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03 Aug 2022
image of bittercress

Bittercress Treatment in PA & NJ

Bittercress treatment is one of the more frequent year-annual services that lawn care teams will be asked to work on. With the winter months wrapping up, we are beginning to enter the spring season which signals the growth of all things green. While some of our favorite plants and flowers may begin to bloom, so too will many of the various weeds that lawn owners and growers will have to battle throughout the long lasting summer months. 

A small flowering plant that you might begin to see in your lawn during this time of year is bittercress, a winter annual weed that can grow while soil conditions are still quite cold. Bittercress has a few defining characteristics, but is most recognizable for the small white flowers that grow along the vertical stems of the plant. It can be one of the most difficult winter lawn weeds to deal with, but luckily there are some steps that can be taken to effectively treat it and control its growth.

Understanding and Identifying Bittercress

As we jump into spring, some of us may begin to notice small plants with little white flowers beginning to emerge along the edges of our lawns, flowerbeds, and walkways. These newly visible weeds are likely growing populations of bittercress, a winter annual that forms during April and May. Bittercress is part of the group of winter annual weeds that are found amongst lawns and gardens primarily throughout the eastern portion of the United States. This means that lawns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are especially prone to supporting the growth of bittercress. 

A further unique trait of bittercress weeds is that they tend to prefer cooler soil, allowing it to spread quickly throughout yards, gardens, and flower beds, most prolific after early spring rains. The tiny flowers that develop along the stems of the plant eventually turn into long seed pods. Later once ripe, the pods will rapidly split open and begin to cast seeds throughout its surrounding environment, further adding to its ability to seemingly grow swiftly and with ease.

How to Effectively Treat and Control Bittercress

Despite some of the benefits that bittercress offers, such as its edibility, most property owners are going to seek to eliminate it before seed dispersal takes place. Handling bittercress can prove to be quite a difficult task to handle, as there are many different factors that must be considered when building a plan to treat it. Since bittercress is considered a winter annual, it grows during times when soil conditions are still relatively cold.

This makes it especially hard to treat because typical early season weed control methods are not effective because temperatures are typically too cold for them to achieve any real results. With ordinary temperature spikes, many plants such as bittercress will begin to grow but then quickly return to not growing once temperatures begin returning to normal. In order for conventional weed control products to work, the plants must still be growing. Effectively controlling bittercress takes very specific timing, and an advanced chemical treatment formula. 

This is where the help of experienced lawn care professionals can help. Blue Grass Lawn Service specializes in treating early season bittercress, and can work with you to develop a plan to keep it away after your first lawn cutting. Our team has over 36 years of lawn care experience serving the many different needs of folks across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Featured Image: "Hairy bittercress," by Melissa McMasters, licensed under CC BY 2.0

27 Jul 2022
Image of mosquito on fingertip

Mosquito Prevention

Mosquito prevention can be one of the most annoying challenges that we all face during the warmer months. While we are now able to get outside more and partake in our favorite summer activities, we are often pestered by mosquitos and other bugs while doing so. Rather than receiving the full level of enjoyment that we are owed from our summer lifestyles, in many instances we endure an added feeling of irritation and discomfort, oftentimes right in our very own backyards. 

Mosquitoes are one of the most persistent, widespread, and especially unwelcome pests that we deal with. Although the classic image of a mosquito habitat may be a tropical swamp, they can be found almost anywhere, even in barren and dry locations. Mosquito bites produce itchy reactions that can be maddening and become worse when scratched. Even when they don't bite, their buzzing and swarming are irritating on their own. On top of all that, mosquitos can be harmful to humans all over the planet as they have the ability to transmit disease.

Mosquitoes are a surefire way to ruin a nice afternoon, keep you inside on pleasant evenings, and generally diminish the satisfaction you get from being outdoors. Luckily there are measures that can be taken to reduce the presence of mosquitos, so that you can get back to indulging in the joys of summer more comfortably and peacefully. In order to prevent their presence, it is important to first understand the mosquito ecosystem and how your lawn or property might play a role. Continue reading for more information and some of our general guidelines when it comes to mosquito prevention

The Mosquito Breeding Cycle

The biology and mating patterns of mosquitoes allow them the ability to reproduce abundantly and rapidly. When humans want to reproduce, it can require several attempts before success. A female mosquito, on the other hand, needs to only encounter a male once to breed. Female mosquitoes can produce anywhere between 100 and 300 eggs at one time, and the eggs can hatch into mosquito larvae within 48 hours. For about a week to 10 days, the larva will grow before changing into a pupa until finally emerging as an adult mosquito about two days later. Now within just 14 days, you have an entirely new formed generation of mosquitoes ready to start the reproduction cycle all over again.

Quickly, you can see why natural predators can never keep up with the mosquito population and why your yard will never be free of them unless you take other measures. Fortunately, mosquitoes do not have the ability to reproduce year round. You might have noticed that they – along with many other bugs and insects – aren’t around much during the colder months. Mosquitoes only become active and begin their breeding cycle when temperatures begin to stay at or above 50°. Depending on the species, mosquitos will either hibernate or die off when temperatures drop back below that mark. 

Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water – usually in vegetation or in still water. You might notice that mosquitoes seem to be more pervasive in areas containing lakes, swamps, or marshes. These types of environments are mosquito breeding hotbeds. However, mosquitoes are not just limited to breeding in these areas, most will only need a very small amount of still water.

Control and Prevention

There's some relatively simple approaches one can take to control their breeding grounds and reduce the mosquito population in a certain area. For many homeowners, this would include the areas in which they spend the most time outdoors, such as yards or patios. The best approach to mosquito control is to keep them from showing up in the first place. You can accomplish this by removing the areas where they breed, which as discussed earlier is anywhere there is still or standing water. This can include spots as small as a quarter, so do a careful inspection of your outdoor area to find any vessels of water.

This can include:

  • Ponds
  • Puddles
  • Bird Baths
  • Flower Pots
  • Garbage Cans
  • Gutters
  • Heavily Shaded Areas

Standing water on your lawn can also prove to be an issue when trying to keep away mosquitoes. After rainstorms or long periods of rainfall, check for areas where water seems to pool and not entirely drain. If this is a regular occurrence then extra work might have to be applied to that area to ensure proper drainage in order to prevent pooling and becoming a continued breeding ground for insects. In addition to water and moist areas, mosquitoes also tend to gravitate towards cool and shaded spots as well. Bushes, tall grass, and shady areas near trees are other places that a person might look to tend to when tackling their mosquito problem. 

Summary

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to completely get rid of mosquitoes. These efforts listed above still might not be enough, especially for those dealing with a particularly bad mosquito problem. People who live next to lakes, ponds, or other water sources that produce large amounts of mosquitoes might not have much success with these do-it-yourself methods. It can take a lot of time and energy to deal with a mosquito problem on your own, for that reason mosquito control is one of the most popular services clients request from lawn care companies. Blue Grass Lawn Care Services offers a mosquito control program in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to help protect you, your family, and your pets.

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Featured Image: "Dengue mosquito," by Oregon State University, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

06 Jul 2022
image of yellow nutsedge

Nutsedge: Identification and Treatment

Nutsedge can be one of the most challenging lawn weeds to manage. There are two primary classifications of nutsedge: yellow nutsedge and purple nutsedge. Yellow nutsedge is the more common form of the weed that folks in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas will deal with, and will be the primary focus of this article.

Nutsedge can spell trouble for a lot of lawn owners because of its aggressive growth and reproduction patterns. Its physical characteristics make it look a lot like regular grass, which can make it hard to identify in its early stages before it starts to spread and invade lawns. However, with proper identification and the correct control methods, nutsedge can be more effectively managed. In order to treat and control these difficult lawn weeds, it is important to first learn about what nutsedge really is, and how it functions. 

How to Identify Nutsedge

Nutsedge, also commonly called nutgrass, is a grass-like weed in the sedge family. Yellow nutsedge is easily identified by its yellow to light green glossy leaves and the triangular shape of the stem. In contrast, the stems of regular turfgrass are more round. Nutsedge weeds form dense colonies and grow faster than turfgrass, becoming noticeable again just two to three days after mowing. If left untouched and allowed to grow tall enough, the weeds will begin to develop seedheads. 

Nutsedge grows most actively during the warm spring and summer months. Yellow nutsedge thrives under warm, wet conditions and can often be found in low, damp areas of lawns. This weed will often peak during or after seasons with above normal amounts of rainfall. Nutsedge outbreaks often start in moist, poorly drained lawn areas, where they quickly develop into large colonies. Their extensive root systems may reach up to four feet deep. Once established, these weeds can tolerate drought.

Nutsedge Growth

Nutsedges can spread and reproduce in many different ways. These weeds are able to spread via underground stems, known as rhizomes, which send up shoots that become new plants. The most prevailing way that nutsedge will reproduce is through underground tubers known as “nutlets”. If you were to uproot nutsedge you would find a tangled root system made up of these rhizomes and nutlets. 

Nutsedge roots extend deep into the soil of your lawn or garden beds, reaching up to 14 inches down into the soil. Those depths protect nutlets from the effects of many common herbicides and cold winter weather that might otherwise kill them. When the perennial weed dies in fall, its rhizomes and tubers survive the winter and sprout new plants in spring. One yellow nutsedge plant can produce thousands of nutlets each year, which can each eventually produce nutsedge patches several feet wide.

Tips For Treatment

With so much time and effort put forth towards caring for our lawns, we are going to do whatever it takes to keep them looking their best. Nutsedges are a problem in lawns because they grow faster, have a more upright growth habit, and are a lighter green color than most grass species, causing the turf to look non-uniform. 

Now that we have a better idea of how it operates, there are some steps that can be taken in an effort to control nutsedge in your lawn. The best approach for avoiding Nutsedge problems is to prevent establishment of the weed in the first place. With a more clear picture of what nutsedge looks like, you might be able to identify the plant in its early stages before they start to develop tubers. This can help prevent the weeds from becoming established and able to spread in the first place. 

Eliminating oversaturated conditions that favor nutsedge growth can also help as well. Take steps to correct low-lying, poorly drained areas and avoid overwatering. By practicing good lawn care basics, you can protect against nutsedge invasions and give your grass an advantage over these aggressive weed pests. Healthy, vigorous grass is also an excellent defense against yellow nutsedge. 

Seek the Professionals

Perhaps you already are dealing with a nutsedge invasion and are looking to use a chemical treatment on your lawn. Pre-emergent herbicides are effective in eliminating plants that have not developed tubers. Unfortunately this herbicide may be detrimental to turf grass. Post-emergent selective herbicide applied at the appropriate time of the plant's life cycle can be an effective means of elimination, but again this herbicide may be detrimental to turf grass. 

Effective treatment and control of nutsedge calls for products designed to overcome the unique challenges of these difficult weeds. This is where a professional lawn care service can step in and provide assistance. At Blue Grass Lawn Service, we use a product specifically designed for this issue, and can work with you to develop a plan to keep nutsedge away from your lawn for good.

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Featured Image: "Yellow Nutsedge," by NY State IPM Program at Cornell University, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

06 Jul 2022

Summer Lawn Care Problems

The summer months can create a lot of problems and obstacles when it comes to maintaining a healthy and good looking lawn. While it’s the most exciting time of year for home owners and lawn experts to appreciate their months of hard work, it can also prove to be one of the most frustrating periods of time as well. Summer is when our lawns will begin to flourish and look most vibrant, but it’s also a time where they can be most vulnerable and prone to developing unforeseen problems. After so much time spent carefully manicuring and preparing your lawn, the last thing you want to see are defects.

Summer lawn diseases can be some of the most damaging issues that we encounter. Being mindful about how we maintain our lawns leading up to the summer months is important when it comes to preventing lawn diseases. Even with taking the proper precautions providing the right care leading up, summer lawn diseases can still find a way to invade healthy and well kept lawns. When this happens, it can be hard to identify the diseases and their root causes, which in turn causes frustration when trying to treat it. 

A turfgrass disease is any infectious disease caused by microscopic fungi that invade the grass. These fungi need a “host” in order to survive and reproduce whether it is dead or alive. In the case of infectious lawn disease, the host plant in this case is the grass. The fungi also need favorable conditions, such as moisture level and temperature, in order to thrive. We have compiled a list below of the more common summer lawn diseases that property owners will often deal with in the areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Summer Patch

Appearing in irregular or circular shapes of yellowish colors, summer patch is frequently found in lawns that have areas of hot and compacted soil with poor drainage. Oftentimes summer patch occurs in lawns that have been mowed too low. Most likely there is a center or surrounding area of healthy grass in or around what we call a doughnut style patch. Therefore, this allows those dead spots to become full of many forms of weeds. You may see this during mid-summer, after heavy rainfall, or consistent rain.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is one of the most common lawn diseases you’ll see among cool-season grasses, but it can also affect many warm-season grasses too. This fungal lawn disease is causing your grass leaves to thin and wilt, triggering brown colored dead spots to develop within your lawn. Brown patch shows itself as large spots of grass that appear dry or dead. The patches are generally circular or are in an irregular circle that can be up to three feet wide. The outside of the patch is often darker than the inside.

Dollar Patch

Long periods of high humidity or frequent rainfall may cause the most severe outbreaks of dollar patch. A dollar spot is relatively simple to spot with its roughly 1-inch-diameter circles of tan colored grass. You’ll often observe these spots in small clusters. In the early morning, you may notice cottonlike mycelia in the tan spots. Watering your lawn at the wrong time may extend or increase the incidence of this disease. The most common outbreaks occur when temperatures are moderately warm and change rapidly.

Red Thread

Red thread thrives in climates that offer warm days and cool, moist evenings, making yards in northern states frequent victims of this disease. The symptoms and signs of red thread are distinctive, most common among morning dew, water from rain, or irrigation. While red thread generally doesn’t harm your lawn directly, it does make it susceptible to other diseases and pests, so eliminating it will help keep things more green.

Tips For Summer Lawn Care

Timing fertilizer applications can be critical when it comes to avoiding lawn disease. To keep your lawn healthy and robust, follow a fertilization schedule that fits your grass type and growth cycle. Lawns that are watered deeply and less frequently usually have fewer disease problems. Water during early parts of the day to ensure that grass blades aren’t staying wet for extended periods. Warm and wet grass in poorly drained soil promotes many lawn diseases by activating fungus spores.

Lawn diseases are very complex and can be tricky to identify. Every lawn is different, and in many cases it will take the assistance of a professional lawn care service to accurately determine the issues that are affecting one's lawn. When a disease does compromise your lawn, you may need to use a control, such as lawn fungus control or lawn disease control. 

If you are having trouble with any of the problems above, or perhaps another issue pertaining to your lawn, you might begin seeking out the help of an expert lawn care service. Blue Grass Lawn Services specializes in summer lawn care treatment and prevention in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We can work with you to develop a personalized plan so that your lawn remains healthy and looking its best throughout the summer.

Featured Image: "green grass, lawn, summer, grass," by Adrian Pelletier

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25 May 2022
Image of wild violet flower

Information About Wild Violets

Wild violet is a low-growing broadleaf perennial that grows primarily in the Northern United States. Around the springtime, you may begin to notice various thick clumps of plants containing purple flowers forming around your lawn. These could potentially be wild violet plants that are growing in your outdoor space, which are most identifiable by the deep purple flowers which are five-petaled and feel almost wax-like.

Wild violet plants thrive in shady areas with moist soil, which allows them to grow and flower more prolifically in the early spring. The plants generally only grow between four to six inches high, but the thick clumps of flowers that accompany them can also attract many unwanted pollinators.

Are Wild Violet Pants Considered Weeds?

It depends on who you ask, but for many people wild violets are considered to be an intrusive and unwanted plant to have growing amongst your lawn. A weed is technically just a plant that is growing in an undesirable place, often rapidly or with more vigorous growth. While some might appreciate the colorful qualities of the wild violet flowers, in most cases they are viewed as an annoyance by folks who are aiming to maintain a clean and sharp looking lawn. This makes wild violet one of the more common lawn weeds that you will come across, especially in the areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

They can also be one of the more challenging weeds to deal with. They not only have the ability to grow in easily favorable conditions, but the structure and anatomy of the plants allow it to spread rapidly as well. The wild violet plants are able to spread so aggressively via rhizomes, which are horizontal roots that are formed under the soil as the plant grows.

These bands of roots store water and allow the plant to be drought resistant, and also produce new seeds. Wild violet plants don’t need to bloom in order to reproduce, allowing them to freely self-seed even if open flowers haven’t been pollinated. When you have something that can sprout and spread easily with little to no warning, it can then become difficult to manage.

If left ignored or untreated, wild violets can start to quickly overtake larger portions of your yard which can cause the existing grass in those areas to become choked out. While those purple flowers might not seem too terrible to look at, the potential damage that they can cause to your lawn would be far worse.

What to do About Wild Violets

Luckily if you are someone who has experienced the hassles of trying to deal with unwanted weed growth in your lawn, there are some steps you can take to avoid the additional headaches caused by wild violet plants. 

One solution is by choosing to work with professionals such as Blue Grass Lawn Service. Because of the thick waxy surface on the leaves of the wild violet plants, it is more difficult for conventional weed control products to actually penetrate into the plant itself. Typically a more specialized herbicidal treatment will need to be used in order to effectively treat and prevent further growth and spread of the weed, while also maintaining the health of the rest of your lawn. 

With a better understanding of what the plants look like and how they operate, it might be easier for a homeowner to now notice if wild violets are beginning to form before it’s too late. By identifying early stages of wild violet growth, the homeowner themself can choose to take the proper action like working with lawn professionals to ensure that the weeds don’t spread and their lawn remains in healthy condition. It is the homeowner who can be the hero that their lawn needs in this situation, not the weed killing products or the lawn service company. 

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Featured Image: "Wild Violets," by Tony Alter, licensed under CC BY 2.0. 

25 Mar 2022
image of brown grass

Recovering Dormant Grass After Winter in PA & NJ

As the weather begins to warm up, and the snow that might be covering your lawn starts to melt, we will once again be able to see the many blades of grass that make up our entire lawns. However, the grass that you’re seeing during this period of time is not going to look very pleasant. It’s likely going to look brown and withered, a stark contrast from the green and healthy appearance that it will hopefully have later on during the summer months. This is because the grass has entered the dormant stage.

What Is Dormant Grass?

Grass entering the dormancy phase essentially means that your lawn is going to sleep for an extended period of time. Dormancy is a naturally occurring cycle that all types of grasses will employ, in an effort to conserve water and nutrients that won’t be available to the grassroots over the length of the winter months. The most noticeable aspect of dormancy is the grass blades turning a brownish color, which often occurs during droughts or the fall months leading into winter. Northern grasses can endure colder weather better and typically begin to go dormant in the fall once soil temperatures begin to drop below 50⁰F. As spring comes around and the soil temperatures begin to rise again, the roots of the grass are able to receive the proper amount of nourishment needed in order to grow and stay healthy.

Coming Out of Dormancy: 

Dormant grass recovery after a long and brown winter is certainly a welcome sight for sore eyes. However there are certain considerations one should take into account to ensure that they get the best results for growing a greener and healthier lawn. The first and most important step when it comes to treating dormant grass is waiting until the right time. Dormancy is a totally natural and necessary cycle for grass to go through, so it is crucial to wait for the soil temperatures to rise. Just because the snow has completely melted away on the surface, doesn’t mean that ground and soil below has become warm enough to encourage growth as well. Make sure that you are waiting until the soil temperatures have risen enough before irrigating and fertilizing your lawn for the first time. 

There are some additional steps that you can also take as spring approaches and you begin to mow your grass for the first time. Consider raking and bagging all of the dead grass after your first few trips around with the mower. This will help with not only removing all of the brown grass that makes the lawn look dormant, but it will also allow for more direct sunlight to warm the soil and speed up growth. While you can naturally wait for your grass to exit the dormancy stage and let it grow on its own, working with an experienced lawn care professional to fertilize your lawn at the right time can help it grow to the best of its ability. At Blue Grass Lawn Service we have a specialized fertilizer formula for earlier and healthier growth, while also encouraging a darker, greener growth throughout the summer. 

Learn more about our treatment plans or give us a call at (215) 364-7000 for a FREE quote!

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Featured Image: "Cynodon dactylon," by Matt Lavin, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. 

18 Mar 2022
image of dandelions

Managing and Controlling Dandelion Growth in PA & NJ

Spring is just around the corner, which means warmer temperatures and the beginning of the growing season will be upon us. After a long and dark winter it will be refreshing to see the first flowers of spring begin to rise through the ground. We might see the likes of colorful tulips and wallflowers, or hydrangeas and primroses which all might help lift our spirits as we begin to spend more time outside in the spring weather. However, April showers will bring a lot more than just flowers and plants. Along with it we will see the likes of one of the most notorious and invasive lawn weeds: dandelions. These yellow growing weeds can seemingly begin to sprout out of nowhere, and in large quantities. While it can seem tricky to manage dandelion growth in your yard, understanding when and how they grow can help you better prepare and even prevent dandelion growth altogether.

What Exactly Are Dandelions?

Dandelions are a broad-leaf perennial weed that begins growing in early spring. They can grow in almost any type of soil, and have the ability to grow rapidly in areas with a lot of sunlight. This allows dandelions the ability to grow in almost any type of lawn, making them one of the most common lawn weeds that homeowners will often have to deal with. Dandelions grow into yellow looking flowers, which might be appealing to some, but for the majority of people it is an unwanted eyesore. Even worse, when dandelions mature they turn from a yellow flower to a white fuzzy mess, and the seeds of the dandelions can be blown easily by the wind causing them to spread around your lawn. They may seem to actually die out in the fall, the taproots of the dandelions stay intact deep under the soil and begin to sprout once again the following spring.

Dandelion Maintenance 

With the proper care and attention, dandelion growth can be easily treated or prevented. Mowing your lawn at a higher clip can actually choke out the dandelions by preventing them from getting the proper sunlight and nutrients that they need to grow. The most effective way in preventing dandelion growth entirely is by completely removing the taproot. Before winter arrives, spraying your lawn with a preventative herbicide can fully eliminate the taproots of the dandelions and keep them from growing again the following spring. If you haven't taken preventative measures, dandelions can still be easily treated as they begin to grow. Instead of hand-pulling every dandelion you can seek the help of a professional lawn care service to come and spray them with a specific weed killing herbicide. Blue Grass Lawn Service specializes in dandelion lawn care that will effectively remove dandelions while still maintaining the health of your lawn.

Learn more about our treatment plans or give us a call at (215) 364-7000 for a FREE quote!

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Featured Image: "Dandelions," by George Hodan, licensed under CC0 1.0 

20 Feb 2022
image of crabgrass

Crabgrass Weed Removal in PA & NJ

Once crabgrass begins growing in your yard, it can seem difficult to get rid of that pesky lawn weed for good. Every new growing year you may try different ways to combat your crabgrass issues. You might cut your grass extremely short, or use certain weed killers that are simply ineffective at eliminating crabgrass completely from your lawn. No matter what you try to do, crabgrass seems to continue growing and invading your lawn. Most conventional weeds live for several years, but unlike most weeds crabgrass plants only live for one year. However, what those plants are capable of doing in that one year of life can have long-standing consequences on the quality of your yard. Understanding how crabgrass behaves, and how to break its growth cycle can help you completely purge it from your lawn for good. 

Understanding the Crabgrass Growth Cycle

The first step to effectively treating your crabgrass problem is by understanding how it grows. Crabgrass is an annual weed whose seeds germinate during spring and summer. Crabgrass most commonly grows in sandy, compressed soil where the grass is in a weakened and thinned state. These delicate lawns allow sunlight to directly strike the soil, which is an ideal condition for crabgrass germination. Crabgrass self-seeds easily and a single plant can produce 150,000 seeds during the growing season, which is one of the primary reasons that it can be so difficult to treat and control. The many ungerminated seeds that are produced can stick around until the next spring and future growing seasons waiting to fully germinate and start the cycle all over again. This is why it is important to prevent crabgrass seeds from ever becoming seed-producing plants, as this is the most effective way to prevent it from growing in the first place. 

Crabgrass Pre-Emergence Treatment 

With all of these potential crabgrass seeds waiting to grow in your lawn, the best way to handle crabgrass is by using a pre-emergence treatment. The first and most critical step to this treatment is ensuring that it gets applied in the spring before the crabgrass seeds are allowed to germinate. Having an experienced lawn care professional apply pre-emergent herbicides to your lawn can keep the crabgrass away, while also ensuring that the other areas of your lawn remain healthy. If crabgrass has already begun to sprout, it can also be treated with a post-emergent herbicide that targets the actual plants instead of the seeds. If you think your lawn can benefit from pre or post-emergent care to treat your crabgrass problems, Blue Grass Lawn Service may be able to help. Our team has over 36 years of experience with various lawn care services and can work with you to decide what kind of lawn treatment best meets your needs.

Learn more about our treatment plans or give us a call at (215) 364-7000 for a FREE quote!

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Featured Image: "Large crabgrass," by  NY State IPM Program at Cornell University, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

11 Dec 2020

Why You Should Test Your Lawn’s Soil | Home Soil Testing Explained

Home lawn soil testing is the best way to find out exactly what is going on with your soil. Soil tests are used to measure the nutrients that your soil provides to plants and recommend corrective steps for any problems. Performing a soil test will provide you with helpful information and insights into establishing lawn fertility goals. Testing should be done regularly as part of your lawn maintenance schedule.

How to Sample Your Soil for Testing

To perform a home lawn soil test, you will need several soil samples from your lawn. You can either test several spots independently or mix soil from around the lawn to get a general idea of how the whole lawn is doing.

Soil samples should be collected about two to three inches below the surface of the soil. Use a trowel or a spoon to collect the sample. You should not touch it with your hands as residue from your body could affect the results.

Put each sample in a separate container and label it with where it came from. For home lawn soil testing, we recommend taking a sample from every corner of the lawn. You should also collect a sample from the center as well as any place that is different from the rest of the lawn, such as a sunny spot or a spot that does not drain very well.

What a Soil Test Measures

Home lawn soil tests measure a variety of nutrients that are essential for your lawn. Most commonly, results found in testing kits include the pH level of the soil, as well as levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash or potassium.

pH Levels

The pH level of your lawn is essential because all plants grow best at a specific pH level. If the pH level is too high or too low, your grass will not be able to use the nutrients in the soil and thus will not grow as strongly as it could.

The ideal pH for different kinds of grass varies, but most grasses like acidic soil. If your pH needs to be higher (more alkaline) you can add hydrated lime or even ashes from your fireplace. To lower pH (more acidic), ground rock sulfur is a popular additive. However, sawdust, composted leaves, and leaf mold are also beneficial for lowering the pH of your soil.

Nitrogen

Your soil needs to have the correct amount of nitrogen because nitrogen will make your grass leafy and full. If there's not enough nitrogen in your soil, your lawn will be more susceptible to pest infestation and disease. However, if there is too much nitrogen, the focus is on green growth at the expense of flowers and seeds. While this is not really a problem for lawns, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is especially useful if you are planning to sod your lawn because it stimulates root growth, gives plants a healthy start, and makes them mature faster. Phosphorus also helps plants to bloom and form seeds. While this is not so vital in the lawn, it is useful in other parts of the garden.

Potassium

Potassium or potash helps achieve early root formation, which is vital when growing grass from seed. Potassium also helps to protect your plants from drought and frost and will help make your grass stronger.

Using Home Soil Test Results

Understanding the nutrients in your lawn is only half the battle. Correctly applying the necessary corrective action based on the test results can be the deciding factor of your lawn’s health. With over 35 years of experience transforming lawns, our eight-treatment lawn plan is the best way to achieve a stronger, healthier lawn year-round! Learn more about our treatment plans or give us a call at (215) 364-7000 for a FREE quote!

 

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21 Jul 2020
Fall Seeding Core Aeration and Fertilizing

The Importance of Fall Seeding, Core Aeration, and Fertilizing

If you want a healthy, thick lawn fall core aeration, seeding and fertilizing is key. Is it worth the cost? Yes, if it is done the proper way!

Core Aeration

Core Aeration is the process where a ground-driven machine, using spikey hollow tubes spaced evenly across a rotating flange, dig into the soil. This allows the unit to move over your lawn, removing plugs. The holes left behind allow air, water, and nutrients to reach deep into the ground, promoting turf root growth, and reducing soil compaction. The holes left behind will soon decompose and provide additional nutrients for your lawn. For the best possible results, we use a ride-on tractor with a thousand-pound press, ensuring deep penetration. A walk-behind aerator does not puncture the ground deep enough.

Aeration Explained

Pro-Tip

Before aerating, make sure you remove any obstacles that may be present. If you have any in-ground irrigation system, be sure to mark all sprinkler heads as the aerator can severely damage the sprinkler heads.

Seeding and Fertilizing

While completing the core aeration, seeding and fertilizing is key. After the core aeration, you will have a good site for seed germination. We recommend seeding during the cool season, allowing for the best possible germination. Mostly around late August, September, and early October. There are a few concerns we make sure not to do. First, we never apply a crabgrass preventer as this product will keep your grass seed from germinating as well. Secondly, we cannot apply a weed control for dandelions, clover, or other weeds until the new seed has germinated and has been mowed three or four times. Light, frequent watering is the best for new seed. If you plan to have your whole lawn seeded, we highly recommend you water all you can for the best results. We only select from our vendors seed varieties that are disease and drought-resistant that are exceptionally durable and get a dark green color. Adaptability is everything and the types of seeds that we choose for your property will be as adaptable as possible for your lawns specific requirements.

stages of grass seed germination

Stages of Grass Seed Germination

Pro-Tip: Mowing and more!

Allow at least a week before cutting your lawn to 2.5 – 3 inches in length. Leave the clippings on the lawn after mowing. You should also do your best to supply one inch of water to your lawn at least once every other week. We usually try to talk customers out of seeding in the spring so that the weeds can be treated and controlled throughout the spring and summer. Then, it makes sense to aerate and seed in the fall. The fertilizer you apply now and throughout the summer will help to thicken the lawn and get it in better shape for the fall.

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