and add more desirable species of grasses. Overseeding is a great way to modify the types of grasses in your lawn, without a doing a total renovation.

Now is the best time to Core Aerate and Overseed. If your lawn is stressed from drought, please give us call or click below for a free lawn care consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

Preparing Your Lawn for Spring

A healthy lawn does a lot for your yard: it ties together all your landscaping elements, provides a plush place for kids to play, and it provides curb appeal. All homeowners want a beautifully, healthy lawn to enjoy. With the rough winter weather behind us (we hope, at least!), it's time to start preparing your lawn for spring. 

1. Clear the lawn: Preparing your lawn starts with removing dead sticks, leaves and other debris to provide a clean slate so you can assess areas that may need reseeding.

2. Reseed. If you do need to reseed, rake the area to bring healthy soil to the surface and then spread the seed. Be sure to water well.

3. Trim, Don't Cut. There's a misconception that you should mow your grass as low as possible to avoid having to cut it as often. This isn't true and, in fact, a higher mow allows the grass to offer shade that prevents the yard from drying out and establishes a better root system that creates a plusher lawn.

 If you’d like to have some professional help with your lawn, or are thinking about a turf health program, please take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Carpenter Costin pro.

Request a Free Consultation

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Best Time for Lawn Seeding

Late summer is the best time for planting seed and improving your lawn’s thickness.

In New England, late summer is a welcomed time - and not just because the kids are heading back to school. During the latter part of August and into September, the climate begins to change in the North East. Although day time temperatures can still be unbearably hot at this time, late summer usually brings cooler night time temperatures along with shorter days (andbare lawn spots photo periods). The combination of cooler temperatures and shorter days creates optimal grass growing weather.

Many homeowners feel that spring time is the right time for lawn care, and we can’t blame them as it is a common misconception; however, if you focus planting and seeding efforts in the fall, you’ll be rewarded with improved results.

Grass seed excels in the late summer and early fall because it has less competition than it does in the spring. In warmer periods like spring and early summer, crab grass thrives and actually out-competes turf for space in your lawn. Long days and hot temperatures present problems for turf growth; however, crab grass will have no problem in these conditions. As temperatures cool and the photo period shrinks, crab grass cannot survive and eventually dies off. This creates a competition free growing period for turf. As temperatures become too cold at night, you will see crab grass beginning to turn purple and die – this signals the start of prime turf growing conditions.

Every year there is a three to four week window that presents optimal turf growing conditions and it usually falls between the last week of August and the last week of September. This period of time is ideal for lawn renovation, and gives turf seed the best chance of thriving.

If you have any bare spots in your lawn, we recommend raking them out and spreading some seed in the late summer and early fall. When the conditions are right, the seed will “pop” in just a few days. It will also be beneficial to over-seed your entire lawn at this time, which will help create a thicker turf.

Late summer can be a great time for DIY lawn care, but for complete lawn renovation, we recommend consulting with a professional.

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late summer lawn care

If your lawn looks like this, late summer lawn care can help revitalize it and create thicker turf.

Summer Lawn Care Practices to Follow

Help your lawn through the summer and follow these lawn care practices.

Lawn care is often a forgotten practice in the summer, as home owners submit to the hot, humid, and dry weather. These summer conditions make it difficult to keep your turf lush and green, but that doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your lawn. The following practices will help you keep your lawn looking great through the summer.

Raise the Blades

Increasing the mow height of your lawn in the summer will help your turf out-compete weeds, such as crab grass, and also helps to promote photosynthesis - as longer blades of grass have more surface area. If you mow your lawn too short, crab grass will quickly sprout up higher than the turf, resulting in an unattractive look. Since you’re mowing less in the summer, raising the blades usually doesn’t require increasing the frequencies of mows.

Don’t Forget the Water

Ensure your turf is getting enough water throughout the summer. The general rule of thumb is 1” of water per week. If you don’t have a preprogrammed irrigation system, be sure you are manually watering your turf in either the morning or evening to be certain your lawn gets the 1” per week that it needs.

Inspect for Grubs

Grubs are a nuisance in the summer, as are the creatures that eat them. Some animals, such as skunks, find grubs to be quite the delicacy and will destroy your lawn digging for their next meal. If the skunks haven’t got to your grubs yet, that doesn’t mean damage isn’t being done. Grubs will eat at the root system of your lawn, effectively damaging it from below.

Top-Dress and Over-Seed

Top dressing and over seeding is usually a spring and fall trick, but it can help in the summer as well. Lightly spreading some organic soil and grass seed will help fill in thin spots and create a denser lawn in the future. This new soil will help provide essential food for your turf and help hold in some moisture. Don’t expect the new seed to sprout up this summer, but it will germinate come fall.

Following these lawn care practices will help you maintain a great lawn throughout the summer. Remember, lawn care is not just a fall and spring activity – it requires active participation throughout the summer as well. To learn more about lawn care, or for a free lawn care consultation, click the button below.

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summer lawn care

Lush, green turf is achievable in the summer months!

Lawn Renovation: Sodding vs. Seeding

Both seeding and sodding have their benefits, but which is best for you?

Before renovating your lawn, you’ll have a few decisions to make – First, how much do you want to spend, and second, when do you want/need the lawn renovated by? These two questions are actually interrelated, but if you can answer them, then you’ll know which lawn renovation method is more appropriate for you: sod installation or seeding.

The goal of lawn renovation is to achieve a lush, green, and durable lawn, with minimal weeds. This can be accomplished with both sod and seed; however, the cost and time frame of each method is very different.

Sod installation is a preferred method of lawn renovation, as it provides the quickest and surest results. When professionally installed, a sod lawn will be ready for all outdoor activities in just a few days. If you’re looking to achieve a great lawn in a short period of time, sod is your best bet. The one drawback of sod is the price. Due to the material and labor needed to install, sodding is more expensive than seeding.

If you’re looking to save a few bucks, and you’re not in dire need of a perfect lawn as soon as possible, then seeding is the best bet for you. A seeded lawn will take a few years to grow in fully; however, under prime growing conditions in the spring and fall, seed can germinate very quickly. It is absolutely imperative to understand that a seeded lawn will take at least two growing seasons to achieve the desired look. Seed also requires a significantly longer “no activity” period. Grass seed is inexpensive compared to sod, and the installation is less labor-intensive, resulting in a less expensive price tag.

When it is time to renovate your lawn, ask yourself the two questions regarding price and time frame, and you’ll figure out which method works best for you. Take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a turf pro to discuss your upcoming lawn renovation project.

free-lawn-care-consultation

sod lawn renovation

Sod provides the quickest and surest lawn renovation results.

Avoid Soil and Turf Compaction this Summer

Limit the amount of foot and vehicle traffic on your turf this summer to avoid compaction, and maintain a healthy lawn.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of outdoor cookout and gathering season, which often entails heavy foot traffic, and even vehicle traffic, on your beloved lawn. If you work hard to have a great looking lawn, by all means enjoy it, but beware that excessive foot and vehicle keep off grasstraffic will lead to soil compaction and turf compression, which can seriously damage your lawn.

Once the soil is severely compacted it can really only be relieved through core aeration (which is best in the early spring and late fall) and time; therefore, it is best to pay attention to traffic paths on your property, and install a walkway, patio, or even a turf stone area that is suitable for driving and parking on constantly.

A more frugal alternative is to simple mix up the high traffic areas on your property. Don’t always set up a buffet table in the same spot on your lawn, rather rotate where you direct guests to avoid putting too much pressure on a certain part of turf.

If you love entertaining outdoors, but do not like the toll it takes on your lawn, considering adding a hardscape feature, like a patio, that is perfect for entertaining and will take the stress of your turf. Avoiding turf compression and soil compaction will help keep your lawn healthy and attractive throughout the summer. Click the button below for a free consultation with a Landscape Architect to discuss outdoor entertaining area ideas.

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stone patio entertaining

Save your turf, install a patio and improve your outdoor entertaining space.

Tips for a Great Lawn This Spring

Take advantage of the weather this spring and make some significant improvements to your lawn.

It seems like we’ve settled into a normal spring weather pattern. A few days of moderate temperatures, cloud cover, and precipitation followed by a couple of warm, sunny days. This cycle usually occurs for about four weeks each spring before settling into a more summer-like pattern, and it can be a tremendous time to make improvements to your lawn, without any back-breaking or wallet-wrenching work.

First step to improving your lawn is to ensure it is clean of all leaves and debris, which usually occurs in a spring clean up. Clearing your turf of debris will help minimize pest activity and will allow for photosynthesis to occur without disruption. Next, you should dethatch your lawn and remove the dead “thatch.” This can be done with a rake and strong shoulders, or a dethatching machine that can be rented at your local equipment rental store.

The next step to take to improve your turf is to create a thicker, healthier lawn by over-seeding. This is a simple process that requires broadcast spreading new seed over your turf. As the seed establishes it will create lush turf and out-compete weeds. Weather conditions are perfect this time of year, allowing seed to germinate very quickly; however, don’t forget to water if we’re not receiving enough rain. Also, if we’re expecting torrential downpours, don’t spread seed right before as it will just wash away with the water. A good slow soaking rain is the best to help the seed germinate.

Following these easy steps will undoubtedly improve your lawn this spring and help create a thick, lush lawn that will last all summer long. If you’d like to have some professional help with your lawn, or are thinking about a turf health program, please take advantage of our free consultations and meet with a Carpenter Costin pro.

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spring lawn care tips

Following the above tips will help create a thick, lush lawn this spring.

Take Advantage of this Nice Weather with Late Fall Landscape Care

Utilize the nice weather while it is still here. Invest in lawn and landscape care now for improved results in the spring.

I was visiting my parents on the South Shore this weekend and was shocked to see how compact the soil was. Without hesitation I was off to the local tool rental store to rent an aerator. It was evident that the turf was not getting the nutrients it needed due to how compact the soil was. After about an hour of aerating and a small investment of $60 in the rental, the entire lawn was liberated from severe compaction.

Core aerating is a great fall lawn care practice, particularly for severly compacted lawns. The removal of the cores improves nutrient, air, and water flow, and also spreads organic material across your turf. It is also a good idea to broadcast some grass seed after core aerating. Although the seed will not germinate this fall, it will mesh with the cores and organic matter and help thicken your turf come next spring.

In addition to core aerating, be sure to get your yard cleaned up while the weather is still on our side. Pick up all the leaves, remove any lingering debris from the October storm, and get you final mowing in for the season if you haven't yet. There really is no telling how long this weather will last, and there is a very good chance that ground will be frozen once again by next week.

Last, but certainly not least, we are in the final weeks of prime planting weather. Fall planting can be great for root development, and is usually more cost effective as nurseries discount their inventory this time of year. Don't miss out on a great chance to add plants and trees to your landscape.

Investing the time in landscape care now will help you greatly come spring. A few hours of care in the fall can go a long way to improving your landscape. If you're unsure of what you can do to improve your landscape, or how to do it, please give us a call. We're happy to help. Don't forget, our Certified Arborists and Landscape Architects are always here for free consultations.

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 core aerator

Core aeration helps relieve soil compaction and improve water, air, and nutrient flow.

 

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