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How to Winterize a Lawn Mower

Post Date: November 6th, 2012

 

If you care about keeping your lawn mower running for a long time, don’t just throw it in the garage over the winter time without winterizing it. Lawnmowers should be properly cared for just like any other motorized device if you want to ensure a long and useful life.

 

Here are some common problems that may arise over winter:

-   the fuel system can get clogged by old gasoline

-   the lawn mower just won’t start at the beginning of next season

-   internal parts in your motor can rust

-   the blades can get rusty and become dull

 

1. Fuel System Maintenance

sta-bil fuel stabilizer

 

To empty the tank, pour out the remaining fuel in a gas pan or other approved gasoline container until the last drop by turning it over. Make sure it is dried out by turning on the mower until the engine stops. When the engine will no longer start, it means it is all used up. When adding fuel stabilizer, run the motor for 3-5 minutes to circulate the stabilizer.

Empty the fuel tank or add a fuel stabilizer in it to prevent water condensation, fuel deterioration and formation of gum, varnish and rust in the fuel system.

 

refuelling lawn mower

 

Another tip is to fill the fuel tank with the highest grade of gasoline offered at your local gas station. High grade fuel often contains cleaning agents and fuel stabilizers that are sufficient to keep the fuel in good shape until the following season.

 

2. Piston Care

If your mower has 4-cycle motor, you will need to remove the spark plug and add a tablespoon of engine oil into the case. Make sure to disperse the oil by slowly turning over the engine several times using the starter rope or key. Put the spark plug back but do not reconnect the wire until after the winter when you are ready to use it again.

 

lawn mower sparkplug

 

If your mower has a 2-cycle motor, just slowly pull on the starter rope until you feel some resistance, then slowly release the tension on the rope. This step closes the engine valves to keep air from corroding the cylinder. Another way of vapor-proofing the intake and exhaust ports is placing a piece of aluminum foil over the tank cap and then securing the foil with tape.

 

If your mower has a battery, remove the negative cables of your battery or the entire battery and
fully charge it before storing.

 

3. Cleaning and Rust Proofing

 

lawn mower air filter

 

Clean the mower thoroughly, including air filter, as described in your owner’s manual. Clogged air filters are a leading cause of starting problems. Remove rust on all metal parts by rubbing it with steel wool or fine sandpaper. Spray on a little primer afterwards. You may also retouch on the paint job if the paint is starting to chip. Lubricate all moving parts and spray rust inhibitor like WD-40 on the blade and surrounding unpainted metal parts to prevent rust from forming.

 

lawn mower blade WD-40

 

4. Storing
Store in a cool dry place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Your lawnmower is now ready to hibernate.

 

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End of Summer Lawn Care

Post Date: October 24th, 2012

As of September 22, 2012 summer officially ended in Vancouver. By most accounts, this summer has been a pretty good one with plenty of sunny days before the most recent overcast and rainy days.

 

It’s now time to get your lawn prepared for fall and winter. After spending time making your thick green lawn the envy of your neighborhood, don’t let the cold get the best of it. Here are a few tips to help your lawn survive the colder seasons:

 

mower on lawn

 

1. Increase Trimming Length

Mow your lawn and maintain the grass height of 2 to 2 ½ inches.

Tip: The height of the grass should be inversely related to temperatures. Higher temperatures mean that you should cut your grass shorter so that your lawn uses less of the available nutrients. With lower temperatures, you should start leaving the blades of grass a little bit taller. Taller grass has longer roots and can retain more nutrients to survive the colder seasons.

 

When you finally decide to give your lawn its last cut, you can cut it to a height similar to the short summer height. In a typical Vancouver winter, you won’t have to worry too much about colder winter damages.

 

manual core aeration

 

2. Aeration

Aeration (or Core Aeration) is done by creating small holes throughout your lawn by extracting plugs of soil (also known as “coring”). The benefits of aeration:

-   creates passageways for water, essential nutrients and beneficial worms to reach

under the soil and nurture the grassroots

-   oxygen gets to the roots and soil, allowing it to breathe

-   organic fertilizers and nutrients are absorbed by the root system

-   water soaks more thoroughly into the soil and reaches the root system

-   tight, compacted soil is loosened up allowing the roots to grow.

 

The end of the season is a good time to perform aeration on your lawn after all of the summertime use. Aerators can be found in most home and gardening stores or you can rent an aerator machine. One quick way and inexpensive way to aerate your lawn without using specific aerating equipment is to use a pitchfork to manually create holes in your lawn. This may be tedious and slow but it does get the job done in the pitch and you’ll get some exercise too!

 

overseeding a lawn

 

3. Seeding

Grass experts know that the best way to defend your lawn from invading weeds is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn that can fight them off. A simple natural way of controlling weeds is to “overseed” your lawn. A thick grass competes for soil nutrients and makes it harder for weeds to claim the territory. Fall is a good time to add seeds to your lawn because your lawn uses the cool fall days to regenerate itself and get ready for winter after the heat and dryness of the summer.

 

Seeding is perfect after aeration because the seeds can fall into the small grooves in the soil, improving seed-soil contact. There are many grass seed mixtures designed for different conditions. There are mixtures for shady areas and for areas under direct sunlight. Choose what is applicable to your lawn. Use a rotary spreader at the recommended rate when applying seeds for better distribution. In Vancouver, the fall weather is wet enough to keep the seeds hydrated but it is still a good idea to monitor your lawn and water it if you see dry spots.

 

grub on soil

 

4. De-Grubbing

Grubs are larvae that grow into bugs and can be often found beneath your lawn, near the surface of the soil. They feed on the grass roots, causing ugly brown patches of dead grass to form. Rings of dead grass can be pulled effortlessly if tugged by hands. Grubs usually become active by the end of the summer and early fall, killing the green grass and attracting skunks, raccoons and moles who are look for food.

 

raccoon on lawn

 

If you have small armies of raccoons digging your lawn up for a treat, consider controlling grubs by giving your lawn a dose of nematodes. They are nature’s grub killers and they work by infesting grey and white grubs in the soil before the family of raccoons rips your lawn up looking for their dinner. Selecting the right species of nematodes is important because they have different effects on different grubs. Fall is the best season for controlling grubs because the newly hatched larvae are still small and easy to kill. It is a proactive approach to contain lawn damage until next spring.

 

5. Fertilizing

The last important step is to fertilize the lawn. The most favorable application of lawn nutrients is in the fall because the grass roots are building up and storing natural sugars for the potentially long, cold winter. A good fertilizer in preparation for the winter should have high potassium content to help build a strong root system and moderate amount of nitrogen to avoid a surge in growth. Choose a slow-release nitrogen formula so that it can evenly spread the distribution of nutrients.

 

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What is included in a Deerwood Landscaping Lawn Maintenance Package?

Post Date: August 9th, 2012

 

This blog post tries to answer the question,” What is included in your lawn care package?”

1) What does your lawn look like now, and what do you want it to look like?

landscape design before landscape design after

 

For any new lawn care projects, we always start by visiting the sites to get an idea of what needs to be done before making any recommendations. We’ll have an open conversation where you can tell us about the current condition of your lawn and garden and what your goals are for your lawn maintenance package.

 

How is your lawn used?

You can also tell us how your lawn and garden are used during the various seasons so we can optimize our services for your needs.

 

kids playing with dog on lawn

 

Perhaps you have children or pets who put a lot of stress on the lawn during the summer. Or you might have a shady lawn that makes for a moist lawn in the fall. After figuring out what the lawn needs vs. what you can do without, we can move on to recommendations.

2) Selecting the Right Lawn Services:

Depending on the needs of your property, here are some examples of lawn care services available to you:

-  lawn cutting and edging
-  leaf blowing
-  pruning and trimming
-  clearing clippings, prunings and dead plants
-  weeding of the flower beds
-  fertilizing, liming and moss killer if necessary
-  aerating and power raking (either at the start or the end of the year)
-  ongoing top dressing and re-seeding bare spots
-  moss control

3) Setting the Budget:

After evaluating the property and determining what type of work your lawn needs we’ll provide you with a quote. The cost will vary depending on how large your property is and how long it will take our lawn care specialists to do their work.

 

Typically we’ll start our lawn care projects by cleaning everything and addressing moss, bald patches and unhealthy soil. After the initial clean up, a basic package will start at $30 per cut and go up from there depending on the size of your lawn and garden.

4) How can you help with the upkeep of your own lawn?

It’s important to mention that watering will be your responsibility. Please follow the watering restrictions in Vancouver.

 

Photocredit: mikemol

 

At the time of writing, here are the lawn sprinkling regulations for when you are allowed to water your lawn in Greater Vancouver.

 

Residential:

-  Sprinkling is permitted between: 4 a.m. – 9 a.m.

-  Even-numbered addresses: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday

-  Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

Non-residential:

-  Sprinkling is permitted between: 1 a.m. – 6 a.m.

-  Even-numbered addresses: Monday and Wednesday

-  Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday and Thursday

-  All non-residential addresses can also sprinkle 4 a.m. – 9 a.m. Friday

The lawn sprinkling regulations are in effect from June 1 to September 30. If you water your lawn outside of the regulated days and hours listed above, you may be fined.

 

Sources:

City of Vancouver Logo

City of Vancouver

Metro-Vancouver-Logo

Metro Vancouver

 

man pulling weed from lawn

 

Our services include weeding for flower beds and gardens but you can help out by doing the weeding on your lawn if you spot them growing.

 

Tip: In Canada, weed n’ feed products have been banned as of the end of December 31, 2011 by Health Canada. These are products that kill weeds and fertilize the grass simultaneously which is not in line with lawn care best practices. These products do very different jobs and must be applied separately with appropriate timing.

 

Summary:

Instead of offering packages, we treat each one of our clients has a custom assessment to see what their lawn and garden needs. If it doesn’t require it, then we’re not going to charge you for it. We’ll spend the time on things that your lawn and garden actually needs and we will work with you to tailor a package that fits your budget.

 

Give us a call if you’re interested in scheduling an estimate!

 

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When to plant grass seeds in Vancouver

Post Date: July 5th, 2012

lawn seeding

 

Did you know that there is an optimal time of year when to plant grass seeds in Vancouver’s Pacific Northwest climate? Most people don’t, which often leads lawn owners to plant at less than optimal times without making the necessary adjustments. The result will be wasted grass seeds, not to mention the wasted time preparing the soil, terrain and pest control measures.

 

Grass seeds need good soil conditions in order to grow and germinate. With this in mind, make sure that your soil is at the correct depth. The bare minimum soil depth for a healthy lawn is 10 cm (4 inches); however, you should aim for 15 cm (6 inches) for deeper root penetration. Note that freshly added topsoil will compact up to 50% over the first year after its installation so be aware of this when buying your topsoil. Prior to planting the seeds, aerate your soil to help prepare it for better moisture retention and breathing.

 

So in Vancouver, and any area in the Pacific Northwest, the best time to plant grass seeds is in April. This is usually the time before summer arrives, bringing dryer soil conditions with it. If you do end up planting grass seeds in the summer season, just be aware the you will have to use a bit more water to maintain soil moisture. Be environmentally responsible and remember to water only during the allowed times.

 

Keep Your Soil Moist

lawn sprinkler

Photocredit: mikemol

 

At the time of writing, here are the lawn sprinkling regulations for when you are allowed to water your lawn in Greater Vancouver.

 

Residential:

- Sprinkling is permitted between: 4 a.m. – 9 a.m.

- Even-numbered addresses: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday

- Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

 

Non-residential:

- Sprinkling is permitted between: 1 a.m. – 6 a.m.

- Even-numbered addresses: Monday and Wednesday

- Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday and Thursday

- All non-residential addresses can also sprinkle 4 a.m. – 9 a.m. Friday

 

The lawn sprinkling regulations are in effect from June 1 to September 30. If you water your lawn outside of the regulated days and hours listed above, you may be fined.

 

Sources:

City of Vancouver Logo

City of Vancouver

Metro-Vancouver-Logo

Metro Vancouver

 

Keep in mind that if you aren’t able to keep the soil wet enough, weeds are more likely to develop before the grass has a chance to gain a foothold in the soil. This is especially common you when have just power raked your lawn and have a lot of patches of soil without any greenery yet.

 

Plant During Fall

Another option is to plant your grass seeds during early fall. During this time of the year, Vancouver’s temperature will be comparatively moderate. As a result, your plants will require less watering. When you start planting grass seeds, it is helpful to apply fertilizer to for a better start. You can add more fertilizer after 3 or 4 weeks so that the lower parts of the root can get the nutrients they need from the fertilizer.

 

You Can Lay Sod Anytime

laying new sod

 

Even though before or after summer is the best time to plant grass seeds in Vancouver, you can lay sod any time of the year. With careful preparation, you can keep the sod intact just in time for when you start planting grass seeds on your lawn.

 

If you need assistance in planting grass in your lawn, contact us and we will be very happy to talk about your lawn’s particular situation and find the best service get your lawn looking the way you want it to.

 

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How to Choose the Right Mulch for your Garden

Post Date: June 25th, 2012

Mulching is a great habit that every gardener should have because mulch provides a number of benefits to the condition of your soil. It prevents weed growth, moderates soil temperature fluctuations and seals in soil moisture. While you can get mulches from free sources, there are also mulches that can be purchased locally.

 

Here are some popular types of mulch that you can use on your garden, the majority of which you can get for free!:

 

Grass Clippings

 

grass clippings

 

Advantages: Grass clippings are a cheap and readily available option for mulch. Just mow your lawn, gather the clippings and spread it over your soil.

 

Disadvantages: Grass clippings tend to decay quickly. When this happens, you need to replenish them often. At the same time, you have to avoid using weed killers or nitrogen-heavy fertilizer on your lawn if you plan on using your clippings as mulch because it may adversely effect other parts of your garden.

 

Decaying Leaves

 

decaying leaves

 

Advantages: Decaying leaves help hold in the soil moisture very well. Also, with good ground coverage, they inhibit sunlight and smother weeds very well.

 

Disadvantages: Compared to other types of mulch, decaying leaves are simply not very attractive to look at. They do decay quite quickly and sometime blow away with large gusts of wind. Another thing you’ll have to be aware of is that leaves may be acidic and can lower the pH level of your soil, which in turn brings about conditions that allow moss to grow.

 

Wood or Bark Chips

 

red bark mulch

 

Advantages: Apart from looking neat and attractive, mulch made from wood or bark chips tend to stay where you put them. It doesn’t decay as quickly as the aforementioned types of mulch either.

 

pine mulch

 

Disadvantages: Be careful when using pine bark mulch as it is a fairly acidic material. Also, be careful with the amount of mulch you put on soil. If you accidentally apply a too deep a layer against shrub trunks or trees, you might produce a hiding area for rodents.

 

Compost

 

fresh compost soil

 

Advantages: The good thing about using compost is that it is free and plentiful, especially if you have your own compost pile. The nutrient content is high and great for the soil.

 

Disadvantages: You have to be careful in using fresh compost because the decomposition process creates heat which can shock your plants a bit if you introduce the warm compost too suddenly.

 

Newspaper or Shredded Paper

 

shredded paper

 

Advantages: Newspaper or shredded paper is known to work well in vegetable gardens. Its another readily available mulch material and it decomposing very quickly.

 

Disadvantages: You may not find newspaper or shredded paper attractive for landscaping. The coloured ink on the paper can also be harmful for your plants. If you decide on using this cheap and convenient mulch option, be cautious not to use sections with colored ink. Avoid magazines as its paper is usually colored and glossy.

 

Experiment a bit to see how you garden reacts over time. There are definite benefits to using mulch in your garden but each person will have different preferences so try it out for yourself to see which one works for you and your plants. And if you’re in the Vancouver area and you’re looking for a landscaping company to clean up your garden and restore its health, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help improve your property!

 

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The Benefits of Mulch in your Garden

Post Date: June 24th, 2012

trowel with a scoop of mulch

 

Every seasoned gardener knows how important it is to pay attention to their soil condition. Since this helps achieve healthier plants, gardeners need to continually look for ways they can improve their soil. One solution for this is to make use of mulch, as it has been known to help provide a number of benefits to the garden such as controlling weeds, keeping soil moist and cool, reducing soil temperature fluctuations, adding nutrients, and preventing soil erosion.

 

But what exactly is mulch and how does it provide so many benefits to the garden? Made from organic and biodegradable materials, mulch is usually composed of shredded newspaper, wood chips, leaves or bark. Even though mulch can be made from non-biodegradable materials, it is best to make use of organic sources. Mulch made from organic sources tends to decompose over time; as such, adding nutrients to the soil.

 

Here are the benefits of mulch in the garden:

 

  • Mulch retains moisture in the soil. Once added to the soil, it keeps the underneath portions of the soil moist and cool. This helps gardeners because moist soil means that it does not require as much watering. At the same time, this keeps soil cool and protected from extreme heat. When the roots of the plants are exposed to extreme heat, they become vulnerable to rot and diseases. By adding mulch to soil, this can be prevented.
  •  

  • Mulch helps prevent soil erosion. By reducing rainwater velocity, mulch is able to prevent soil erosion. However, heavy rainfalls can wash away mulch so its a good idea to inspect the garden periodically and replace mulch as required.
  •  

  • Mulch helps control weeds. Having a layer of mulch will prevent sunlight from getting through to the soil and significantly reduce the growth of weeds.

 

mulch on garden

 

The typical application of mulch is 2-3 inches spread directly on top of soil and around plants. Try to keep the soil underneath the mulch loose as this will help the roots grow and spread out easily. At the same time, this practice helps retain soil moisture and allows the mulch to slowly release back into the soil as it decomposes. Along with the benefits mentioned above, it is easy to see why gardeners invest in organic mulch as a vital part of maintaining the health of their soil condition.

 

If you need advice on what mulch to use in your garden, contact us so we can help you in the process.

 

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How to Test Soil Acidity/Alkalinity for Moss Control

Post Date: May 30th, 2012

 

soil and grass

 

If you see moss in your lawn, this means that there are conditions that are inhibiting proper growth of your turf. In our previous post, we discussed how to get rid of moss by investigating and determining possible causes of moss invasion. We mentioned that moss growth is commonly associated with heavy shade, shallow soils, poor soil fertility, excessive moisture and acidic soils.

 

Soil acidity is measured by Ph level (acidity or alkalinity). Ph level is determined on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic and 14 being very alkaline. Generally, plants grow best in soil with fairly neutral Ph of between 6 and 7. When the Ph level of your lawn soil is lower than 5 (acidic), you are essentially welcoming moss to grow in your lawn. Therefore, it’s important to know the Ph level of your soil before you can go about improving the growing conditions for your grass.

 

To test the Ph level of your lawn soil, you can either buy Ph test kits from a neighboring garden center, or conduct a do-it-yourself soil test using the following household items:

 

- soil sample

- 2 sample containers

- vinegar

- baking soda

- water

 

Follow these steps to determine the Ph level of your soil:

 

1. Put your soil samples into the 2 containers.

2. In the first container, add one-half cup of vinegar. The soil is alkaline if the soil bubbles or fizzes.

alkalinity soil test

3. If there is no reaction, add one-half cup of water in the second soil sample then mix it. Then, add one-half cup of baking soda. The soil is acidic if it bubbles or fizzes.acidity soil test

Once you’ve determined if your soil is acidic or alkaline, you can make the necessary actions to adjust the soil Ph level. Wood ash or lime can cure acidity while sulfur or pine needles can remedy alkalinity. Remember that soil takes time to change so be patient and gradual when you make your adjustments.

 

We specialize in landscape maintenance and things like moss removal. If you’re in the Vancouver area and the moss in your lawn has gotten a bit out of control, we can help! Contact Deerwood Landscaping and we’ll send a lawn doctor over to your property ASAP!

 

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How to remove moss in your lawn

Post Date: May 29th, 2012

 

lawn moss

Photo credit: iJammin

 

Thriving moss in your lawn is usually a symptom of a bigger underlying problem that needs your attention. Removing the moss is often only a temporary solution because the root causes still exist and continue to make it easy for moss to return time and time again. The battle against moss requires patience and a thorough understanding of the conditions on your property that are leading to moss growth.

 

Determine the Cause of Moss Growth

To solve your moss problem, it is important to determine the reasons why moss is growing in your lawn. First, investigate the moss-affected area to gauge the extent of the problem. Create a checklist on which of the following conditions are present in your lawn.

1. Is the moss-affected area under a shade?

Lack of sunlight will cause grass to weaken and be overpowered by moss.

2. Is your lawn always damp?

Lawns with too much water or those in constantly damp conditions are always the most fertile environments for moss to flourish in.

3. Is your lawn thin and shallow?

Anything less than four to five inches in soil depth is not considered deep enough to grow and maintain healthy grass.

4. Is your lawn soil acidic?

Moss grows well in acidic soil. To know if your lawn soil is acidic, a soil test is necessary. Click on this simple do-it-yourself soil test to find out what your soil acidity/alkalinity is without having to buy a test kit.

5. Is your lawn cut too short?

Like shade, cutting grass too short can weaken it, especially when the plant is also under stress from other environmental conditions. Short grass in combination with shade can provide the conditions that make it easier for moss to take over.

 

Remove the Moss

thatching rakemoss removal through dethatching

 

After you have identified the probable causes of the moss in your lawn, it’s time to physically remove the moss. For smaller lawn, a tool called a thatching rake is enough to extracted the moss. For large lawns, a powered scarifier/raker will save you a lot of difficult manual labour. If the moss is severe, chemicals can be used but there are also organic alternatives available. If in doubt, it’s always best to consult a gardening expert to determine what will work best for your lawn.

After the moss has been removed, you’ll likely notice bare patches. This is okay, especially if the majority of your lawn was covered with moss.

 

Change the Conditions of Your Lawn

After removing the moss, it is time improve your lawn’s condition by addressing the factors that led to its deterioration in the first place. Assuming that you’ve already identified the causes of moss in your lawn, here are the solutions you can implement depending on your own situation:

 

1. Loosen your lawn soil.

 

manual core aeration

 

Aerate your soil so your lawn can breath. In reducing soil compaction, air can reach the roots of the grass and drainage is also improved. The stronger and healthier your grass is, the greater the chance that it will defend against moss outbreaks.

 

2. Reduce shade especially on moss-affected areas.

 

tree trimming

 

Reduce the amount of shade by trimming hedges and trees that are covering the area of your grass affected by the moss. The sunlight will keep the soil from staying damp and create conditions that are better for your grass to fight off moss.

 

3. Practice better mowing habits.

 

mower on lawn

 

As mentioned before, cutting your grass too short can stress it. Whenever you are about to mow your lawn, check the height setting and adjust it accordingly. When mowing, follow the one-third rule as it will aid root growth. Removing more than one-third of the grass blades may stress the lawn and hinder root growth, which in-turn paves the way for moss to return.

 

Determining the proper mowing frequency depends on how quickly the grass grows. Certain grass types require frequent mowing to remain healthy. Allowing your grass to grow too high prior to mowing may result in thatch to build up. During warm months, it is best to mow more frequently. In the colder months, increase your cutting heights to help photosynthesis.

 

4. Feed the lawn.

Like other living things, nutrition is important to your lawn. Regular and sufficient feeding in spring or early summer will boost grass growth. Consult with a gardening expert about suitable weed and feed products for your lawn.

 

You may also consider mulch mowing as it can reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to apply to your lawn. Mulch mowing is the process of mowing to create finer yard clippings that are redistributed onto the lawn. If you do decide to go this route, it is still recommended that you bag your clippings occasionally as one of side effects of mulch mowing is thatch development. Mulching is ideally done during dry seasons and after fertilization and lawn development.

 

5. Consider applying top dressing to the lawn.

 

top dressing a lawn

 

Top dressing your lawn will help stimulate new grass shoots and eventually aid in leveling out and removing dips on the lawn. Top dressing is a method of adding compost or other materials to improve existing soil composition. If you are not sure about your lawn’s soil condition, have a landscaping expert check out your lawn to determine what top dressing will be most appropriate for your conditions and season.

 

If you are you in the Vancouver area and would like a free consultation on how to take care of your moss problem, give us a call and schedule a site visit.

 

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Common Lawn Care Terms

Post Date: May 9th, 2012

 

A well taken care of lawn shows pride in homeownership and it also increases the value of your investment. A little bit of forethought in the landscape can go a long way for all types of budgets.

 

Whether you are considering seeking professional help or are interested in doing your own lawn care personally, it really helps to know the basics. Below are some of the most common lawn care terms you need to know.

 

1. Core Aeration

 

manual core aeration

 

Core aeration (cultivation) is the process of mechanically removing plugs or cores of soil and thatch from your lawn. This process loosens the compacted soil which then creates channels for oxygen, water and nutrients to better penetrate the soil, especially if your lawn takes a lot of punishment from either kids, pets or outdoor parties. Core aeration is usually accomplished using a lawn aerator with hollow tines. For narrow areas, hand lawn aerators may do the job.

 

Generally, compacted soil results from lawns that are exposed to heavy foot traffic. One of the tell-tale signs that your lawn is suffering from compacted soil is the growth of moss plants. Most people make the mistake of applying herbicides to kill the moss, but this doesn’t actually solve the problem in the long term. Core aeration may be the answer to this problem.

 

It is best to to aerate during early fall because the grass is transitioning from blade growth to root growth. Core aerating at this time really stimulates strong root development. Do not aerate in the summer because during this period, grasses are at peak growth, possibly coping with heat and reduced moisture as well, so aeration will add unnecessary stress.

 

Core aeration is usually tied to topdressing/mulching the lawn with some kind of organic material such as finely chopped leaves or peat moss. Faithfully topdressing the lawn each fall will be required in the first year or two. After that, aeration can be done every few years.

 

2. Dethatching and Power Raking

 

dethatching and power raking

 

Dethatching and power raking are processes used to remove a thick layer of organic matter made up of decaying grass leaves, stems and roots (thatch) that build up in between the lawn and soil surface. Dethatching and power raking are performed with the same machine. The difference between the two is the type of cutting knives used and how deep the cutting knives are set.

 

Dethatching is only recommended for lawns that suffer from an extremely thick thatch layer (more than three inches thick). When it becomes this thick, dethatching can be very labor intensive and can cause extensive damage to a lawn. On the other hand, power raking is a more gentle way to remove a small amount of thatch from the lawn without causing the same amount damage that dethatching can create.

 

The best time to dethatch your lawn is in late summer or early fall to give the lawn time to recover before winter. It is also during this period that there is less competition with a variety of weeds that germinate in Spring. Power raking is best done in the spring or fall.

 

3. Overseeding

 

overseeding a lawn

 

Overseeding is one of the most important yet overlooked lawn care tasks. In combination with power raking and core aeration, overseeding ensures that the lawn remains dense and thick. If you have a lawn that has thinned out or has developed ‘bald spots’, overseeding will revive your lawn back to a healthy state again.

 

The overseeding process compensates for the natural decline in grass reproduction and it will also help your lawn resist the growth of weeds. New seeds sown will have better disease resistance than those varieties already planted in the lawn.

 

It is advised that core aeration be done prior to overseeding. Usually, overseeding is done in early September or in Spring. Besides a generous amount of seeds sown, the secret to successfully overseeding a lawn is to keep the sown area moist. The overseeded lawn should never be allowed to dry until full germination of the seeds is reached.

 

If you have a property anywhere on Vancouver’s North Shore and are interested in professional landscaping services, call us at (604) 987- 1221 to discuss the lawn care package we offer. Karen can answer any questions you have.

 

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