Why You Need a Fall Lawn Care Program
The way current and prospective customers view your commercial property is important. The quality of the turf often speaks to how the overall property is cared for. Turf that is thin, weedy, and neglected can give the wrong impression about how the rest of the property is maintained. Thick, green, and lush turf speaks volumes about how important the property image is – not only to the tenants and residents but also the managers and owners.
If your property’s lawn is in bad shape, choked with weeds, or has thin/bare spots, you could benefit from a lawn renovation. Fall lawn care will help your commercial property look its best and possibly increase your property’s value. In addition, a healthy lawn will help control soil erosion, filter pollution from groundwater, keep the summer ground temperatures more moderate, and add much-needed oxygen to the air.
Over time, turf falls victim to a number of environmental factors causing it to lose vigor, density, color, and overall health. Some of the most common things that steal life from your turf are:
- pH imbalance – soil pH that is too low or too high can make nutrients unavailable to turf roots essentially starving the turf
- Compacted Soil – compacted soils do not allow the optimum balance between air, water, and nutrients, all of which are needed for healthy turf
- Lack of Fertilizer – improper nutrient balance can result in underdeveloped roots or poor leaf color
- Humans and Pets – over time, foot traffic and pet urine damage turf
- Weeds – aggressive weeds like Crabgrass can overpower weak turf or thin areas, eventually choking out the desired turf
Fall is the best time to improve the quality of the turf on your commercial property. Temperatures are cooler, rainfall is typically enough to get seeds to germinate, and the more aggressive weeds (like crabgrass) go dormant in cool weather, making them less of a threat. Between September and the first frost, strong roots can be established, setting the table for a beautiful lawn come spring. By summer, there will be no need to fight the heat in order to keep a new lawn healthy and well-watered.
What Services are Part of a Fall Commercial Lawn Care Program?
First things first, a soil test will help determine the current condition of your soil and provides specific information that will help your landscape company determine what exactly your lawn needs.
Seeding & Fertilizing
Every commercial property is different when it comes to turf. Some areas are under dense shade, others are in the direct sunlight. Some areas are high traffic, while others may be hardly used. Selecting the right seed blend is key to getting a healthy turf stand. State-approved blends exist to address just about any environmental condition. Your commercial landscape contractor should be recommending and using the highest quality seed to suit each area when they perform this service.
Your commercial landscape contractor will apply fertilizer according to soil test results during the initial seeding period and it will last for 6 to 8 weeks. Follow up applications should be part of your regular maintenance program.
Weeds are your turf’s biggest competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. The more weeds there are, the less healthy turf there is. Beyond having a proper mowing program that allows turf to grow to a minimum of 3 inches before mowing again, the most effective control for tough weeds is with an herbicide. In the fall, perennial lawn weeds transport food stores from leaves to roots. Liquid broadleaf herbicide applied in September to early October is carried to the roots and kills these tough weeds.
Your lawn cannot live without air, water, and nutrients. Thatch is a layer of organic material that builds up on the surface of the soil. When this happens, water and fertilizer may run right off of the turn instead of penetrating into the soil. Dethatching can help rejuvenate a lawn by clearing up passageways to the soil.
Soil compacts over time from use (think walking, playing sports, or even from being driven over) as well as other natural causes like erosion. Core aeration helps to revive turf by removing small plugs of soil and roots which in turn loosens the soil allowing for air, nutrients, and water to reach turf roots. Aeration reduces surface runoff and gives fertilizers direct access to turf roots. This makes all of those fertilizer applications more effective. Complete Landscaping has the latest innovation in core aeration.
After dethatching and aerating, it’s time to overseed your lawn. Lawns will naturally thin over time due to use, so adding 3-5 lbs per 1,000 square feet of turf is a good maintenance seeding rate that will fill in thin areas. If you have completely bare areas use a higher seeding rate and make sure that your commercial contractor is aerating and liming those areas to encourage seed germination and establishment.
This is often the most overlooked service when it comes to lawn care, but it has the most significant impact on the continued health of the turf. Lime applications “sweeten” the soil and make the pH more ideal for a healthy stand of turf. Liming makes all of those fertilizer applications more effective by making the applied nutrients available to the turf. If you can’t remember the last time you had a pH test or a lime application – fall is the time to ask!
Topdressing is the process of applying a thin layer, typically ¼ inch thick, of mixed soil to the surface of the lawn. This is done to protect your new seedlings during establishment. It can also smooth the surface of the lawn and promote decomposition, therefore reducing thatch build-up; all sure-fire ways to get an unbeatable spring lawn and save you money in the long run. If done improperly, this can be detrimental to your lawn. However, with Complete Landscaping experts on the job, you can be sure the topdressing process is done correctly and ultimately benefits your lawn.
If troubled turf is detracting from your curb appeal, talk to your landscape professional about a program that will reinvigorate and revitalize your property’s lawn. There is no better time to start a turf program than Fall.
If you would like a quote for fall lawn care for your commercial property, contact us today!