Composting Your New Hampshire Lawns

Composting helps to ensure a healthy lawn

Composting helps to ensure a healthy lawn

Why Compost Your Lakes Region Lawn?
The soil in your lawn contains living microorganisms including bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa. Without getting too technical lets just say that a healthy soil has lots of biological life and these organisms need organic matter (compost) to survive and thrive. This living-soil-life helps with soil health, decomposition of organic matter, replenishing of nutrients, humus formation, promotion of root growth, nutrient uptake, and herbicide and pesticide breakdown.

Your earthworm population will increase as your organic matter increases, which will help increase nutrient levels, water levels and penetration and aeration as they move through the soil.

Compost adds organic matter into your garden soil that increases the population of soil microorganisms, which in turn help control plant diseases.

The addition of compost may also provide greater drought resistance and more efficient water utilization. Therefore, the frequency and intensity of irrigation may be reduced.

When To Compost Your Lakes Region Lawn

After aerating (or even if you don’t aerate), topdress the turf surface with a 1/4″ layer of compost. The compost will settle into the soil, adding nutrition and structure that will serve the grass roots well the following season.

Then spreading an inch of compost on the newly aerated lawn will provide a perfect fall feeding, dramatically improve the organic matter content of your soil, and provide a perfect seed bed for the final step of filling in bare spots with fresh seed. And it’s easy — just have a big load of compost delivered, shovel it into wheelbarrow loads, dump them out on the lawn and then use a rake to spread it all around as evenly as possible… or call Miracle Farms if you need a hand with fall lawn services.

Next, spread new seed to fill in bare spots. Just sow the seed by hand or in a spreader and gently rake it into that wonderful compost. Don’t put down straw or other nonsense — it limits the germination and looks awful going forward.

Gently water the lawn for half an hour morning and night until the seed sprouts, which will be quick in this perfect weather. After it sprouts, cut back to morning only, and if our weather pattern shifts and we begin to get more reliable rain, you won’t need to water at all.

Will compost eliminate the need for commercial fertilizers?  Not necessarily which is not a straight answer, but there really isn’t one. Depending on what nutrients your soil is lacking (or has an abundance of) certain organic fertilizer will be necessary. In addition to providing nutrients (both micro and macro), compost helps make fertilizer more effective in the soil.

Fall Is The Time To Aerate Lakes Region Lawns

lawnmachine-laid-wall

In order to maintain a healthy lawn, your soil requires water, air, and nutrients. Lawns become compacted with normal use including foot traffic and lawn mowing. All lawns need aerating at some point, but depending on the conditions and use of your lawn, your soil may require aerating more or less often than typical.

Lawn aeration is the process of mechanically removing 2”-4” soil plugs and small portions of thatch from the lawn. Lawn aeration relieves soil compaction and improves the ability of roots to grow deeper into the soil and expand. Aeration is generally recognized as the best way to improve air and gas exchange, along with water and fertilizer intake. Lawns that receive this care will be healthier, easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems than lawns that are neglected. It is preferable to aerate your lawn in the fall when new root development is more prevalent.

You should be able to see the ‘thatch’ layer, as it should be about 1/2″ thick or so just underneath the grass and above the dirt. “Thatch” refers to the non-decomposed layer of organic material between the soil surface and the living grasses. When thatch build up becomes too thick, the turf’s roots cannot receive proper airflow, nutrients or water. This leads to thin, patchy, and yellowing grass. This is when aeration becomes necessary.

Some homeowners have trouble determining if unhealthy grass is due to soil compaction, thatch buildup, or another issue, such as poor fertilization. Let Miracle Farms help you to determine the best plan to get your lawn in tip-top condition. Don’t have time to aerate your lawn, or have a large property that needs aeration? Our lawn care experts would be happy to provide the help you need!

 

Watering Wisely When Rainfall is Scarce

watering-tips-new-hampshire

 

 

Watering

It seems straightforward enough, right?  Water your plants and they will grow.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that, but at the same time it’s not all that complicated either. There is not a handbook for watering, but keep a few simple things in mind and you’ll get the results you are hoping for. Using the right tools: soaker hoses, lightweight hoses, sprinklers, rain barrels and irrigation timers can help make your job easier. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

 

The Best Way to Water

•                Focus on the root zone. Daily light sprinklings encourage the roots to grow near the surface making them vulnerable to drying out instead of growing a deep, healthy root ball. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease. There is no value in watering if the water runs down the outside of the root ball or pot leaving the roots of the plant dry. Slower watering, especially at first, will help make sure the water soaks in to the root ball.

•                Water only when needed. If we are in a stretch where we are getting frequent rain, which is not the case in the Lakes Region at the moment, then it’s ok to cut back on watering. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little. Plant roots need a fairly constant supply of both air and water. Too little water and the roots die from lack of moisture. Too much water and the spaces between soil particles remain filled with water, suffocating roots. Both situations reduce a plant’s ability to deliver enough water to stems and leaves, resulting in wilting. The only way to tell if lack of water is causing wilting is to check soil moisture.

•                Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals don’t need to be watered quite as deeply as perennials, shrubs and trees. Move the soil away with your hand or a garden tool to be sure that the water is actually soaking down to the root system. Watering at the base of the plant instead of from overhead, loses less water to evaporation.

•                Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.

•                Mulch everything. Mulch reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil.

Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler.

A Happy Customer That We are Happy to Have!

We would like to compliment Miracle Farms for the fantastic job they did in designing and building a bluestone walkway and stairs from our house to the water, and underneath a large deck, creating a patio.  Drainage issues were a concern and were carefully considered and accounted for.  What was most impressive, however, was the implementation of the design.  The employees consistently showed up earlier every morning, worked continually until leaving at the end of the work day for approximately a month.  (It was a big project.)   Aside from a lunch-time break, we never saw anyone disengaged.  After each day’s work, before leaving, the grounds were cleared of debris and materials re-organized for the next day’s work.

Miracle Farms also cares for our lawn and looks after our house and dock during the winter.  They have provided excellent service.  They are responsive to any queries we have made regarding any concerns we have had.  We are really pleased with the quality of work and care they provide.

 

Linda and Jarrod W

Moultonborough, NH

FALL CARE FOR YOUR LAKES REGION LANDSCAPE

foliage reflection 1

We’ve all been enjoying the spectacular colors of fall for a couple of weeks here in the Lakes Region, but we know what’s right around the corner… even before the first snow fall… the dreaded fall cleanup! Although it is tempting to rake them into piles and jump in a few times, a proper cleanup requires a bit more work. Leaf clean-up is just a small piece of the big job that will leave your yard looking its best next spring. A complete fall clean-up is the key to preparing your entire landscape for winter and giving it a boost for spring.

Here are some tips for a last minute fall clean-up:

Leaving the leaves creates several problems for your lawn. It will deprive the grass of needed sunlight and cause brown patches. Leaves can also suffocate the lawn by depriving a flow of oxygen and they trap moisture potentially creating fungus issues.

Give your lawn a last mow, a little shorter than normal. Prune any dead wood. Lifeless limbs can fall victim to snowfall and wind endangering you and your home.

Perennials should be dead-headed to promote healthy spring growth. Trim spent foliage down to the ground; this sends energy to the roots, for next season. Every three years, divide crowded tuberous plants, like irises and daylilies: More space means more flowers.

The time and expense of a proper fall clean-up will not only pay off come spring with a beautiful and healthy yard but will also create a perfect backdrop Christmas lights and decorations.

Any heavy raking of lawn areas should be done now and not the in spring when lawns are more tender. Although it’s too late in the Lakes Region now to over-seed, we do recommend a core aeration and topdressing with a layer of compost, especially areas that were thin or trampled.

Protect any pots or containers that are vulnerable to cold weather. Soil will expand inside pots as temperatures drop below freezing causing cracks. Move them undercover and tip them upside down to prevent water from collecting inside.

It’s not too late to get bulbs into the ground for a spectacular spring show. You may even get more for your money at end of year sales if you still have the energy to plant!

If this is just too much work for you to think about, then call Miracle Farms and let us help you put your Lakes Region landscape to bed for the winter.