Well kept turf is one of the most marvelous enviormental benefits, which can be seen in the in the ways of green, growing lawn contributes to the worldaround it. consider just a few of the roles the healthy grass plays in our well being. Heat and noise reducer
When the heat is on, grass keeps you cool. Street or sidewalk tempertures may reach 100 degrees or higher, but the grass remains at 75 degrees. The front lawn of 8 houses could perform the same cooling as the work of 70 tons of air- conditining- enough to cool 25 homes. Oxygen producer
A heathy lawn is a amazingly efficiant production system. Grass plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen in return. Just 625 sqft. of turf provides all the oxygen needed for one person for a whole day. A 5,000 sqft. lawn produces enough oxygen for eight people each day. In compaison, it takes two 100ft. trees to provide the same amount of oxygen for eight people.
So remember that a nice well kept lawn, not only looks good, but is one of the most beneficial plant lifes for our enviorment!Boise Lawn Care
Sod information General Information
- Each roll is 10 sq. ft. (2’ x 5’)
- There are 50 rolls per pallet (500 sq. ft.)
- Sod is perishable and must be installed and watered immediately.
- Delivery is available for orders of 2 pallets (1,000 sq. ft.) or more.
Sod Installation Prepare the Soil
- Rototill or spade the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
- Remove sticks, stones, roots and other debris.
- Smooth the soil by raking.
- With a broadcast spreader, spread one 40 lb. bag of pelletized lime per 1000 square feet, and Mahoney’s Garden Lover’s Starter Fertilizer.
- Firm the soil by lightly rolling. Fill in any low spots.
Lay the Sod
- Start at a straight line such as a driveway or walkway.
- Make sure all joints are butted tightly together, without overlapping or spaces between strips of sod.
- Stagger the joints in each row like rows of bricks.
- Use a large sharp knife for shaping sod around trees, at flower beds or along borders.
- Completely soak the sod with at least 1" of water. Start watering 20 minutes after the first strip is laid.
- Roll the sod to smooth out small bumps and air pockets. This will assure good contact with the soil
- Gardening gloves. The first hand tool you'll need is something to protect your hands. Fingers that are unused to gardening can quickly develop blisters. In addition, gardening gloves will protect your hands from sharp sticks and stones in your first garden as well as prickly leaves and stems.
- Garden kneelers. When beginning gardening, don't overlook the stress that digging, weeding, and even harvesting can place on your knees. Garden kneelers can be as simple as a piece of Styrofoam. Kneeling mats are also sold especially for gardening or you may choose to invest in kneeling apparel that you won't need to carry from place to place in your garden.
- Long handled shovel and/or garden spade. Shovels are great tools for digging new ground and distributing compost on old ground. They're also great for shoveling piles of garden debris into your wheelbarrow. Garden spades are excellent tools for planting and for getting to the bottom of a problem weed. Although you won't use shovels or spades everyday, once you have them you'll find they are indispensable. If you don't have them, you'll find that at some point you'll wish you did!
- Garden Rake. Unlike your leaf rake, the garden rake is a sturdy rake, usually with short, strong steel teeth. You'll first use your garden rake to smooth and level your newly tilled garden. Throughout the growing season, a garden rake is a handy implement for keeping soil between rows loose and weed free.
- Garden Cart. Garden carts haul refuse away from and haul compost to your garden space. Garden carts come in many styles from four-wheeled models that have shelves or attachments for holding small hand tools to the traditional three-wheeled wheelbarrow. A garden cart for your beginning garden may be as simple as your child's coaster wagon.
- Garden Hoe. You'll need to keep soil loose and weeds away from your plants. It's much easier to hoe a row in your garden while standing than going from plant to plant on your knees. In addition, a garden hoe can be used to outline rows for transplants and make rows for seeding your beginner garden.
- Hand Trowel. A hand trowel can take the shape of a short handled garden hoe or a garden cultivator with several long prongs. Hand trowels are especially useful for getting in close to weed and aerate delicate cultivars without damaging the plants.
- Gardening shears. As well as trimming plants to keep them looking good, gardening shears are handy for removing damaged areas of plants to keep them healthy. Flower gardeners will certainly want to keep a pair of gardening shears nearby for cutting fresh bouquets to bring indoors. You'll also use your garden shears to cut back your hardy perennials at the end of the growing season.
- Garden Hose. The essential possession for beginner gardening, you'll use your garden hose to water individual plants after planting and wash loose soil from sidewalks, driveways, and paved garden paths. In addition, you'll use it to hose off other garden tools, including your most important garden tools, your hands. In the summer, you may want to attach a sprinkler to your garden hose to irrigate your garden or to provide an afternoon's entertainment for your children under the hot summer sun
Provided by: Gardening-guides.com
Lawn Sprinkler Background The lawn sprinkler is a mechanism through which water is distributed in a spray so that a residential lawn or garden is irrigated. Sprinklers may take extraordinarily large forms, such as the irrigation systems used by professional farmers to water crops in the field. Many serious gardeners employ landscaping firms to develop and install expensive, permanent sprinkler systems in the ground. However, the average American simply purchases an inexpensive plastic and metal sprinkler and attaches it to a garden hose so that the sprinkler disseminates the water evenly. Residential use lawn sprinklers take a wide variety of forms and are available in a wide variety of materials and associated prices. However, the oscillating sprinkler, with a metal arm that sprays out a fan-shaped curtain of water in an area approximately 600 ft2
), is likely the most popular. Such oscillating sprinklers sell for well under $10, but can be over $40. The permanency of the materials generally determines the price.
The less expensive, plastic and aluminum oscillating sprinkler is very simple in construction and in operation. Most include only a base that enables the piece to seat securely on the lawn, an oscillating arm, a bracket with regulating cam (it controls the width of the fan spray as it moves the spray arm), the mechanical motor, and the connectors to the garden hose. The oscillating sprinkler works on the principle that water provides the power to move the elliptical cam (or heart-shaped cam in some models) which moves the sprinkler arm. Water spins a simple turbine which must be attached to a series of gears stacked up (called a gear train) to slow down the speed of the water.
Without the insertion of the gear train the cam and the oscillating arm would move much too quickly. The gear train reduces the speed of the incoming water so that the cam moves at only about one mile per hour.
History The advent of the residential lawn sprinkler is inextricably bound with Americans' desire to cultivate the yard for fun and aesthetic reasons and not for farming purposes. In fact, Americans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did not think much of developing bucolic spaces in and around their homes. The town square in New England, now gorgeous green pastures, was a scruffy piece of land in which cattle could graze. In the nineteenth century attitudes toward the cultivation of the lawn change for two reasons. First, more Americans moved out of the city to the evolving suburbs as rail transportation enabled them to live further from places of business. As they moved out where there was space for gardens there was the urge to work the lawn as a hobby. Beautifying the home and garden were thought to strengthen the family. Secondly, Victorian Americans began to long for the rural New England they thought they were losing while others wanted to emulate the pastoral estates developing in England. Notable landscape architects urged Americans to beautify their property and published treatises and designs to help them achieve this goal.
Lawn sprinklers require a city water delivery system because they are generally used with a hose. Such systems were not in place in large measure until about 1870. The very wealthy used fountains to water the lawn and dazzle neighbors. Patents on lawn sprinklers follow in short order; the first patent on an American lawn sprinkler was issued in 1871. Hose reels, nozzles, and sprinklers were advertised by 1900. Sprinklers took various forms. Large contraptions that rolled on carts with immense yardage of rubber hose were popular with some in the early twentieth century. By about 1930 the mechanisms took other forms such as cast metal with a three or four-arm rotating head that shot water as it spun around. Some were formed in the shape of animals with a rotating arm on the top. Plastic-bodied sprinklers followed in the later 20th century.
info provided by: Encyclopedia.com
Having some basic knowledge about your lawn and when it needs care is very important. It can make all the differance in the world. So having this knowledge about lawn care problems can be the differance between having a lush beautiful lawn or having the worst lawn on the block.
1. Bare spots that never seem to grow back
2. Plenty of weeds that refuse to go away
3. Grasses in patches from other people's lawns
4. Yellowish 'dead' spots from pet's eliminations
5. Worn out areas from high traffic
6. Anemic-looking areas under trees
7. Strange moldy growths
8. An overall look that says the lawn has seen better days.
All these problems are correctible, but it takes someone who is knowledgeable about what causes each problem and what to do about it. You could do it yourself assuming you own all the required tools, know what chemicals or fertilizers to buy, understand soil chemistry, seeds and sod and have a lot of time to commit to restoring the lawn to good health.
What Makes Lawns Go Bad?
The average homeowner is not a lawn care professional and tends to make simple errors that cause problems. Over time, these problems accumulate to the point where it seems beyond your help and an expert is clearly called for. Here are some typical mistakes that people make:
- Watering during hot daytime hours or in evening hours during the summer months. This invites fungus to grow and the water mostly evaporates instead of doing what you intended. Early morning watering is usually best.
- Watering too frequently leads to both fungus and excessive growth, not to mention the need for extra mowing instead of Sunday football. Over watering will also cause a shallow root system hat means in periods of drought, the lawn won't get enough water.
- Too much fertilization will end up burning your lawn instead of making it look green and healthy. You need the proper fertilizer for the type of grass you have and to use it in the quantities suggested by the manufacturer.
- Cutting the grass too short is a very common mistake that homeowner's make. Your front yard should not resemble the greens on an 18-hole golf course. A lawn that is cut too short is highly susceptible to drought, insects and disease. Usually, lawns need to be mowed when the grass is three to five inches high, but cutting it to a height shorter than two inches invites trouble.
- And as for aerating doing it properly requires a special machine that most professionals have but you undoubtedly don't. Just making a bunch of random little holes on your own is more valuable to insects who want to live there than the lawn.
A plant's ability to survive-and thrive-in your garden depends on the quality and condition of the soil. It needs to have good water drainage, yet hold just the right amount of water and nutrients. It also needs ample pore spaces to hold air. Good soil is your best guarantee for a healthy garden. Here's how you grade your own soil: First, find out what your soil is made of. Take a sample from the top 6 inches of your garden's soil. Put it in a jar; fill the jar with water; and cap it, shake it, and let the mixture settle. It will settle into three distinct layers. Sand, the heaviest, will settle to the bottom; clay, the lightest, will sit on top; silt will be in the middle. If you have roughly equal amounts of each of these layers, your soil is in good shape. If there is more sand or clay, you will need to improve the soil. The drainage in soil is determined by the soil's texture-the size of the soil particles. Clay soil is composed of tiny granules that stick together. You can roll clay soil into a firm ball that feels smooth and sticky. Sandy soil has large sand particles you can see; it feels coarse and gritty. You can't form a ball with sandy soil. It also doesn't hold water or nutrients very well. Loam, the ideal garden soil, is a good mixture of sandy soil, medium-size silt particles and clay. You can determine how well your soil drains with this simple test. Dig a hole about 4 inches deep. Fill the hole with water to saturate the soil around it. Wait for the water to drain. Take a tin can with both ends removed and push it down into the hole (see photo at right). Note the time you insert the can. Fill the can with water and see how long it takes to drain. If the water is gone in less than an hour or if it takes longer than five hours, your soil needs some organic material added to it. How do you fix a soil problem? Adding organic matter, or humums, is usually the best solution. It makes the soil soft, crumbly and workable. Soil that is high in organic matter drains well, and warms up and dries out faster in the spring. Peat moss is one source of organic matter that's readily available. Apply about 1 to 2 inches of peat moss to the soil in the spring or fall and work it into the top 6 inches of your soil
Read more at Suite101: Suite101.comKeep It Green Lawn Care Services
Weed-free lawns are the stuff of dreams and championship golf courses. In fact, when you consider the tenacity of weeds, it's a wonder any of us win the pitched battles we wage with these pesky invaders. Just one dandelion plant makes up to 15,000 seeds, each of which can survive six years in the soil—creating 15,000 more seeds when it sprouts and matures.
Synthetic herbicides are the usual response to chronic weed problems. But used unwisely, these chemical weed killers can be dangerous to people, pets and turf. And unless you get at the underlying problems that weaken lawns and favor weeds, you might have to apply herbicides frequently.
The best way to control dandelions and other weeds in your yard is to grow a thick, vigorous lawn. Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. If only a few weeds dot your lawn, changing your maintenance tactics might be all it takes to get rid of them. And if your efforts at hand-to-hand combat haven't worked, take heart. There really is a way to pull out even stubborn dandelions so they don't come back. PLAN YOUR APPROACH
No single herbicide, weeding technique or lawn care tactic works against all weeds. How you attack the weeds in your lawn depends on which you have. Lawn weeds fall under three broad categories: unwanted grasses; grasslike plants called sedges; and broadleaf plants. Most are annuals or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle in one season and reproduce from seeds. Perennials live several years and spread underground as well as by seed, making them harder to control.
See more a@ askthisoldhouse.com
Healthy Beginnings: No amount of watering or fertilizer will compensate for improper planting. On many occasions I have puzzled over the problems of plants only to discover they were planted six inches too deep or with their roots bound tightly. There isn't any mystery to good planting, just some common sense techniques. Dig the Hole FirstBefore you unpot your plant, prepare a hole fifty to a hundred percent larger than the plant's root ball. Work some compost, peat moss or other soil conditioners into the soil you've removed. When planting smaller perennials or bedding plants, rather than preparing individual holes, it may be simpler to amend a larger area and use a trowel to place the individual plants. In the case of large trees, it is generally best not to amend the soil too much. The roots of the tree will try fairly quickly to spread past the prepared area, and if the composition of this soil is significantly different from that of the surrounding area, the roots can have trouble getting past the barrier. If the tree is going to have to survive in a primarily clay soil, you won't be doing it any favors by creating a super-rich loam immediately around the root ball. Just Deep EnoughPlace some soil in the center of your hole creating a mound. Generally, you want the soil line to be at the same point it was in the pot. But since the loose soil you'll be using to fill your hole is bound to settle some, start with the plant sitting a little higher. Then when it settles it should be at the correct height. It is usually better to err on the side of having the plant too high rather than too low. Some plants, like rhododendrons, actually like to sit with the top of the root ball an inch or so above the soil line, especially if you have a slow-draining, clay soil. When the hole is ready, unpot the plant. Hold it upside down, and with one hand holding the plant in place, hit the bottom of the pot with the palm of your other hand. Now make sure the plant isn't root-bound. If the roots have formed a solid wall around the inside of the pot, you'll need to gently loosen them or carefully score the outside layer. If planted with the roots left constricted, the plant is unable to send out new roots beyond this barrier and can actually strangle itself. As you place the plant in the hole, try to gently spread the roots atop the mound of soil. Unwrapping BurlapIf you're planting a large shrub or tree that's wrapped in burlap, place the plant on your mound of soil and then untie the burlap. Lean the plant in one direction and pull the burlap underneath it as far as you can. Then lean it in the opposite direction and you should be able to pull the burlap out. At this point it will be much easier to pull soil out from under a large plant than to try to put soil underneath it. This is another good reason to make your mound of soil rather tall to start with. As you fill in the hole around the plant, leave an indentation, or shallow moat, around it and fill this with water. After it has drained, fill it again several times. The purpose of watering at this time is not just to dampen the roots, but to help the soil settle and fill in any underground air pockets that might have formed. You can now fill in the moat with soil and mulch around the plant. Leave a gap in the mulch around the stem or trunk of the plant to allow air to circulate and prevent rot.
It's only been just over a hundred fifty years since grass was cut with a hand scythe - if it was cut at all. That was about the extent of lawn and garden tools then. Now, there are a dozen tools - some hand, some power, that are considered essential for keeping that green carpet in shape.A lawnmower is the most basic. It's odd to think of a living organism as needing to be sliced to stay healthy, but as a professional gardener acquaintance once said 'Grass likes to be cut'. To accomplish that, a good lawnmower is a necessity. Though among the more expensive items in the tool set, if maintained well it will last forever. Keep the blade sharp, the spark plug clean and (if it has one) the air filter changed. Change the oil as you would on a car, every season.Keeping the lawn neat is almost always a matter that can't be completely carried out just by mowing, though. A trimmer or edger is needed. The two basic types are the old-fashioned two-blade models with a long handle. Running the blade alongside patio bricks, steps and other edges keeps the lawn trim and looking good.The other type is a powered whirling device that shoots a plastic string out a few inches. The string whacks off grass or other plants wherever you aim it. They're lightweight, inexpensive and can last for years, though the coil of plastic string needs to be replaced every couple of months. At a cost of only a few dollars, it saves a lot of effort.A spreader or two is vital for evenly laying out fertilizer, weed killer and other compounds that help keep the lawn weed free, healthy and looking great. One sort is like a small lawnmower with no blade, just a tub with small holes and a roller that dispense material. Easy to use and long lasting, they're adjustable for a variety of applications.The second type of spreader is a hand-held unit, usually plastic with a rotary handle. They're perfect for specialized applications of seed for patching small lawn areas, distributing dry fertilizer beads and so forth.A rake is handy for more than just piling up leaves in the late fall. Though it's important to use for that. Leaves left on the ground can cause grass to overheat or get too little water. In areas that get winter snow, at the end of the season the grass will be compressed into thatch.Blades will overlay one another, preventing air from reaching the soil efficiently. De-thatching can be done with a power tool, but a simple hand rake is also effective.
Info @ lawn care & toolsContact Keep It Green Lawn Care
An unsharpened lawnmower blade will actually rip or tear the grass rather than provide a clean even cut. The ripping or tearing of the plant tissue can create a breeding ground for disease and other problems. Cutting your lawn too short is another common mistake that can create an environment that encourages weed growth, increases heat stress during dry or hot periods and makes your lawn more susceptible to insects and disease. Recommendation: Always keep your lawnmower blades sharp. At the outset of each growing season, sharpen the blades or have your blades sharpened by a professional. If you live in a warmer climate, where lawn care is a year-round activity, check your lawnmower blades periodically to make sure they're sharp. Set your mower blade to a height that cuts no more than the top third of the grass plant; this will encourage stronger roots. Cutting your lawn too short not only creates an environment for both weeds and disease it causes the lawn to lose moisture much quicker. 2. WATERING:
Water is essential to all life . . . too little water and we die, too much and we drown. The same is true of the grass in our lawns. Water makes up 70% to 80% of the weight of our lawn grasses and the clippings alone are nearly 90% water. While most people are concerned about not watering their lawns enough, the fact is, more lawns are damaged or destroyed by over-watering then underwatering.
Recommendation: Use water wisely and practice water conservation. To establish itself, freshly seeded area or newly installed turfgrass sod has very important watering needs. Proper watering immediately after installation will ensure the turf gets established, and it will also have an impact on how well the lawn continues to flourish for years to come. Give your new sod lawn at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water within 1/2 hour of installation. Water daily or more often, keeping turf moist until it is firmly rooted (about 2 weeks). Then less frequent and deeper watering should begin.
The amount of water required for an established lawn will be determined by its overall health, beauty and ability to withstand use and drought. One inch a week is the standard water requirement for most lawns; however, this will vary between different turf species and even among cultivars within a specie. There will also be varying water requirements for seasonal changes and still more differences brought about because of different soil types. Some helpful advice, look at your lawn to determine if it needs water. Grass in need of water will have a grey-blue cast to it. Also, foot prints will still be visible after a half-hour or more on a lawn in need of water, while on a well watered lawn foot-prints will completely disappear within minutes.
You can also use a soil probe, such as a screwdriver or large spike to determine how dry your lawn is. If the probe can be pushed into the soil easily, it's probably still moist, but if it takes a lot of pressure to push in, it's time to water.
Remember too, just because your lawn turns brown during extremely dry periods doesn't mean it's dying; grass will go dormant during such periods. Your lawn doesn't have to be green to be healthy. Most grasses can survive 30-60 days of drought without substantial losses. 3. FERTILIZING:
A few of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to using fertilizers is not only using the right mixture, but using the right quantity and applying it at the right time of the year. Often times when spring comes around people feel a need to fertilize their lawns in hopes of seeing a green plush lawn as soon as possible. Too much fertilizer, especially with high levels of soluble nitrogen fertilizer, tends to increase thatch problems and leaves lawns more prone to insect and disease. Or, worse yet, you will literally burn your lawn.
Recommendation: The goal of a good fertility program is to produce a reasonable amount of top growth, but not at the expense of root growth or carbohydrate storage. A good root system is the key factor to a healthy lawn.
Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K)
Lawn fertilizers typically contain these three nutrients, although other nutrients may be included in small amounts. The three numbers on the fertilizer bag represent the percentages of N, P, & K-in that order. The back of the fertilizer bag should show the guaranteed analysis. Always follow the recommended application rates suggested by the manufacturer on the bag.
The grass plant needs more nitrogen than any other nutrient. Nitrogen is part of the chlorophyll molecule and helps give the lawn its deep green color. Nitrogen also tends to promote high leaf growth rates at the expense of root growth. Phosphorus is responsible for the energy transfer systems in the plant and is generally required in much smaller amounts than nitrogen or potassium on an established lawn. The exception is for newly established lawns by seeding, sodding, or sprigging, when the need of phosphorus is higher in the new plant. Potassium has a lot to do with good cell wall development and the plant's ability to withstand stress, disease, and insect damage.
Look for slow-release forms of nitrogen. The two basic forms of nitrogen that can be used as a fertilizer are organic and inorganic. The most commonly used inorganic forms of nitrogen in fertilizers are ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate. Both are soluble, quickly available forms of nitrogen and both tend to produce a fast increase in leaf growth for a fairly short period of time.
More and more, the slowly soluble or slow-release organic forms of nitrogen are being recommended by turf experts. These include sulfur-coated urea, urea formaldehyde, I.B.D.U., methylene urea, natural organics, and resin-coated urea. These tend to produce a lawn with good color without excessive leaf growth. They are designed to meter-out the nitrogen over a longer period of time. The slow-release forms of nitrogen do not have to be applied as often.
What fertilizer should I use?
Most turf experts recommend that a lawn fertilizer should have at least one-half of its nitrogen in one of the slow-release forms mentioned above. In most cases, both cool season and warm season grasses will do well when a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio of N-P-K is used on an established lawn. Some analysis numbers that meet these ratios are: 12-4-8, 15-5-10, 16-4-8, 21-7-14 and 20-5-10.
How much fertilizer should I use?
Fertilizer application rates should be as low as possible and still produce a high quality lawn. Over-fertilization weakens your lawn and causes excess leaf growth. As a general rule, if the amount of Nitrogen (N is the first number in the analysis) is between 5 and 12, the application rate should be 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If the N number is between 12 and 18, the application rate should be 6 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Any N number over 19 should be applied at a rate of 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Always follow the recommended rate stated on the bag by the manufacturer.
When should I fertilize?
The best time to fertilize a lawn is when it is actively growing. For Northern lawns (Cool Season grasses), begin the fertilization program as the grass begins to grow in the spring and reduce applications as the weather gets hotter. When cooler weather returns in the fall, the lawn can again be fertilized. A late fall fertilizer application after the first frost can increase lawn quality the following spring. For Cool-Season grasses, it is usually best to concentrate a larger amount of nitrogen during the early fall growing period and a lesser amount in the spring.
Southern lawns (warm season grasses), flourish during the warmer summer months, and therefore tend to require fertilizing shortly after green-up in the spring and again in the late summer months. For Warm-Season grasses in the southern areas, it is best to concentrate a larger amount of nitrogen during the early-late spring applications and a lesser amount in the fall. The fertilization program should start just after spring green-up and stop about two months before the average frost date in the fall. Frequency of fertilizer applications depends primarily on the amount and form of nitrogen used. The slow-release type fertilizers can adequately feed the lawn from 6 to 10 weeks. If the lawn still looks good and is growing well after 6 to 8 weeks, wait longer for the next application.
IMPORTANT: By leaving your grass clippings on the lawn, you are adding nitrogen almost continually, which can reduce the need for fertilization by as much as 25%. And, leaving the clippings on the lawn (grasscycling) helps the environment by keeping clippings out of our community landfills!4. DETHATCHING:
Thatch is that tightly packed layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develop between turfgrass and soil surface. As it is, dethatching takes a little time and effort and using the wrong dethatching equipment can make it a Herculean effort when it needn't be. Some dethatching machines have flexible, leaf rake-type tines that are ineffective in removing thatch. Spring tines that attach to a rotary mower blade aren't good for dethatching and can damage your mower. It's important that you use the right equipment if you are going to dethatch. Don't attempt to remove the entire thatch layer in one treatment and do not dethatch when soil is wet; only dethatch your lawn when it is needed rather than on a routine basis.
Recommendation: A little thatch is desirable, since it helps moderate temperature extremes at the soil surface and provides a cushion effect on the surface but too much thatch can present some negative consequences. To determine if your lawn has a thatch problem, remove a small, plug of turf several inches deep. Note the spongy layer of material between the turf and the soil. If this layer is more than 3/4 to 1 inch thick when you compress it, you should consider having your lawn dethatched or begin program which will encourage thatch decomposition. If you need to dethatch your lawn there are garden centers and equipment rental outlets that rent dethatchers. These machines are known as vertical mowers, verticutters, dethatchers or power rakes and they have vertically spinning blades which pull some of the material to the surface as they slice the thatch layer. Mechanical dethatching should be done in either late summer or fall when cool weather prevails. As is the rule when operating any equipment, follow the manufacturers or rental store's operating procedures. The organic material dislodged by the dethatching machine should be removed and composted. It's also important to note that grass clippings do not cause thatch and they are good for your lawn. 5. AERATION:
Aerating a lawn is usually recommended when the soil becomes compacted and water and nutrients can't get to the roots of the plant. Lawn aeration equipment will pull "cores or plugs of soil out of the ground, letting air in. These plugs should be 2"-3" in depth. Such a plug should be pulled out of the lawn at about every 3". The plug-removal process is facilitated by watering the lawn the day before, but don't water to the point of muddying the soil. One of the most frequently made mistakes is the lack of sufficient cores or plugs removed from the lawn. If the tines of the aerator are set more than three inches apart, and only one pass is taken on the lawn, the effort may not have been sufficient to solve the problem. Two passes may be required to ensure that air, water and nutrients can get down to the roots.
Take care to mark all sprinkler heads so that they can be avoided with the aerator. This will save on costly repairs to the irrigation system.
Recommendation: Core aeration, a process where plugs of soil and grass are removed at regular intervals, can be done either by renting equipment or hiring a professional. A cool, dry fall day is the perfect time for this beneficial chore. Core aeration reduces compaction in heavy clay soils, permits a more rapid exchange of oxygen and water with grass roots and reduces the thatch layer on lawns. The soil and grass plugs can remain on the lawn since they will gradually decompose and return all their nutrients to the soil. Often times, two passes in the form of a criss-cross pattern are recommended to make sure aeration is sufficient. Leave plugs on the lawn as they will eventually breakdown and return nutrients to the soil.
The type of grass will determine whether to aerify in the fall or in the summer. Lawns composed of cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue are best aerified in the fall, when there is less heat stress and danger of invasion by weedy annuals. Allow at least four weeks of good growing weather to help the plants recover. Warm-season grasses such as zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, carpetgrass, St. Augustinegrass and bermudagrass, on the other hand, are best aerified in late spring and summer, when they are actively growing. With either type of grass, choose a day when temperatures are mild and soil is moderately moist, which makes the soil easier to penetrate. Avoid aerifying a wet soil, as it is messy and leads to further compaction of the soil as well. If the soil sticks to your shoes or if the core samples you take stick to your probe, you should wait until it dries out some before starting the job.
Source: the Lawn Intitute