Category Archives: Lawn Care

4 Basic Building Blocks of Successful Weed Control in Lawns

1). Cut Grass Routinely Tall (3-1/2″ or greater)

2). Forever Improve the Soil (aerate, fertilize, top dress with organic materials, water routinely, avoid compaction, ensure proper drainage, etc.)

3). Plant Premium Site-Specific Grass Seed (the best seed blends will include 0% WEED SEEDS and 0% NOXIOUS WEED SEEDS)

4).  Apply Selective Broadleaf and Grassy Weed Control Herbicides in a Targeted Manner (adjusted seasonally – as/if needed)

The overall health of your lawn (and soil) is critical to your long term weed control success.  The healthier and denser the stand of turfgrass, the less open soil will exist for an opportunistic weed seed to grow.

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or to schedule a meeting at your property to discuss any/all future lawn improvements needed.

Thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to being of service to you.  Have a great day!

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LIRIOPE…….. Can you please GET THAT PLANT OUT OF HERE!

When walking through shady areas, mainly on older, more mature landscapes, I occasionally notice a very special low-growing perennial that has a tendency to sneak it’s way around a plant bed, even spreading well into adjacent lawn areas.

The persistent perennial I speak of is called liriope (aka Monkey Grass, Lilyturf or Border Grass).

What makes liriope so special is even though it is very small in size, it is very difficult to completely remove and has a tendency to spread (variety dependent).  Complete physical removal usually takes multiple tries, over several years.  Even non-selective liquid herbicides like glyphosate may only be partially effective due to the plants tuberous root system.

 

IT IS VERY COMMON TO FIND LIRIOPE GROWING IN NEW LAWN AREAS THAT WERE ONCE PLANT BEDS!

The moral of my story is this, start removing liriope early.  Begin digging out your unwanted liriope plants now to eventually reclaim precious planting bed space or to clear the way for a new lawn.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or if we can be of service to you.  Thank’s for visiting our site and have a great day!

 

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Enjoy Professional Lawn and Landscape Care this 2020 Growing Season!

We can truly help!

It is our complete pleasure to share our multi-decade industry knowledge and experience with you to ensure the very best possible outcome for your lawn and overall landscape setting.

Here are just a few areas of expertise we would love to share with you.

  • Property Clean Up:  General debris removal, lawn raking, leaf disposal, paved area sweeping, etc.
  • Mechanical Lawn Improvement:  Core aeration, power raking/dethatching, slit-seeding.
  • Routine Seasonal Services:  Lawn mowing, plant bed detail, fallen leaf removal, drainage system cleaning and service, wood mulch installation, etc..
  • Vegetation Feeding and Control:  Lawn fertilization, lawn broadleaf/grassy/grass-like weed control, noxious weed control, poison ivy control, pavement weed control, insect control, etc.
  • Deciduous and Evergreen Care:  Bush trimming, select pruning, shrub and hedgerow rejuvenation (partial or complete).
  • New Plant Material Installation:  Perennials, annuals, shrubs, ground cover, bushes, trees and new lawns from seed.
  • Drainage Solutions:  Buried extended down spout drains, debris filtered drain inlets, surface and sub-surface water capture and conveyance, buried sump pump outlet relocation, etc.
  • Residential Soil Grade Modifications: Perimeter slope adjustments along foundation, problematic plant relocation/elevation/complete removal, strategic soil berm placement, lawn replacement, etc.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn or landscape related questions you may have.  We stand ready to assist and look forward to being of service any way possible.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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When growing grass, soil preparation is EVERYTHING!

Whenever repairing or installing a new lawn from seed or sod, one very important aspect of the planting process is soil preparation.  Besides using premium fresh site-specific grass seed or sod, avoiding the hot and dry season (if possible) and ensuring routine irrigation, the better the initial soil preparation is, the better the outcome will most certainly be.

Here are a few soil preparation tips that will ensure success when planting grass from seed and/or sod.

GRASS SEED

Before planting grass seed over an existing weakened stand of grass, be sure to core aerate first to open the existing soil, relieve compaction and allow for improved seed-to-soil contact.  Better yet, mechanically power rake the lawn first (spring or fall preferred) to scarify the soil surface and to remove debris and excess thatch.  Once dethatched, core aerate (single or multiple passes ok) then spread grass seed over prepared surface by walk behind drop/broadcast spreader or plant seed directly into soil via mechanical slit-seeder.

If planting grass seed across bare ground be sure to cultivate/roto-till the existing soil first.  Before adding any/all amendments, starter fertilizer or additional top soil, for large open widespread areas, use a front or rear tine tiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 2″-4″ first.  For small spot-repair areas use a steel rake, cultivator or even a Garden Weasel to cultivate the soil manually.  Once all bare soil areas have been cultivated and soil compaction has been broken, rake loosened soil to level and grade adequately across site to ensure proper drainage, etc..

Add pulverized top soil (as/if needed) to further improve/elevate areas targeted for eventual seed planting to complete.

SOD

Assuming that we are starting with a bare ground situation where all existing unwanted grass has either been manually, mechanically or chemically removed prior to new sod installation, bare compacted soil needs to be adequately cultivated before new sod can be successfully grown.  Again, just like when planting grass seed across large open areas, roto-tilling is the preferred method of soil preparation.

Once all bare soil areas have been roto-tilled/cultivated (depth of 2″-4″ ideal), add amendments, fertilizer or additional pulverized top soil to prepare the site for new sod installation.

Take your time, be thorough in your soil preparation and you will have a beautiful new lawn in no time!

Please be sure to consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next grass planting project.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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It’s much too hot and way too dry…….. will my lawn be ok?

The first cool-season lawn areas to show signs of heat related stress will likely consist of Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue grass plant varieties.  Lawn areas that are not routinely watered, experience full-sun exposure or are found growing atop shallow heat-retaining objects (sewers, utilities, compacted materials, etc.) or alongside curbs, sewer covers, sign posts, etc. will go dormant first when temperatures hold in the mid-to-upper 90’s and moisture is non-existent.

In most cases, as cooler temperatures return and routine rainfall becomes the norm, your lawn will awaken from it’s dormancy and return to it’s beautiful self all on it’s own and without any additional help.  However, depending on the total duration and severity of the heat/drought experienced, season-end lawn repairs by seed may be needed to rebuild any/all lost lawn density.

Here are a few seasonal lawn care tips to remember when we experience severe heat and dry conditions

  • Try to keep foot, bicycle or vehicle traffic across all heat effected lawn areas to a bare minimum.
  • Water regularly all season long to ensure dormant-prone grass plant varieties thrive and survive.
  • If a routine watering program is not possible for any reason, do not begin to water your lawn sporadically after your lawn has already gone dormant.  Just let your lawn come out of dormancy on it’s own, over time and as cooler weather and routine rainfall allows.
  •  Mow lawn high (3.5″+/-) all season long for best overall grass plant health and to encourage critical root development.
  • Core aerate lawn every fall to relieve soil compaction and allow for improved air/nutrient/water flow to your lawns root zone.
  • Incorporate the planting of drought-tolerant cool season grass varieties into your seasonal lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to let our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. know if we we can be of help or answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Weeds are growing in my newly seeded lawn …….. what to do?

When planting a new lawn from seed (in particular), soil is normally added, amended, cultivated and/or aerated to provide optimum seed-growing conditions.  Lightly cultivated soil is critical for new grass seed germination and eventual plant/root development, but also happens to be the “open door” needed for any/all competing nearby weed seed to flourish.

Here are a few precautions that can be taken to lessen the possibility of unwanted weed growth within your improved soil/new lawn area.

1). If attempting to grow grass within an area that already has a large population of weeds (broadleaf, grassy or grass-like weeds) consider applying a selective or non-selective herbicide to all unwanted growing vegetation a few weeks before soil preparation/seed planting takes place to completely eliminate the problematic weeds found (roots and all).

2). Plant grass seed in late summer/early fall to avoid increased spring season weed seed competition.

3). Use a premium blend of site-specific grass seed that contains 0% weed/noxious weed seed.

4). Consider mechanical slit-seeding (when existing site and soil conditions allow) to plant new grass seed directly into the soil through an existing stand of turf grass.

5). When planting grass seed in large lightly cultivated soil areas, consider covering all newly planted areas with seed germination blanket to lessen the exposure to wind-blown weed seed, feeding birds, etc..

If all precautions were taken, but a few problematic broadleaf weeds still happened to grow within your newly seeded areas, no problem at all.  Here are a few simple steps that can be taken to eradicate the unwanted weeds found growing in your prized new lawn.  If a small area, just manually pull any/all weeds found as they appear.  If a larger area, spot treat the visible broadleaf weed foliage with a selective liquid herbicide to completely eliminate the weed (root and all).  As lawn density builds over time, weed competition will become less problematic due to less bare soil exposure.

Just remember, planting or repairing a lawn from seed is not a quick proposition and without it’s fair share of short term challenges (maintenance, irrigation, environmental conditions, etc.).  However, it is our continued opinion that planting a site specific lawn from premium disease resistant grass seed is the very best way to grow a healthy stand of turf grass that will eventually prove worth the wait.  Please consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next lawn improvement project.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Mechanical Slit-Seeding = Best Way to Rebuild a Thinning Lawn

Slit-seeding is the mechanical process of planting premium site-specific grass seed through an existing stand of turfgrass, directly into the soil.

Unlike general over-seeding where a spreader is normally used to simply broadcast seed over a lawn (hoping grass seed will eventually reach soil to begin the germination process), mechanical slit-seeding ensures critical seed-to-soil contact by slicing through the lawn and planting the seed directly into the soil.  Mechanical slit-seeding is best performed in late summer/early fall, but can be completed in the spring as long as NO crabgrass prevention herbicides are used (pre/post slit-seeding).  For even better results, core aerate the targeted lawn areas before slit-seeding and apply a granular seed starter fertilizer (high in phosphorus) shortly after.  While slit-seeding may not be the most efficient or cost-effective way to plant an entirely new lawn from bare soil, the process really excels when rebuilding an existing lawn that has declined from such issues as disease, heavy physical use, drought, etc..

Mechanical slit-seeding provides excellent seed germination rates and should be incorporated into any professional long-term lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or mechanical slit-seeding questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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No Chicago area snow cover means NO SNOW MOLD for your lawn…… YES!!

March 20, 2015 – Snow Mold Found Within Lawn Area Located Between Two Residential Driveways

Since we have had absolutely no snow covering the ground over the past few winter months, experienced a fairly steady rise in soil temperatures recently and have had only occasional rainfall, you can be fairly certain that your Chicago area lawn will have little chance of suffering through a gray snow mold outbreak for this 2017 spring season.

Early Spring of 2012 – Shade Prone Lawn Area Last to Melt Snow

Gray snow mold is an early spring season turfgrass disease that usually occurs shortly after a cold and snowy winter. Normally begins when soil temperatures warm well before any/all lingering snow cover melts away.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or assistance you may need for this 2017 growing season and beyond.  Thank you for visiting!

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What is this so called nimblewill you speak of?

Nimblewill is a warm season perennial grass that has a tendency to grow in patches and is occasionally found growing in poorly drained soil and lightly shaded lawn areas.  Nimblewill is considered a weed grass and is never planted on purpose.  Nimblewill can spread by seed and/or by it’s lightly rooted spreading stems (stolons).

pacocha-nimblewill-growing-in-lawn

You can easily notice a lawn that has nimblewill growing in it during the early spring and late fall months (in particular).  Once cooler temperatures and first frost occurs, nimblewill will die back to the ground and change from it’s normal bluish/green summer color to a straw-like tan color.

pacocha-patches-of-dormant-nimblewill-grass

Once identified and only when the target plant is actively growing (May thru August), nimblewill can be completely eliminated by spot applying a selective or non-selective herbicide.  Shortly after the treated nimblewill areas have completely died back (14 to 21 days post non-selective herbicide application), any/all necessary steps can be taken to complete the final lawn repairs needed (additional top soil, grass seed, etc.).

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Boo……. THISTLE …….. Boo ……….. GO AWAY ALREADY!!!

Anyone that has had a run-in with thistle around their yard knows how tough this broadleaf weed is and how difficult it is to completely eradicate.  With it’s deep and wide spreading root mass and sharp pointed prickly foliage, it will not pull out of the ground easily (or completely) without a fight.  Pacocha - Thistle Foliage Close UpThe only effective and proven way we have found to completely kill mature thistle (in particular) is by applying a selective or non-selective (site dependent) systemic herbicide directly to it’s foliage.  Often times several spot herbicide applications are needed over the course of many growing seasons (3 to 5 years) to completely kill thistle found growing in a regularly maintained lawn (in particular).Pacocha - Large Thistle Found Growing in Bed Along Walkway

Tips on controlling and keeping thistle out of your lawn and landscape.

  • Thistle can have a biennial or perennial life cycle (specific thistle variety dependent)
  • Never plant a new lawn or create new gardens without first completely eliminating any/all resilient thistle plants first.
  • When applying a systemic herbicide, allow plenty of time (4-8 weeks) for the liquid herbicide (selective or non-selective – site dependent) to translocate through the entire plant (from foliage to root mass) thus ensuring a complete kill.
  • It is much easier to chemically eradicate thistle when therePacocha - Thistle Growing in Lawn are no other desirable plants (manicured turf grass, ground cover, vegetables, etc.) located in close proximity to the unwanted weed.
  • Always eradicate thistle found in lawn areas AND adjacent plant bed spaces.  Since thistle spreads by seed, rhizome and/or cut root segments (variety of thistle dependent) it will continue to spread anywhere it can unless totally eliminated.
  • Thistle seed can remain viable in the soil for up to 20 years!!
  • If you have a bird feeder in your yard, try to avoid using bird feed that includes thistle seed.
  • Continue to monitor your property for young thistle plants and try to manually remove them whenever possible.  If manual removal is no longer a feasible option, spot treat them with a systemic selective (lawn areas) or non-selective (areas where no other desirable vegetation is located) herbicide before the plant is allowed to flower and set seed.Pacocha - Multiple Thistle Growing in Lawn
  • Canada thistle (in particular) is considered to be a noxious perennial weed in Illinois and should be controlled by the land owner whenever found (Illinois Noxious Weed Law – 505 ILCS 100/)Pacocha - Thistle Growing in Lawn Adjacent to Plant Bed

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions you may have or to schedule an on-site consultation.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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