Lawn Care Tips By Season
Spring Lawn Care Tips
In the spring, everything begins to grow rapidly after the dormant period of winter. Consider these spring lawn care tips to help bring your yard back to life:
As grass comes out of dormancy from the long winter, it should be checked for lawn diseases, such as dead spots and insects like grubs. Healthy Lawns that receive proper year-round lawn care, yard care and lawn treatments tend to be more resistant to disease and pests all year long.
Spring lawn care begins with lawn fertilizing. Proper fertilization of your lawn in the spring is vital because this feeding replenishes the reserves used during the dormant winter period.
As the mowing season begins, be sure to review our lawn care tips for advice on proper lawn mowing techniques and safety procedures.
Allowing grass clippings to remain on the lawn after mowing is actually beneficial. This process is known as grass-cycling. After a long winter, check the thatch level to see if the lawn would benefit from dethatching and aeration.
Spring lawn care can help prevent grassy weeds like crabgrass. Spring lawn care such as proper maintenance of Landscaping beds can also prevent weeds.
Do you know the pH level of your soil? Having your soil professionally tested can help you determine what compounds might need to be added to create the best growing environment for turf and trees.
Summer Lawn Care Tips
Longer days, more light and more heat mean the height of the growing season - but too much heat can wilt your summer enjoyment. Learn how you can make the most of the season with these summer lawn care tips:
Proper watering and water conservation is important at any time of year, but particularly when heat and a lack of rain lead to water deficits and drought.
Learn more about proper watering techniques in our watering tips section.
Evaluate your lawn regularly for signs of irregular color and texture. These can be signs of damage that may result from pests or disease.
Proper year-round lawn care keeps a lawn healthy and prevents weeds, disease and pests. But sometimes, insects you may not notice can travel from the yard to your home. To stop them, Tip-Top recommends pest control to keep the bugs on the outside. You can also reduce their outside presence by treating the lawn for insects such as fleas, ticks and fire ants.
While lawns are generally the focal point of most yards, don’t forget about trees and shrubs. Well-maintained landscaping adds dimensionality to a home and increases its value.
In the heat of the summer, you may be tempted to mow your lawn in shorts and flip flops, but Tip-Top's trained professionals remind you to stay safe by wearing long pants and closed-toed shoes.
Also, no matter what outdoor activity you’re enjoying, be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water. See our mowing tips or more mowing advice.
The essentials of good summer lawn care are watering, fertilizing and proper mowing. However, sometimes an underlying problem (such as bare spots or severely damaged turf) requires additional measures.
Fall Lawn Care Tips
As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, the fall season is a critical time to prepare your home for the long winter.
Follow these fall lawn care tips to make the fall season last as long as possible before winter begins:
During the fall, your lawn is getting ready to go dormant for the winter. Fertilizing during this period is vital to provide an extra boost of nutrients that will be stored and used during dormancy. Roots actually continue to grow underground throughout the winter and rely on the stored food until spring. Power seeding will increase turf density and improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn.
Power seeding in the fall season helps the lawn recover from the heavy use from the summer and it influences the lawn's look for the following spring. A dense lawn is also the best natural defense against weed and insect damage.
The fall is also a great time to aerate your yard. Lawn aerating combats grass compaction from summer traffic and encourages the uptake of nutrients and oxygen.
If your lawn is starting to get thin, you can also reseed your grass.
When the leaves start to fall, rake or blow the lawn clean at least once a week. Keeping your lawn leaf-free doesn't only look better; it's also healthier for your lawn to be leaf-free. Leaves block sunlight, which is vital in the fall as the lawn stores food for the dormant winter season.
The fall season is also the time to apply grub control and check and treat your yard for other pests. If you wait until spring, your turf will suffer.
Before the winter hits is also a good time to winterize your trees and shrubs.
Winter Lawn Care Tips
Just because there's a chill in the air doesn't mean you should be ignoring your yard…
Winter is the best season to prune trees since pruning encourages new growth and fruit production. Find out more about pruning trees and bushes in our section on tree care tips.
Maintaining a properly functioning lawn mower and sharp mower blades will ensure an evenly cut yard, which helps with disease prevention and improves the overall appearance of your lawn.
Read over our lawn mower tips so you can make sure your lawn mower is ready to go when spring arrives.
As winter ends and snow disappears, Snow Mold can be a threat to your lawn. This fungus develops in cold, wet weather but can be treated with a special fungicide.
While many lawns and trees go dormant and require less attention in the winter, it is a perfect time to plan for their year-round care.
Lawn Care Topics
Tip-Top's Professional Lawn Care Services Lead to a Healthy Lawn
Why is lawn care important to you? Well, after a long day, you'll want to come home and relax. With the professional lawn care services you receive from Tip-Top, you'll be able to come home, relax and enjoy your beautiful green lawn. Our professional lawn care company makes your soil work for you instead of against you. With professional lawn care and local lawn care services we can make your grass grow to become more beautiful, greener and healthier than last year.
Lawn Mowing Tips, Advice
Lawn mowing is healthy for your lawn. You’re trimming away the oldest part of the plant because grass grows from the bottom up. A higher cut – generally trimming the top third of the plant – will shade the roots and encourage a deeper root system. A deep root system can reach water further down in the soil, providing reserve power to survive dry spells. Different types of grass require different cutting heights; in general, cool-season grasses should be cut at three and a half inches, while warm-season grasses are cut at two inches.
Lawn Mower safety
When working with your lawn mower, read your operator’s manual and pay close attention to all warning labels.
Wear proper clothing when mowing your yard; including a tucked-in shirt, long pants and closed-toed shoes with good traction. Secure or remove loose articles of clothing or jewelry so they don’t catch on the equipment.
Walk the mowing area first and clear any tools, toys, yard debris or other objects that could get thrown by the mower’s blade. Before you start your lawn mower, check to make sure all safety guards and shields are in place.
Keep children inside and under supervision while mowing your yard. Never give children “rides” on a riding lawn mower. As a result, your children may run up behind you as you’re mowing, expecting another ride, where you can’t see or hear them. Be careful not to run over your own toes when walking backward with a walk-behind mower.
When mowing in hot weather, make sure to drink plenty of water and rest frequently
Look for early signs of wilt and dehydration to determine when your lawn needs water. Common indicators include a bluish-green color, curling grass blades and footprints that remain on the lawn.
Most lawns require about an inch of water per week. If you’re unsure of how long to water, put a mark one inch from the bottom of several plastic containers and spread them around the watering zone. Clock the time it takes to reach the one-inch mark and water for that length of time in the future.
Water may be applied any time of day, but morning is usually the most efficient time for watering your lawn because that is when the least amount of water is lost to evaporation and wind drift.
Lawn Watering Methods - Sprinklers and Irrigation Systems
Portable sprinklers are a fairly inexpensive way to water your lawn. Because sprinklers vary in their range and distribution methods, choose one based on the size and shape of your landscape watering zone.
Stationary sprinklers are best used in small areas that other sprinklers miss or that need supplemental water.
Impact and rotary sprinklers are meant to water circular-shaped watering zones on medium to large lawns.
Oscillating sprinklers move a fan of water over a large, rectangular area, while revolving sprinklers shoot jets of water in a circular pattern in smaller areas. If you want to maximize efficiency, consider installing an irrigation system. These are controlled by a timer, eliminating the need for you to interrupt your schedule in order to water your lawn.
Irrigation systems also help conserve water and are ideal for vacation homes or for the homeowner who travels often.
Water Conservation and Droughts
Always follow any lawn watering restrictions in your area during a drought. A drought can be tough on your landscape as well as the environment, causing extensive damage to land and livelihoods. Since droughts affect everyone equally, it is crucial that we respect our environment by making an effort to conserve water.
Prevent runoff and waste by closely monitoring your lawn watering and direct sprinklers away from sidewalks and streets.During short droughts, if the grass is still growing, mow on the high side to help shade the roots and water less frequently, but long enough to encourage a strong, deep root system.
Watering your lawn just a little bit can cause grassy weeds to grow.
If you live in a region prone to drought, reconsider your landscape by grouping plants and shrubs with similar water requirements to prevent wasting water and also by planting drought-tolerant and pest-resistant species of grass, trees and shrubs.
Flooding, Mushrooms and Moss
Heavy rains or flooding can be harmful to your lawn. If the lawn is underwater for less than four days, the temperature is below 60 degrees and no erosion takes place, then chances are high that the lawn will survive.
Remove all debris, silt and mud deposited on the lawn after a storm.
If you’re having frequent flooding problems, fill in any low spots or depressions in your lawn and grade slopes so water drains away from the house and its’ foundation. If you’re still having drainage problems, consider installing a drain tile. Lots of wet weather often causes the growth of mushrooms, which work to break down old organic matter in the soil. Mushrooms are not harmful, so you can mow them down if you like.
However, if mushrooms grow in a circle, with a center of dark green grass, it is called a fairy ring. This can be harmful to your lawn, as the grass within the fairy ring may die as they both compete for water.
Moss and algae are caused by poor drainage or too much shade. Moss may be controlled by raking, Ultimately, these problems will continue until the drainage or shade issues are addressed.
Decorative Water Features
To enjoy your yard to the fullest, consider adding a decorative water feature. Fountains, ponds, and waterfalls are a wonderful way to add a focal point and dimensionality to your yard.
Weeds are definitely unsightly, but they are also harmful to your yard because they compete with grass and other plants for moisture, nutrients, light and space. To control broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, clover and thistle, apply a post-emergence herbicide, which is absorbed into the leaves and is circulated down into the root system. However, this doesn't prevent the seeds from germinating and re-infesting a lawn.
Proper fertilizing, mowing and irrigation encourage grass to grow-in quickly and prevent weed growth.
Crabgrass a grassy weed best controlled in the spring, before the weeds germinate. Germination occurs when the soil is above 65 degrees (also the time when forsythias and lilacs bloom).
While hot dry weather encourages crabgrass, a well-maintained lawn that is properly fertilized, watered and mowed rarely has crabgrass.
Lawn Mower Maintenance
To help keep your lawn mower running smoothly, read your operator’s manual for routine maintenance schedules and technical specifications.
Because a regularly maintained, well-running mower helps keep your lawn healthy and beautiful, keep a calendar to schedule maintenance checks and organize a notebook with all mower service records.
Store your mower properly and have it serviced during the winter to guarantee that it will be ready to go when spring arrives. An annual service check from a mower maintenance professional ensures that the lawn mower is running safely, efficiently and not damaging your yard.
Routine Lawn Mower Maintenance Checks
Just like your car, a lawn mower requires regular oil, oil filter and fuel filter changes if you want it to last. While manufacturer recommendations vary, most advocate changing the oil after every 25 hours of mowing. For some homeowners, that’s once a year, so change your lawn mower oil every spring.
Sharpen your mower blade on a routine basis. A dull mower blade will shred the grass, causing a frayed or brown appearance and creating entry ways for lawn disease.
When performing annual maintenance checks on your lawn mower, ensure that all nuts and bolts are tightened and that all belts, filters and safety shields are in place.
Fans and intake screens should be cleaned regularly to help keep your lawn mower operating correctly.
Tree And Shrub Care
Just like your lawn, trees need feeding to thrive. If planted in the lawn, the tree will benefit from the same fertilizer you apply to the grass.
If you use a lawn fertilizer that contains herbicides for broadleaf weeds this additive can damage or even kill trees.
Tree spikes and injection feeding are other methods for fertilizing a tree.
When planting a young tree, leave mulch ring three to ten feet in diameter (depending on tree size) around the base of the tree. Grass that grows too close can actually be harmful to young trees. helps to insulate the soil, retain moisture, keep out weeds, prevent soil compaction and reduce lawn mower damage.
Pruning Your Trees
If you have a tree you want to control, you can either prune the branches effectively yourself or bring in a tree and shrub care professional. Cutting back main branches to stubs or “topping” trees is actually self-defeating because the limbs generally grow back higher than before and are ugly, bushy and weak.
Topping also weakens the health of a tree because it opens the tree to insects and disease and drastically reduces its ability to make food. Proper pruning can help trees thrive. For a beneficial change, pruning should be gradual in order to protect the health of the tree. Never remove more than one quarter of the tree’s crown in a single season.
Winter is the best time to prune trees and rose bushes. If you prune before they bud, it encourages new growth and fruit production. Don’t be afraid to thin the branches – the plant will ultimately produce better quality blooms or fruit, rather than a multitude of weaker blooms.
Improving Your Yard and Landscape
Love your lawn but also want trees? Plant a shade-tolerant grass and mow high – a longer blade gives grass the ability to trap light and survive. For even more light, prune your trees.
With an established lawn, choose species of trees that cast filtered shade to prevent future problems.
Trees not only beautify your yard and increase your property value, but also help you save energy. The cooling properties created by their shade can help lower your air conditioning needs.
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