A 9-Step Guide to Over-seeding Your Lawn
There's an often overlooked practice that can help you get the thick, healthy lawn you desire. Professional landscapers know exactly what it is, though most homeowners do not. It's called "over-seeding" and, when integrated as a part of your normal lawn maintenance plan, it can keep your lawn looking fantastic year in and year out. Whether you have been a yard master for many years or are new to lawn care, knowing how over-seeding works can yield you a better looking lawn.
In short, over-seeding is the process of spreading new grass seed across your existing lawn. When done correctly, it's a direct way to get almost immediate results. When grass matures, it gets thinner. This is especially true if you are using your lawn for entertaining or play. The process of over-seeding, then, keeps introducing younger, thicker grass into your lawn. That way, you don't have to endure a balding lawn that may require you to, essentially, start all over at some point.
The fundamental technique of over-seeding doesn't vary much. What can vary by geography, though, is type of grass you are growing, timing of application, and overall goals. For your best shot at success, there are nine basic steps. Let's begin!
1. Set Your Goals
Are you trying to save a thinning lawn or prevent thinning lawn. As with most tasks in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That said, you want to over-seed with an eye towards the upcoming season. Thai leads us to our next step...
2. Timing Matters
In northern regions, like ours, the ideal time to over-seed cool-season grasses is at the tail end of summer or the onset of autumn. This is when those grasses are at peak growth rate. The next best time is in the spring. This is because, when the soil is warm, it spurs seed germination. At the same time, cool air encourages growth. All the while, the moisture in the soil needs to stay consistent. Another advantage to over-seeding in the fall is that crabgrass, nutsedge, and other warm-season weeds are not growing as much as they are in warmer weather, which gives your new seed an upper hand.
3. Lawn Over-seeding Prep
When mowing prior to over-seeding, you'll want to cut the lawn extra short and rake up the clippings. This gives the new seeds an opportunity to get to the soil faster, as well as be exposed to more water and sunlight. Ideally, you'll want to set your mower deck height to two inches or less for overseeding. After you mow, rake the clippings with a metal thatch rake. This not only removes clippings, but thatch, as well. It also loosens the the soil so that the seed has a more hospitable growing surface.
4. Fix Your Other Lawn Problems
If you are going to be over-seeding, you'll want to make sure that any other lawn problems you may be having are also corrected so as to not undermine new seed growth. If you are having issues beyond basic thinning, your best place to start is with a simple soil test. The results of the soil test will guide your correcting actions. It's also not a bad idea to de-thatch and aerate your lawn if you have compaction issues. Thai allows air and moisture to better access new seeds, as well as the roots of your existing lawn.
5. Use the Right Grass Seed
It sounds simple, but the right seed for your climate will result in a better looking lawn. Grass seed will almost always list the ideal climate conditions right on the bag. While we are at it, you'll want to get the best seed your budget allows. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" also applies to grass seed.
6. Seed Spreading
If you don't already have a lawn spreader, make sure you pick one up when you are getting your new grass seed. If you have a large lawn, consider a drop or broadcast spreader. If you have a smallish lawn, a handheld spreader should work just fine. If you are just doing spot work, you can likely just use your hand. Apply the grass seed at the recommended over-seeding rate, which you will also find on the package of grass seed.
Pro tip: To ensure that the grass seed spreads evenly, avoid applying on windy days.
When fertilizing an over-seeded area, stay away from "weed & feed" products. The "weed" part of them contains a pre-emergent herbicide, which inhibits the seed germination process. Look for starter fertilizers instead. Fertilizers will list nutrient ratios on the packaging. Phosphorus stimulates root growth. Nitrogen promotes growth and greening above ground. Some states, counties, and even districts have laws regarding the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, because runoff can get into water supplies and promote algae growth. Double check with your county extension to learn about any applicable restrictions regarding fertilizer application.
8. Water, Water, and Water Some More
The importance of consistent moisture for an over-seeded lawn cannot be understated. For the first four days following the over-seeding, make sure the lawn gets watered lightly twice a day. In the following five days, alternate heavier waterings every other day. After that, water as necessary to stem off any wilting. This type of watering routine promotes healthy root growth.
After the initial over-seeding process and subsequent watering, you can return to your normal lawn maintenance plan, including regular watering, mowing, and regularly-planned over-seeding.
Over-seeding is a great way to get the best-looking lawn on the block. The process is relatively simple, but timing and consequent watering and care are essential for success.
E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers commercial lawn maintenance services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.
Preventing Weeds from Growing Through Landscape Rocks
You have your landscaping project all planned out. You have a great idea for using landscape rocks on this one part of your yard. As with many landscaping projects, however, you need to keep maintenance in mind. One reason for that is weeds. Those nasty buggers will pop up anywhere, even in your landscape rocks. When they do pop up in your landscape rocks, in particular, they can be even more difficult to remove.
In this post, we are going to talk about different ways to prevent and treat weeds that grow in your landscaping rocks.
Remove Weeds Before Putting Down Rocks
When you decide upon the piece of ground that is perfect for your rock landscaping, you'll want to make sure it is weed-free before you begin. Take a close look at the area and single out any current or potential problems that could come from weeds. If you find some trouble spots, you have a few options for weed removal. If you are not in a real hurry to get the rocks on the ground, you can cover the area with plastic and let it cook under the hot sun for about six weeks. This will certainly kill any weeds under the plastic. You can also get in the dirt and dig the weeds out from the roots. Be sure to throw those dug up weeds away, though; you don't want any of them seeding in the area you just cleared;or any other part of the lawn, for that matter. Finally, you can try a premixed, post-emergent, non-selective herbicide that you simply spray on the existing weeds.
The basic reality of weeds is that, no matter what steps you take to prevent them, you are still likely to see a few pop up. If this happens to you, pull those weeds the second you see them emerge. Also, and this is really important: don't leave the plucked plant there. If you can, move the rocks away from the weed so that you can get right down to the root of the weed when you are pulling it. There are also small handheld weeding tools that can help you reach down to those pesky weed roots situated between rocks.
Advanced Weed Removal Techniques
If you are unable to get the weeds out from the roots, you are almost guaranteed to see even more weeds popping up between the rocks. There are other means to getting rid of those weeds and regaining the upper hand.
Have you heard of a weed flamer? Well, it's a thing. And it works very well in an application like this, because your landscape rocks are not flammable and they can withstand a tremendous amount of heat. It's as simple as blasting the weeds with the heat from the flamer. It's worth mentioning here that you want to keep the flamer away from any flammable materials, such as wood mulch or, you know, your house. If flammable materials are nearby, you can try using boiling water on the weeds. The heat can have the same effect, though, admittedly, this method doesn't have as much "wow" factor as the weed flamer. If you'd rather forego any methods that involve heat, you can always apply a premixed herbicide, such as glyphosate, right on the weeds.
Weeds have been the enemy of landscaping since time immemorial. This is certainly true with regards to their willingness to disrupt your perfectly laid landscaping rocks. Knowing what to do before you lay that rock, as well as after, can give you an advantage against weeds and keep your landscaping looking picture perfect.
If weeds are making your life miserable, don't fret. At E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply, we offer residential weed control services to help you have the lawn and landscaping you love. To learn more, contact us online or call us at (517) 990-0110 today!
Trees and Power Lines
Trees are one of the best investments you can make in your home and landscaping. Unlike many other investments in your home that lose value over time, trees actually add value as they mature. Deciding on the right tree(s) for your yard is the first step in adding more trees. One factor you will want to keep in mind, however, is the location of your new trees with relation to existing power lines.
In this post, we are going to be discussing how far you should plant certain trees from power lines to prevent problems as the trees mature.
Considerations for Tree Selection
Beyond finding trees that are suitable to your environment and taste, you'll also want to ask yourself these questions:
Types of Trees
As you have probably inferred, the taller a tree becomes, the further it will need to be planted from existing power lines. As a cheat sheet, we have provided some of the most common types of trees, along with their heights and recommendations for distances from power lines.
These are trees that can grow to less than 20 feet at full maturity and are suitable to be planted within 15 feet of power lines.
These are trees that can grow from 25-50 feet at full maturity and should be planted 20+ feet from overhead power lines.
These are trees that can grow to 40+ feet at full maturity and should be planted 50+ feet from overhead power lines.
Trees Unsuitable To Be Near Power Lines
Finally, there are some trees that just simply do not belong anywhere near power lines. If you have power lines nearby, scratch these trees off your list.
One of the best ways to accentuate any landscape design, as well as add value to your home, is to plant a tree or two. That said, you need to give serious thought to the type of tree you want and where you are able to plant it. Trees growing to heights that can interfere with power lines are sure to be a headache in years to come. As with <i>any</i> landscaping decisions, a little planning goes a long way.
If you are ready to add trees to your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply can help. We offer full tree and shrub planting services for a variety of different environments. To learn more, contact us online or give us a call at (517) 990-0110 today.