Tag Archives: soil

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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When planting cool season grass seed…………. timing is key!

When planting grass seed it is not enough to properly prepare the soil, fertilize, choose a premium site specific grass seed, cover large seedbed areas to protect/retain moisture and routinely water.  In addition to each of the critical steps mentioned above, grass seed must be planted when soil temperatures are expected to reach/remain at 50 degrees or above to successfully germinate.

Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 4-26-14

Ideally, grass seed should be planted in late summer/early fall (late August thru September) for best results. Late summer/early fall is a great time of the year for planting grass seed (non-shade areas in particular) due to cooler air temperatures, lawns are coming out of dormancy, soil temperatures remain warm and there is very little chance of frost or prolonged freezing temperatures.  In addition, rainfall becomes more routine and we experience less weed seed proliferation/competition for open exposed soil areas at this time.Pacocha - Lawn Repair by Seed 5-22-14

Spring grass seed planting (late March through mid-May) is great for shade tree covered lawn areas (below large and dense deciduous trees in particular).  It is only at this time of the year that you can really enhance the seed germination/root development process by taking advantage of additional sun exposure that happens to make it’s way through the early spring leafless tree canopies above.

Regardless of the season you decide to plant grass seed, you will need at least 4 hours of sunlight per day, soil temperature of at least 50 degrees and routine irrigation to successfully grow turfgrass from seed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for all of your grass seed planting and lawn care related needs.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Before digging in Illinois be sure to call 811, JULIE 800-892-0123 or CHICAGO DIGGER 312-744-7000 to avoid buried utilities

Whether you are preparing to install a tree, pond, hedge, drainage system, new concrete or even a road side mailbox be sure to call 811 (or your local One-Call system) to learn if there are any buried utilities (electric, natural gas, communication cables, drinking water, sewer, etc.) nearby that will need to be avoided.Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.

  • JULIE, INC. 800-892-0123 – www.illinois1call.comHours: 24 hours, 7 days – Advance Notice: 2 working days minimum – Marks Valid: 28 calendar day

Different paint colors will be used to mark the various underground utilities found on your property.  It is very important to have a good idea as to what these colors represent.

  • RED: Red markings identify electric systems including high voltage and low voltage Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.power lines and wires.
  • YELLOW: Yellow is used to designate the approximate location of pipe systems which carry natural gas, oil, steam and petroleum products.
  • ORANGE: Orange marks identify the approximate location of communication type cabling networks.
  • BLUE: Blue marks identify the approximate location of pipes carrying drinking water.
  • PURPLE: Purple is used to mark reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines.  In many Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc.cases these lines go unmarked by 811 notification services due to being on private property and owned by property owners.
  • GREEN: Green marks identify the approximate location of sewer and storm sewer pipes as well as other drain lines.
  • WHITE and PINK: White and pink are the only two colors in the APWA color code that do not designate the approximate location of underground lines on a job site.  White is commonly used to indicate proposed excavation and pink to mark temporary survey markings.

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

 

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Chicago area underground flood control systems, sewer repairs, emergency utility work and the necessary landscape related repairs that follow!

The damage done to a mature lawn or landscape (in particular) after a major sewer repair, drainage improvements or new flood control system has been installed can be minimal or quite extreme.  Plant material, lawns, irrigation systems, retaining walls, pavement and low voltage lighting can be damaged or completely destroyed when underground construction takes place near by.  Other matters like extreme soil compaction and severed mature plant root systems are very common issues as well.  Flood control systemDepending on the initial soil excavation depth, size of equipment used, property location, type of underground repair performed and amount of construction spoils left behind will normally dictate the cost of landscape restoration services required.  One of the main cost drivers (besides labor and materials) of residential landscape restoration work (post sewer/flood control improvements) is the amount of excess stone/debris that is left behind.  When hiring an underground repair contractor it is always a good idea to be aware and to discuss who exactly will be responsible for the cost of removing excess fill/debris (off-site) if needed.  If the excess fill Pacocha - Elevated elongated mound post underground constructionmaterial that is left behind is somewhat desirable (soil or sand) and lacks large pieces of unwanted stone, bricks, concrete, etc. than it can be easily re-purposed/relocated on-site to reduce overall restoration costs.   Some examples of how to use these excess materials may be to elevate a low lying plant bed area, create a new raised planting bed or to fill-in multiple low/sunken lawn areas that are in need of repair.  In addition, please keep in mind that it is very likely that ground settling will occur after deep soil excavation work has been performed.  Pacocha - Elevated mound post underground constructionDepending on how well the underground contractor compacted the back-filled soil/stone will determine the amount of ground settling to be experienced in the future (1-3 years post landscape repair).  Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to assist in evaluating and providing the necessary lawn and landscape restoration services for your Chicago or surrounding northwest suburban residential property.  Pacocha - Low area ready for additional top soil and boxwood relocation

Thank you for your time and we look forward to being of assistance to you in the very near future.

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Types of Herbicides: Non-Selective VS. Selective

You need to know the difference between a non-selective and a selective herbicide before you perform or authorize any herbicide application on your property.

A non-selective herbicide kills all actively growing vegetation by contact or by a systemic mode of action (chemical transported throughout plant). As an example Round-Up (Glyphosate) is commonly used to kill all existing unwanted vegetation growing in a poorly maintained landscaped area before planting or installing desirable seed or mature plants shortly after. Residual weed control (pre-emergent herbicide, soil sterilants, etc.) should be considered when choosing the correct non-selective herbicide needed for a particular site specific vegetation control task at hand.

A selective herbicide kills only certain target plants (as specified on product label) and leaves behind all other plants virtually unscathed (dosage and timing of application dependent).  Most selective herbicides used on turf (in particular) are systemic in nature (chemical transported throughout plant).

A decision will need to be made if only a select few unwanted broadleaf weeds, grasses, vines, etc. need to be eliminated or if everything growing in a particular target area will need to be controlled.

As always, please consult an industry professional for proper target plant identification and best available control options (organic, synthetic, contact, systemic, dosage, mechanical, cultural, etc.) before any/all pesticide applications are performed.

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Would you like to apply a crabgrass preventer to your lawn or plant grass seed……… please pick just one!

The challenge we turf grass managers face every spring season (in particular) is that in order to prevent the annual unwanted grassy weed called crabgrass from growing in a lawn we either need to maintain great turf grass density to stop undesirable crabgrass (seed) from ever germinating in open soil or we need to apply a preventative herbicide to create a short lasting “barrier” that will stop any/all crabgrass seed from growing or fully maturing.  Even when we have decent overall lawn density and have applied a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide there is still a strong possibility that crabgrass will grow in weakened lawn areas like those found in heavily compacted soil areas, lawn areas cut too short (usually along curbs, roads, walks, base of trees, etc.), areas that are exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time or lawn areas that were simply left bare (not repaired) from growing seasons past.

When a granular pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide is applied it will generally provide between 6-10 weeks of crabgrass protection.  The life of this synthetic “crabgrass barrier” is dependent on the amount of rain or irrigation following the application and the amount of possible soil disturbance that takes place (post application).  The lower the amount of soil surface disturbance or lessor water applied will extend the life and effectiveness of a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide application.

No grass seed should ever be planted in a lawn that recently had a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide applied (+/- 6-10 weeks post application).

The majority of crabgrass pre-emergent herbicides will not allow desirable grass seed to germinate over the course of its effective 6-10 week life span.  The crabgrass herbicide has no way to distinguish between unwanted crabgrass seed and desirable grass seed.  We highly recommend applying a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide in the spring and planting grass seed mid-August through September especially in full sun exposed lawn areas where crabgrass is more prevalent.

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Shatter your soil for a better lawn!

A great way to increase air, water and nutrient flow to your lawn’s root zone is by performing core aeration.  Core aeration is a mechanical lawn improvement process where motor driven cylinder-like spoons are plunged into and shatter the soil thereby relieving compaction and reducing thatch build up.  Half inch diameter or so plugs of thatch and soil are actually pulled from the ground during this process.  The soil cores are normally left atop the lawn to simply decompose over time and to return great organic material back into the soil.  It is very common to core aerate heavily trafficked lawn areas twice per growing season (spring and late summer/early fall are recommended).  Plan on aerating your lawn before over-seeding for improved grass seed to soil contact.  Promote deeper and healthier turf grass roots by incorporating core aeration into your seasonal lawn management program.

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Planting a new lawn by seed vs. sod

My professional opinion on the use of sod is that I will recommend it only when absolutely necessary. The reason we like growing a lawn from seed over sod is that we can choose the best blend of turf grass seed for the specific site/conditions at hand. Please keep in mind that most commercially grown Kentucky Bluegrass blend sod is meant to be installed in areas that have 70% + sun exposure throughout a given day. One important factor rarely exposed by most sod resellers. When the choice is made to grow a new lawn by seed you will need to intentionally “over prepare” the soil and nurture the seed for optimum germination and deep root establishment to ensure great long term results. Sod on the other hand can be simply laid on a “sub-par” soil surface and kept alive as long as there is adequate and routine irrigation available. Other factors that can easily stress poorly rooted sod are everyday foot traffic, pet waste, intense heat, insect activity, minimal watering, excessive watering, fungus, sub-par mechanical maintenance, etc. Even though seed will take a growing season or two to fully establish and reach the density levels you are looking for, you will have great long term results with lower maintenance costs thereafter. Sod on the other hand will look great instantly and usually require a greater initial financial investment, but will also continue to cost more over time to maintain (rebuild fading sod density due to limited initial grass variety selection, avoiding constant fungal related threats, continual need to break through dense thatch layer, etc.). The average sodded lawn retains a non-native soil layer that routinely causes poor air/water/nutrient flow to the lawn’s root zone below. In many cases we are forced to break down this “soil barrier” by performing multiple core aerations, mechanical slit-seeding, power raking/dethatching, etc. each and every growing season to maintain acceptable turf density.

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