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Turf Center Lawns
Commercial Landscaping Services

Frequently Asked Questions

How often and for how long should I water (1) newly laid sod, (2) newly seeded grass and (3) new plantings?

aANSWER

Plants, sod and grass seed all require fairly constant moisture if they are to take root or germinate properly. (1) Water newly laid sod for one half-hour daily, between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm for the first 15 days and then as needed. (2) Newly seeded lawns should be watered three times a day, for 20 minutes each, at 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. After 15 days, simply apply water as needed to maintain adequate moisture. (3) We recommend that you water new plantings every other day, providing 5 gallons of water for each plant that is more than 30 inches tall and 15 gallons of water for each tree. You should continue this watering schedule throughout the first growing season.


How often should I mow the lawn and at what setting should I keep my mower?

aANSWER

Mower settings and scheduling will vary according to the type of grass you have growing in your yard. For Bluegrass and Tall Fescue, we recommend that you mow the lawn weekly and that you set your blade to cut the grass at a height of 2.5-inches to 3-inches. Never, ever remove more than one-third of the blade of grass, as you could seriously damage. Zoysia and Bermuda grass should be cropped much shorter. Set your blades to leave between 1-inch to 2-inches of blade standing. You may recut the lawn whenever this minimal height is exceeded. TOP

I’ve been told I have a “broad leaf” weed problem on my lawn. What is that, and what should I use to treat it?

aANSWER

The broad leaf family of weeds includes such common plants as Clover, Ground Ivy, Henbit, Knotweed, Plantain, Canadian Thistle, Colber, Wild Violet, Wood Sorel, Dandelions and Chick Weed. All of these weeds can be treated effectively with Broad Leaf Weed Control.

What is Crabgrass? Why should I be concerned about it, and how do you control it?

aANSWER

Crabgrass is a member of the grassy weeds family. It’s a summer annual that crowds out desired grasses only to leave dead or bald patches which become obvious in the Fall. Even though Crabgrass remains out of sight until summer, you can best control it by treating your lawn in early Spring with pre-emergence Crabgrass Control. If you wait until you see the Crabgrass, you’ve waited too long. TOP

When should I treat my lawn for grub worms?

aANSWER

The best times are late-Spring/early-Summer (April 15th through June 30th) and late-summer/early fall (August 15th through October 1st).

What’s the best time of year to spray to kill such insects as Chinch bugs, Billbugs, Sod Webworm, Mole Crickets, and the like?

aANSWER

You should apply insecticides when these bugs are active, during the height of summer, from June 1st to the end of August.

When should I fertilize my lawn?

aANSWER

Cool season grasses -- Bluegrass and Fescues -- should be fertilized during the cool months (September 1st through the end of December.) Warm season grasses – Zoysia and Bermuda -- should be fertilized during the warm months (from April 1st to August 15th.) TOP

I have a lot of shade on my property. What type(s) of grass would you recommend that I plant?

aANSWER

The best grasses to plant in shady areas are either Fine Fescue or Tall Fescue. In extremely shady areas, even these varieties may not flourish. In such cases, we recommend that you substitute natural ground covers for grasses. Some of the best choices include: Pachysandra, Ivy, Vinka, Ferns or Hostas.

What type of grass is best-suited for the Maryland-Northern Virginia region?

aANSWER

Maryland and Northern Virginia occupy what scientists call a “climate transition zone.” Tall Fescue has proven itself to be the best all-purpose grass for this areAThe best type may change, however, if global warming’s effects become more pronounced. TOP

My yard suffers from a lot of Deer damage. What deer-resistant plants, if any, would you recommend?

aANSWER

Deer are pretty indiscriminate eaters, but they do strongly dislike some plant varieties. A few you may want to consider include: Green Giant, Arborvita, Hollies, Ilex, Boxwoods and Junipers. Consult your local nursery for more options.

What kinds of shrubs are well-suited for shady areas?

aANSWER

Many varieties will do quite well. You may want to consider these: Aucuba, Japunica, Hollies, Nandina, Lathraleaf, Viburnum and Rhododendron. Consult your local nursery.

Could you recommend some good “barrier plants” that we could use to discourage people from crossing our yard – and to give us more privacy?

aANSWER

All types of evergreens, hollies and conifers (such as pines, Arborvita, Cypresses and Hemlocks) make excellent barriers that enhance privacy. In addition, you might consider certain low-branching trees, for instance, Shade Maples, Elms, Brach Oaks and most Discaduris trees, with the exception of ornamentals. TOP

How soon after we do a fertilizer and/or weed control treatment is it safe for us to let our dog or cat back onto the yard?

aANSWER

Your lawn should return to pet-safe condition after either a thorough watering or rain, or within 48 hours of completing the work.

How often should I lime and/or fertilize my lawn, and what quantities should I apply?

aANSWER

We recommend that you apply fertilizer and lime to your lawn annually. To determine the proper amount, it’s necessary, first, to measure the size of your lawn. For every 1,000 square feet of space, apply 1 to 3 lbs of fertilizer and 50 pounds of lime annually. You also should take soil tests every 2 to 3 years (Maryland requires you do this at least once every 3 years) and have the results analyzed by a lab to determine your optimum application rates.

What can I do to attract deer to my property and yet keep them from destroying my plants?

aANSWER

Two excellent strategies for attracting deer to your property would be to set out either a salt lick or deer corn for them to eat. However, deer are voracious and adaptive eaters, so they may not stop eating once they’ve filled themselves on your corn – or if they eat through your supplies. To keep them from sampling your plants, we would recommend that you use a combination of plant netting or deer repellent. Another option would be to install plants they dislike (see above). Finally, if you want to keep deer off your property altogether, keep a dog stationed outside.

Why do I get standing water on my lawn?

aANSWER

Standing water is a serious problem that can mean your property’s soil either contains too much clay or that your lawn is not adequately graded to drain storm runoff – or both. Those underlying problems need to be corrected because standing water will drown plants and grasses, leaving dead zones in your yard. In addition, soil with excessive amounts of clay easily may become compacted, restricting root growth and preventing your lawn from flourishing.


Our lawn is filled with dead spots from where our dogs urinate. What can we do to control this kind of pet damage?

aANSWER

Minimizing pet damage requires the same type of strategy farmers use to maximize crop production: rotation. You should periodically redirect your pets to “do their business” on different parts of your lawn. Some strategies include temporarily “fencing off” frequented areas with jerry-rigged panels or obstacles such as chairs or benches. To permanently provide relief to damaged areas, you may want to consider installing barrier plantings and shrubs. You also may want to treat damaged areas with gypsum every 5 to 6 weeks and then water thoroughly. TOP


When should I seed my lawn, and how much seed should I put down?

aANSWER

Timing depends on the type of grass you’re seeding. Cool season grass – varieties that typically thrive in shaded areas – should be seeded in early Fall or Spring. Wait until the warmer months – May through July – to seed your warm season varieties.


What kind of grass seed or sod should I use on my lawn?

aANSWER

Recommended grass seed or sod varieties may vary, depending on moisture, light and soil conditions as well as personal preference. However, regardless of the variety you choose, make sure you only purchase state-certified seed and sod. Maryland’s certification program guarantees that the grass seed you select will germinate and that the seed will contain minimal amounts of weed content. State-certification also guarantees that you are getting the variety of sod that you’ve specified and that it also has been grown weed-free.

What’s the appropriate time of year to prune my plants?

aANSWER

Different families of plants need to be pruned at different times of the year. Deciduous plants, that lose their leaves each year, should be pruned in the Fall, after their leaves have fallen. Evergreens, on the other hand, fare best when pruned in early Spring.

What’s the best time of year either to install new plants or apply mulch?

aANSWER

For both activities the answer is the same. The optimal seasons are early Spring or early Fall.

How soon should I mow new sod after it’s planted, and when can the kids play on the new lawn?

aANSWER

New sod generally won’t need mowing for the first 10 to 15 days after installation, but it should be mowed as soon as it is ready. DO NOT allow the grass to get too tall before the first mowing, either – or before any mowing, for that matter. We recommend that you keep you mower blades at their highest setting for the first six weeks. Then, bring them down to 3-inches for the remainder of the growing season. Do not use your new lawn for play or other activities until at least one week after the first mowing and then only if the lawn is fairly dry at the time. Moist, recently laid lawn is highly susceptible to compaction. Compaction will restrict root growth, putting your newly laid lawn’s future health in jeopardy. TOP

Why do I have mushrooms in the lawn after Sodding and why do I have weeds growing up between the sod? What should I expect to see after Sodding is done?

aANSWER

The presence of mushrooms on your new lawn – and weeds springing up between sod strips, rather than in them – are actually good signs. Both stem from proper tilling of the soil during lawn preparation. Mushrooms typically respond to decaying organic matter churned up under the soil, and weed growth often comes after weed seed, which had lain dormant in the yard, becomes exposed during the same process. Heavy moisture, from constant watering of the new sod, also encourages weed and mushroom growth.


Why do I have crab grass growing in my newly sodded lawn?

aANSWER

The heavy watering new sod requires can sufficiently dilute or break down crabgrass pre-emergence chemicals until they lose their effectiveness, permitting any latent crabgrass seed in the lawn to germinate.


Which is more expensive: seeding or Sodding?

aANSWER

Seeding is generally one-third the cost of Sodding.

What is hydro-seeding?

aANSWER

Hydro-seeding is a seeding and soil erosion-control technique used to promote rapid grass germination in difficult planting areas, such as on steep, bare hillsides. In this approach, seed is suspended in a hydro-mulch (a paper or wood-fiber product) and then sprayed over the planting area. The hydro-mulch retains moisture, stabilizes the underlying soil and keeps the seed in contact with it improving the odds of germination. Hydro-seeding is NOT RECOMMENDED for planting seed on existing lawns because the hydro-mulch and its payload of grass seed, will frequently become entangled in the existing grass blades and never reach the underlying soil below.


What is soil aeration?

aANSWER

Soil aeration involves repeatedly puncturing the lawn surface to relieve the effects of soil compaction and to provide new, open channels for air, moisture and nutrients to reach the grass roots. Core aeration is the preferred approach when seeding, because in this process, the soil core, or plug, is actually returned to the lawn surface, where it breaks down, providing an excellent environment for new seed germination.

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