Mowing... your lawn's most important activity!

Mowing.jpg

Most people fall into two categories when it comes to lawn mowing: 

1.     You mow because you want to have the best lawn possible, or

2.     You mow only because you have to

Unfortunately, there are too many who view mowing as a necessary evil.  If they only realized, how you mow your lawn is more important than the fertilizer you use, the weed control applications that are made, and the amount of water used, they would take mowing more seriously.

Getting mowing right comes down to three critical practices: mowing height, mowing frequency, and managing the clippings.  Let’s take a quick look at these three practices.

IMG_0050.jpeg

Mowing Height

Grasses adapt well to various mowing heights, but there is a direct relationship between mowing height and a healthy turf.  As the height of the grass increases, the root system increases.  As the height is lowered, the root system decreases.  A taller turf yields a healthier root system and a lawn that will withstand more stress.  As the height and density increase, there is less room available for weeds to germinate and grow. 

Optimal cutting heights vary based on type of grass and the time of year.  All turf grass should start the season low and gradually increase in height over the course of the summer. The goal is to have your lawn at its thickest and tallest height during the heat of summer. 

Fescue is at its best when it is cut between 2.5” to 3.5”. 

Bermuda is best maintained between 1.5” to 2.5”, but Tiff type Bermuda should be maintained shorter, .5” to 1.5”.

If you overseed your Bermuda lawn with Rye in the fall, maintain the rye at 2” to 3” in the fall and spring.

Areas of shade need to be mowed at the maximum height.  The increase in leaf space will allow the plant the best possible chance to survive in the lower light.

image (5).png

Mowing Frequency

Probably the biggest hindrance to having a great lawn is mowing on a schedule, not on need.  Most people mow their lawns once a week during the growing season. We all understand why.  We are busy and our only opportunity to mow is on our day off.  Or, you may have a landscape management company that mows the lawn once per week. 

But, for the absolute best lawn, mow based on the 1/3 rule rather than a set schedule.  For example:  If you desire to maintain your fescue at 3”, you should never let your lawn grow over 4.5”.  If you want to keep your Bermuda lawn at 1”, then you need to mow before it exceeds 1.5”, not just because it’s Saturday and you always mow on Saturday.

Whenever you remove more than 1/3 of the grass in a single mowing, you are cutting below the plant leaf and into the stem.  If you are seeing yellow or brown areas after you mow, you are cutting more than 1/3. Turf grass research shows when you cut into the stems the plant responds by using nutrients stored in the root system to regenerate leaves.  This reduces the strength, health and density of the roof system and results in a weaker turf.

What should you do when your lawn becomes too tall and you need to cut off 50% or more to get back to the desired height?  Cut 1/3 off, wait a couple of days and then cut another 1/3 off.  Repeat until you reclaim the height you desire.

There is no doubt that frequent mowing at a uniform height, whether short or tall, is the most important aspect of having a great lawn.

Managing the Clippings

When you are able to mow frequently using the 1/3 rule, I recommend not catching the clippings.  Turf grass leaves are 80-90% water and nitrogen.  Leaves decompose very quickly and add nutrients back to the turf. 

Not bagging your clippings is a major step in improving your lawn’s quality.

When you bag your clippings, you are throwing a little of your fertilizer away every time you cut the lawn. 

Most years, I bag my fescue lawn a couple of times per year, the first time each spring and in the fall when fall leaves cover the turf.  This year I have bagged a few more times because the rain has interrupted my 1/3 rule.

A common belief is that when you don’t bag your clippings you are increasing thatch buildup.  As long as you are only cutting the leaves and not the stems, thatch will not become a problem. 

IMG_9994.jpeg

Two Important Bonus Practices:

  1. Mower blades should always be kept sharp.  Dull blades bruise the leaf resulting in frayed leaves and a duller lawn appearance. 

  2. Vary your mowing pattern throughout the season to reduce soil compaction.  Changing your mowing pattern will also improve turf appearance.  I recommend rotating through at least three different mowing patterns.  For example:  mow parallel to the street, the next time mow at a 45 degree angle, followed by mowing perpendicular to the street or at the opposite 45 degree angle. 

Lawn mowing is the most time consuming landscape practice.  It has to be performed more frequently than fertilizing, weed control, bed weeding, shrub trimming, and flower planting. It is easy to allow mowing to become just another task that has to be done.  But, a well properly maintained lawn is well worth the time and effort. 

Nothing adds more curb appeal to your home than a well-groomed lawn.

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

More perennials, please!

More Perennials Please.jpg

We keep a tentative schedule for our weekly topics.  Today’s topic was to be “Watering Tips for the Summer.”  But that would be a very short, probably one sentence tip: “Turn the water off!” 

Our goal every week is to address issues we are seeing in lawns and landscapes as we are out providing lawn care services.  Most problems we are seeing are related to too much moisture and poor drainage.  The Oklahoma City area received, on the average, another 2” of rain this week.  Soil moisture readings are at 100%.  This means soils can not absorb any additional water and if you add any it will just run off.  By mid-week if we have not received any more rainfall, inspect your landscape and water only if needed.

So, let’s talk about something more interesting than “turn your water off” - let’s talk about perennials!

Traditionally a big believer in lots of annual color, I have been gradually reducing the amount of annual color in my landscape by adding perennials.   

My landscape has always included some perennials.  But, because they don’t bloom all season and often their foliage is unattractive after the blooms have faded, my style has been to keep them in the background.

I still believe that annual color provides the most season long impact.  Areas close to the front doors, along the front walks, and key areas around our outdoor living spaces still look best planted with pansies and bulbs in the fall, and replanted with various heat loving annuals in April and May.  You can’t beat the impact of bright annual color! 

But I’m glad I have been gradually adding more perennials to the landscape because this year perennials have been stunning. 

There are so many perennial choices. There are more perennials than you could ever cover in one writing.  Books and books have been devoted to perennials, but I have a few favorites.  Each of these have found a home in my landscape, although none of them last the entire season, as a group, they add interest from spring to fall. 

Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) .  The first to welcome spring each year.  Creeping phlox produces a spring-like carpet in pastel hues of white, lavender, red and pink.  Creeping phlox is a moderate grower that can spread up to 2’ but only reaches 4-6” in height.  It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade each day.  Borders, walls, and around boulders are where it looks best.  In my garden, you will find it cascading over a rock retaining wall. It tolerates most soils as long as it is well drained.  The plant requires little maintenance.  Mites are about the only insect problem it will have.  

Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera).  The first to welcome spring each year.  Creeping phlox produces a spring-like carpet in pastel hues of white, lavender, red and pink.  Creeping phlox is a moderate grower that can spread up to 2’ but only reaches 4-6” in height.  It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade each day.  Borders, walls, and around boulders are where it looks best.  In my garden, you will find it cascading over a rock retaining wall. It tolerates most soils as long as it is well drained.  The plant requires little maintenance.  Mites are about the only insect problem it will have.  

Dianthus (Dianthus).    It works well as a border, in small groupings, around boulders or as a single plant reaching 10-15” tall with a spread of 12-24”.  They bloom in late spring to early summer in rose, pink, white, red.  They like full sun but will take some dappled shade or afternoon shade.  Just like creeping phlox, they are a cool season lover.  They will grow in most soils, prefer alkaline soils, but waterlogged soil will cause crown and root rot.   Heavy mulching near the crown of the plant can be detrimental. Late March through April and into May is the peak bloom time. Light feeding in the spring with a complete fertilizer of phosphorus, potassium and low nitrogen is recommended.  Other than an occasional aphid or powdery mildew issue, they do not have many problems.  There are more than 300 varieties of dianthus to choose from.  My all-time favorite is ‘Firewitch’.  It has a silver-green foliage and with a vibrant pink bloom.

Dianthus (Dianthus).   It works well as a border, in small groupings, around boulders or as a single plant reaching 10-15” tall with a spread of 12-24”.  They bloom in late spring to early summer in rose, pink, white, red.  They like full sun but will take some dappled shade or afternoon shade.  Just like creeping phlox, they are a cool season lover.  They will grow in most soils, prefer alkaline soils, but waterlogged soil will cause crown and root rot.   Heavy mulching near the crown of the plant can be detrimental. Late March through April and into May is the peak bloom time. Light feeding in the spring with a complete fertilizer of phosphorus, potassium and low nitrogen is recommended.  Other than an occasional aphid or powdery mildew issue, they do not have many problems.  There are more than 300 varieties of dianthus to choose from.  My all-time favorite is ‘Firewitch’.  It has a silver-green foliage and with a vibrant pink bloom.

‘May Night’ Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris).   Sage type flower spikes of deep bluish-purple that will add color in April, May and early June. The best flower show will be in full sun but it will tolerate a little dappled shade each day.  The plant grows 12-18” tall with flower spikes reach 24”.  The plant looks great in the middle of the garden planted behind creeping phlox or dianthus, and in front of Shasta daisy or Black-eyed Susan.  The leaves often become tattered later in the summer. Keep faded blooms removed to maximize bloom period and pruning the plants after blooming may result in a few fall blooms. In the early spring, before new growth emerges, remove the dormant foliage.  Salvia tolerates clay soils but will struggle with root rot if the soil stays saturated.

‘May Night’ Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris).  Sage type flower spikes of deep bluish-purple that will add color in April, May and early June. The best flower show will be in full sun but it will tolerate a little dappled shade each day.  The plant grows 12-18” tall with flower spikes reach 24”.  The plant looks great in the middle of the garden planted behind creeping phlox or dianthus, and in front of Shasta daisy or Black-eyed Susan.  The leaves often become tattered later in the summer. Keep faded blooms removed to maximize bloom period and pruning the plants after blooming may result in a few fall blooms. In the early spring, before new growth emerges, remove the dormant foliage.  Salvia tolerates clay soils but will struggle with root rot if the soil stays saturated.

Cutting Salvia back after it has finished blooming for the season.

Cutting Salvia back after it has finished blooming for the season.

Daylily (Hemerocallis) .  With hundreds of cultivars there are too many colors to list.  Daylilies range from 10-36” tall and 12-24” wide.  Depending on the variety, blooms start in early summer and extend into late summer with a successive blooming habit that last 4-6 weeks.  Plant in sun to partial shade with no more than a half day of shade.  They are drought tolerant, pest resistant – an overall tough plant. With a clump type growth, they are dynamic planted in a mass grouping. Well drained fertile soil is best, but they are very adaptive to a wide range of soils.  Leave dormant foliage until new foliage emerges in the spring.  Fertilizer in early spring and again in early summer.  Clumps can be divided every 3-5 years in the fall.  Remove spent flower stocks to encourage more blooms.  The most common yellow daylily is ‘Stella de’ Oro’.  ‘Pardon Me’ is a great red daylily.  Planting daylilies behind liriope (monkey grass) will help cover up the unattractive foliage as it begins to fade in late summer.  Our daylilies started putting on their early summer show this week

Daylily (Hemerocallis).  With hundreds of cultivars there are too many colors to list.  Daylilies range from 10-36” tall and 12-24” wide.  Depending on the variety, blooms start in early summer and extend into late summer with a successive blooming habit that last 4-6 weeks.  Plant in sun to partial shade with no more than a half day of shade.  They are drought tolerant, pest resistant – an overall tough plant. With a clump type growth, they are dynamic planted in a mass grouping. Well drained fertile soil is best, but they are very adaptive to a wide range of soils.  Leave dormant foliage until new foliage emerges in the spring.  Fertilizer in early spring and again in early summer.  Clumps can be divided every 3-5 years in the fall.  Remove spent flower stocks to encourage more blooms.  The most common yellow daylily is ‘Stella de’ Oro’.  ‘Pardon Me’ is a great red daylily.  Planting daylilies behind liriope (monkey grass) will help cover up the unattractive foliage as it begins to fade in late summer.  Our daylilies started putting on their early summer show this week

Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum x superbum).   Classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow center.  They grow in clumps 1-2’ wide and 2-3’ tall.  Best if planted in fertile soil that drains well.  The more sun they receive the more they will bloom.  Shasta Daisies start blooming in early summer and can last until early fall.  They make great cut flowers.  We are enjoying an arrangement of white daisies and hydrangea blossoms from the garden this weekend.  Keeping the faded blooms cut will extend the color show.  After the foliage goes dormant in late fall, cut the stems back to 1-2”.  They respond well to light fertilizer in the spring.  Daisies perform best if they are divided every 3-5 years.  Considered as a low maintenance plant, aphids are about the only insect you may see.  ‘Becky’ is a favorite variety.

Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum x superbum).  Classic daisy appearance of white petals around a yellow center.  They grow in clumps 1-2’ wide and 2-3’ tall.  Best if planted in fertile soil that drains well.  The more sun they receive the more they will bloom.  Shasta Daisies start blooming in early summer and can last until early fall.  They make great cut flowers.  We are enjoying an arrangement of white daisies and hydrangea blossoms from the garden this weekend.  Keeping the faded blooms cut will extend the color show.  After the foliage goes dormant in late fall, cut the stems back to 1-2”.  They respond well to light fertilizer in the spring.  Daisies perform best if they are divided every 3-5 years.  Considered as a low maintenance plant, aphids are about the only insect you may see.  ‘Becky’ is a favorite variety.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia grandiflora).   Daisy like golden-yellow flower petals surround a dark brown or black center reaching 2-4’ and spreading 2’.   The large flower blooms (2-4”) will be arriving in the next two weeks and will continue into July.   And, if you keep spent blooms trimmed off, you will get a few blooms in the fall. Plant in sun to partial shade.  As a native prairie plant, you will find it to be low maintenance.  It tolerates most soils but prefers well drained. 

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia grandiflora).  Daisy like golden-yellow flower petals surround a dark brown or black center reaching 2-4’ and spreading 2’.   The large flower blooms (2-4”) will be arriving in the next two weeks and will continue into July.   And, if you keep spent blooms trimmed off, you will get a few blooms in the fall. Plant in sun to partial shade.  As a native prairie plant, you will find it to be low maintenance.  It tolerates most soils but prefers well drained. 

Because of its height, plant in the middle of a bed or as a background to lower perennials, such as dianthus or salvia. The plant can be divided every 3-5 years.  Remove dormant foliage anytime in the fall or winter.  It can develop powdery mildew if in too much shade.  Minimal feeding is required.  Keep a watch out for occasional aphid problem. 

Because of its height, plant in the middle of a bed or as a background to lower perennials, such as dianthus or salvia. The plant can be divided every 3-5 years.  Remove dormant foliage anytime in the fall or winter.  It can develop powdery mildew if in too much shade.  Minimal feeding is required.  Keep a watch out for occasional aphid problem. 

Coneflower (Echinacea).   A native   prairie plant with purple or white blooms 2-4” in diameter.    Just like Black-Eyed Susan it reaches 2-4’ in height and spreads out 2-3’ and makes a good show planted in the back or sides of the garden.  But, it also works well as a single specimen.  Plant in sun to partial shade.  It is one of the longest summer bloomers with a show that last 5-8 weeks. The coarse texture of the leaves makes them well suited near softer-textured plants such as ornamental grasses.  It enjoys well-drained, fertile soil.  Removing faded flowers will encourage more blooms.  Remove dead foliage in the winter.  Coneflower is fairly disease tolerant and responds to feeding early in the growing season, and also likes to be mulched.

Coneflower (Echinacea).  A native prairie plant with purple or white blooms 2-4” in diameter.    Just like Black-Eyed Susan it reaches 2-4’ in height and spreads out 2-3’ and makes a good show planted in the back or sides of the garden.  But, it also works well as a single specimen.  Plant in sun to partial shade.  It is one of the longest summer bloomers with a show that last 5-8 weeks. The coarse texture of the leaves makes them well suited near softer-textured plants such as ornamental grasses.  It enjoys well-drained, fertile soil.  Removing faded flowers will encourage more blooms.  Remove dead foliage in the winter.  Coneflower is fairly disease tolerant and responds to feeding early in the growing season, and also likes to be mulched.

Hardy Verbena (Verbena).   This low growing (4-6”) spreading (2-3’) perennial thrives in summer heat while producing purple, pink, red or white blooms.  Verbena is not picky about soil type, but requires full sun.  When it gets more than 2-3 hours of shade per day, its biggest problem is powdery mildew disease increases.  The low growing nature makes it perfect for the front of beds, along walks and cascading over walls and slopes.  It also looks great in pots and window boxes.  Good drainage and fertile soils needed and with consistent irrigation blooms and spread will increase. Feed in spring and after first flush of heavy blooms.  Don’t fertilize after July.  Verbena likes mulch to insulate roots and hold in moisture.  Sheering the plant just below spent blooms will encourage growth and more flowering.  My favorite variety is ‘Homestead Purple’. 

Hardy Verbena (Verbena).  This low growing (4-6”) spreading (2-3’) perennial thrives in summer heat while producing purple, pink, red or white blooms.  Verbena is not picky about soil type, but requires full sun.  When it gets more than 2-3 hours of shade per day, its biggest problem is powdery mildew disease increases.  The low growing nature makes it perfect for the front of beds, along walks and cascading over walls and slopes.  It also looks great in pots and window boxes.  Good drainage and fertile soils needed and with consistent irrigation blooms and spread will increase. Feed in spring and after first flush of heavy blooms.  Don’t fertilize after July.  Verbena likes mulch to insulate roots and hold in moisture.  Sheering the plant just below spent blooms will encourage growth and more flowering.  My favorite variety is ‘Homestead Purple’. 

Garden Mum (Chrysanthemum x moratorium).   Typically thought of as an annual, but they make a great perennial for fall color with shades of pink, red, white and yellow.  Plant height and width are both 1-3’ resulting typically in a round shape.  They produce a wonderful burst of color for 2-4 weeks in late September and October.  Mums will tolerate light shade but prefer full sun.  To survive the winter as a perennial they need moisture and good drainage. Therefore, add an ample amount of compost when planting in our clay soils.  Dormant foliage can be removed anytime during the winter or in the spring when new growth emerges.  Mums will bloom a little in the spring or early summer.  Once the early blooms fade, keep the plant sheared to the shape and height you prefer.  Stop shearing after the first of July.  When you shear a mum during the last half of the summer, you are removing the flower buds for the fall.

Garden Mum (Chrysanthemum x moratorium).  Typically thought of as an annual, but they make a great perennial for fall color with shades of pink, red, white and yellow.  Plant height and width are both 1-3’ resulting typically in a round shape.  They produce a wonderful burst of color for 2-4 weeks in late September and October.  Mums will tolerate light shade but prefer full sun.  To survive the winter as a perennial they need moisture and good drainage. Therefore, add an ample amount of compost when planting in our clay soils.  Dormant foliage can be removed anytime during the winter or in the spring when new growth emerges.  Mums will bloom a little in the spring or early summer.  Once the early blooms fade, keep the plant sheared to the shape and height you prefer.  Stop shearing after the first of July.  When you shear a mum during the last half of the summer, you are removing the flower buds for the fall.

These are some of my favorites -- but, with so many types of perennials, I am always finding another one to try in the landscape. 

What are your favorites? 

One final thought – I have noticed a trend toward mixing herbs in perennial garden. Not only will herbs add different textures and tones to the landscape, but you also get the benefit of having fresh herbs, which are always better, on your dinner table.

Send us an email or give us a call (405)367-3873, we would love to hear what is working for you!

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

June Lawn & Landscape Tips

June Lawn & Landscape TIps.jpg

Late May into early June is typically the turning point for your summer loving landscapes.  By the first of June, warm season turfs are looking great, shrubs and trees are full of foliage, and summer annual color plantings are bursting with brilliant color. With all the excess moisture in May, in Oklahoma this June should be great for our landscapes!

June is the month all your lawn and landscape activities finally settle into a predictable routine. Here are a few things to be thinking about:

Mowing –  For the best summer turf get into a routine of mowing often enough that you only remove a third of the leaf blade with each mowing.  For bermuda and zoyia, both warm season turf grasses, this may require mowing every 4 to 5 days.  If you can mow this often, don’t bag your clippings.  The top third of the grass leaf is 90% moisture and nutrients.  The best summer height for warm season turf is 1.5 – 2.5”.  Fescue, cool season turf grass, will continue to grow rapidly during early June but once we consistently have temperatures in the upper 90’s it will begin to slow down.  The best height for cool season turf in the summer is 2.5 – 3.5”.  Both warm season and cool season turfs, don’t respond well to being cut below their recommended height. Cutting the lawn too short discourages root development and having deep roots going into the summer heat is important for both warm and cool season turf.

Mowing – For the best summer turf get into a routine of mowing often enough that you only remove a third of the leaf blade with each mowing.  For bermuda and zoyia, both warm season turf grasses, this may require mowing every 4 to 5 days.  If you can mow this often, don’t bag your clippings.  The top third of the grass leaf is 90% moisture and nutrients.  The best summer height for warm season turf is 1.5 – 2.5”.  Fescue, cool season turf grass, will continue to grow rapidly during early June but once we consistently have temperatures in the upper 90’s it will begin to slow down.  The best height for cool season turf in the summer is 2.5 – 3.5”.  Both warm season and cool season turfs, don’t respond well to being cut below their recommended height. Cutting the lawn too short discourages root development and having deep roots going into the summer heat is important for both warm and cool season turf.

Fertilizer – Bermuda lawns should be fertilized this month with a higher nitrogen, slow release fertilizer.  The goal in June is to create a healthy bermuda lawn that will thrive in the summer heat.  Fescue lawns should only receive low nitrogen, organic, root stimulating fertilizer during June to prepare them for the summer.

Weed Control –  If you subscribe to  Hall | Stewart’s Lawn Care Programs  and have not skipped any applications this year, you have received two spring pre-emergent applications.  This has given you a good barrier to prevent summer annual grassy weeds.  But, if not, you may have some grassy weeds, most commonly, crabgrass, showing up in your lawn.  June is a good month to control grassy weeds while they are still young plants.  Once they mature, stronger products will need to be used which can cause turf damage.  If nutsedge is making an appearance in your lawn, it is best  not  to pull it.  When you pull nutsedge and do not remove the nut below the surface, the plant becomes stressed and multiplies. 

Weed Control – If you subscribe to Hall | Stewart’s Lawn Care Programs and have not skipped any applications this year, you have received two spring pre-emergent applications.  This has given you a good barrier to prevent summer annual grassy weeds.  But, if not, you may have some grassy weeds, most commonly, crabgrass, showing up in your lawn.  June is a good month to control grassy weeds while they are still young plants.  Once they mature, stronger products will need to be used which can cause turf damage.  If nutsedge is making an appearance in your lawn, it is best not to pull it.  When you pull nutsedge and do not remove the nut below the surface, the plant becomes stressed and multiplies. 

Tree & Shrub Care –  Start watching for spider mites.  If you notice pale and specked foliage, shake the leaves over a white sheet of paper.  If you see tiny specks that start to move, you have spider mites and should schedule a treatment.  Also, be on the watch for bagworms on needle evergreens. With all insect and disease issues, we subscribe to an integrated pest management approach.  With our Tree & Shrub Program, we inspect for these issues with each visit.  Most problems are easier to control the earlier you notice them.  If you notice any issues with your plants, please let us know.

Tree & Shrub Care – Start watching for spider mites.  If you notice pale and specked foliage, shake the leaves over a white sheet of paper.  If you see tiny specks that start to move, you have spider mites and should schedule a treatment.  Also, be on the watch for bagworms on needle evergreens. With all insect and disease issues, we subscribe to an integrated pest management approach.  With our Tree & Shrub Program, we inspect for these issues with each visit.  Most problems are easier to control the earlier you notice them.  If you notice any issues with your plants, please let us know.

Watering –  This may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of landscape management.  May was very wet…too wet.  Currently, soil moisture is enough for mature lawns, shrubs, and trees. If you have new plantings, or annual color, you may need to water.  Develop the practice of watering based only on need.  Anytime we go a week without receiving a 1” of rainfall, start watering.  When you walk on the lawn, if grass doesn’t spring back up, start watering.  Remember, deep soakings are always better than short, frequent watering.  Shallow, frequent watering results in lawns with less roots and more dependent on water.   

Watering – This may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of landscape management.  May was very wet…too wet.  Currently, soil moisture is enough for mature lawns, shrubs, and trees. If you have new plantings, or annual color, you may need to water.  Develop the practice of watering based only on need.  Anytime we go a week without receiving a 1” of rainfall, start watering.  When you walk on the lawn, if grass doesn’t spring back up, start watering.  Remember, deep soakings are always better than short, frequent watering.  Shallow, frequent watering results in lawns with less roots and more dependent on water.   

Mulch  – Add mulch to your landscape plantings this month.  A 2” layer of mulch will retain moisture, cool the soil, and reduce weed germination.  We prefer premium shredded all bark cedar mulch because it doesn’t float as much and aesthetically looks great.  For acid loving plants such as hydrangeas and azaleas, pecan hulls or pine bark mulch is a great choice. 

Mulch – Add mulch to your landscape plantings this month.  A 2” layer of mulch will retain moisture, cool the soil, and reduce weed germination.  We prefer premium shredded all bark cedar mulch because it doesn’t float as much and aesthetically looks great.  For acid loving plants such as hydrangeas and azaleas, pecan hulls or pine bark mulch is a great choice. 

Brown Patch – Be on the look out for brown patch in your fescue lawn.  Anytime nighttime temperatures are 70 plus and the turf remains damp for over 6 hours at a time, brown patch will develop. Areas where there is little air movement and/or heavy shade are more prone because the turf stays wet longer.  Brown patch will make the lawn appear it needs more water, but watering will just make it worse.  So, before you water more, think about the site, the amount of shade, the air movement in the area, and the amount of moisture the area has received.  The best thing you can do if this problem occurs is to stop watering.

Aeration – Mechanical aeration is a “best” practice for any lawn.  Aeration reduces soil compaction, promotes root development, and thickens the turf.  May and June are the best months to aerate bermuda.  This one practice will make a big difference in the quality of your turf.  The stronger the turf, the less weed problems you will experience.

Insects  – Regularly scheduled treatments for fleas & ticks, mosquitos, and perimeter insect control around your house should continue during the summer.  The goal is to make outdoor living for your family, friends, and pets the best possible.

Insects – Regularly scheduled treatments for fleas & ticks, mosquitos, and perimeter insect control around your house should continue during the summer.  The goal is to make outdoor living for your family, friends, and pets the best possible.

Tree Trim – Early summer is a good time to do minor tree trimming.  If you have tree branches that are hanging a little lower now that they are full of foliage, go ahead and remove them this month. 

 Get outside and enjoy your landscape this month! 

We look forward to every opportunity to visit your lawn and landscape! If you have any questions, please send us an email or call (405)367-3873.

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

When rain is no longer helpful...

When rain is no longer helpful.jpg

Our goal is to keep you informed of lawn and landscape issues we are experiencing each week as we visit sites in the Oklahoma City area.  I’m sure it is no surprise to you that we are starting to see plant problems related to the excessive amount of rainfall we are receiving.

Normal annual rainfall for the Oklahoma City area is 36.5”.  In the past 365 days, the metro area has received nearly 54”.  In the last 30 days, 12.5” has fallen with 6” in the last week.

It is common for us to be discussing watering tips as we head into the summer.  I have only one watering tip today – turn your irrigation system off!  Early this morning I witnessed 3 irrigation systems running in my neighborhood alone.  Established plant materials – lawns, shrubs, trees, flowers – are showing signs of over watering stress.

Roots are the foundation to a healthy plant.  They are the primary source of water, nutrients, and oxygen.  Yes, oxygen.  Plants breath through their root system.  Plants, just like humans, can drown when water replaces air. 

So, why is it common for so many to water more when a plant is struggling because of too much water?  Plants respond in very similar ways to draught and too much water.  The first symptom of too much water is yellowing leaves followed by wilting.  The wilting leaves, whether it is too much or too little water, look nearly the same.  When you see wilting leaves, you must stop and think about the conditions and check the soil.

For example:  A couple of weeks ago I planted a tropical hibiscus in a patio pot.  This week I noticed it was wilting, grabbed a pitcher full of water and headed out the door to water it, all the while wondering why it would be dry.  What I discovered was a plant sitting in water because of clogged drain holes.  Either way, the hibiscus was wilting.  The same is true about your lawn, your flowers, your shrubs and your trees.  It is just a lot easier to diagnose when it’s in a container.

Here are a few problems we noticed this week:

Photinia Leaf Spot – A fungal disease that is common on photinia even in dryer periods but is rampant in cool periods with a lot of rainfall. It is hard to control and requires repeated applications of a fungicide in the spring and the fall. Once a plant develops the disease, it typically returns each season. Photinia are best planted in full sun areas with good air circulation. Many seasons in Oklahoma we can get away with planting them in partial shade and tight areas, but then you have a May like this year, and you remember why the experts said not to plant it where you did. Or, it could just be that your landscape has matured and now it finds itself in a less than ideal spot.

Photinia Leaf Spot – A fungal disease that is common on photinia even in dryer periods but is rampant in cool periods with a lot of rainfall. It is hard to control and requires repeated applications of a fungicide in the spring and the fall. Once a plant develops the disease, it typically returns each season. Photinia are best planted in full sun areas with good air circulation. Many seasons in Oklahoma we can get away with planting them in partial shade and tight areas, but then you have a May like this year, and you remember why the experts said not to plant it where you did. Or, it could just be that your landscape has matured and now it finds itself in a less than ideal spot.

Yew – A plant that is notorious for quickly yellowing and dying in wet or waterlogged soil.  They can be temperamental, but given the right conditions with moist, but well drained soil, they do well.  They won’t tolerate waterlogged soils and this spring many are finding they are in just too wet of soil.  As with many shrubs, the first signs of yellowing suggest too much water.

Annual Color – It is always best to wait until May to plant seasonal color varieties that thrive in the summer heat. May is the month when soil temperatures are warm enough for them to establish roots for the summer. But, the best annuals for surviving the summer heat don’t like saturated soils. We are seeing periwinkle (annual vinca) with yellowing leaves. Penta, known for its tough nature in a draught, struggling to get established because of root rot. Lantana, maybe the best in hot, sunny, draught prone locations, struggling in wet soils.

Annual Color – It is always best to wait until May to plant seasonal color varieties that thrive in the summer heat. May is the month when soil temperatures are warm enough for them to establish roots for the summer. But, the best annuals for surviving the summer heat don’t like saturated soils. We are seeing periwinkle (annual vinca) with yellowing leaves. Penta, known for its tough nature in a draught, struggling to get established because of root rot. Lantana, maybe the best in hot, sunny, draught prone locations, struggling in wet soils.

Xeriscape – Selecting more draught tolerant plants has become more and more popular. Overall, I think it is a good idea - in the right location. But, yucca and many other xeriscape favorites, are having a rough start to the year. These plant selections don’t need particularly great soil, but they do need to have good drainage and be soil that stays on the dryer side.

Xeriscape – Selecting more draught tolerant plants has become more and more popular. Overall, I think it is a good idea - in the right location. But, yucca and many other xeriscape favorites, are having a rough start to the year. These plant selections don’t need particularly great soil, but they do need to have good drainage and be soil that stays on the dryer side.

Bermuda Lawns – Large patch is a fungal disease that is a problem in cool, wet spring weather. This has been a perfect season for it to develop with the excess rainfall and temps that have lagged. It starts as a small area with leaf blades that appear light in color with some orange-bronze spots, and it gradually spreads to larger patches. We have noticed it more in poor drainage areas and in tight soil conditions. The best solution is for temperatures to consistently stay in the 70’s at night. After the lawn has improved in June, aerating would help with soil structure and drainage.

Bermuda Lawns – Large patch is a fungal disease that is a problem in cool, wet spring weather. This has been a perfect season for it to develop with the excess rainfall and temps that have lagged. It starts as a small area with leaf blades that appear light in color with some orange-bronze spots, and it gradually spreads to larger patches. We have noticed it more in poor drainage areas and in tight soil conditions. The best solution is for temperatures to consistently stay in the 70’s at night. After the lawn has improved in June, aerating would help with soil structure and drainage.

Fescue Brown Patch – This is fescue’s biggest problem. It is closely related to large patch, but only it causes problems on cool season turf instead of warm season. Also, the disease starts when it is hot and wet, instead of cool and wet. When nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 70’s and the fescue leaves stay wet more than 8 hours per day, brown patch grows. It is almost a given that your fescue will struggle if you have poor soil drainage, low air movement because of structures or landscape plantings, dense shade, heavy morning dew several days in a row, over watering or too much rain, or if you water in the evening. If you have a fescue lawn, the best thing that could happen until we dry out is for temps to remain mild – the exact opposite of what we need for bermuda. Don’t help the disease out by watering – leave the irrigation off. Mow your lawn around 3-3.5”. Too short and too tall will promote the problem. When it is time to start watering again, water in the early morning only, and not every day. Leaf blades must have time to dry completely. Aeration every fall on fescue lawns will improve soil drainage.

Fescue Brown Patch – This is fescue’s biggest problem. It is closely related to large patch, but only it causes problems on cool season turf instead of warm season. Also, the disease starts when it is hot and wet, instead of cool and wet. When nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 70’s and the fescue leaves stay wet more than 8 hours per day, brown patch grows. It is almost a given that your fescue will struggle if you have poor soil drainage, low air movement because of structures or landscape plantings, dense shade, heavy morning dew several days in a row, over watering or too much rain, or if you water in the evening. If you have a fescue lawn, the best thing that could happen until we dry out is for temps to remain mild – the exact opposite of what we need for bermuda. Don’t help the disease out by watering – leave the irrigation off. Mow your lawn around 3-3.5”. Too short and too tall will promote the problem. When it is time to start watering again, water in the early morning only, and not every day. Leaf blades must have time to dry completely. Aeration every fall on fescue lawns will improve soil drainage.

Much of what we discussed today are climate issues we can’t control.  But, the excessive rainfall has reminded me why a few things are very important:

1.     Water based only on need.  Too much water damages plant roots.

2.     Always plant a little above grade so that excess water will move away from the plant.     

3.     Select the right plants for the right location.  This is more than just sun or shade.  It includes soil type and water requirements.

Remember – the most common problem of plant stress is unhealthy roots.  This applies to lawns, flowers, trees and shrubs.

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

(405)367-3873

Introducing... the world's worst weed!

Nutsedge.jpg

If I asked you what weed gives you most difficulty, most would respond without hesitation: NUTSEDGE! 

Wikipedia claims nutsedge is the “the world’s worst weed!”  It is a problem in over 90 countries.  No other weed comes even close. 

Nutsedge is fast growing, has an upright growth habit and light green in color. Because it grows nearly twice as fast as your turf and is lighter, it ruins the best maintained lawns within a couple days of mowing.    

Nutsedge starts growing as soil temperatures warm up in May, and because it thrives in moist, tight soils, nutsedge is showing up with a vengeance in Oklahoma lawns this year.   

IMG_0015.jpeg

What does nutsedge look like?

Commonly called nutgrass but is a sedge with a triangular leaf blade. It grows upright and is light green in color. 

unnamed (1).png

What are the best growing conditions for nutsedge?

Nutsedge thrives in moist, tight soils.  It is common to find it growing in areas of poor drainage, around irrigation leaks, and in lawns that are watered too frequent.  Once nutsedge is established, it thrives with normal irrigation and periods of drought.  Nutsedge prefers full sun and doesn’t grow well in shade.

Why is nutsedge so difficult to control?   Nutsedge is a perennial weed. Perennial weeds are always more difficult to control. But, nutsedge is one of the toughest because it spreads by underground tubers. The tubers grow 6-12” deep and are referred to as nuts - thus the common name of nutgrass. Nutsedge spreads by growing rhizomes which produces more nuts. Weeds that propagate through tubers and rhizomes are very difficult to control because unless you get control of the rhizome and tuber, the plant will sprout new growth within a few days. Also, tubers can remain dormant in soil for three seasons.

Why is nutsedge so difficult to control?

Nutsedge is a perennial weed. Perennial weeds are always more difficult to control. But, nutsedge is one of the toughest because it spreads by underground tubers. The tubers grow 6-12” deep and are referred to as nuts - thus the common name of nutgrass. Nutsedge spreads by growing rhizomes which produces more nuts. Weeds that propagate through tubers and rhizomes are very difficult to control because unless you get control of the rhizome and tuber, the plant will sprout new growth within a few days. Also, tubers can remain dormant in soil for three seasons.

What is the best way to control nutsedge?

Be proactive.  With the first sign of nutsedge, take action. Nutsedge is much harder to control once it has been allowed to spread and mature.  Weed killers labeled for use on nutsedge will be either a contact killer or a systemic.  A contact herbicide will kill only the leaves and the tubers and rhizomes will remain active if you make only a single application. Systemic products will translocate through the plant to the tubers and rhizomes. 

Remember, single applications of most herbicides labeled for nutsedge will kill the plant leaves but leave the nut ineffective.

Is pulling nutsedge a good idea?   Pulling nutsedge is only recommended when the plant is very small before nuts start to develop on the rhizomes. Once nuts start to develop, you must remove the nut when pulling the weed, which is typically 6-12” below the surface. If you pull the weed and leave the nut behind, new plants will emerge very quickly.  Research suggest that anytime the tuber is stressed, by either pulling the top off or by killing the top without killing the tuber itself (the result of a single application of an herbicide), the tuber multiples. Therefore, many people experience more nutsedge after they have pulled or sprayed.  Cultivating nutgrass, such as in landscape beds, is ineffective. All you are doing is redistributing the tubers and rhizomes.

Is pulling nutsedge a good idea?

Pulling nutsedge is only recommended when the plant is very small before nuts start to develop on the rhizomes. Once nuts start to develop, you must remove the nut when pulling the weed, which is typically 6-12” below the surface. If you pull the weed and leave the nut behind, new plants will emerge very quickly.

Research suggest that anytime the tuber is stressed, by either pulling the top off or by killing the top without killing the tuber itself (the result of a single application of an herbicide), the tuber multiples. Therefore, many people experience more nutsedge after they have pulled or sprayed.

Cultivating nutgrass, such as in landscape beds, is ineffective. All you are doing is redistributing the tubers and rhizomes.

What else can I do to be proactive in preventing nutsedge?

Aeration is a great way to reduce the chances of nutsedge starting and spreading.  Aeration reduces soil compaction and reduces the best growing conditions for nutsedge.  Our experience is that lawns which are aerated annually rarely have significant nutsedge problems. 

Water only based on need and infrequently.  Overwatering, keeping your lawn too wet, promotes the best growing conditions for nutsedge.

Correct water leaks in your sprinkler system promptly.  Nutsedge will stake a claim to any areas that become waterlogged.  

Along the same line of thinking, correct poor drainage areas.  Often patches of nutsedge is an indicator of poor drainage. 

unnamed (5).png

If you find yourself struggling with nutsedge, give Hall|Stewart a call, (405) 367-3873.  Our 7-Step Lawn Care Program includes nutsedge control.  One of the benefits of subscribing to our full program is we do not charge extra for nutsedge control.  Because we know the presence of nutsedge can quickly tarnish a great looking lawn, we use the most advanced nutsedge control herbicides available to the industry.

Lorne Hall

The one thing that will make the biggest difference in your lawn...

Don't Bag Your Clippings.jpg

Don’t bag your clippings.

This is a lesson I learned early in my lawn and landscape career. 

The Tale of Two Very Similar but Very Different Lawns

In the late 1980’s, our company provided full service landscape management for two homeowners associations located directly across the street from each other in NW Oklahoma City. 

The economics of the two HOAs were very different.  The HOA on the south side of the street had a contract with two less fertilizer applications than the one of the north side of the street.  The one on the north side also required us to bag and remove the lawn clippings.  The south side HOA couldn’t afford the extra expense for bagging and waste disposal. The HOA on the north side also had an irrigation system with nearly perfect coverage that ran every other day while the one on the other side of the street had an old inadequate system that we struggled to keep operating during dry spells. 


Which HOA do you think always had the greenest grass?

Not the one with the most fertilizer applications and abundant moisture…

The one with the greenest grass was the one that couldn’t afford to have their grass clippings bagged and removed!


Why Does Not Bagging Your Clippings Make Such a Big Difference?

  • Grass clippings are 80-90% water and nutrients, mostly nitrogen.  Every time you throw away a bag of clippings you are throwing away moisture and valuable nutrients.

  • You can gain one pound of nitrogen per growing season by returning your clippings to the lawn each time you mow.  This is a significant amount considering most turf grasses require 4 to 5 pounds of nitrogen for optimal growth, density and color.  Research at the University of Missouri and Kansas State University confirms that 25% of your lawns needed annual nutrients are contained in your lawn clippings.

IMG_9985.jpeg

NW OKC Bermuda lawn that is mowed regularly without clippings being bagged & removed.

Not bagging your lawn clippings is like someone offering to give you free fertilizer and you turning it down.

  • Decaying clippings will increase organic material in the soil.  As clippings break down beneficial bacteria increases.  Healthy soils contain at least 5% organic material.  Most lawns contain 2-3% organic material and research shows that consistently allow your clippings to return to the soil will increase organic material by at least 1%.

Not bagging your lawn clipping is like someone offering to top dress your lawn with compost for free, and you saying, “No thanks”!

IMG_9993.jpeg

NW OKC Fescue lawn immediately after mowing on Thursday, May 9. Approximately 1” was cut off and of course the clippings weren’t bagged!

Keys to Successfully Mulch Mowing

  • Mow frequently enough that you only remove 1/3 of the grass per mowing.  For example: If your goal is to maintain your lawn at 2”, mow before your lawn grows past 3”.  This may require you to occasionally mow every 4-5 days instead of the traditional once per week. When only cutting 1/3 of the growth you are only cutting off the leaves. Grass leaves break down very quickly and do not increase thatch on the soil surface.

  • If you get behind with your mowing, raise your mower up and gradually lower it back down over the next couple of cuttings.  In the worst case, bag the clippings one time and then return to mulch mowing as you regain a more frequent mowing routine.

  • Don’t mow when the grass is wet.  Wet grass clippings clump and don’t breakdown quickly.

  • Mowers designed for mulch mowing work best since they cut the clippings multiple times.  If you don’t have a mulching mower, most brands have mulching kits and/or mulching blades you can add to your mower. There is nothing wrong with just mowing without the bag on most mowers, but you may need to take a minute when you are finished to spread out any clippings that are unsightly with your blower or a rake.

  • Keep your lawn mower blade sharp.  A sharp blade will cut the clippings finer instead of tearing the grass leaf.

IMG_9994.jpeg

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a big believer in not catching your clippings.  It makes a huge difference in the color of my turf and health of my lawn. When done correctly, you don’t even notice clippings on my lawn.

Fertilizer applications make a difference in the health of a lawn, but not near as big of a difference as the best lawn maintenance practices of which not bagging your clippings is the biggest.

So, the next time you drive past the guy down the street’s house who doesn’t seem to care as much about his lawn as you do and you shake your head wondering why his lawn looks so green, it’s probably because he doesn’t donate his valuable lawn clippings to the already too full landfill on the edge of the city.

Lorne Hall

May Lawn & Landscape Tips

May Lawn & Landscape Tips.jpg

In all the years I’ve been in the lawn and landscape industry I don’t believe I have experienced two identical springs.  Everything we do is based on air and soil temperatures, as well as soil moisture. So, we make are spring service plans and schedule services all based on the average spring weather.    

But, does average ever happen when it comes to weather? 

This spring has been almost perfect when it comes to a good gradual warm up without the usual extreme temperature swings. We didn’t experience the typical above normal temperatures followed by a late freeze.  The result was an April with some of the best spring color I can remember.   All the spring blooming trees, shrubs and flowers put on a show! 

With one exception, this has been a perfect spring.  Both air and soil temperatures have lagged behind.  This has been a slow-to-get-here spring resulting in slow turf development.  Fescue was slower than normal to regain full color.  I mowed my fescue lawn less in March than I can ever remember.  Finally, fescue color and development came around in April.  Even warm season turf has also lagged a couple of weeks behind in green up and development. 

Now with the arrival of May and the abundant moisture we are receiving, your lawn and landscape is positioned to take off for the summer.   

Here are a few tips for May:

Pre-Emergent Application – Between late April and the end of May, it is critical you receive your second pre-emergent application of the year.  A pre-emergent creates a barrier over the soil that prevents weeds from germinating.  Routine activity, such as mowing and play, as well as heavy rains, all break down the barrier we created with our first application of the year.  Application #3 is a key step in strengthening the barrier and giving you season long control.  The effectiveness of all pre-emergent herbicides is increased when the product is watered into the top ½’-1” of the soil Please make sure you do your best to follow the watering instructions we leave when making your application.

Post-Emergent Application – Weeds that are not prevented, both grasses and broadleaf, require additional treatment to control.  Now that the warm season turf is coming completely out of dormancy, control of weeds can be stepped up.  Application #3 contains broadleaf weed control mixed with the pre-emergent for additional control.  Grassy weed control will continue on an as needed basis in a safe manner to limit turf damage. 

Nutsedge  often begins to show up in lawns in late May.  The pre-emergent herbicide we use will help with prevention, but it isn’t 100% and some spot treatments can be expected.  But, since Nutsedge is a result of tight, wet soils, annual aeration is the best practice.    

Nutsedge often begins to show up in lawns in late May.  The pre-emergent herbicide we use will help with prevention, but it isn’t 100% and some spot treatments can be expected.  But, since Nutsedge is a result of tight, wet soils, annual aeration is the best practice.    

Turf Fertilizer – Bermuda lawns need a good feeding as they start into their prime growing season.  For fescue lawns May is the last month to strengthen fescue before going into the most stressful time of the year for a cool season turf.  After May, excessive nitrogen can harm fescue and often results in disease issues. 

Anytime we make an application of weed control or fertilizer, please let us know if you have any concerns 10-14 days after our visit. If the turf isn’t greening up properly, or if weeds are not wilting, we want to know. If you are new to our program, we know it will take time to get your lawn to the healthy condition you desire. But we expect to make progress with each visit. We know this may require additional visits and if you are on our full 7- Step Program, we will make the needed extra visits.

Anytime we make an application of weed control or fertilizer, please let us know if you have any concerns 10-14 days after our visit. If the turf isn’t greening up properly, or if weeds are not wilting, we want to know. If you are new to our program, we know it will take time to get your lawn to the healthy condition you desire. But we expect to make progress with each visit. We know this may require additional visits and if you are on our full 7- Step Program, we will make the needed extra visits.

Tree & Shrub Care –  May is the month to watch for bagworms on needle evergreens. We subscribe to an integrated pest management approach.  With our Tree & Shrub Program, we inspect for bagworms and treat as needed.  Bagworms are very easy to control when they are small.  But, they are very hard to see when they first start to develop.  If you notice bagworms, or have a concern about your plants, please let us know

Tree & Shrub Care – May is the month to watch for bagworms on needle evergreens. We subscribe to an integrated pest management approach.  With our Tree & Shrub Program, we inspect for bagworms and treat as needed.  Bagworms are very easy to control when they are small.  But, they are very hard to see when they first start to develop.  If you notice bagworms, or have a concern about your plants, please let us know

IMG_6425.JPG

Lawn Maintenance – Both warm and cool season turf grasses need frequent mowing now.  One of the most important things for good turf health is to avoid removing more than 1/3 of the grass in one mowing.  Not only does it not yield you the best looking lawn when you cut below the leaf and into the stem of the grass, it also weakens the root system.  Try to maintain your Bermuda on the middle setting or just below the middle setting in May.  For fescue, raise the setting one notch this month and cut around 2.5”.  At the end of the month it is best to have fescue at a maximum height going into the summer. 

IMG_8087.JPG
IMG_8217 2.JPG

Seasonal Color – Now time to install your summer annual color.  Most landscapes look best with a splash of bright color creating a welcoming environment near the front door.  Impatiens and Caladiums are great choices for full shade areas.  Begonias, petunias, and geraniums do well in sun to part shade.  Periwinkle, lantana, and penta are good at handling the heat and full sun.

Irrigation  – The average rainfall in the Oklahoma City area in the last 7 days is over 2 ½”.  All the Mesonet sites in the area are all reporting ample soil moisture.  Please conserve water and leave your irrigation off or put it on a rain delay for the next 5-7 days.  If you have subscribed to our Irrigation Management program with the Rainbird Wi-Fi Link, we have been delaying your irrigation the last few weeks based on rainfall and soil moisture measurements.   During May your lawn and landscape needs 1 -1 ½” of moisture per week as temperatures start reaching into the 90s. Remember to always water based on need.  

Irrigation – The average rainfall in the Oklahoma City area in the last 7 days is over 2 ½”.  All the Mesonet sites in the area are all reporting ample soil moisture.  Please conserve water and leave your irrigation off or put it on a rain delay for the next 5-7 days.  If you have subscribed to our Irrigation Management program with the Rainbird Wi-Fi Link, we have been delaying your irrigation the last few weeks based on rainfall and soil moisture measurements.   During May your lawn and landscape needs 1 -1 ½” of moisture per week as temperatures start reaching into the 90s. Remember to always water based on need.  

AfterlightImage 4.JPG
Azalea Care  – Wow!  What a show they put on this year.  After Azalea’s bloom it is time to fertilize and prune.  Prune between bloom drop and the end of June.  Pruning after mid-summer will result in less blooms next year.  Azaleas look best when minimally pruned and allowed to retain their natural shape.  Prune by removing longer shoots by reaching down and making cuts where they come off a larger branch.  This will improve air moment and promote healthy growth.  Avoid shearing azaleas. Fertilize now with a controlled release azalea food.  Now is also the best time to add a fresh layer of mulch.  As temperatures rise the mulch will keep the soil cooler and retain moisture.  The best mulch for azaleas is pecan hulls or pine bark.  

Azalea Care – Wow!  What a show they put on this year.  After Azalea’s bloom it is time to fertilize and prune.  Prune between bloom drop and the end of June.  Pruning after mid-summer will result in less blooms next year.  Azaleas look best when minimally pruned and allowed to retain their natural shape.  Prune by removing longer shoots by reaching down and making cuts where they come off a larger branch.  This will improve air moment and promote healthy growth.  Avoid shearing azaleas. Fertilize now with a controlled release azalea food.  Now is also the best time to add a fresh layer of mulch.  As temperatures rise the mulch will keep the soil cooler and retain moisture.  The best mulch for azaleas is pecan hulls or pine bark.  

AfterlightImage 2.JPG

If you have any questions, please drop us an email or give us a call at (405)367-3873.

Our mission is to make sure you have a lawn and landscape that improves the appearance, enjoyment and value of your surroundings.

Lorne Hall

Is your lawn good or great?

Aeration Header.jpg

A good lawn is a result of several key activities:

  1. Correctly timed pre-emergent applications to prevent weeds before they germinate.

  2. Applying the right amount of fertilizer to insure you have a thick and healthy turf.

  3. Regularly scheduled mowing that only removes the top 1/3 of the leaf blade each time.

  4. Infrequent deep watering based on seasonal need.

But, there is a 5th activity that will move a good lawn to a great lawn:

AERATION

IMG_9749.jpeg

What is aeration? 

Aeration is the process of mechanically removing 2”-3” cores of soil, 4”-6” apart, from your lawn.

What are the benefits of aeration? 

  • Soil compaction is reduced. 

  • Air movement into the soil is improved.

  • Fertilizer can quickly reach the root zone.  

  • Water runoff and puddling is reduced. 

  • Roots grow stronger and deeper. 

  • Thatch is reduced.

  • Reduction of weeds that love compacted soils.

Compact soils prevent grass from establishing a healthy root system and prevents air, water and nutrients from reaching the root zone. Walking, playing, mowing (in other words everything you do on your lawn) increases soil compaction.

As Oklahomans, we are all use to having tight clay, compacted soils.  Our clay soils make growing a great lawn a challenge.

Have we accepted compaction as the status quo? 

Stop accepting the norm.  You don’t have to have tight, compacted soil.

Golf courses typically aerate their turf at least two times per season.  No wonder the fairways always have better turf than most home lawns.

Lawns with compacted soil also are more susceptible to weed development.  Many weeds thrive in tight compacted soil. 

image (2).png

Nutsedge, one of the most difficult to control summer weeds, thrives in tight soils.  Our experience has shown that annually aerated lawns have far less problems with nutsedge.  

IMG_9824.jpeg

When should you aerate?

  • Warm season lawns (Bermuda and zoyia) should be aerated any time after spring green-up and before the end of July.

  • Cool season lawns (fescue) should be aerated in the fall, September through October.  Aeration in conjunction with overseeding will not only improve the soil structure, but it will also improve seed soil contact resulting in better seed germination.

Should the cores be removed or left on the lawn?   Leave the cores on the lawn. As they breakdown and dissolve, they will refill the holes with loose soil resulting in improved soil structure. The cores will break up and settle back into the lawn within 2-3 weeks.

Should the cores be removed or left on the lawn?

Leave the cores on the lawn. As they breakdown and dissolve, they will refill the holes with loose soil resulting in improved soil structure. The cores will break up and settle back into the lawn within 2-3 weeks.

Nothing will take your lawn from good to great more than an annual aeration! 

Aeration, the most overlooked lawn practice, will give you a healthier, more vigorous, less weedy lawn. 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

(405)367-3873