THE GRASS CAN BE GREENER: TRICKS OF THE TRADE FROM LAWN CARE EXPERT + 2 COSTLY MISTAKES MOST DO-IT-YOURSELFERS MAKE
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2014, AND THE GRASS IS STILL HOLDING STRONG…
For years, I have grumbled there’s a device that will connect you to a person on the other side of the world by touching a piece of glass but there is no grass seed I can get to grow on my lawn. I stand corrected.
After eight years and gosh only knows how much time and money I have the lawn I envisioned thanks to Brian Feldman, Tinton Falls resident who grew up in Asbury Park, and his team at the local TruGreen.
A neighbor claims my property hasn’t had such beautiful grass in 25 years. I told Feldman and his colleague Dave Lee, Neptune resident, that they were magicians but they swear its decade’s worth of science. As well as experience – they manage 9,000 lawns in Monmouth County.
If grass can grow in my yard and I can help keep it alive, you can do it too. Feldman shared some insights about grass growing and maintenance in our specific area that can help any green thumb challenged homeowner…
TBP: I wanted you to be completely honest and you rated my lawn a three out of 10 when we met in April.
Feldman: There was little to nothing to start with and a complete renovation was in order. We had street salt damage from the tough winter, shade and multiple soil challenges, including sandy and acidic.
What we had on our side was good timing and Mother Nature. The optimal time to grow grass is coming up in late August but second best is early spring. The more time you give the grass to get started and get nutrients before drought or harsh cold the better. This timing window to seeding is one of the keys to a long-lasting, visually appealing lawn.
TBP: You cracked the code to the right mix of grass seed for my yard’s sandy soil. And the bonus today is that the grass is strong enough to withstand wear from my dog.
Feldman: Just like roses, there are different types of grasses with their own strengths, weaknesses and beauty. Before seeding or starting a new maintenance program, look at your lawn holistically. What are the soil and traffic conditions? What about sun exposure? The optimal amount of sun is six or more hours.
Monmouth County is in a transition ‘hardiness zone’ – we are in the southern area for cool season grass which makes lawn maintenance more challenging. Shore area homeowners should look for heartier, cool season species’ of grass that are drought resistant with deep roots.
Kentucky Blue Grass is not the best grass plan for sandy soil and shade like many of us have. We use a proprietary mix that is geography-specific, doesn’t need as much nutrient to be attractive and is insect and disease resistant.
TBP: I hear that I can’t put my lawn on autopilot now.
Feldman: Homeowners should consider how attentive they will be to their lawn on those humid August afternoons coming soon. Thinner blades of grass don’t need as much water. This isn’t genetic engineering; this is breeding for attributes and cross pollinating – all done in the US.
A mistake many do-it-yourselfers make is looking at their lawn maintenance as a seasonal proposition, doing only one or two treatments in the spring. The most attractive and healthiest lawns are maintained nine months of the year.
Living in Monmouth County, we want to be at the beach or out enjoying the great weather and forget about maintaining our lawns. Leave the tough stuff to me and my team. No matter what, water, water, water your lawn.
PLUS, read the surprising tips to a better looking lawn in four weeks TruGreen shared with The Coaster readers. For more info about TruGreen’s local work, click here.