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How to shake a lawn

The key to a healthy lawn starts with the soil. If your lawn is right for you, here’s how to fix it  and keep it in tip-top shape.

Ongoing droughts are making it increasingly difficult to justify lawns in places like Buffalo NY USA. However, in humid states like Buffalo NY USA, lawns typically come with the territory. In fact, even if you hate your lawn, your homeowners association may require you to maintain it.

And if you’ve had a lawn for a while, you’ve probably struggled year after year to keep it green, lush, and thrive. But many of the things that make your lawn thrive have nothing to do with blades. What matters is the soil. And getting the right balance for that soil is the key to having a green lawn.

Here’s what you need to know about revitalizing and maintaining your lawn.

Soil sample collection

Landscape expert of RDKLandscaping  in Buffalo NY USA, says that if you go to your local store and mention a lawn problem like brown spot, someone will direct you to the fertilizer aisle, hand you a large bag and show you the way. This can cause all sorts of problems for your lawn and make things worse. Fertilizer may not be the solution and applying too much can ruin your lawn.

Before doing anything to your lawn, you should take a soil sample to check the pH. This is probably the biggest factor in a healthy lawn. A soil sample can also tell you whether your soil is clay or sand, which is key to how you care for your lawn.

Landscape expert of RDKLandscaping in Buffalo NY USA, recommends taking half-cup soil samples from 10 spots in your yard to get a good average. These samples can then be taken to local agricultural extensions or sometimes to universities for testing. Expert says some places are free, but others may require you to pay a fee. In his area, it usually costs about $12 to analyze such a sample.

If your lawn looks dry, is full of weeds, or has yellow or brown spots, a test can tell you what your soil is deficient in. Expert says he likes to shoot for a pH of 7.0. Get a printed sample and give it to your lawn care professional so they can recommend ways to improve your soil and lawn.

If your soil is unbalanced, it is likely to be more acidic than alkaline. But it all depends on where you live. pH depends on a variety of factors, including whether the previous owner had a garden. If you have oak trees in your yard, they can be a major cause of your soil becoming overly acidic. Oak leaves have a high acid content. If it lands on the ground and decomposes in the soil, it can become more acidic over time.

If the soil is too acidic, lime should be added to neutralize the acidity. Lime is crushed limestone, an organic material composed primarily of calcium carbonate. If your soil is too alkaline, you may need to add more nitrogen, a component found in fertilizers. If your soil lacks microbes, more organic matter, such as peat moss, will be needed to revitalize the topsoil.

If you want to completely revitalize your lawn at this stage, it’s best to leave maintenance to the professionals. This has gone beyond the DIY stage. The amount of lime depends on the degree of amendment needed for the soil. Typically, that amount should be a certain number of pounds per 1,000 square feet, which is what professionals are trained to figure out. Don’t just buy a bag of lime and put it on your lawn. That’s impossible.

It is a good idea to continue taking soil samples every year to ensure you are maintaining the correct levels.

Buy seeds or grass

Once you have established the soil’s pH to the desirable 7.0, you can begin your lawn shaping program. If you’re starting over, now is the time to buy grass seed or sod.

The most common types of lawns are:

Saint Augustine. Professionals says this is the most delicate, with a very thick blade. You cannot buy seeds for this type of grass. You have to buy grass, which costs more. Professionals recommends fertilizing your St. Augustine three times a year.

Centipede. Professionals calls it a “poor man’s grass”. You can plant your own seeds and they are easy to grow. The seeds are slightly more expensive than Bermuda seeds but are easier to grow and maintain. They say you only need to apply fertilizer twice a year.

Bermudas. This grass appears hardy and has some drought tolerance. Seeds are relatively inexpensive, but require fertilizing four times a year.

Treatment and practice

Herbicides and pesticides. Professionals recommends adding a pre-emergence herbicide in November and every three months thereafter to prevent weed germination. However, pesticides and herbicides are best left to the professionals. Herbicides are nasty substances. As landscapers, we need to be trained on how to handle and use herbicides and pesticides. However, any homeowner can go to Home Depot and purchase something. I don’t know why.

Fertilizer. Fertilizer is like food for your lawn. It contains nitrogen, which is essential for a healthy lawn. Professionals recommends fertilizing two to three times a year, depending on soil and lawn type.

Organic method. Professionals uses only 100% organic methods to fertilize and maintain our lawns. He uses corn gluten fertilizer, crabgrass and milky spores to kill insects and chicken manure to add nitrogen.

He says using chemical fertilizers can make your lawn dependent on it to thrive. In other words, spraying chemical fertilizers will kill the grass. Organic matter contains trace nutrients that cannot be obtained from chemical fertilizers and helps the lawn function on its own without dependence on chemical fertilizers.

To get rid of the weeds, he uses a lawn care program that filters out the weeds. This is a combination of removing leaves and dropping seeds into crevices to filter out weeds. The more grass grows, the fewer weeds there will be.

Aeration. If the soil is too compacted, grass will not grow. Compaction can occur naturally and is a bigger problem for clay soils. This happens in high traffic areas. If the grass starts to harden underfoot, it’s a sign that the soil is too compacted. Professionals recommends broadcasting at least once a year.

Dethatching. Thatch is a layer of dead grass on top of the soil. A small thatch is okay and even desirable, but it is best to keep it to a half-inch layer or less. To remove thatch, use a thatch lawn mower with the blades moving vertically rather than horizontally to dig the thatch out of the soil.

Cut. Professionals recommends cutting off just one-third of the tops of the leaves once a week or every other week. This will allow the blades to grow at a steady, good rate. If you cut too low, your grass will go into survival mode and recover as quickly as possible.

We also do not recommend putting your lawn mower in a bag. Mulching your lawn brings nitrogen back into the soil. It’s like free fertilizer.

Professionals also recommends changing your mowing pattern weekly. One week it cuts left to right, the next week it switches to top and bottom. This will minimize blemishes on your lawn.

Some experts and homeowners recommend using a manual lawn mower to reduce fuel emissions.

Watering. The frequency of watering depends on the type of soil. Sandy soils require more watering as nutrients move through the soil. Clay soils retain water better.

A new lawn will require more frequent watering to help the seeds grow. A well-established lawn should be watered infrequently, but over a long period of time to allow the water to penetrate deeper into the soil and allow the roots to grow deeper and reach the water.

For a well-established lawn, expert recommends watering twice a week for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the weather. For new lawns, water every morning for 15 minutes per section.

Other considerations

Expense. When in doubt, it’s best to call a professional. Professionals say you can hire a good professional to test, cut, fertilize and maintain your lawn for anywhere from $50 to $125 per month, depending on the needs and size of your lawn.

Lawn alternative. There are many controversies surrounding the use of lawns, from wastewater to chemical spills, ecological dead zones and boredom. There are numerous alternatives and solutions to many of these problems.

In the end, it’s worth continuing the argument and always trying to find common ground.


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Read our Reviews!!

360' MoTo
360' MoTo
Great work! Highly recommended+++
Hunter Vasanth
Hunter Vasanth
Well serives
anne gorman
anne gorman
I highly recommend RDK landscaping!
Elisabeth Sageev
Elisabeth Sageev
Roy and Jay did a super job fixing up a very overgrown yard. They were fast, friendly, and responsive. Thank you!
Nila Kutty
Nila Kutty
Great work 🔥🔥🔥 Thank you guys

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