Grass is grass, right? Actually, no. Choosing the right seed makes a big difference.
There are four main types of grass, each with its own personality.
Kentucky Bluegrass: Classic color and texture, disease prone, tolerates high traffic.
Perennial Rye: Fast growing, strong roots, needs full sun, poor drought tolerance. *
Fine Fescues: Tolerate shade and acid soil, low fertilizer, light traffic.
Tall Fescues: Drought, insect, disease resistant. Moderate shade/full sun. Fast growing. The best for Long Island.
Grasses are generally sold as mixes of these varieties. How to choose? There is no absolutely correct mix, so take our suggestions as a guide and find a local provider who is knowledgeable.
We recommend this for Northeast lawns:
Medium to High Maintenance: 65% Kentucky Bluegrass**, several different varieties 15% Perennial Rye 20% Fine Fescues.
Low Maintenance: 65% Fine Fescues Blend, 15% Perennial Rye, 20% Kentucky Bluegrass. Or 100% Tall Fescues blend.
Average to Low Traffic: 100% Fine Fescues blend. Or Shady Tall Fescues.***
Got Bare Patches?
Mixes with at least 10% Kentucky Bluegrass will help fill in patchy areas.
*Annual Rye (vs. Perennial) is included in many contractor mixes. Fills in fast, then dies, creating space for weeds. Not recommended.
**For high traffic lawns use a Bluegrass heavy mix.
***High traffic doesn't work in the shade. Consider using path materials
Fall Lawn Rehab Series: #1 Getting off to the PRFCT Start
First things first. Before jumping into your fall lawn renovation, start by identifying your trouble spots. Now is the PRFCT time to look since the heat of the summer makes problem areas more visible.
We suggest devoting an afternoon to exploring your property. Or, have your landscape professional make a list and discuss it with you.
Do you have moss, fungus or mushrooms: probably overwatering. Bare patches? Water, soil, or turf grass types could be the culprits. Start with gathering some invisible information: your soil health. You can check the pH yourself with a simple litmus test, or better yet, get a complete soil test Cornell Corporative Extension of Suffolk County or Soil FoodWeb New York.
Take a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population
They buzz. They bite. They suck, literally.
Mosquitos are they last pests you want swooping in while you’re trying to relax in your backyard on a summer evening. So, make sure they don't see your lawn as an open invitation.
The most effective way to control mosquitos is to get them before they grow into bloodsucking adults. Overwatering your lawn and landscape encourages water to gather, and subsequently encourages mosquitos to breed. Target their breeding grounds by eliminating that source of standing water.
Refrain from broadcast pesticide sprays for mosquitos. These sprays are short lasting, kill pollinators, and are harmful to children and pets.
Our advice: Water seldom, water deep. That method will provide your landscape with the moisture it needs during the summer months, while discouraging mosquitos from calling your backyard home
Don't Let Crabgrass Make You Crabby
You have to hand it to crabgrass. The pesky weed certainly knows how to take advantage of an opportunity. Healthy grass guards itself against weeds. But, when grass becomes distressed, take for instance by the summer heat, crabgrass wastes no time moving right in to bare spots.
Crabgrass thrives in conditions that turf grass cannot tolerate—hot, compacted, or poor soil. It especially loves the warm edges of sidewalks and pavement, and will quickly take advantage of any bare patches in your lawn.
What to do? Feeding, over seeding, and aerating your lawn this fall is key to preventing crabgrass next summer. Crabgrass seeds require plenty of light to germinate and will not be able to compete with your well-established, healthy turf.
For those hot spots near pavement, try using a heat-tolerant ground cover or crushed stone.
The PRFCT way to curb its spread is to take away its opportunity.
Start in the summer by getting rid of crabgrass before it goes to seed. Remove small patches with boiling water or by pulling it out at the root. Alternatively, there are toxin-free, vinegar-based products available in stores.
Corn gluten is often recommended as an organic crabgrass pre-emergent, but studies on its effectiveness have been mixed. Precise timing is key to its success. Since corn gluten is an expensive treatment that can be hard to get right, we generally do not recommend it.
These strategies will hold you over until the fall when it is time to take steps to prevent crabgrass from returning.
The PRFCT Way to Banish Mole Tunnels
If you have ever had moles, you know they can make quite a mess.
Though they provide some benefits such as aerating compact soil and eating grubs; this year we have seen a population spike that has us saying enough with the moles already!
Fortunately, there are toxin-free methods that can help:
Break Out Your Stomping Shoes: Stepping on mole tunnels to collapse them may be the simplest way of solving the problem. After repeatedly having their tunnels flattened moles will move to a less frustrating place to live.
Go Shopping: Another toxin-free option to keep moles away is to use castor oil-based repellents are available in stores.