What Can You Expect?
This page is loaded with great information. We feel it’s our responsibility to properly educate our customers on what they should expect from us and their lawns. Having a beautiful cool season lawn in Nashville is a tremendous challenge during the stressful summer months. This page outlines the proper steps that must be taken to ensure your lawn’s summer decline is minimized.
Local to Nashville
We’re a local company based in Nashville that understands the unique challenges that make lawns difficult to manage in Middle Tennessee. Since opening in 2007, our goal has been to provide an unmatched customer experience while utilizing the latest advancements in turf care. You will always be communicating directly with a member of our knowledgeable staff, not directed to an out-of-state call center or placed on a generic lawn program that is not specifically designed for Middle Tennessee.
The “Transition Zone”
Nashville is located in the heart of the “transition zone” where both cool season and warm season grasses co-exist. To our north you’ll find very few warm season grasses like bermuda and zoysia. To our south you’ll find very little cool season grasses like fescue or bluegrass. Because our summers and winters can have extreme temperatures, our climate presents some challenges. While there are a few different grass types to choose from, there is no perfect grass type for our area. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve chosen to focus exclusively on premium varieties of cool season grass (fescue, bluegrass & perennial rye) because they can offer a quality lawn 9-12 months of the year. These grasses are not perfect and will struggle during prolonged hot weather, but we feel it is the best option in most situations. Warm season grasses (bermuda, zoysia) are fantastic during the summer, but spend about 6 months of the year dormant and brown. In addition, high quality warm season grasses do not produce seed, so they must be sodded, which is a huge upfront expense. Warm season grasses require nearly full sun and do not do well in shady areas. If you desire bermuda or zoysia, we are happy to recommend company that manages warm season turf.
As Seasons Change
It’s important to understand that quality turf management requires patience and consistency. Our weather plays a major roll in your lawns health. In Nashville, fescue lawns thrive in the spring (March-May), decline June-August, and quickly improve again in the fall when cooler temperatures arrive. Without exception, your lawn will decline in July and August due to the heat and humidity of our typical summer weather. Some lawns will have a very mild summer decline and remain beautiful year round. Most lawns will see a moderate decline and a few will be severe. The severity of your lawns annual summer decline will depend on your soil quality and how closely you follow all 5 key steps. Failing to follow even one step in this process could greatly hamper our collective efforts for success. Our before and after gallery illustrates the improvement our services can provide over a one year period.
It is imperative that you let us know ASAP if your lawn shows any signs of trouble…or starts looking stressed. In some cases we can quickly assess the problem and help it recover. Sometimes it is completely out of our hands, typically due to extreme weather and/or poor soil. We are only on your lawn about every 6 weeks and a lot can happen between visits. You are our first line of defense. Since weather and soil conditions play a major role in the process, there are no guarantees. Extreme weather can wreck a perfectly executed turf program. But with cooperative weather and program consistency, great lawns will happen!
5 Steps for a Successful Nashville Lawn
Step 1 – Fertilization & Weed Control Service
Our fertilization and weed control program consists of 7 annual treatments and are built around a complete lineup of premium fertilizers, weed control products, biostimulants and specialty products. We incorporate both organic based materials and the latest advancements in turf care technologies. This hybrid approach to turf care is better for the environment and builds a safer, healthier lawn for you and your family to enjoy. Click here for an outline of our 7 applications.
Step 2- Fall Aeration & Seeding
The combination of a quality aeration and a premium seed blend is the secret sauce of a beautiful fescue lawn. Aeration de-compacts the soil, improving the infiltration of oxygen, water and nutrients; it promotes root growth and also provides an excellent environment for seed germination. We exclusively use premium cool season varieties that are bred to better handle the heat and disease pressures that are common in Middle Tennessee.
Step 3- Lawn Disease Prevention
All high quality fescue lawns in our area will develop disease if left untreated. This program consists of 3 applications starting in May when conditions for disease development become prevalent. Each treatment is 28 days apart. The need for this particular step is going to vary depending on your personal tolerance level of disease and the severity of disease your lawn displays.Some cases will be mild (hardly noticeable) and some cases will be severe (killing large sections of the lawn) Applying this fungicide during the summer months can prevent about 95% of this disease from occurring. Having thick healthy grass is your lawns best protection against weed infestation during the most stressful months of the year. Lawn diseases like Brown Patch can significantly thin out the canopy and allow difficult to control weeds to prosper. This program is essential for those who desire exceptional results during the stressful summer months.
Step 4- Proper Irrigation (Homeowner Responsibility)
The majority of our customers do not have irrigation and we make huge improvements in their lawns. Having said that, non-irrigated lawns are at the mercy of our weather during the stressful summer months. The ability to irrigate during these dry spells can be the difference in green and brown. If you do have an irrigation system, following proper irrigation guidelines is very important. Failing to do so could cause more problems than you’re preventing. Do not water more than 2-3 days per week (May-August). All watering should be done in the early morning hours around dawn during the summer. Do not water in the afternoon or at night. It’s important to limit the amount of time your grass is wet. Brown Patch disease thrives in wet conditions. Click here for details on how to properly calibrate your irrigation system.
Irrigating after fall aeration and seeding is different. Ideally you’ll have your system run briefly 2-3 times per day for 2 weeks following seeding. Keeping the seedbed moist is key to fast germination and establishment. Then resume a normal irrigation schedule. We recommend having your system winterized by mid November.
Step 5 – Proper Mowing (Homeowner Responsibility)
Your lawn should be mowed at least once a week during the growing season. Waiting longer than 7 days could be removing more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. This causes stress to the plant and can make it much more vulnerable to drought stress, heat stress and disease. In addition, waiting more than 7 days to mow allows time for weeds to develop seed heads. If seed heads develop, every time you mow you are spreading weed seed throughout the lawn. Never mow fescue shorter than 3.5-4 inches. This will help it shade out weeds and better survive the summer heat. Also, remember to keep your mower blades sharp. Dull blades can tear the grass and provide an access point for disease.
This step also includes proper leaf management. Nothing can kill new grass seedlings faster than a thick carpet of leaves. Keeping leaves off your newly seeded lawn in the fall is very important. This can be done two different ways. The first way is to mulch the leave with a mower using specialized mulching blades. This is a great way to add organic material to your soil and some free fertilizer. This method is preferred over complete removal as long as the leaf coverage isn’t too thick. If your lawn is full of trees it will probably be best to have most of the leaves removed by vacuum.
What is a Lawn Renovation and do you need one?
A lawn renovation is the process of killing off the entire yard and starting over from scratch. This gives you the opportunity to have a pure mono stand of one grass type and eliminate grassy weeds. Do you need to do this? In short, it depends. It really comes down to how pure you want your lawn to be. There are some weeds that require the use of a non-selective herbicide (Roundup). These include Bermudagrass, Dallisgrass, Johnsongrass, Orchardgrass and to a lesser extent wild violets. Our fertilization and weed control program (Step 1) cannot control these weeds. These weeds are despised by some customers, tolerated by others and even embraced by a few.
The renovation process can only start in early to mid August, giving us 6-8 weeks to complete the killing process before seeding can occur. It includes at least 3 Roundup applications, heavy aeration, seeding and cultipacking/slit seeding. This is also a great time to install an irrigation system, fill in law spots and/or bring in a great soil/compost mix to improve the soil.
2014 lawn Renovation
Nashville Monthly Lawn Guide
This is a great point of reference so that you know what to expect from your lawn each month. These descriptions are based on an average weather year.
Fescue still holds a nice green color if the weather isn’t very cold. Temperatures in the single digits or below will cause the grass to lose some color. This is a great time to have your soil tested.
Cold temperatures are still common, but the color of your lawn has improved slightly. Now is the time for your first pre-emergent application, Round 1. We also will do a blanket weed control for any existing broadleaf weeds. The fertilizer we apply this time of year is specially formulated for cool weather.
The warmer weather this month allows your lawn to wake up and grow. Color will be much improved toward the end of the month, and lawns will look outstanding. We begin Round 2 this month, which includes another pre-emergent application, broadleaf weed control and premium controlled release fertilizer.
Fescue lawns look their very best this month. The seedlings from last fall have matured, and the lawn is as thick and healthy as it will be all year long. The warm days and cool nights are the perfect growing conditions for fescue to thrive. Enjoy your lawn this month!
Fescue is still thriving this month. By mid-month nighttime temperatures will rise above 60°F. Brown patch disease could begin to be an issue for some lawns not receiving preventative treatments. We begin our Round 3 this month that includes fertilizer, weed control and the final pre-emergent. Enjoy your lawn this month!
Brown Patch disease will likely peak this month. Properly managed cool season lawns on our disease prevention program can still remain very healthy with adequate rainfall, but the summer heat will begin to take a toll on many lawns. We start Round 4 this month that includes a broadleaf weed control and iron to improve turf color.
This month you can really start to see the difference in lawns with quality soil and those with poor soil. Poor compacted soil does not allow proper water movement or root growth during the summer and will thin out the turf canopy. Heat and disease pressure may allow difficult to control grassy weeds, such as Dallisgrass and Johnsongrass, to show up in stressed areas. Keeping the lawn as thick an healthy as possible by following the 5 key steps is very important.
This is the most difficult month of the year for your lawn. Summer heat stress and Brown patch may have weakened the stand, and grassy weeds are starting to invade those weakened areas. Dallisgrass and Johnsongrass are perennial grassy weeds that cannot be controlled with anything short of Roundup. Late August is a great time for you to kill these weeds so that the new grass planted in the fall can take their place. By now, pre-emergent that was applied during spring has worn off, and crabgrass can pop up on edges and thin areas in the lawn. This is why our Round 5 application is completely focused on controlling weeds before aeration and seeding season begins.
The temperatures are beginning to cool, and the lawn is starting to recover from the stresses of summer. Now is the perfect time to aerate & seed your lawn. Aeration de-compacts the soil improving the infiltration of oxygen, water and nutrients; it promotes root growth and also provides an excellent environment for seed germination. Round 6 provides the new seedlings with the nutrients they need to thrive.
The weather in October allows the lawn to recover from the summer stressors. It is a great time to plant seed if haven’t already. Some broadleaf weeds may show up during the seeding process, but it’s important not to treat them at this time so that new seedlings can become established.
The seeding window usually closes the first part of November. Your new seedlings are quickly developing their root systems before winter begins. A few broadleaf weeds may have popped up during the seeding process. These will be quickly dispatched with Round 7, the final application of the year. Overall, this is a great month for fescue.
December marks the end of the growing season. Roots are slowly establishing themselves and storing nutrients for the winter. Turf color will depend on prevailing temperatures, but lawns usually hold a nice color through Christmas.
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