Aeration – DIY or Hire a Professional?

Spring is here and with it comes a chance to heal your lawn from the damages of winter. The heavy snowfalls from this last winter may have caused serious soil compaction. This leads to your grass struggling to get back in the growing mode. Its roots may not be able to grow and absorb nutrients and this can lead to pathetic looking grass for months. This is why now might be a good time to consider lawn aeration! And we are just the company to help you out.

Aeration can save you money in the long run by decreasing water needs and fertilizer applications to get beautiful grass but it’s not something that is necessarily easy to accomplish. DIY methods of aeration are, at best, difficult and time consuming. At worst, they are a complete waste of time and energy.

Doing it Yourself

Some common do it yourself methods include using a pitchfork or similar tool to “punch” holes into the ground. There are even shoes made for this with spikes on the soles. The problem herein is that nothing is actually being pulled out of the ground. When a professional aerates your lawn, it will be covered in little cylinders or plugs. This is lawn, roots, and soil that has been pulled out of the ground. Removing this plug is the point of aeration. It creates areas for the ground to loosen and spread and the roots of your lawn to begin to grow again. When you simply poke holes in the ground, it quickly closes back up. Time wasted.

Another method, which is slightly more effective, is to buy a small aeration tool that has a few hole punches along a metal bar. This does essentially the same thing that a professional aerator does but requires substantially more work and time and effort. These tools are only well suited to very small areas and even then, they take a long time.

The last DIY method is the most effective but often the biggest pain. Renting an aerator works wonderfully, if you can find a way to get it to your home, figure out how to operate it, hope you use it correctly, hope nothing breaks down, keep from injuring or fatiguing yourself, and figure out a way to return it before the due date.

Hiring a Professional

Hiring a lawn care service such as VIRIDIS Lawn Care insures it will be completed efficiently and professionally with absolutely no work required by you other than a phone call. Our professionals know when to aerate for different grass types to give it the biggest benefit. They know how frequently to aerate and when the weather conditions are ideal. They know how to avoid damage to your lawn and its roots – a real concern when doing it yourself.

While aerating your lawn is possible by yourself, we really recommend hiring VIRIDIS Lawn Care to save you the most time, effort, and guesswork. Call us today to schedule your consultation.

Organic vs Chemical Fertilizer

Fertilizer is important for your lawn’s health. Without the proper nutrients, grass can’t grow well or produce adequate green. But there are different types of fertilizers – organic (decomposing materials) and chemical (synthetic mixtures of the necessary nutrients). Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each to help you make an educated decision about which will work best for you and your lifestyle.

Organic:

Pros:

Organic fertilizers provide more than just the “essential” nutrients required for healthy growth. They are filled with various other micro nutrients that help to maintain long-term effects. These often last longer than chemical fertilizers because they take longer to break down, therefore providing a slow release of nutrients over several months. This also means it’s much more difficult to over fertilize.

This type of fertilizer also contributes to the soil’s health as well as the inhabitants of the soil such as worms. Over time, continued use of organic fertilizer will actually improve soil. This is especially noticeable in clay or sand soils.

Cons:

This type of fertilization is considerably slower and less noticeable. Because the nutrients aren’t immediately available, the plants can’t absorb and use them all as quickly. It takes more time for the grass to respond to organic fertilization.

They are also much harder to find for purchase or create yourself. Then, they tend to be a bit more labor intensive to apply than chemical fertilizers. Not to mention, storage is practically impossible in most residential areas. Considerably more organic fertilizer is required to do what a little bit of chemical fertilizer can do.

Organic material only decomposes when the conditions are right, meaning your lawn may not get the nutrients it needs when you want to give them to it. It’s very difficult to properly time application with the plant’s needs because the weather can completely change your plans.

Chemical:

Pros:

Chemical fertilizers work fast and effectively. They can be used to grow plants in less than ideal soil and still produce high yields – in this case, healthy, thick lawns. It doesn’t take years of soil amendments to get results.

They provide instant access to necessary nutrients and therefore, instant results. Within a matter of days, a sad, pathetic looking patch of grass can begin to green and grow when using chemical fertilizers.

Chemicals are also much easier to apply than organic fertilizer and easy to hire professionals to apply. Purchase is as simple as walking in a garden section of a store or calling a professional lawn care service. Storage takes up much less room as well.

They also can be applied in appropriate doses at needed times to help your lawn grow best. The weather conditions have much less effect on the fertilizer’s effectiveness.

Cons:

These types of fertilizers can have negative long term effects. Soil can become damaged or depleted of other nutrients that the grass uses to grow. Some chemical fertilizers contain fillers that can have toxins and overuse can cause these toxins to leach into the soil and occasionally, even water sources. This is especially problematic if you are inexperienced with applying fertilizers and overdo it.

Plants can also get used to the ease of growing with synthetic nutrients so readily available for use. If you stop using the fertilizer, the grass may have a hard time coping.

Conclusion

While many people feel passionately one way or the other, looking at your needs and the abilities of each of these types of fertilizers can help you choose which is best for you. And, despite what others may tell you, you can choose both. Applying chemical fertilizers or organic fertilizers won’t destroy your ability to use the other.

Regardless your choice, applying fertilizer of some variety will definitely improve your lawn’s health and increase it’s beauty.

 

 

Mole Cricket Nymphs

Mole crickets are a relative of grasshoppers and crickets but they mainly live underground. They pass through three life stages, transforming during each phase. Below, we’ll focus mainly on the nymph or newly hatched phase of the mole crickets’ lifespan.

Females lay their eggs underground in damp soil. Once hatched, the mole cricket nymphs continue to live below the surface, feeding on plants that are nearby. There can be as many as 60 eggs in each clutch but the soil must remain moist for the eggs to hatch and the nymphs to survive.

As the mole cricket nymphs grow, they go through several transitions called molts. They begin to look more like adult mole crickets as they continue growing. Nymphs are smaller but as they reach adulthood, they can reach nearly 1.5 inches, depending on the variety. The biggest noticeable difference between a nymph and an adult mole cricket (besides their size) is the lack of wings. Wings are only found on adults but vary in size and functionality based on species.

Mole crickets nymphs have front legs specially made for digging and hind legs, that, while they may resemble a true cricket’s, aren’t actually very good for jumping. Instead, these hind legs assist in pushing dirt.

Mole crickets spend most of the year being very active. They slow during the winter, spending it underground as nymphs or adults. Eggs don’t survive the cold weather well but when the warmth of spring returns, they resume activity.

Mole crickets don’t normally present a large threat to lawn health but they can be a nuisance or, if they are in large enough numbers, they can damage the roots of your grass. Knowing how to identify these creatures can help you determine whether they are a threat or the cause of lawn issues you may have. Eliminating them is easiest during the nymph and egg stage as they are more vulnerable.

If you suspect lawn pests causing issues for your landscape, call us today for a consultation!

Chlorophyll: a big word with a big job

Chlorophyll: a big word with a big job. Chlorophyll is what is inside green plants that transforms sunlight into food or energy they can use to grow, a process called photosynthesis. This is the pigment that causes grass to appear green. Chlorophyll is an important part of making sure you have the greenest lawn possible. Read on to learn more about this important process and how it can affect your lawn care methods.

Grass will store up energy produced by chlorophyll to use during times of stress or dormancy in order to stay alive. This means your lawn needs times of ideal growing conditions to produce an excess of energy. Cool season grasses, such as those grown in most lawns here in the Salt Lake Valley, will store extra energy during spring and fall to help the grass grow well during the hot summers and cold winters. If the grass is damaged or stressed during one of these periods of energy production, it will struggle to maintain during the less ideal conditions.

Some lawn care habits can affect the lawn’s ability to photosynthesize. For instance, mowing too short can hinder the grass’s ability to absorb gas and sunlight which prohibits chlorophyll from properly doing its job.  Photosynthesis requires that enough of the green blade is available to absorb the light for chlorophyll to do its job. Never mow lower than 2 1/2 inches, especially during the heat of summer.

Fertilizing during the wrong times can make the grass grow when it is trying to maintain and live off of stored energy. This could seriously injure or even kill the grass. Fertilizing during the correct times can help the grass to grow even healthier and assist chlorophyll in producing needed energy stores.

By following healthy lawn care guidelines, you automatically assist the process of photosynthesis and therefore, your grass’s growth.  Understanding how chlorophyll works during this process can help you understand why we at VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Utah give the lawn care suggestions we do – we are promoting energy production which leads to healthy, beautiful, green lawns!