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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
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It’s Time to Water the Lawn

We are heading into a stretch of many days with little to no rain combined with increasingly higher temperatures. This means your lawn is at risk of drought stress (browning and weakening of the lawn) if not watered properly.

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 lawn?

 2) How long should I run my sprinklers?
 
How often should I water my lawn?
 
The answer to this question is simple: Usually not more than twice per week unless you are establishing a new lawn with sod or seed. 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, but setting your sprinklers to run three or more times per week regardless of rainfall increases the risk for fungal disease in a Tall Fescue lawn.

Many 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 most invasive and hard-to-control 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—namely nutsedge, which 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, especially if you have Tall Fescue grass.

The too-frequent waterers tend to be those who have automated irrigation systems. In our experience, lawns of clients who have automated irrigation systems are more likely to develop signs of pathogenic fungus and have the worst problems with nutsedge throughout the summer.
 
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.

The length of time your sprinklers should run depends on the particular sprinklers you use and the area they are covering.

 
Here’s how to determine how long to run your sprinklers.

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.

If you have an automated in-ground irrigation system, be sure to put bowls in the various zones of the system. If you use hose-end sprinklers that require adjusting the range of motion for different parts of your lawn, then put the bowls in each area as you water.

The best practice for lawn irrigation is to measure rainfall and manually run sprinklers only when needed to supplement rainfall.
 
Here’s an alternative for those with automated irrigation systems who are too busy to monitor the needs of your lawn:

Consider programming 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.

Purchasing a Sprinkler
We are often asked for sprinkler recommendations. There are many good ones to choose from at home improvement stores and online. Here is a link to one of our favorite sprinklers available on Amazon (it is easy to use and offers multiple spray patterns):  https://amzn.to/3c77Se3

If you don’t have an automated irrigation system, you may want to consider investing in a programmable timer for your hose-end sprinklers. Here’s our recommendation for a programmable timer (also available on Amazon): https://amzn.to/2O37llE
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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.
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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.

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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. 

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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…

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Lawn maintenance typically isn’t a priority during the winter months. However, there are two things you can do in late winter for an improved summer lawn.

It can be hard to give much thought to ugly summer weeds such as crabgrass or spurge when it’s cold outside, evenings are dark, and the lawn isn’t getting much use. Late winter (which is February meteorologically in the Wake Forest/Rolesville and surrounding area) offers an important opportunity to get started on reducing weeds through the spring and summer – when we’re again spending time outdoors enjoying the warmer weather, sunlit evenings, and family time on the lawn.
 
Here are 2 basic late winter lawn care tasks that will help you have a better lawn during summer:


1. Remove Tree Debris – If your lawn is littered with tree debris then remove as much as possible with a rake or leaf blower before weed pre-emergent is applied. In addition to improving pre-emergent coverage, removing pine cones or sweet gum pods has the added benefit of removing some of the seeds that would otherwise produce tree seedlings in your lawn during spring and summer.

2. Mow Down the Brown – Before weed pre-emergent is applied, mow lower than normally recommended during the growing season and bag/remove the clippings. Shorter top growth will allow the pre-emergent to reach the soil where it needs to be. After the first mowing, raise your mower to the recommended height for your grass type.

After doing these two basic tasks, applying a pre-emergent is key to reducing summer annual weeds such as crabgrass that would otherwise sprout and grow throughout the summer. When a lawn is cleaned up and mowed before the first treatment of the year, more of the pre-emergent applied will coat the soil and it will be more effective at preventing weeds that grow from seeds during summer.
 
Beginning lawn treatments very early in the year sets you up for the best return on your lawn treatment investment. If you are already a Crownover Green customer, then we will be on your lawn very soon for its first treatment this year.
 
If you are not already a Crownover Green client and are interested in getting started with our lawn treatment services, visit our website to request a quote: https://crownovergreen.com/get-a-quote/

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
My lawn is brown during the winter. Will it be okay?

This is a common question. 
 
Winter can be hard on a lawn even in our area where the cool season is typically relatively mild with short periods of freezing temperatures. Along with sometimes frigid temperatures will come lawn with some brown.
 
In our transitional climate zone, most plants experience color changes during winter and all of the turfgrasses that are common in our area experience some degree of browning.

Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass 

Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass (the most common warm-season turfgrasses in our area) turn sandy tan in color during dormancy from late fall through early spring. This is normal and there is nothing that can be done to keep warm season grasses from going dormant in winter.
 
Bermudagrass is usually totally dormant during the winter and it would be hard to damage. Extremely cold temperatures or heavy use of a dormant lawn could potentially cause some winterkill (loss of turf), but this is unusual and Bermudagrass will typically rebound well from winterkill.
 
Centipedegrass and Zoysiagrass may not actually be fully dormant during the winter even though they are completely brown in color. They tend to be more vulnerable than Bermudagrass to damage from extended frigid temperatures, fungal disease, or heavy usage. They do rebound reasonably well from winter damage, though typically not as robustly as Bermudagrass.
 
Fescue Grasses 

Fescues (both Tall and Fine Fescues) are cool-season turfgrasses that are semi-dormant during winter in our transitional climate zone. During winter, Fescue grass blades do not grow much, but the root system may continue to grow (except during the coldest weeks of winter). Fescues tend to retain some of their green color during winter, though some yellowing or browning is normal. Damage from frigid temperatures is unlikely, but Fescues may suffer some wear-and-tear damage during winter.
 
Tall Fescue lawns that are greener than others during winter may be the result of high levels of nitrogen fertilizers being applied to those lawns in late fall. Crownover Green fertilizes with a healthy level of nutrients in the fall but we will not overdose a lawn with nitrogen for the sake of color. When a lawn is overdosed with nutrients late in the growing season, the grass may not use all of the nutrients and the excess nutrients either drain into our groundwater or run off into our waterways. Lawn over-fertilization contributes to problems with ecosystems downstream.
 
Will My Brown Winter Lawn Turn Green Again?

Browning of turf during winter in our area is normal and every type of turf generally returns to its beautiful green color during its growing season. We cannot guarantee that your lawn will totally escape winter damage as there are numerous factors that we cannot control. However, we do guarantee that if your lawn experiences damage during winter, then we will work with you to get your lawn looking beautiful as quickly as possible.
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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

What is aeration?
 
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, and for Tall Fescue lawns, serves the additional benefit of…

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

We. Pull. Weeds.
 
Yes, we do pull weeds. From the lawn. With our hands. All sorts of weeds in spring, summer, or fall.
 
Pulling weeds seems to be an unfamiliar practice these days, especially for a lawn treatment company. The goal of professional lawn treatment services tends to be to identify the most effective mixture of chemicals to kill everything in the lawn except the grass, and apply it multiple times…

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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…

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