Lawn Care Practices

Preparing PA Lawns for Winter

In Bethlehem, Allentown, Lehigh Valley PA. it is important to prepare your lawn for the long winter. Follow the steps below for a healthy lawn in Spring. If you have any questions please call 610-440-1175

 

  1. Rake your leaves– If you only do one thing to prepare, do this.

Leaves will smother your grass and turn it into a dirt patch (and next spring the neighbor kids will come over to play on the new “vacant lot”). If your aches, pains and other excuses are pretty convincing then hire your local 15 year-old to do it for you so he can buy more toilet paper for your yard, oh, wait-a-minute…

You can save some of the leaves to put on your flowerbed to help prevent an early crop of weeds in the spring. When it warms up, rake, plant and you may win a prize for the best geraniums.

  1. Fertilize– Late fall (about a month before it usually freezes) is the best time to fertilize your lawn because it’s hungry! It’s been slurping nutrients out of the soil all summer to grow leaves and there’s not much left to eat. Fertilizing in the fall will help the roots survive hibernation and wake up quickly in the spring. A quick start in the spring will help prevent disease and weeds. Fertilizers like Scott’s Winterizer is specifically formulated for a feasty fall feeding.
  2. Cut your grass short– For most moist/wet climates you may want to give your grass a buzz cut before the snow flies. Generally, homeowners will mow twice in October and once in November because the grass is barely growing.

Instead of skipping weeks in October, it can be better to drop the blade height one notch and mow every week until the grass is about three-fourths of an inch tall. This will prevent a buildup of dead grass in the spring that may smother new growth.

If you live in an arid climate (20 inches or less of rain per year) and you don’t have automatic sprinklers, skip weeks when the grass is barely growing. A moderate buildup of dead grass will help hold in ground moisture over the winter.

Credit: Outdoors with Dave

Reddish Pink Patches in Your Lawn?

What is happening to my lawn you ask? Well your lawn has a common disease called red thread, Laetisaria fuciformis. Red thread usually targets turf grasses such as bent grass, red fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.

How to Spot it:
Red thread, very similar to pink patch, first appears as small pink or red spots or patches ranging from two inches to several feet in diameter. Right around this time of year, late May and into June when the temperatures are between 60-70 degrees and it’s wet and overcast and the humidity is high red thread will begin appearing. The grass will look greasy before the spot dries and fades into a light tan color. The tips of the grass blades may be covered with fine pink or red threads, giving this disease its name. Fortunately red thread only kills the grass blades, allowing the lawn to grow new blades.

How to Stop it:

  • Maintain the right amount of nitrogen in your soil.
  • Water only in the morning and never at night and make sure not to overwater.
  • Maintain a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Rgreen Organic applies a pH balance application to ensure that your soil will provide an optimal environment for healthy grass growth and color.
  • Mow at the right height, we suggest 3 to 3 1/2 inches.
  • Don’t let thatch build up and take over your turf, aerate your lawn annually.

Just remember, most turf diseases are not a major concern and will most likely go away on their own with fertilization, watering and mowing at the right height.

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Is it Winter or Spring?

With the temperatures reaching nearly 60 degrees in the middle of winter, it can leave us asking, “Is it really winter?”.  This weather has many people looking forward to summertime. Here are a few ideas of activities you can do now to get ready for the spring.

1. Start growing. Start your vegetable/flower garden early by planting seeds now. Transplant them in the spring and give them a head start.

2. Buy blooms. Buy potted flowers that bloom year-round and place them around your house. These flowers will freshen up your house.  Hibiscus, Christmas Cactus, Day Lilies, Orchids, and Geraniums are just some of the many flowers that bloom year round.

3. Grow herbs. Begin growing herbs you use for cooking like sage, parsley, basil and oregano. In addition to providing flavor, they will bring life to your windowsill.

4. Read books and magazines. Order your favorite lawn and garden magazine to find inspiration during the winter months.  Or, save money and visit your local library for gardening and lawn care books or magazines.  Let the ideas begin bouncing around and let your excitement grow for the coming spring.

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