While you may not be actively thinking about your lawn, having and keeping a well-manicured and lush green lawn starts while it is still dormant!
The fall winds carry the smell of autumn, bringing rain and weed seeds. These seeds will lie dormant in your yard all winter, waiting for soil temps to rise to 55˚ to germinate. Late winter is the best time to nip these seeds in the bud, so to speak. By applying a pre-emergent to your lawn before these weeds germinate, you can drastically reduce the amount of herbicide you will apply later in the year. Preventing those weeds from flowering and seeding in the first place reduces the amount of chemicals you apply to your lawn. An ounce of pre-emergent is worth a pound of herbicide! The best time to apply a pre-emergent in our area is between late February and mid-to-late March, before the soil temps begin to rise above 50˚.
- Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper containing Dimension ®
- Hi-Yield Weed and Feed 15-0-10
Though your warm season lawn is still dormant this time of year, it’s not too early to being prepping your lawn care equipment.
This is a great time to sharpen your lawnmower blade, get a tune-up before a rush of non-working mowers floods the repair shops, replace or repair any tools that are beginning to show signs of wear (which can be hazardous), turn old clothing into shop rags, and stock up on fluids for your machines. Typical maintenance on a mower includes draining and changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and changing the spark plug. If you didn’t drain the old gasoline or use a gas stabilizer in the mower when it was stored, you may need to have the carburetor looked at. Beat the rush and start early! Nothing gets you down faster than pushing out the mower after your lawn wakes up and is ready for its first cut, only to find it won’t fire up for reasons unknown.
When was the last time your lawn soil was tested?
Testing the soil every year gives you a great assessment of the current state of health for your lawn. Is your soil too acidic? Do you have patches of moss growing through your lawn? Have you noticed an uptick in weeds growing in your lawn? Many weeds prefer more acidic soil and will thrive in a malnourished lawn. Not only that, but soil outside of an optimal pH range of 5.9-7.2 can reduce the uptake of nutrients you apply to your lawn, reducing the effectiveness of your dollars spent keeping your lawn looking green and lush. Knowing where your soil stands is the first step in addressing your lawn needs throughout the year.
- Espoma Organic Lightning Lime to raise the soil pH
- Hi-Yield Soil Sulfur, Organic Compost, or Hi-Yield Ammonium Sulfate to lower the soil pH
What is dethatching and when should it be done?
Dethatching refers to the process of removing the layer of organic debris that forms between the blades and roots. It will look like a matting of old, grayish-brown grass stems that have grown together. A small amount of thatch between .25-.75” is actually helpful to your lawn! It will provide insulation against soil temperature fluctuations, and helps conserve soil moisture. However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing in this case. Thatch that is more than 1” thick can repel water (including water that carries your fertilizer!) from penetrating the soil, reduce the air exchange with the soil, and prevent any grass seed you lay down from reaching the soil and germinating.
What causes thatch?
Overwatering, over fertilizing, and mowing too high can cause a buildup of thatch over time. Using a mulching mower can help, though you are likely to encounter a thick thatch over the years of natural grass cycles.
So what can be done about thatch? Why, dethatching of course! In late spring, use a hard rake to rake the grass, digging deep to penetrate the thatch and loosen it. Do this in early spring to prevent damage to new growth. If you have a large lawn, or would simply prefer to have a more mechanical approach, you can rent a dethatcher that will do most of the work for you, making just one pass over your lawn. After dethatching, remove the raked up thatch and throw it in the compost pile or discard it, and water your lawn if your weather has been dry.
Following these steps and preparing for spring and summer in the late winter will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend trying to address issues growing and maintaining your lawn throughout the year! Visit Southbranch Nursery Co. for any questions you have regarding your lawn, and let our knowledgeable staff guide you to becoming the envy of the neighborhood!
From “Dig into the Top 7 Garden Trends for 2019” from Monrovia
by Kate Karam | January 7, 2019
For the past few years we have reported on the shifting consciousness of gardeners toward an embrace of nature, the impact of all things digital in our lives, transparency in how the things that we put into our gardens are made, and recognition of the need for sustainability in a world of finite resources.
In 2019 the biggest trend in the gardening world is letting nature nurture us. We’re increasingly aware of how plants and gardening enhance our lives and connect us to something both ancient and modern–the rhythm of the natural world. This is only the beginning of sea of change in how we view ourselves in relation to the natural world and as gardeners do our part to protect it.
Other trends speak to the growing pressures of too little space to garden and too little time in which to do it. On the brighter side, we see lots of exciting things happening at garden centers, and breeders producing more and more plants that thrive even as the climate is changing. Look for more interest in woodland gardens, bright colors, and the return of all-green gardens. More of us (74% of all households) are taking up trowels, as 68 percent of Americans have either quit or taken a break from social media this year, according to the Pew Research Center. Interesting times!
As you plan for your landscape and garden in 2019, consider these four trends:
“Designers are using plants with intriguing, often formal, shapes, forms, textures, and branching habits in otherwise naturalistic gardens.”
After decades of informal billowing meadows and cottage borders that studies find are overwhelmingly considered to “have visual appeal and restorative potential”, we’re seeing designers use plants with plenty of intriguing, often formal, shapes, forms, textures, and branching habits in these otherwise naturalistic gardens. The result is a delightful yin-yang sort of effect.
This aesthetic appears to be one of the drivers for increased demand for swirling topiaries, weeping trees, cascading camellias, espaliered fruit trees, layered Japanese maples, and spiky perennials like lupines, salvia, and iris. And, with so many gardening in smaller spaces or often in containers, each and every plant needs ample oomph to make the cut.
DESPERATELY SEEKING SEASON
“With seasonal change now less distinct and predictable, gardens that dramatically, graphically evolve over the seasons are becoming even more prized.”
With seasonal change now less distinct and predictable with longer summers and shorter winters, gardens that dramatically, graphically evolve over the seasons are becoming even more prized. For example, plants displaying a stark winter beauty (form, bark, or color) with high contrast to leafy spring have become highly sought after.
The second is a demand curve that’s off the charts for plants that do more for the longer duration of our warm weather (such as hydrangeas, roses, lilacs, and other flowering shrubs that rebloom). These trends may seem contradictory, but both are simply reflections of a changing climate that we addressed in our 2017 trends report.
Not everyone is a “gardener,” but apparently many are finding that a beautiful garden installed and managed by someone is worth every dime. And no matter how they get made, the world is a better place with more gardens.
“With space and time at a premium, consumers are snapping up plants that do double or even triple duty in the landscape.”
Used to be that a simple hedge would fit the bill, but now, with home lots getting smaller and with less time for gardening, consumers are snapping up “one and done” plants that do double or even triple duty in the landscape. Also in play here is mindfulness about plants for attracting wildlife, growing food, and creating more overall green space.
This translates to big demand for plants that flower + fruit + have great fall foliage, waterwise + feed birds + provide privacy, native + provide winter interest + fragrant, etc. And then, of course, there are the bragging rights! As plant breeders continue to push the limits of what a plant can do, expect to see more of these multipliers.
INTO THE WOODS
“Woodland gardens bring a welcome sense of organic Zen especially in dense urban areas where they can help to mitigate the effects of pollution.”
Cool, mossy, and damp, small space woodland gardens bring a welcome sense of organic Zen and a respite from digital overload, especially in dense urban areas where they can help to mitigate the effects of pollution. It’s like bringing “forest bathing” to the city with mixes of ferns, mosses, coral bells, Hostas, and Anemones in high contrast, almost unnatural, places for a garden style that’s gaining ground. We’ve tracked a marked increase in consumer demand for all types of woodland plants over the last three years with no signs of slowing down.