Turf Care Programs
Lawn Maintenance Program: All lawn treatments are applied by our “Environmentally Aware”, licensed and trained professional specialist. Our knowledge and experience allows us to adjust to the specific conditions and needs of your lawn. The additional services offered will further enhance the quality of your lawn on an “as needed” basis.
There is a growing difference in lawn maintenance. At SLS, we’re serious about producing lawns that stay thick, green and healthy all year. We care about the results we deliver and we care about our customer’s level of satisfaction. We understand there are a lot of variables out of our control, such as environmental conditions, mowing and watering habits. These will all impact the results of our services. In fact, when you choose our complete Lawn Maintenance Program our service calls are FREE! So, if something doesn’t look quite right between our scheduled visits, we want you to give us a call so we can address the situation. We will have a trained and licensed service technician come out to your property at no charge.
Soil testing provides an estimate of the plant available nutrients in the soil and is an essential tool for a sound fertilization program. Periodic soil testing will help to correct nutrient deficiencies, avoid excess fertilizer applications and maintain a healthy lawn. A routine soil fertility test (pH, neutralizable acidity, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and cation exchange capacity) is recommended under the following circumstances:
Before establishing a new lawn, whether from seed, sod, or sprigs.
Every three years on established lawns.
Annually when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency or change the soil pH.
When fertilizers containing phosphate or potash have been used on a regular basis for a number of years.
Soil test report: After processing your sample, the testing lab will send us a soil test report. Analyses in the following areas are usually included:
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, less than 7.0 is acid, and greater than 7.0 is alkaline. Most of the essential plant nutrients are available at optimum levels when the pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Acidic soils (pH < 6.0) and alkaline soils (pH > 7.5) may require amendments that modify the pH level.
Nitrogen (N) is the nutrient that is required in the highest quantity for the maintenance of a healthy lawn. Soils generally contain large amounts of nitrogen, but it is mostly present in soil organic matter. Nitrogen is released from organic matter relatively slowly, but the amount is generally insufficient to supply the needs of a medium to high quality lawn. Several soil and weather variables affect the release of soil nitrogen and what happens to the nitrogen in the soil following release. Also, nitrogen can be easily leached from the soil when it is in nitrate form. Thus it is not a stable element in the soil and is not normally tested by soil testing labs.
Soil test results represent the amount of phosphorus (P) available to plant roots from the soil. Established lawns generally require lower quantities of available phosphorous than vegetable and field crops. Turf grass, with its dense, fibrous root system, is efficient at extracting the immobile phosphorus from the soil. However, new lawns have a limited root system and require higher phosphorus levels for root growth and healthy seedling development. The phosphorous content of fertilizers is expressed as percent phosphorus oxide (P2O5); therefore, phosphorus fertilizer recommendations are given in pounds of P2O5 per 1,000 square feet.
The soil test results represent the amount of potassium (K) that is available to the turf grass plant. Potassium plays important roles in enhancing your lawns stress tolerance (i.e., drought, heat, wear, disease) in addition to its essential roles in plant growth. Potassium fertilizer recommendations in the past relied heavily on yield response data from other crops, and, therefore, may have underestimated the quantities needed for healthy, stress-tolerant turf. Potassium is not held very strongly in sandy soils and can be leached past the turf root zone. Sandy soils should therefore be tested more frequently – once a year rather than every three years.
Calcium and magnesium
Calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are rarely deficient, but deficiencies can occur on acid sandy soils. In most instances calcium amounts sufficient for plant growth are supplied by liming the soil to increase soil pH. Use of dolomitic limestone [CaMg(CO3)2] to raise pH will also supply magnesium, along with calcium.
Over time, the soil condition of your lawn can become compacted. This can occur from normal usage or can occur as a result of construction for new homes. Aeration of lawns with compacted soil will facilitate a more efficient usage of water and fertilizer applied to your lawn.
Aeration is typically achieved by using a machine which removes plugs of soil from the lawn. This allows water and fertilizer to be absorbed more readily and thus improves the health and beauty of your lawn. A byproduct of aeration is the reduction of thatch and associated problems.
There are many benefits of aeration:
- Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
- Enhanced soil water uptake.
- Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
- Reduced water runoff and puddling.
- Improved turf grass rooting.
- Reduced soil compaction.
- Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
- Improved resiliency and cushioning.
- Enhanced thatch breakdown.
After the aeration process, your lawn will require less watering. In addition, it will look better and be healthier. As such, it will withstand drier conditions without deteriorating as quickly as before.
Benefits of Seeding and Aeration Together: Planting additional grass seed into your existing lawn is called over seeding. Post aeration over seeding is a great way to enhance your lawn. The newly sewn seeds can take advantage of the aeration process to more rapidly fill in bare spots and thicken existing turf. An additional aspect of over seeding is to add alternate varieties of grass. This may be necessary, if we determine that your existing lawn is of a variety which is more susceptible to certain diseases, insects or drought in our locality. We utilize alternate or newer varieties of seed which are known to help with these issues. Seeding at the time of aeration will make your lawn healthier, more beautiful, and more durable allowing more activity without the usual signs of wear.
Why Should I Dethatch My Lawn?
We only recommend dethatching lawns that suffer from an extremely thick thatch layer that is greater than three inches thick. The reason is because dethatching causes extensive damage to a lawn and is extremely labor intensive. If your thatch layer is less than three inches, then we recommend aeration in the spring and fall as the best method to reduce your thatch. Aeration pulls plugs of soil and thatch out of the lawn and the cores of soil breakdown and populate the thatch with millions of soil microbes that help biodegrade that thatch naturally.
Dethatching generally involves the use of flail type blades that are designed to rip out excessive thatch. The dethatching machine is set low so that the blades reach into surface of the soil. If a lawn has an excessive thatch buildup and it is dethatched, an incredible amount of plant material will be ripped up from the lawn. Several pickup trucks of dead thatch can be created from an average sized lawn. The lawn will suffer extensive damage as well, because the knives will not only rip out the thatch, but also rip out a large percentage of the healthy grass plants. The growing points of a grass plant are at the base of the plant, and a lot of the growing points are damaged when a lawn is dethatched.
Dethatching causes a lot of damage, creating a lawn that is thin, brown and beat up. Because of this we strongly recommend that you combine a dethatching with an over seeding/slit seeding and topdressing. Over seeding ensures that new grass plants will quickly fill in the damaged areas in the lawn. If over seeding is not done, weed seeds can quickly get established in the damaged areas of the lawn. Topdressing will help the new grass seed get quickly established and also stimulate the existing grass plants to recover from the dethatching.
When is the Best Time to Dethatch?
Dethatching is best done in late summer/early fall. This allows the lawn plenty of time to recover before winter, but also avoids the stress of summer drought and heat. By waiting until late summer there will also be less competition with a variety of weeds that germinate in the spring. Dethatching can also be done in early spring, but avoid late spring because the lawn needs time to recover in order to survive the summer heat and drought.
Topdressing produces fantastic results:
- Excellent for drought conditions. Acts like a mulch to help sandy soils retain moisture.
- Ideal for poor soils lacking in essential micro-nutrients and organic matter.
- Treats diseased lawns by promoting soil organisms that compete with plant disease.
- Supports over-seeding by ensuring good seed/soil contact and retaining moisture.
- Encourages strong root development.
- Our topdressing is described as fortified because of its h
igh nutrient content. Unlike peat moss, or topsoil, which has very few nutrients, our composts are rich in essential plant nutrients. This makes it ideal for use as topdressing.