Almost all grass varieties produce seed at some point throughout the spring season. This is a normal part of their life cycle. It does, however put the lawns under a bit of stress during that period. Lawns tend to get a little more coarse and the stems are more prevalent. It looks like we are almost through this period and lawns should soften out with adequate water and our slow release fertilizer applications kicking in.
They are forecasting 90 degrees for some of this weekend through early next week so make sure you are watering sufficiently. Lawns will burn up fast in that kind of heat and may even show heat tracking from our equipment or your mowing traffic. See an article on heat tracking written by Dr Kevin Frank from the MSU Extension here: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/warm_dry_weather_causes_heat_tracking_in_lawns . Most rotor sprinkling zones should be set at a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes per day EVERY DAY right now to prepare for this weekend and keep up with the heat. Depending on soil conditions some zones will need as much as 35 or 40 minutes during extreme heat and lack of rain. Remember that these are averages and every site is different. One good way to track watering is to put a shovel in the ground and check the soil profile. If you can take the soil from 1″ deep and rub it in your hands and it turns to powder, you are much to dry. It typically takes 20 minutes of watering just to soak through the leaf and thatch layer and begin penetrating the root system. There needs to be some moisture in the soil to sustain healthy root systems. Properly watered soil will stick together slightly when rubbing between your hands.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us at 616-813-3135 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I treat your turf like it’s My Turf”
Just a quick reminder on the summer temperatures coming up. Things are warming up with temperatures projected to be in the 80’s for a few days this week. If you haven’t started your irrigation system or begun watering yet you should do so very soon. A few light waterings per week right now depending on your soil type should be all you need to keep things looking nice.
Also please be sure to raise your mowing height in preparation for the warmer weather. We recommend 3-3.5″ beginning now through the end of the summer. Make sure to check your mowing height with a ruler. I just met with a customer last week and we measured his grass at 2″ and his John Deere riding lawn mower was set to 3.5″. Unfortunately most mowers have inaccurate mowing heights listed and will in turn cause you to mow much too short. Keeping high cut turf is one of the most important things you can do to help your lawn flourish. Please email or call 616-813-3135 if you have any questions.
“I treat your turf like it’s My Turf”
Are you struggling to grow grass in the shade? A common problem we see in the spring wake up period is poor turf density within the drip line of a tree. Depending on the situation, a thick turf in these areas may or may not be possible. There are several factors at play here, which will need to be addressed to encourage new grass in these weak shade areas. Keep in mind that shade areas will be the slowest to wake up in the springtime and can take up to a month longer than sunny areas to grow up to full mowing height.
Soil- What is below the tree? If you have a towering maple tree with a 30′ wide drip line, just imagine the root system below your feet that is necessary to keep that tree alive. Evergreen trees have a very shallow fibrous root system that is very close to the surface as well. As these roots grow they take up more and more space and compact the soil more and more, leaving very little growing media for the tender grass to take root in. In addition to that, as air temperatures rise these tree roots remove much of the moisture out of the soil and will dry out the grass under the tree quite quickly. What’s the solution? Four things need to be done: 1. Core aerate around the tree to loosen the soil as much as possible and add a thin layer (.5-1″ thick) of new soil to the area when seeding. The new seed will root into the loose soil and be uninterrupted by the tree roots. Unfortunately over time the tree will root up into the new soil and you will need to repeat the process. We have found that compost works quite well for this situation. 2. Keep a closer eye on soil moisture in your shade areas. In the months of July and August the trees will really start to take a toll on the grass beneath them and will dry out the soil very quickly, which will in turn thin out the turf considerably. Schedule an additional light watering in the afternoon in these areas to keep them moist. 3. Give up on some areas. If you have massive surface roots near the base of the tree, it is just not realistic to expect grass to flourish there. Consider expanding a mulch bed around the tree to cover a much larger area, then continue with your attempts to grow grass outside of this “non-grass” area. 4. Keep traffic to a minimum. Foot traffic and mowing traffic affect shade areas. If you have a push mower, I would recommend using it rather than putting a riding mower on it. Try to walk on it as little as possible. Turf in the shade has a very weak root system and does not hold up to traffic well.
Pruning- What is blocking the sunlight above you? If you want to grow grass in the shade, keep in mind that most grass varieties take a minimum of 4-6 hours of sunlight per day to grow well. The shape of the tree will directly affect this. Remember that for much of the spring and fall the sun rises and sets to the south, so keeping that southern exposure open is important. Consider cutting back low hanging branches and thinning out the trees as much as possible. In extreme cases you may be forced with a decision to completely remove a tree if you would like to achieve a decent stand of grass in that area.
Seed Variety- Consider this common scenario: A house was built 15-20 years ago on an open lot. One tree is planted in the front yard and one in the back yard. They are relatively small trees and shade is not an issue. The lawn gets seeded with a full sun mixture consisting of mainly Ryegrass and Bluegrass. The lawn looks great for many years. Fast forward 15-20 years and these two trees planted are now creating some shade. Your full sun seed mixture is not so happy under the trees anymore. As conditions change we need to address that by introducing a different seed mixture. In order to grow grass in the shade you will need to match the seed with the conditions. Consider reseeding with a moderate shade seed mixture, or in extreme situations use a dense shade seed mixture. These shade mixtures will have much less Rye and Blue, and have much higher percentage of Fine Fescue varieties. We typically don’t prefer to plant Fine Fescue in a full sun situation but in a shade area it can be an excellent choice. With the proper seed mixture you can get away with as little as 4 hours of sunlight. Keep in mind the grass will never be as thick as it could be in the full sun, but you will have grass coverage.
Moss- while not always a problem in the shade, moss can definitely work against your efforts. Moss loves shade. Moss loves damp. If you put these conditions together you could see moss slowly taking over the turf in these areas. The issue with moss is that the growing pattern is so dense that it can choke out every opportunity for your good grasses to grow. It can be pretty tough to prevent moss from growing without an environment change, but it can be controlled. All you need to do is add 2-3 oz of liquid original Dawn dish soap to 1 gallon of water in a hand sprayer. Shake well and spray on the moss anytime it is actively growing. An additional application may be needed for complete control. Once the moss is dead you can rake and continue with the reseeding process. This solution is especially helpful from a continued maintenance standpoint. If you have been able to achieve decent grass in a shade area but are plagued by moss continually creeping in, we have found that one or two spot applications per year will help to keep the moss in check.
These tips, combined with an understanding of what is achievable, will help you in your work to grow grass in the shade. If you have any further questions on this please don’t hesitate to call us at 616-813-3135 or send us an email to email@example.com
“I treat your turf like it’s my turf”
A little spring raking is never a bad idea. Snow mold can be a common sight in West Michigan lawns during the spring, especially in shady or wet areas. We are not seeing too much of a problem with snow mold this year (most likely because we had little snow cover this winter) but it is around here and there. Snow mold is a fungus that typically affects lawns in the early spring. It can have a pink or gray appearance, and typically ranges in size from 1″ to 6″ across. A little light raking with a leaf rake is best to open up the matted appearance and allow for a quicker recovery. Late March is a great time in West Michigan to take care of any of the fungus present. If extreme snow mold is not opened up by raking to allow for proper airflow, the grass can completely die out in these areas. We recommend lightly raking any other heavy thatch areas or damage areas from voles over the winter. Please call or email if you have any questions.
“I treat your turf like it’s My Turf”
My Turf is excited to begin a new season of fertilizing and weed control on your lawn this year. The trucks are ready to go and we took in the first 3 loads of product from one of our vendors here in West Michigan. Much more will be coming over the next few weeks. A few weeks ago in February we thought it was going to be a real early season but now things seem to be cooling back down again. I just checked the 8 day forecast and it sounds like Grand Rapids will get to experience some snow again early next week! Temperatures will be at or below freezing for much of next week as well. We have seen a few companies out treating already but have decided it is much too early. It looks at this point as if most of our first application is going to take place from late March through early May which is pretty typical for West Michigan.
“I treat your turf like it’s My Turf”
Kregel’s Landscape & Garden Center is excited to announce that we are going to be rebranding our lawn fertilization and pest control division. Our new name is My Turf LLC. This is not a sell off to another company; it is merely a name change. My Turf LLC will continue to be owned and operated by the Kregel family and therefore continue to offer the same high level of service that we have in the past. This name change will allow the employees in our lawn treatment division to have more defined roles, as well as better focus and accountability.
This is going to be a bit of a challenge for us as we work to spread our new name, so we are asking for your assistance. Here are a few ways you can help us:
Reviews– we have many great reviews under our Kregel’s name, but very few under our new My Turf name. We have a new website set up as well as Google places, Facebook, and Angie’s List pages. We would be honored if you would take the time to review our company. You can visit our new website www.myturfllc.com and navigate to the review page to read other reviews and create your own.
Contact Information– In order to help separate the landscaping division from the lawn fertilization and pest control division in our company we have our own contact information. Please use this when contacting us in any way to avoid any delay in communication.
Address: PO Box 368, Byron Center MI, 49315
We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for helping us work to improve our lawn fertilization and pest control company and customer service in every way possible. We are excited to continue bringing you the high level of service and product quality as we have in the past. As always, feel free to call or email us with any questions. Your feedback on our service is what drives us to improve.
Thank you from the My Turf team,
Jason, Andy, Jay, David, Mike, Sean