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Brown Spots in Lawn

Brown Spots in Lawn

new lawn no brown spots

This is what a brand new lawn looks like from hydroseed. To keep a lawn looking this good, what’s required is: healthy soil, good drainage, consistent mowing, consistent watering especially during drought periods, fertilizer 3-4X per year, and sunlight.

Wondering what’s up with the brown spots in your lawn?

Even if your lawn has irrigation, it’s common to see brown spots this time of year. They occur for a number of reasons. Here are some examples we’ve encountered at maintenance clients’ sites over these hot and dry summer months:

  • An irrigation head is watering an area covered in thatch, and as a result, water doesn’t absorb into the soil.
  • The irrigation system was mapped in such a way that coverage is low in areas that are now brown.
  • The nozzle shoots water out too far and lawn areas closest to the head aren’t being hit.
  • The nozzle is clogged or a head is misaligned.
  • The lawn is on a slope and water drains too quickly.
  • Droppings from nearby trees create acidic conditions in the soil, causing the lawn to brown.
  • If a lawn is over a drain field, there may be too much sand in the soil causing water to drain too quickly.

Some solutions to fix the brown spots in your lawn are easier and less costly than others. Give us a call or send us an email for an estimate to rehabilitate your lawn.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

New Commercial Landscape Maintenance Sites in Poulsbo

New Commercial Landscape Maintenance Sites in Poulsbo

We recently secured two more commercial landscape maintenance sites in Poulsbo. We’re thrilled to add them to our portfolio. Both locations are in a high visibility area and receive a lot of foot traffic throughout the day, so give us a honk if you happen to drive by!

commercial landscape maintenance poulsbo

This site features many shrubs and hedges that our client has requested to be neatly sheared 2 – 3 times per year.

commercial landscape maintenance poulsbo

Our skilled maintenance technicians regularly trim plant material off of walkways and parking lots for our commercial landscape maintenance sites. We also blow the parking lot on every visit, removing unwanted landscape debris.

commercial landscape maintenance kitsap county

Are you a property manager or office manager for a commercial space, or know someone who is? We’d love the opportunity to meet and provide a free consultation and proposal for ongoing commercial landscape maintenance services. Call our office at 360-697-3215 or send an email to info@northwestcl.com to set up an appointment to meet with an estimator.

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

To Rake, or Not to Rake?

To Rake, or Not to Rake?

There’s a great leaf debate happening. One side says that fallen leaves left alone become important habitat for butterflies, salamanders, earthworms and other creatures that are important to our ecosystem. The other side makes the case that matted leaves shade and kill lawns and ground covers, and rot perennial plants.

leaf cleanup

So which side is right? The answer depends on a person’s values, time, resources and aesthetic taste.

Our answer is biased, of course, since we offer leaf clean-up services, which are included in all of our full service maintenance contracts.

Listed below are a few good reasons why it makes sense to get rid of fallen leaves.

  • Fall leaves form a dense mat that allows water to gather around the crowns of perennials, causing them to rot. If they don’t rot, chances are likely that they’ll come up thinner and leggier the following spring.
  • Fall leaves smother lawn and ground cover by denying necessary oxygen to roots. Air circulation is necessary for your lawn to remain healthy year-round. In a matter of just a few weeks, you can be left with bare spots, and bare spots create the conditions for weeds to take hold and grow.
  • Fall leaves create habitat for good bugs and critters, but they also create habitat for snails and slugs to lay eggs. Slugs are infamous for eating hostas and other beloved plants.

Where do you stand on the great leaf debate? Log in to Facebook below and let us know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Lawn Renovation in Silverdale

In late June we completed a lawn renovation and landscape clean-up for clients in Silverdale. Mom and Dad both work full-time, and the whole family is active in community theatre. With little free time to spare, the lawn was neglected, shrubs had overgrown, weeds had taken over the beds, and the irrigation system needed repairs.

topdressing lawn with compost

The lawn had already been aerated and de-thatched when this photo was taken. Juan spread a topdressing of compost while Josh applied grass seed.

After the clean-up was complete, our first course of action to renovate the lawn was to aerate. Aeration, also known as core aeration, is the process of pulling up small plugs of underlying soil that had compacted over time. This creates a healthier root system because it allows proper circulation of air, water and nutrients to the soil below. Aerating results in better water and fertilizer absorption, key to a healthy lawn.

new lawn growing in from seed

This photo of the front yard lawn was taken only 3 weeks later.

After aerating, the next step taken was to de-thatch the lawn. Thatch is a dense layer of dead grass and other organic material that accumulates over time and does not decompose. It sits atop the soil surface, smothering the grass, causing shallow roots and inhibiting growth. De-thatching, or thatching, with a power rake removes this dead layer of thatch between the grass base and native soil, and encourages lawn to spread by allowing for a better exchange of air, water and nutrients.

topdressing and overseeding lawn

The back yard lawn took longer to fill in due to less sunlight. This photo was taken 3 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost, and overseeding.

The lawn was now ready for a topdressing of organic compost, which we get from Vern’s Organic Topsoil. Topdressing is the practice of spreading a thin layer of compost over the lawn. Since we had already aerated and de-thatched, the compost was able to easily penetrate below the superficial layer and reach the native soil below. This is an important step in lawn renovation. Topdressing with compost enhances the quality of the soil by adding nutrients and improving soil structure.

new lawn from grass seed

This photo of the back yard lawn was taken approximately 8 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost and overseeding.

One of the final steps of this lawn renovation was to spread grass seed atop the compost, also known as overseeding. We use a grass mixture that is formulated specifically for the Pacific Northwest and a spreader to apply it evenly. Overseeding reinvigorates a lawn by encouraging thick lawn growth. Bare or thin spots should always be overseeded to discourage weed growth.

lawn renovation in silverdale

This photo of the front yard lawn was taken approximately 8 weeks after aeration, de-thatching, topdressing with compost and overseeding.

With the help of a repaired irrigation system, the seed received sufficient water throughout the germination process, despite long stretches of 80-degree weather. Grass seed needs to be moist in order to germinate and grow, though you don’t want to drown seed in water. The photo above shows what the restored lawn looked like in August.

After this summer’s record high temperatures and drought, your lawn could likely benefit from lawn renovation services. Give us a call at 360-697-3215 or 253-530-0788 for a free quote!

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.

Tent Caterpillars

A few of our maintenance clients have contacted us regarding tent caterpillars in their trees that are now crawling up building structures. Yiiiikes!

Eastern_Tent_Caterpillar_(tent_close)

According to local horticulturist Darren Strenge, these are the options available to us and anyone else dealing with tent caterpillars in the landscape:

Option 1: Live with it. The majority of affected trees survive and after the caterpillars disappear in June, the trees will leaf out again and be looking normal by August if not sooner.

Option 2: Prune out the silken tents produced by the caterpillars. The best time to do this is when the caterpillars are still young. In Kitsap County, this is usually mid to late April.  With an extension pruner or pole saw, you can reach up and prune out branches with tents on them.

Option 3: It’s too late to do it this year, but NEXT winter when the branches are bare and easier to see, look over your tree’s branches looking for the golden egg masses of the Western Tent Caterpillar. When you find some, scrape them off.

Option 4: Spray the little buggers.

If you elect to spray, here are his rules for spraying:

Rule #1: Don’t do it!  It’s hard for me to justify the use of pesticides for purely ornamental purposes. If you’re growing food that your family relies on, that’s another matter, but no one’s going to actually suffer if your prize roses get defoliated (options 1-3 will be better for that anyway).

Rule #2: If you’re going to ignore rule #1 then PLEASE follow rules 3-5.

Rule #3: Read and follow the label instructions. The pesticide label is a legal document. Deviating from the label instructions is illegal and could land you in hot water. Not to mention that the instructions explain proper use of the pesticide and ignoring them could harm you, your kids, your plants, or create greater harm to the environment.

Rule #4: Don’t spray during bloom. Most pesticides that will kill the western tent caterpillar will also kill bees attracted to your tree’s flowers. Wait until your tree is completely finished blooming. We already have enough problems with colony collapse disorder, a serious situation that’s already impacting agriculture. Seriously. Be proactive and get out there with extension pruners in April and early May or hire someone to do it for you.

Rule #5: Use bt instead of synthetic or inorganic pesticides. Bt, formulated as a pesticide, is spores of the bacterial species Bacillus thuringiensis. It is much safer for everyone. There are various strains of this bacterial-based pesticide depending on what you want to attack. Read the product label to make sure what you buy will actually work on caterpillars (look for B. thuringiensis kurstaki). Perhaps the most important bit of advice here is to apply Bt while the caterpillars are young. Older caterpillars are much more resistant to it. Additionally, sunlight degrades Bt so apply it late in the day before the caterpillars leave their tents at night to feed. For Bt to work, it must first be ingested by the caterpillars so make sure to apply it directly to the plant’s foliage.

Many thanks to Darren Strenge for the very useful information. He provides pest, disease and plant health consultation to Kitsap County and be contacted at pnwbotany@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.

Moss Control Fertilizer

Our first round of fertilizer is being applied to the lawns of our maintenance clients, and as we do every year, we’ll be applying a moss control fertilizer. This mix contains ferrous sulphate and is the easiest way to eliminate moss using a chemical application.

Ferrous sulphate is a form of iron, so it’s an organic chemical compound that is less harmful to the environment than other synthetic herbicides. It also provides nutrients and is often used as a fertilizer to achieve the desired green lawn color, without encouraging a lot of growth.

After a few weeks, moss will turn black.

Moss turning black

Ideally, the next step would be to dethatch your lawn. The deadened moss comes up effortlessly with the use of a power rake, the equipment used when dethatching a lawn.

Over time, grass will grow in areas where moss once thrived. To speed up the process, bare or thin areas should be re-seeded. We recommend JB Sun and Shade grass seed which is formulated for our region. It’s important to keep the seed wet until germination is complete. Until the seed is well rooted, keep the soil moist at all times with light and frequent watering.

The presence of moss is an indicator that some changes are needed in your landscape. If tree limbs or shrubs are creating too much shade, consider cutting them back or removing them altogether. Lack of sunlight is the most common reason for moss. In Pacific NW landscapes, this is often accompanied by moisture, and mosses love persistently wet areas in which to inhabit.

Moss in lawn

Adding lime or ash to your lawn can help if your soil is acidic. Or, it may be the case that your soil is lacking in organic matter and could benefit from a topdressing of nutrient-rich compost.

Soil conditions will also be improved by regularly aerating your lawn to relieve soil compaction and to allow air to circulate around the grass roots.

Taking the time to care for your lawn early in the season will ensure a healthy lawn to enjoy on hot, summer days. That being said, if you don’t mind the moss in your lawn, you’ll have less lawn to mow.

Thanks for reading our blog.  Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.