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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

How Often & How Long Should I Water My Lawn?

In this brief article, we’ll answer the two most frequently asked questions related to watering and will provide guidance to help you reduce drought stress on your lawn.

 1) How often should I water my grass?

 2) How long should I run my sprinklers?
How often should I water my grass?
The answer to this question is simple: Usually not more than twice per week unless you are establishing a new lawn. More frequent watering may cause problems with your lawn.
Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass usually will look good and stay healthy with deep irrigation once weekly. Twice weekly would be plenty.

Tall Fescue will certainly need deep irrigation twice per week. Three times may be necessary for Tall Fescue during the hottest, driest weeks of summer. However, setting your sprinklers to run three or more times per week regardless of rainfall creates weed problems and increases the risk for fungal disease.

Some people water twice a day, every day, every other day, or at least three times per week. If you are one of these people you may be creating an ideal environment for fungal disease and some of the toughest weeds.

Some of the most frequently watered lawns that we see in the Wake Forest/Rolesville area have the worst problems with tough summer weeds. Warm-season annuals, such as crabgrass and spurge, need frequent moisture to germinate. Nutsedge thrives in persistently moist soil.

Pathogenic fungi also love moisture. They develop on the blades of your grass, and the more frequently you wet your grass the more likely you will be to eventually see a fungal disease.

How long should I run my sprinklers?
The answer to this question is not as simple because different types of sprinklers vary in the amount of water they put out in a given amount of time. Sprinkler heads vary in their rate of output and range of motion.

To find out how long you should run your sprinklers, measure how much water they are putting out. Put out a few soup bowls around your lawn. Then run your sprinklers to see how long it takes to fill them with a certain amount of water. Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass lawns will thrive on 1″ of water per week through the summer. Tall Fescue lawns need about 1.5″ of water per week.

The best practice for lawn irrigation is to measure rainfall and manually run sprinklers only when needed to supplement rainfall.

If you have an automated system and prefer to “set it and forget it,” consider this slight alternative for keeping your grass healthy while minimizing weeds and the risk for disease. Program your system to apply about 50-75% of the total amount of water your lawn needs. If rain does not make up the other 25-50% for a given week, then run your sprinklers one additional time to make up the difference.


Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
This is a frequently asked question that we’ll answer in this article.

What is thatch?
Thatch is dense plant matter at the base of the grass. The dead brown growth on dormant warm-season lawns during winter may become part of the thatch unless it is removed. Under certain conditions, thatch builds up over time and prevents water, nutrients, and air from reaching the roots of the grass. When these essentials cannot reach the roots efficiently, the health and density of the grass may suffer. Excessive thatch also increases the risk for disease and pest problems. Managing thatch throughout the growing season will help keep your lawn healthy.
Should I dethatch in the early spring?
Hand raking or mechanically dethatching your warm-season lawn isn’t necessary and may cause weed problems. Hand raking or mechanically dethatching disturbs the preemergent barrier that was created from the first lawn treatment of the year. The preemergent barrier prevents certain weeds from growing. Disturbing it can result in more weeds. 

Simply mow your warm-season lawn low. Bag and remove the clippings if possible. Removing most of the plant matter by mowing low has the added benefit of enabling the new green growth to appear sooner.
If your grass grew a little too high during the growing season last year, the best way to deal with it is to cut the lawn low while it is dormant. If you have more than about 1½ – 2 inches of dead growth in early spring, then cut the lawn to about one inch or as low as possible without cutting into the ground. Cutting very low during dormancy won’t hurt the grass because the plant life is in the root system (i.e., the brown grass you can see is dead).
Is it best to cut the lawn low during dormancy or after it greens up?
It is not advisable to wait until new green grass has emerged from the soil to cut the lawn very low. A healthy lawn can recover from scalping while it is growing. However, this is not ideal. It is better for your lawn to cut it low before new growth emerges.
Should I dethatch in the fall?
An alternative to cutting your warm-season lawn low in late winter is to do it after the lawn goes dormant in late fall. This will also reduce tracking of dead brittle grass into the house during winter.
How can I minimize thatch throughout the growing season?
For your warm-season lawn, mowing weekly at 1½ – 2 inches during the growing season will manage thatch to the point where normal microbial activity in the soil should adequately decompose the dead plant matter and dethatching won’t be necessary.
Warm-season lawns are prone to thatch buildup when the lawn is overfertilized or is not cut at the proper height and frequency during the growing season. Routinely mowing warm-season grasses high or cutting more than about 1/3 of the blade at once may lead to thatch build-up that natural processes can’t keep up with.
How does Crownover Green help to manage thatch?
Our approach to managing thatch is to prevent excessive growth through proper fertilization, increase microbial activity by applying biological stimulants, and core aerate the lawn in late spring after the highest threat of weed seed germination has passed. We also provide science-based recommendations to our customers on proper mowing height and frequency. Managing thatch throughout the growing season will help keep your lawn healthy.

Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
Are You Trying to Grow Grass Where Grass Won’t Grow?

If you have thin grass or areas of grass that keep dying and nothing seems to help, there may not be enough sunlight on the lawn. Sunlight supplies the energy grass and other plants need to eat, drink, and breathe. This process is called photosynthesis. No amount of fertilization, irrigation, or core aeration will improve the grass if there is not enough sunlight to drive photosynthesis.

Without enough sunlight on the lawn, your grass will be weak and more susceptible to damage from temperature extremes, wear and tear, drought, pests, fungal disease, and other stressors.

Different grasses need different amounts of sunlight to thrive.
How much sunlight does my grass need?

Tall Fescue does very well with five to six hours of full sun exposure. Centipedegrass and Zoysiagrass need six to seven hours of sunlight. Bermudagrass needs at least eight hours of full sun with the exception of a couple of cultivars that may do well with six to seven hours.
What happens if you plant grass where there’s not enough sunlight?

Tall Fescue that is seeded in an area where there is insufficient sunlight may germinate and fill in relatively well during the fall. It will usually look okay through the spring, but will gradually become weaker and thinner as the summer progresses.
Warm-season grasses are generally more resilient than Tall Fescue in our climate zone, but only if they are getting their minimum required sunlight. Warm-season grasses are usually established as sod. When installed where there is insufficient sunlight, they may look good during the first summer but may become weaker or thinner the following spring when they have acclimated to their new environment.
How can I determine if shade is killing my lawn?

Do a sunlight assessment. A quick and easy place to begin the process of determining what is going on with a struggling area of your lawn is to literally count the hours of direct sunlight the area is getting in a day.

What you find might surprise you.

Observe the area that is thin about every hour on a sunny summer day, and tally up the hours when the area is fully exposed to sunlight. If there are fewer hours of sun exposure than your grass needs, then you have your answer as to why it is struggling. The fewer the hours of sunlight per day, the thinner the grass will be. If the minimum sunlight requirements are being met, then your lawn service provider should be able to help you figure out what is going on with soil testing and other assessments.
My grass used to be beautiful. Why is it so thin now?
Landscape environments change over time as new plants are added and existing plants grow.
The elm tree that was 20 feet high with virtually no canopy when it was planted in your front yard when your home was built may shade the entire front yard for most of the day 20 years later. The increasing amount of shade it creates year after year may initially prevent the soil from drying out, which would be beneficial for the grass. Eventually, the tree may create more shade than your grass can handle, and then the grass will not do as well. 

What are my options for areas where there is insufficient sunlight?

One option is to remove trees or large shrubs that are creating the shade. Although this can be costly, it may be the only option for a lush and healthy lawn in the areas that are not getting a sufficient amount of sunlight.
Another option is to convert to a turfgrass that requires less sunlight (e.g., from Bermudagrass to Tall Fescue), but do an earnest sunlight assessment to be sure this option will work going forward as your trees and shrubs continue to grow.

A third option is to redesign your landscape to work with the amount of sunlight exposure. There are many wonderful plants that require less sunlight than turfgrasses. Consider planting some of them where turfgrass struggles. Patios and pathways add a lot of aesthetic value and functionality to a landscape, and they are lower maintenance than grass or other plants. If you are not the gardening type, you can get some help from a landscape designer.
In summary, when the type of grass you have requires more sunlight than it gets on a daily basis, it’s never going to be lush and healthy. However, there are options for working around the situation.

Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Signs of Moles in the Lawn

Moles can cause damage to a landscape, including turfgrass, small annual plants, and paver patios or walkways. They tunnel unseen through the top few inches of soil in search of prey, and leave a trail of damage behind them. In a lawn, the tunnels appear as narrow ridges that may have a small hole here or there where the mole popped its head out. In a lawn with a lot of mole activity, the surface may feel spongy as it is walked upon. These are tell-tale signs of…


Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

What Can I Do About Fire Ants On My Lawn? 

Most of the time fire ants are unwanted on our lawns, so it may be surprising to hear that they do offer some benefits for homeowners.

In this brief article, we will highlight some of their benefits, identify reasons why you might not want them on your lawn, and will offer some options for getting rid of them without using toxic chemicals.

Benefits (Surprisingly, there are some.)

Fire ants help to naturally aerate the soil which helps water and nutrients reach the roots of the grass. They also help to control some unappealing insects such as fleas, ticks, termites, cockroaches, and mosquitos.

Thanks, but no thanks… 

While they may have benefits, there are a few reasons why you might not want them on your lawn…

1. First, they can be unsightly. A mound of ants in the yard doesn’t look so great.

2. They can also cause damage to wildlife such as ground-nesting birds, reptiles, and deer.

3. Their sting is painful and can cause blisters and itching for days (and can result in an allergic reaction for some). This is the primary reason most homeowners don’t want them around.

How do I get rid of fire ants on my lawn?

Crownover Green does not treat fire ants because they are usually beneficial for turfgrass. If your goal is to eliminate them, there are a few options:

Professionals: You can hire a professional pest control company. They will likely be able to eradicate the ants quickly. Though, you will want to find out what they are planning to use to ensure that it isn’t toxic to you or your pets.

If you are looking for a Do It Yourself (DIY) solution, there are a couple of options:

Boiling water:
You can pour a few gallons of boiling water on an anthill mound. As a bonus, boiling water is also a non-toxic way to kill weeds. However, boiling water will also kill the grass, so you’ll want to avoid getting the boiling water on the grass.

Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade): Diatomaceous Earth scratches the outer shell of the ants, causing them to dry out and die from dehydration. This is our preferred method for treating and eliminating fire ants as well as many other unwanted insects. While the food-grade type can be consumed, it is important to avoid inhaling the Diatomaceous Earth.

We’re often asked for a recommendation for what to buy. You can pick up diatomaceous earth from a local garden store or here’s a link to an online option: https://amzn.to/3hcNM5P

Baits and Sprays: We don’t recommend baits and sprays because they can be harmful to your lawn, your family, and your pets.

Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
How Can I Avoid Brown Patch on My Tall Fescue Lawn?

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the optimal time period for the development of Brown Patch disease on Tall Fescue lawns. In this brief article, we’ll explain what Brown Patch is, what causes it, and what you can do to avoid brown patch on your lawn.
What is Brown Patch?

Brown Patch is a fungal disease of the lawn that causes areas of brown grass that are often circular in shape. Brown Patch only affects Tall Fescue lawns; it does not affect Bermuda, Centipede, or Zoysia lawns.
What Causes Brown Patch?

The fungi that cause Brown Patch become active when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees and especially so when nighttime temperatures are above 70 degrees. Brown patch is likely to develop when grass blades are continuously wet for 10 to 12 hours.

What Can I Do to Reduce the Risk of Brown Patch on My Lawn?

The high dew points and late-day showers that are common in our climate zone during the summer create prime conditions for the development of Brown Patch within the blades of grass of Tall Fescue. If you are a Crownover Green customer, our treatments will help reduce the risk for disease in your lawn. There are also a couple of important things you can do to further reduce the risk of Brown Patch in your lawn. Specifically, you want to avoid contributing to the environmental moisture within the blades of grass overnight through the summer months. 

Water in the Morning.  It is essential to water early in the day so that the daytime sun dries the grass blades. Watering just before sunrise ensures that most of the water gets to the roots of the grass with little or no evaporation, and when the sun hits the lawn it helps dry the blades of grass as quickly as possible.

Water Deeply & Infrequently.  On the mornings that you water, it is important to water deeply so that the root zone is properly soaked.

Mow weekly at 3.5 inches.  Leaving the grass too long may prevent it from drying out as quickly as possible, which potentially increases the risk for Brown Patch. Maintaining it too short through the hot summer will likely stress your cool-season Tall Fescue and make it more susceptible to Brown Patch.

Remember…for Tall Fescue lawns, watering deeply two times per week may be sufficient. When it is exceptionally hot and dry, your lawn may need deep watering three times per week. Watering more frequently than this will increase the likelihood of developing Brown Patch and other fungal diseases.

For more information about how much and how long to water your lawn, check out our previous blog post, It’s Time to Water the Lawn: How Much and How Long

Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
Should I add compost to my lawn? 
What is compost? 
Compost is decaying organic material. It can originate from food scraps, animal manure, wood, or other natural materials. Good compost is decomposed to the point that you should not be able to discern what the original raw material was. It should all look similar if it is sufficiently decomposed.
How would compost help my lawn? 
Decomposing organic matter builds the structure of the soil. In our area, most soil is hard-packed clay or is sandy. Incorporating organic matter into either type of soil helps the soil hold nutrients and water better, which helps plants (such as your grass) grow better. You will get more return on your investment of fertilizers (i.e. nutrients) that are applied to your lawn if you increase the organic matter in your soil.
Do I need to add compost to have a nice lawn?
Adding compost is not essential for having a nice lawn. Crownover Green will help you produce a nice lawn with carbon-based fertilizer and biological soil stimulants. However, adding compost can speed up the process and take your lawn to the next level.  
How much compost should I put down?
Go easy on the compost. For topdressing a lawn, apply about ¼ – ½ inch. Do not apply more than about ½ inch. A little compost will do amazing things for your lawn. A lot of compost can be detrimental. A heavy topdressing can smother the grass initially. Also, nitrogen (a major plant nutrient in fertilizers) that would otherwise help your grass grow healthy may be tied up in the decomposition process of the compost material rather than directly benefiting your grass.
When should I add compost to my lawn?
Topdressing with compost is beneficial anytime while the grass is growing. Doing it immediately before or after core aeration may help incorporate the compost into the soil faster.
Where can I get compost?
If you are looking to topdress your entire lawn then you should order your compost by the cubic yard from a landscape supply store. Local stores that sell mulch, soil, and gravel also probably sell compost. If you want to topdress just small areas of your lawn that do not seem to grow as well even though they are getting the minimum required sunlight for your type of grass, then buy some bags of compost at the garden center.
How do I go about topdressing my lawn with compost?
If you have a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and are looking for a good workout, then you have what you need to scatter the compost across your lawn. If you are having trouble finding any of these things then maybe hire someone. Any landscaper can do the job.  Your teenage son, daughter, or neighbor who may have no landscaping experience could also do the job.

What if I want to coordinate the timing of adding compost with my core aeration?
If you are a Crownover Green customer with a warm-season lawn (Bermuda, Centipede, or Zoysia), are considering adding compost, and want to time it with core aeration, you will very soon receiving schedule notifications with information about your upcoming aeration (if you selected the optional spring aeration). To learn more about the benefits of aeration for a warm-season lawn check our blog article, Should I Aerate My Warm Season Lawn?

If you have a Tall Fescue lawn and are a Crownover Green customer, seeding and aeration will happen in the fall, which is a good time to apply compost, but it can also be done anytime the grass is growing.

Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Should I Aerate my Warm-Season (Bermuda, Centipede, or Zoysia) Lawn?

In lawn care, aeration (also known as core aeration) refers to the loosening of soil particles to enable air, water, and nutrients to penetrate through the root zone of the turfgrass, which contributes to healthier and thicker grass. Core aeration involves pulling small plugs of thatch and soil from the lawn with a machine. This mechanical method of extracting cores aerates the soil instantaneously.

Core aeration is an optional service for Crownover Green clients who have warm-season lawns.

Why should you choose core aeration for your warm-season lawn?
The clay soil that is common in Wake Forest, Rolesville, and surrounding areas is naturally compacted. The ordinary use of your warm-season lawn can make it worse, which progressively stifles the healthy development of your turf. Well-aerated soil promotes heartier root growth, which helps your grass grow thicker and enables it to better resist drought stress as well as weeds, diseases, and pests.

This image shows how aeration works to benefit your lawn:

Core aeration does not necessarily need to be done every year. If your lawn gets a lot of use, then it may benefit from annual core aeration. If your lawn is in good condition and not used hard, then core aerating every 2-3 years may be sufficient.

When should you aerate a warm-season lawn?
Core aeration of warm-season grass should be done when the grass is green and growing. At Crownover Green, we schedule aeration of warm-season grasses when root development is most vigorous which usually occurs during May in our climate zone.

Doing the mechanical core aeration at this time maximizes the benefit of the aeration because the roots have a chance to grow quickly through the newly punched holes created by the aerator. This is also the beginning of the peak growing period for warm-season grasses, so the lawn recovers quickly and has the entire summer to grow thicker.
When is it best to avoid aerating warm-season lawns?
We do not recommend core aerating your warm-season grass during March or early April because this is a period when soil temperatures are usually optimum for weed seed germination. If a weed pre-emergent had been applied at its proper time then the aeration will disrupt the pre-emergent barrier and contribute to more warm-season annual weeds developing. Additionally, the act of mechanical aeration loosens and breaks up the soil, which creates an optimum environment for weeds to grow during a period when the focus of weed management should be on prevention. 

If you are not a current Crownover Green customer, but would like a cost quote for aeration for your warm-season grass, visit https://crownovergreen.com/get-a-quote/ to request a no-cost quote.


Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Should I mow before a lawn treatment? Right after a lawn treatment? 

We’ll answer both of these questions in this brief article.

Should I mow my grass right before a lawn treatment?

It is usually not necessary to mow your lawn before we arrive and it is often helpful to leave the lawn unmowed.

Here are a few reasons why:

Easier to see the weeds. It can be hard to see certain weeds when they are freshly cut and level with the grass, especially if they are grassy, grass-like, or finely textured broadleaf weeds. Most weeds tend to shoot up quicker than the grass and stand out more. Easily seeing and identifying the weeds growing in your lawn will help us treat them effectively. 

Easier to kill the weeds. Weed killers enter a plant through its foliage. If a weed has at least a day or two to grow out after mowing then there will be more foliage to take in the weed killer, which could make the treatment more effective.

Easier to identify weak areas of the lawn. Leaving some growth on the lawn for a visit helps us to identify areas that are not growing as well. If an area appears a little weaker than the rest of the lawn then we can either address it while we are there (depending on what the problem is) or make a plan to correct it.

Is it ok to mow right after a lawn treatment?

Ideally, no.

We recommend waiting 24-48 hours after a treatment to mow, if possible. We also recommend leaving the clippings on the lawn when you do mow. (Learn more about bagging clippings in this blog post, Should I Bag My Clippings When I Mow?)

A weed treatment tends to be more effective if you leave the weed undisturbed for a day or two after the treatment. Because weed killers enter the plant through its foliage, cutting off the weed immediately after its foliage was sprayed could make the treatment less effective.

Treatments of soil amendments or fungicides won’t be affected by mowing right after a lawn treatment as long as the clippings are left on the lawn. Removing the clippings would remove some of the solutions applied before they have a chance to work.
While we offer these best practices for optimizing lawn treatments, we also very much understand that it may be impractical to align your lawn mowing schedule with these recommendations.

Should I reschedule mowing or my lawn treatment?

We understand that the timing of mowing your lawn is dependent on your personal schedule or the schedule of the person or company that mows for you. It is probably not worth rescheduling your lawn mowing service if they are scheduled to mow just before or after a lawn treatment. If they are like us, they have a full schedule and are visiting your lawn on a carefully planned service route. It may be difficult to drop by a day or two later to mow your lawn.

The timing of lawn mowing and lawn treatments may not always be synchronized. This is fine. Your lawn will benefit from the lawn treatment and the proper frequency of mowing.  

If it is possible to avoid mowing 24-48 hours before and after a scheduled treatment, then we recommend doing so. Either way, just be sure to leave the clippings on the lawn for at least one mowing following a treatment. 


Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

This frequently asked question often comes from a misconception that if the moss is gone then the grass will grow better.
In fact, the existence of moss is a clear indication of an environment that is optimum for growing moss and probably not good for growing turfgrass.
Moss is commonly thought to be a fungus or that it “chokes out” the grass. These are myths…