In the midwest, never does it get slower than February. After two hard months of Winter, and binge watching 15 shows, the Olympics have been a godsend. Coincidentally, as our country men and women soar to great victory, never does a lawn look worse… salt damaged from driveway overspill, pet or kid damaged from usage, the turf in it’s dormant brown state, trash from who-knows-where blowing up around your landscape beds, and patches of old weeds now clearly seen. Minus the beer can and beads, it’s practically the remnants of a Fat Tuesday parade route.

For someone who has that Better Home and Gardens vision of their home exterior, it’s enough to make you want to move to Florida, or at least a condominium in which you would not battle turf problems alone.  But don’t surrender just yet…. there is hope. And with a few simple moves, you could get your green turf back. Let Red Hawk Landscaping help you perfect your lawn care analysis and repair techniques and get back on top.

One of the worst things for turf is salt. Salt used to deice roads is mostly refined rock salt, which is majority sodium chloride. There are other products sold over the counter and applied by commercial companies, such as Calcium chloride that are less damaging to lawns and plants but they are  not used as often as refined rock salt because it is more expensive. Treating Salt Damage to Lawn Use pelletized gypsum soil condition to reverse salt damage on lawns. Pelletized Gypsum Soil Conditioner (calcium sulfate) is a pH neutral mineral that supplies calcium and sulfur — two important plant nutrients. It is also useful in helping the soil retain water. Spread a thin layer over the affected grass and water well.  This is a good practice but is not a guaranteed remedy. Sometimes the turf is too damaged to breathe life back into, however.

If there was a classic 80’s Russian judge that lowered your turf score, it would be pet urine. It is the most common lawn damage but actually contains many elements that are in grass fertilizer. Turf damage occurs when an excessive amount of urine is concentrated in a single area. It is similar to spilling some fertilizer in a single spot on the grass. This high concentration of nutrients is more than the grass can handle which burns the roots and the grass dies. The primary nutrient responsible for the damage is urea, a form of organic nitrogen.  Besides nitrogen, urine also contains potassium and phosphorus. You may have noticed that nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are the main ingredients (N-P-K) in fertilizer. Thoroughly watering turf can help to dilute the spots, but that has to be done on a regular basis. There are also over the counter supplements that can be fed to your pup, but most people are too busy for that.

The last type of common turf damage is from high traffic, or your own family. But really, is it a problem or just “a thing”? Because, what is a lawn really for? As a parent and proud home owner you want your lawn to be a place for your family to enjoy as your child envisions themselves the next Olympiad. But watching it deteriorate is nonetheless frustrating. I totally understand.

The best option for finding the treasure in your lawn again, and combatting all three of these turf battles is by routine slit seeding, proper fertilization and aeration. Highly damaged turf areas will not come back like they once were. And in the place of the good turf always pops up something less desirable (weeds).

As for new growth, slit seeding is the answer. A slit seeding machine cuts or slits small grooves into the ground and simultaneously drops seeds in. This process maximizes germination potential by limiting the amount of seed that is lost on the surface in a standard over seeding. If timed right, a slit seeding can even be accomplished prior to the germination of other weeds, grow up ahead of them and choke most of them out of business before they take over the damaged turf spots. If this technique is done properly, along with aeration and starter fertilizer, you are certain to see a dramatic improvement in the quality of key areas or your entire lawn.  The best time for slit seeding is the fall. But, late winter/ early spring is also a great time. Some highly damaged and shaded lawns require yearly seeding but most lawns can get by with a slit seeding in just key areas every other year.

Do not forget, if you are seeding this spring… DO NOT apply premergent herbicide. Your weeds will not sprout, but neither will your grass seed.

Aeration will reduce the compaction rate of those high traffic areas. A compacted layer as thin as ¼ to ½ inch can greatly impede water infiltration, nutrient penetration, and gaseous exchange between the soil and the atmosphere. Regardless of your turf type, a yearly core aeration is always a great thing.

Perhaps these three judges (salt, pets and high traffic) have been bringing down your overall turf scores. To find out for sure, call us today for a free certified turf analysis. We are honest judges with no goal but to see you happy about your lawn again. Red Hawk Landscaping can and will help you bring back the gold, leaving you with nothing but a green and beautiful turf this spring. Guaranteed.