Mowing and Edging:
Keeping lawns mowed and edged adds beauty and value to homes. Lawns should be cut regularly to maintain their health. No more than one third of the height of the blade should be removed at any time, as this will cause stress and damage the lawn. Grass clippings can be removed after mowing or a mulching mower can be used to cut the grass clippings into fine particles, which are then deposited back into the lawn as nutrients.
Mulch is used to beautify and accent landscapes, but it also serves the purpose of insulating the area around trees and shrubs, helping to retain moisture and reducing the growth of grass and weeds in unwanted areas. Mulch can be organic or inorganic and comes in many different varieties.
Organic mulch consists of natural products such as tree bark, wood chips, and pine needles. One benefit of organic mulch is that they will decompose and put nutrients back into the soil. One disadvantage is that over time, their appearance will diminish and they must be replaced (usually on an annual basis).
Inorganic mulch consists of materials that will not break down, such as stones or pebbles, rubber or plastic chips. The disadvantage of these is that they do not break down over time and therefore cannot add nutrients to the soil. The advantage is that their appearance will not deteriorate and they will likely not have to be replaced.
Aeration involves the removal of three to four inch plugs from the soil. There are many benefits of aeration. The process loosens compact soil. It allows air, water, and other nutrients to penetrate the soil more easily, making for a healthier lawn. Lawns should be watered generously one or two days prior to aeration to enable the core aerator to penetrate more easily into the soil. Lawns should also be cut relatively low prior to aeration. In the Charlotte area where fescue is the primary type of grass grown, the best time to aerate is in the fall. However, it can also be done in the spring.
Fertilization is necessary for maintaining healthy lawns. Fertilization strengthens root systems, promotes growth and keeps out unwanted weeds. Fertilizer should be applied at eight to ten-week intervals throughout the growing season. Customers should be mindful to water lawns thoroughly after every application since neglecting this process will cause lawns to “burn”.
Fall applications are essential to having a healthy and thriving lawn the following summer. Lawns properly fertilized in the fall will produce stronger and deeper root systems and will be more heat and drought tolerant in the summer.
Neatly trimmed hedges give properties a finished and more pleasing appearance. Hedge trimming may only need to be done once or twice per year to maintain a well manicured look. Early spring is a good time to prune some shrubs as it will promote growth and give the hedge a thicker appearance. However, for flowering shrubs such as azalea, early spring trimming will remove flowering buds, so this type of plant should be trimmed later in the spring, after they have finished blooming.
Seeding is the process of adding grass seeds to the soil to establish a new lawn. For already established lawns, the process is called over seeding and seeds are added to the turf to increase the thickness and health of the lawn. Lawns can be seeded or over seeded with broadcast or drop spreaders, which are metered to deliver a specific quantity of seeds per square foot. The best time to seed lawns in the Charlotte area is in the early fall. This is the peak growing season for cool season grasses like tall fescue, which are typically grown in this area. Daily and abundant watering is imperative for at least 2 weeks after seeding.
Leaves will accumulate on lawns in the fall if they are not removed. If they are only a few trees in the area, and leaf build-up is minimal, then the leaves can be mulched as part of the lawn mowing process. If the leaf build-up is substantial, then they should be removed. If left to accumulate, they will suffocate the grass and can cause fungus build-up.