Our obsession with the perfect lawn does not meet the “green” standards of today. Lawns consume the largest quantities of water and chemicals per square foot, more than any other surface on your property. Every effort should be made to reduce water consumption and any chemical usage with your yearly maintenance programs. One way of practicing good ‘green’ standards is to aerate, thatch and top-seed your lawn. On average, the optimum times to start these practices are when the days are shorter and the nights cooler.
By the simple task of aerating, you can reduce soil compaction and water penetration. Aerating machines are available at most tool rental stores. *Note: If you do have an irrigation system, flag the heads before you run the machine through the yard. The next step, thatching, is also done with another machine called a thatcher/power rake, which is also available at rental stores. Thatching removes the layer of hay-like dead grass that harbors insects and disease; it also helps improve air circulation of the grass crown. (A word of note regarding rentals – book them well in advance. Now is a good time to put one aside.)
The last step to making your lawn green is top-seeding with the latest and greatest varieties of Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass. To the untrained eye, these varieties appear equally as green and beautiful as Bluegrass with one-third less water and fertilization requirements. These improved ryegrasses harbor enhanced levels of endophytes, a naturally occurring fungus that acts as insecticide for leaf-eating insects. The Webster definition of an endophyte is any plant that grows within another plant, as certain parasitic fungi or algae.
With the perfect window of weather approaching us, pay particular attention to the forecast. Rent your machine and plan your day for aerating, thatching and top-seeding. And as Clyde Moore points out, ” There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor's.”
BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.
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