Monday, April 29, 2013

Lawn Care Tip: Diluting Dog Urine

If you can't bring yourself to renounce grass, you can still prevent dog spots by vigilance. When you see a dog urinating on the grass, rush to the garden hose. Turn it on and bring it over to the area where your dog has just urinated. Douse the area with water, thereby flushing it and diluting the harmful elements in the dog urine.

This strategy won't be very appealing if you "have a life." I know I wouldn't want my day to revolve around the urinary habits of my dog! But hey, different strokes for different folks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Green Alternatives to Grass (Landscaping with Pets Series)

But installing a tougher type of grass will solve only one lawn-care problem encountered in landscaping with dogs: namely, wear and tear on grass. It will do nothing to solve the problem of "dog spots." Dog spots are the unsightly yellow spots on grass caused by the nitrogen and salts in dog urine.
But there is a type of "green carpet" that solves the problem of dog spots: clover. Clover lawns have many advantages over grass lawns. If you're landscaping with dogs, you'll especially appreciate the fact that clover doesn't stain the way grass does after being subjected to canine urine.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Avoid Dog Spots with Hardscape

Avoid Dog Spots With Hardscape
Dogs and lawn grass don't mix well. For small areas, consider switching from a grassy expanse to hardscape. The advantages of hardscape go beyond solutions to landscaping with dogs, since hardscape offers a low-maintenance alternative to grass that obviates lawn care. Stone and masonry are especially useful for landscaping with dogs, because they minimize the mess dogs make through urination (dog spots), digging and plain old wear and tear.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lawn Care and Dogs

Is your landscaping going to the dogs? Is your lawn riddled with "dog spots?" There's no reason that you can't have both canine companionship and an attractive yard. But landscaping with dogs does present challenges that may require some compromises. The goal in this balancing act is to achieve an attractive, dog-friendly yard.

Effective landscaping with dogs begins with the recognition that a business-as-usual approach won't work. If your dogs are to be allowed to run about in your yard, you'll probably have to make adjustments to your landscaping. Landscaping with dogs primarily entails making concessions to your canine friends, as you'll see from the strategies below. I do, however, offer one glimmer of hope that you can, instead, adjust the dogs to the landscaping. Either way, if you fail to make some sort of adjustment, then dogs will make a mess of your yard. Worse still, they'll be continually dragging dirt into your house.

Learn more in our next edition!

Monday, April 22, 2013

5 Steps to a Great Spring Landscape Clean Up!

1- Clean Up and Clean Out!  Take an afternoon  and clean out any dead foliage and/or tree branches from your lawn and garden beds. Harsh winter storms can leave branches, leaves and other tree debris.

2- Weed Patrol - Clean any existing weeds out of flower beds and check your lawn for any weed growth. Once you are clear of weeds- you should plan on spending 10-15 minutes a few times a week to keep new weed growth out of your gardens.

3- Fertilize - Fertilizing your grass, shrubs and flowers now will make sure that anything you want to thrive this season will.  For your lawn, there are an array of options available including turf builder and organic weed killers.  The same goes for flower beds and shrubs.  If you plan on fertilizing herbs and/or vegetables that you will use for cooking, consider using an organic fertilizer that is free of pesticides.

4- Check your Irrigation System - Whether you have an in-ground sprinkler system or a hose attachment, you should check to make sure all your sprinklers are working. For an in-ground system- make sure your pump and tank are operating correctly especially if they haven’t run in a few months. Check the sprinkler heads and test them to see if any need to be replaced.

5- Mulch - A fresh layer of mulch can take any flower bed from drab and dreary to beautiful.  Professional landscapers typically suggest about 4 inches of mulch on top of any soil in order to prevent weeds and help plants retain moisture.  Make sure to pull the mulch around the base of all plants and shrubs as this will help keep moisture around the root ball.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Grand Rapids Lawn Care Tip of the Day: Fertilizing

Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers. But for those who prefer chemical fertilizers, Scotts provides a lawn fertilizing schedule. Many experts, however, recommend a lighter feeding in spring and a heavier one in late fall for cool-season grasses. Too much fertilizer in spring can lead to disease and weed problems. And if you have, indeed, already fertilized in late fall, your lawn is still "digesting" that fertilizer in spring.

In addition to the above tasks of spring lawn care, don't forget weed control and making sure your mower is ready for the mowing season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Overseeding your West Michigan Lawn

Is your lawn riddled with bare patches due to dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect? If so, you may need to apply grass seed to fill in those bare patches. This solution is known as "overseeding lawns." Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer when you overseed. Five weeks after the grass germinates, apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer.

However, spring isn't the very best time for overseeding lawns. Fall is the preferred time, when the new grass won't have to compete with crabgrass, which is killed off by autumn frosts. So postpone overseeding until fall, unless your situation is dire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Lawn Care Tip of the Day: Liming

Besides compaction, the presence of moss plants also signals acidity. But grass likes a neutral soil pH. You can solve this problem by liming your soil. But don't expect a quick fix: the effects of liming are slow to take place.

But first send a soil sample to your local county extension to determine the extent of your soil's acidity. The county extension will also be able to advise you on how much lime per square foot you'll need. Apply the lime using a lawn spreader.

But if your lawn has been doing fine and shows no signs of suffering from acidity, don't apply lime. Liming is only a corrective measure, not a preventive measure. A soil that is too alkaline will also cause your lawn problems, so too much lime is as bad as not enough.