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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog
Is Shade Killing Your Lawn?

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.
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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

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

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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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

We often talk with clients about watering lawns (especially this time of year when it’s HOT, HOT, HOT) and the most frequently asked questions related to watering are:
 
 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 with sod or seed. More frequent watering…
 

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Almost every Bermudagrass lawn that we encounter has areas where the grass is thin. What do these lawns have in common? Shade.
 
Bermudagrass Needs Sun (A lot of it!)
 
Bermudagrass needs a lot of sunlight to stay thick. If you have a Bermudagrass lawn, then you have probably noticed the phenomenon of having thin spots in your yard.
 
Your Bermudagrass lawn is most likely a hybrid. Builders of the new subdivisions in the Wake Forest/Rolesville area seem to prefer the hybrid Bermudagrasses to other types of grass. This is probably because they are…

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Getting the Most Out of Your Fall Fescue Lawn Renovation
 
Tall Fescue lawns in the Wake Forest, Rolesville, and surrounding area can suffer damage during the summer from drought, heat, fungus, lawn equipment, pests, pets, and/or playtime. Fall is the only viable season in our transitional climate zone to fix the damage and…

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Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Most Bermudagrass lawns have areas that are thin or bare, and naturally Crownover Green clients want to know if they should overseed or spot seed to make these areas thick and healthy like the rest of their lawn.
 
Before you decide what to do about the bare or thin areas you should first determine if your grass has adequate sunlight.
 
Often, the reason Bermudagrass becomes thin or bare is due to inadequate sunlight. Bermudagrass needs at least…

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