Is your lawn ready for the Winter?

Is your lawn ready for the Winter?

When fall is just around the corner, you need to start thinking about winterizing your lawn for the coming season.

So, what does this involve, you might ask? Well, the good news is that winterizing your grass is rather a simple process that doesn’t involve a lot of money or time. However, winterization is essential if you would like to enjoy a healthy and lush lawn when spring rolls around.

The first step is to fertilize your lawn during the fall. This does your lawn a world of good because when the weather begins to cool, a lawn will respond by growing slower and moving its reserves of food and nutrients from the leaves to the roots. The roots will continue to remain active in the soil and are very receptive to winter fertilizer (which has a high potassium content). This provides additional support and strength to the roots and helps the lawn to survive the cold, winter months.

As long as you give your lawn a good fertilizing treatment in the fall, it will remain healthy as long as possible and will result in beautiful turf in the spring.

Another way in which to winterize your lawn is to aerate it during the fall. This involves using aerating shoes or a manual push aerator. Aeration will allow water and nutrients to penetrate through to the roots effectively and will precent your soil from getting too hard.

If you notice any bare or patchy spots on your lawn, now is an excellent time to reseed these areas! You will be grateful for this when spring arrives.

Finally, as the leaves begin falling, be sure to rake them away as much as possible. Grass that is covered with leaves can become smothered and can become a breeding ground for unwanted insects, fungi and other diseases that could damage the grass. Mowing over the leaves with a mulching attachment is a great idea as this minces them into tiny fragments and provides the lawn with nutrition.

Christmas lighting tips and ideas

Christmas lighting tips and ideas

xmas-lighting

Thinking of lighting up your yard for Christmas? If this is your first time doing it, it may seem overwhelming but remember to start small and build it up from there.

There are so many ways in which to decorate your lawn with lights for the festive season. This is why a theme is very important- do you like colorful lights or do you prefer a single color? Are you interested in lighting up a Christmas tree or do you want to have lit-up Santas, reindeer and angels? As a general rule of thumb for outdoor Christmas lights, less is more so remember that you need less than you think!

Try and decorate a small area (such as an evergreen tree or your eaves) and see how you like the effect. If the effect is pleasing, you could decorate another area in the same way. Remember to measure each area before heading off to the hardware store for supplies!

Once you know how you want to decorate your property, make a list of the lights you will need to buy. Incandescent lights are the least expensive and you should be able to find a wide variety of colors and options (eg. strings of mini-lights or nets) at your local hardware store. Alternatively, you could opt for LED lights which, although more expensive, are more durable. Always remember to check your lights before hanging them as there is nothing worse than a burnt-out globe when they’ve already been hung!

When decorating, think about how it will appear to folks passing your property. They won’t see the backs of trees and objects at strange angles, so save yourself some money on electricity and decorate only what they will see.

Finally, safety is always essential when decorating your property for the festive season! Lights should only be plugged into GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets and avoid hanging lights if you think they will touch a power line.

Happy holidays!

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Fall Lawn & Landscaping Tips

Fall Lawn & Landscaping Tips

pinestraw-installation-on-dormant-lawn-in-the-winter

Fall lawn care and maintenance are all about preparation.

Do it right, and it will go a long way toward a nicer lawn in the spring!

 

Even though fall weather is cooler, you should still be mowing and watering the lawn, as needed. As fall comes to an end and you prepare for the last 2 mowings of the season, set your mower blade to the lowest setting as this allows more sunlight to reach to the top of the grass.

Additionally, another important aspect of fall lawn maintenance is aeration. Aerating your lawn allows water, fertilizer, and oxygen to reach the roots and prepares it nicely for the cooler months. This can be done by renting an aerator at your local hardware store.

While leaf raking may seem like an obvious fall activity, it is actually vital to remove as many leaves as possible from your lawn during the fall. Try your best to rake regularly so that the leaves don’t have time to trap moisture and stick together (which forms a sticky mat that is not only difficult to remove but also suffocates the underlying grass and makes it prone to fungal diseases).

Lawnmowers are great tools for removing leaves! Attach a leaf collection bag to your mower and activate the vacuum system (if you have one). Your leaves will be removed in no time and you will have completed one of the most important fall maintenance tasks for your turf!

 

Of course, if you need any help on your lawn, we’re always here to help you out!

Leaf Removal Tips

Leaf Removal Tips

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It is hard to believe it but fall is just around the corner and that means raking and removing leaves! Here are our top tips for removing leaves…

Before you even think of tackling your leaves, do you have a good rake and is it the right size for you? As a rule of thumb, the bigger the rake, the smaller the job. You may also want to consider purchasing a no-clog rake which doesn’t skewer leaves and prevents you having to constantly unclog your rake.

Another incredibly handy tool for leaf removal is a leaf blower or vacuum. This is especially useful for hard-to-reach places such as flower beds and under shrubs. Many yard vacuum devices have in-built mincers which work to compact the minced leaves so that you only have to change the bag once or twice the whole season.

If your garden has a lot of trees and is on the big size, instead of placing all your leaves into bags, a better idea is to sweep them all into a large tarp and then dispose of them all at once.

Mulching mowers can also help to make leaf removal much easier in the fall. If you don’t have a mulching mower, you could raise the blade of your mower to its highest setting so that when you mow, the leaves will be broken down and will be filtered into the grass blades. This works well for medium to large sized yards and the leftover bits of leaves will act as a beneficial mulch for your lawn.

Finally, remember that when leaves begin falling, they can trap water on your roof and in your gutters, causing it to deteriorate if left for a long period. To prevent this from happening, try and remove as many leaves as possible from your roof with a broom that has been attached to an extension pole.

Prevent invasive Winter and Spring weeds by acting now!

lawn covered with weeds that needs treatment

Prevent invasive Winter and Spring weeds by acting now!

lawn covered with weeds that needs treatment

Anyone who is proud of their lawn will not be a fan of weeds. So, how can you prevent those unsightly winter and spring weeds from emerging?

Well, the first step to a weed-free yard is to have an effective and tailor-made weed prevention program by using a good pre-emergent herbicide. This will prevent the problem of unwanted weeds, especially winter weeds.

Winter weeds normally germinate in early fall and during the winter months. They also grow abundantly in the spring, will flower and then die during the summer months. The cycle begins again in the fall when germination takes place.

If you do not manage them, your garden’s winter weeds can pose a huge problem when spring arrives. During the spring, you want to concentrate on yard maintenance and having an overwhelming amount of weeds will be very annoying.

A good quality pre-emergent herbicide will prevent the seeds of these weeds from germinating and this should be applied in late summer or in early fall. This product will form a barrier in the uppermost layers of your soil and will stop any weeds from growing above the soil. This results in fewer weeds when the warmer months arrive and a better looking lawn!

It is important to remember that although pre-emergent herbicides are highly effective when it comes to preventing weeds from germinating, the product needs to be used properly to have the desired effect. Always make sure that you mix it correctly so that the right strength is achieved and ensure that your sprayer is calibrated correctly.

When spraying your pre-emergent herbicide, try your best to cover the lawn evenly, leaving no spots untreated. It is also of no use to spray only a few spots as open spaces allow weeds to emerge.

Remember that a preventative weed program is essential for a beautiful yard!

Get greater curb appeal with a healthy lawn

lawn service

Get greater curb appeal with a healthy lawn

lawn service

Having a good-looking lawn is increases curb-appeal. It is extremely important to pay attention to your lawn as an unhealthy lawn can ruin the entire look of your property.

The first step in creating a lush, green and healthy lawn is to determine which type of grass you have in your area (for example, here in Birmingham area,  our grass types are Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine). Another consideration is your climate and how much sun and rain your grass receives. This will determine how often you should be watering your lawn.

Watering your lawn properly is important as it provides the grass with the correct amount of moisture, it cools down the temperature of the soil and it helps wash any fertilizer into the soil.

During the colder months, your grass still needs attention and will benefit from frequent and shallow watering to keep it looking in tip-top shape. The reason for this is that winter grass has shallower root systems than in the summer months.

The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning because it is cooler and there is less evaporation. In addition, if your grass dries before sunset, there is a reduced risk of it contracting a disease.

You can speed up the growth and development of your new, healthy lawn by mowing frequently. However, take care not to cut the grass too short as (no more than 1/3 inch of the blade) and also ensure that your mower blades are kept sharp.

Finally, if you decide to aerate your lawn, you will be doing it a massive favor! These 2 processes help to remove any dead root material from the lawn and ventilate the lawn’s root system if the grass underlayer is becoming problematic.

We’re here to help! Greener lawns. Sharper image.

A homeowner’s guide for a healthy lawn

Homeowner's Guide for a Healthy Lawn

nice-green-lawn

You don’t need to spend hours every day tending to your lawn to make it healthy, it’s easier than you think! Here is a great guide to obtaining a great-looking lawn.

The way in which you mow your lawn plays a big role in healthy grass. As a rule of thumb, you should cut your grass at a proper shorter height that’s appropriate for your grass type when you mow for the first time in the season. This helps to remove dead grass and allows sufficient sunlight in. For subsequent mowings, the cutting height should be around 2 – 3 inches (based upon the type of grass you have) and always make sure that the mowing blade is sharp.

To look its best, your lawn should receive 1 to 2 inches of water every week. This amount of water will ensure that the roots have enough water to grow and your grass will not dry out. Aim to water your lawn early in the morning as less water will be evaporated and your grass has a chance to dry out before it gets dark.

Aerating your lawn allows oxygen and nutrients to the roots grow healthy. Aerating your lawn involves removing small soil cores and helps improve the interaction between the soil and the surrounding atmosphere. Additionally, aeration helps fertilizer and water to reach deeper levels of the soil and also decreases soil compaction. The best way to aerate your lawn is to use a professional aerator, which is available at most home improvement stores. Aeration should be done in either the spring or fall when there is less of a chance that there will be weed seeds settling in the open spaces.

Finally, using a good fertilizer at the right time can make a huge difference to the health of your lawn. Fertilizing the grass in the fall will help to repair any damage that occurred during the summer and can also help your grass to survive during the colder months. Fertilizing in the early Spring can help “kick-start” growth and green quickly. Extra applications during the year also help your lawn to be in tip-top shape.

Sharper Image Lawns is here if you need help getting your grass strong and healthy. Give us a call and we’ll help you with a customized lawn program that works for you.  

Reasons you should consider aeration for your lawn

Reasons you should consider aeration for your lawn

lawn-aeration-in-hoover-alabama

If you are debating whether or not aeration would be beneficial to your lawn, then read further because we explain why it is essential for healthy grass!

When your lawn is aerated, small amounts of soil are removed which decreases soil compaction. This is generally known as “core aeration”, a term that your lawn service should be familiar with. This process will help roots to grow properly, giving you great-looking grass.

 

 

In a nutshell, aeration is the natural process of air exchange of your soil and the air around it.

There are countless benefits to aerating your grass but the main ones are that your lawn will become healthier, reducing the amount of maintenance it needs. This is because the soil is able to absorb more water and fertilizer, the air exchange between your soil and the surrounding air is improved, so stronger grass roots develop. There is also a reduction in soil compaction, puddling and water runoff. The lawn will be able to withstand heat and droughts better, and will become more resilient.

A non-aerated lawn has more compact soil which often does not allow it to establish a good root system, and prevents fertilizer and water from getting to the roots.

With aeration you can prevent soil compaction and enjoy a lush and healthy lawn. 

 

Give us a call and we’ll get you an immediate quote on aeration for your lawn.

Tips to wake up your grass after winter!

Tips to wake up your grass after winter

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During the winter months, your grass is dormant but there are many things you can do to have healthy-looking grass once spring arrives.

Fertilizing your grass is essential to keep it healthy. Be sure to use a product for your specific grass type and read the instructions. Apply only the recommended amount of fertilizer as too much could burn the grass.

Another crucial part of maintaining your lawn during the winter months is to aerate. This process provides additional space for grass to create a healthier root system. Aerating can be done by removing spikes of soil throughout the lawn which leaves holes in the ground for air, water, and nutrients. If your yard is on the large side, you could always rent a manual or motorized aerator to make the job easier.

During the winter, it can be tempting to do less garden work. However, if you regularly tend to your lawn, your efforts will definitely pay off! Be sure to water and rake the grass so that any soil clumps are broken up and seeds can be covered. Watering your grass can be done with a regular garden hose (which should be done often so that the soil does not dry out).

Finally, sprinkling your lawn with cool-weather grass seed can make a huge difference! Ensure that the grass seed you buy indicates that it is for “cool weather or season”. Most fescues are good for cool weather. The seed should then be spread over your grass with a spreader (it can be the same one you used for fertilizing). Spreading the grass seed evenly will prevent you from having clumps of grass later on.

If you want a greener lawn, give us a call. We’re here to help!

Crepe Myrtle Pruning Guide for Birmingham

how to trim crepe myrtles

Your Crepe Myrtle Pruning Guide

how to trim crepe myrtles

To properly prune a crepe myrtle, it’s a good idea to know what you’re trying to accomplish. Remember, you can always go back and cut more, but you can’t undo. A common objective is to create and maintain defined main trunks while thinning out out the smaller growth.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED to get started:

  • Hand pruners for growth and branches less than ½ inch thick.
  • Loppers for branches ½ to 1 ½ inches thick
  • Pole pruner or pruning saw for branches thicker than 1 ½ inches
  • Ladder (if the tree is taller/mature)

WHEN should you cut?

The best time to prune a crepe myrtle is in the late winter time. During this time it will be leafless allowing you to easily see all of the branches. It’s also important to know that trimming at this time of year helps blooming on new growth, which will happen during the Spring. Pruning during late winter won’t reduce blooming, but increases it.

tips on pruning crepe myrtles

WHAT should you cut?

It is easiest to remove branches in the following order:

  1. Remove suckers – remove the sprouts that emerge come up from the base.
  2. Shape the Trunk – remove side branches that grow from the main trunks up to around 4-6 feet.
  3. Thin branches – trim the higher inner branches that grow toward the center.
  4. Remove excess – remove the crossing, rubbing, and dead growth.
  5. Shape – finish up by removing branches or growth that detract from the tree’s appearance.

Additional tips

  • Be sure to trim at an angle.
  • For tall trees, trim high.
  • For bushes, trim low.
  • Trim at least 8 to 12 inches above the “knuckles” if present.

Try to always cut back to the trunk or a larger branch. It’s not a good idea to leave stubs. Removing the seed-heads on the ends of branches isn’t necessary, but optional.

If you have any questions, need some advice or would like some help, reach out, we’re here to help!