Kansas City Landscaping and Lawn Care Ideas

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Fungus Soon to be Among Us

City Lawns will soon be subjected to the ideal conditions for such as brown patch in tall fescue and patch in . The moist ground combined with 80 degrees plus will be like throwing a match on disease wildfire all across City’s .

If you are interested I have already wrote written an article on how to identify and deal with lawn diseases

If you need any help diagnosing or treating a lawn disease that shows up in your lawn I will be happy to come out and decide on  the next best step.

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Snow is good for Kansas City’s Lawns and Landscapes

City has had a record snow storm this week. Gary Lezak reports that most areas received between 10 and 14 inches in City. Although snow can be a hassle for traveling and moving around in, it is GREAT for .

Not only does the snow insulate the crowns from widely swinging temperature extremes, it also will add important moisture applied slowly and evenly.

You can even help your out with extra moisture by choosing where you toss the snow when shoveling your walks and driveways. By piling it on flower gardens and around trees you will be giving them extra moisture. However, if you used any kind of deicer or snow melting product, be very careful as concentrating these in one area could be harmful. Here is a great article on using deicers around your plants.

About the only time snow can be damaging is if it stays around for weeks and weeks without melting it can cause some disease issues. However, in City we rarely see snow stick around for longer than a week before it melts away.

So enjoy the snow and rest well knowing that your are well taken care of while you enjoy them from the outside.

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Overland Park Lawns suffer from Brown Patch

Lawns all across Overland Park are suffering from a disease known as Brown Patch Rhizoctonia solani.

Overland Park lawn with Brown Patch

brown patch tall fescue kansas City lawn

 

Brown Patch is a serious infection on Type Tall Fescue lawns that often can be clearly identified by the large circular brown patches that quickly appear in a lawn.  Unfortunately – what often happens when homeowners ere these patches appear they assume drought stress – since brown patchy usually appears during the first very hot humid stretch of the year.  However, this usually will only help spread the disease further since Brown patch thrives in lawns that are moist for a prolonged amount of time when night time temps remain above 70 degrees.

 

The good news is that Brown patch rarely kills the entire plant and rather just causes leaf tissue damage and a thinning of the – which will recover once fall brings cooler temperatures and more vigorous grown back to ’s lawns.

Once Brown Patch is present follow these recommendations in order of importance:

  • Stop all overhead except in the early morning hours.
  • Bag clippings and dispose of them off site. 
  • Use a fungicide such as Prostar, Bayleton of Daconil.  These are expensive and only somewhat useful as a curative.
  • Once Brown Patch has stopped spreading – fertilize with a  light .25#/n dose of nitrogen from an  organic source such as Miloganite, Bradfield’s or Espoma. 

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      A Gradual Start to Spring for Kansas City Landscaping

      This year, Landscaping has seen a Spring that was more gradual than in past years.  This has been good for the and lawns in .  Consistently cool temperatures with only rare and short warm-up have allowed us to gradually slip into Spring and avoid the landscaping pitfalls of moving too fast.  Landscapers like slow springs because very few have been hurt by April freezes this year and although it has been fairly dry the have faired well.  However, gradual will soon give way to rapid growth as soon as we get some heat.  Lawn Mowing will soon be the most common weekend chore for most homeowners. 

      Blue and Fescue lawns have thrived in this slightly cooler temperature.  They have been growing laterally and down for the last several weeks.  The imminent heat will spur rapid upward growth – we will soon be mowing VERY often!

      One of the negatives of this low soil temperature ahs been for any new spring lawn seeding.  The has not grown much at all if any.  That is again due to cooler than normal soil temps.  This may not be a great thing for Spring seeded lawns since it simply will not have the time needed to grow before heat sets in.  However, if my inside sources at NBC Action News are accurate, we may have a cooler than normal which would be good for all of ’s lawns. 

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      Leaves falling on Kansas City Lawns

      A gift has been bequeathed to you. As part of this gift, each homeowner in will be given over 200 pounds of this miracle product –guaranteed to revitalize your soil, allow it to store more moisture, improve soil structure and provide high grade fertilizer. The gift will fall from above and scatter itself over your lawn. Many of your neighbors will even freely share with you – some even purposely blowing this gift into your yard.

      If you haven’t yet figured it out, this gift is the leaves from trees.

       
      Leaves in Overland Park Lawn

      The sad thing is hundreds of people will throw this gift out. Collect it, bag it and put it on the curb.

      Instead of raking and bagging those bulky leaves, save yourself some time and put them to good use as a natural mulch and soil amendment from your lawn.

      I suggest two ways of utilizing this gift for your lawn based on your personality type. To determine your personality type, consider the cast of the popular TV sitcom Friends’. If your personality type mirrors the character of Monica, you are Type A. If you are more closely aligned with Joey, then you are type B. If you do not know what the show Friends is, you can assume you are Type A.

      The Monica Personalities

      Since you are very concerned with every detail of your lawn, the best way for you to use your leaves is by regularly mowing your lawn with the bag attached. Use a lawn mower with a bag attachment to quickly gather your leaves and shred them into mulch. This will vacuum and clean your lawn as well as shred the leaves at the same time. These shredded leaves are more valuable than gold for all the in your landscape. They can be piled in vegetable gardens to be tilled in later or they can be added as mulch in perennial gardens. Then spread these leaves up to 12" deep in your gardens. Mulching with leaves conserves moisture, controls weeds and grasses, protects against extreme heat and cold, and prevents soil erosion. Additionally, they can be composted in a compost pile to be used later.


      The Joey Personalities

      As a Type B personality you are focused on long term results of your lawn. You are willing to deal with a little bit of shredded leaf clutter on the lawn knowing that in the long run your lawn will look better and be healthier. Mow your lawn with a mulching lawn mower regularly. The mulching mower will shred the leaves into fine particles which will filter down through the blades of onto your lawn where they will disappear and benefit the soil. With regular mulch mowing, many homeowners would never have to rake their lawns as an acre of lawn can recycle the leaves of 60 trees.

      Either of these methods is paramount to the old standby of raking and trashing your leaves. By raking and trashing you are adding immense amounts of waste to our landfills and depriving your lawn of necessary nutrients and organic matter. But more importantly, at least to all of us TYPE B’s in the world; it is a whole lot less work! There is only one reason I can see where raking is ever necessary. If you have small children, it is imperative that you rake the largest pile of leaves you can possibly assemble in the middle of the yard. Then, spend at least 3 hours jumping in and redistributing them all over your yard before mowing them by one of the methods mentioned above.

      Enjoy the gifts that fall from the sky this autumn and make sure you fully utilize them to make your lawn more healthy and lush.

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      Seeding Kansas City’s Lawns

      is still burning strong and we surely have several weeks left of stifling heat in . Many of the lawns in the city are showing the stresses of surviving yet another brutal of heat and dryness. If your lawn no longer looks thick and healthy or has more weeds than , it is time to renovate. Renovating your lawn involves removing all unwanted weeds and types and then reseeding with improved varieties of your choice of . Timing is critical for successfully renovating your lawn – late enough to avoid the worst of the heat yet early enough to allow ample time for growth before the freezing arrives

       

      In , the first week of September is usually the ideal time to seed. 

       

      To seed your lawn properly requires a broad knowledge of , several different pieces of specialized equipment and a large commitment of time.  For these reasons, I suggest that homeowners contact a qualified professional who specializes in growing quality .  Although cost is a consideration, when you look at the time, supplies and rental fees you might quickly realize that using a pro will pay off. Every year, I am disheartened by the dozens of calls I get in late fall from homeowners who have spent hundreds of dollars and lots of hard work seeding their lawns with poor results. I have to tell these customers that we have missed the ideal time for seeding and the repair will require considerable extra time and cost without the guarantee of superior results.

       

      Of all the tasks needed each year, I strongly believe that lawn seeding is the most important one to be done by a professional.

       

      When you hire a company, you will want to check their license, insurance and references to make sure you are working with a professional.  Then ask them about their seeding process.  The highest quality lawn will come from a professional who includes all of the following steps:

       

      • Soil Test - imperative to start by fixing and soil chemistry problems (4 weeks prior)
      • Spray Herbicide - important to control weeds prior to seeding (4 weeks prior)
      • Spray with Growth Regulator - slows down growth of existing so it does not compete with new (2 weeks prior)
      • Plant seed - prepared by first aerating and then followed with a slit seeder that will slice precise grooves into the soil creating ideal areas for seed to grow
      • Starter fertilizer and Rooting stimulant - applied to the soil to provide nutrients to emerging seedlings

       
       

       
       

      Now, the professional’s work is done and it’s time to care for your newly planted lawn.  You will need to moisten the ground daily for two weeks to promote germination and then to pamper the young seedlings.  As the grows stronger, you will begin to establish a regular schedule of deep, thorough .  Proper is essential to your lawns success and it involves quite a commitment – however, it is the last step to the lush, healthy lawn you envisioned when you started the renovation process. Soon you will be walking barefoot through your lawn enjoying the thick green carpet, underfoot.

       

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      Soil Testing

      Stop worrying about your and start worrying about your dirt. As a professional manager, I am actually fairly uninterested in . I spend all of my time managing soil. I know that by creating fertile soil, my customers will have the nicest lawns in town.

       

      Managing dirt is a complex task that even people with degrees in Soil Science will admit having more to learn. Volumes of books and scientific articles have been written on the subject and I would never be able to disclose everything you would need to know in this article. However, I do hope to reveal enough information to convey the importance of soil to you in growing quality .

       

      There are three important factors to consider when evaluating your soil: Soil Texture, Nutrients and Chemistry. Each of these factors needs to be evaluated independently and actions taken to create the ideal growing environment for your .

       

      SOIL TEXTURE

       

      Soil is a mixture of sand, silt and clay. The percentage of each element determines the type of soil your lawn has. Ideal soil is composed of 40% sand, 40% clay and 20% silt. In City, the ideal soil texture is usually nothing but a dream as we have a much higher percentage of clay. However, this can be improved. First, you have to determine your soil makeup. This requires getting your hands dirty. Take a handful of dirt and roll the soil in your hand until it’s about the size of a golf ball. Then, gently squeeze the soil between your thumb and index finger. Sand feels gritty, silt feels more like talcum powder and clay feels slippery. Now squeeze the ball in your hand. If it crumbles, it has a well-balanced texture. If it holds its shape, it has a fair amount of clay. And if you can roll it into a snake, it has more clay than you want. This method can only act as an indicator. A soil test performed by a qualified laboratory will give you more accurate and scientific results. However, if your soil has too much clay, you will need to alleviate the problem with and topdressing or completely renovating the area and adding organic matter.

       

      NUTRIENTS

       

      Soil holds nutrients which are then used by the to grow thick and lush. Evaluating the nutrient status of your soil is an important step in developing a quality . The best way to find out what your soil needs to nourish healthy is to have it tested by a professional laboratory. This can either be done by our local extension office or at a private lab.

       

      Any fertilizing done by a homeowner or professional without a soil test is a shot in the dark at best. Short term results can be gained. However, you will not get the long term results desired by most homeowners. Additionally, you will be wasting nutrients as you dump excess nutrients on your lawn just to assure all your bases are covered. A soil test will cost you less than $20 and will give you benefits many times that. A good soil test will give you quantities of Organic Matter, Available Phosphorus, Exchangeable Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron and Soluble Salts. Based on these results, a knowledgeable professional will be able to create a nutrition program for your lawn.

       

      SOIL CHEMISTRY

       

      In addition to soil nutrition and texture, a good soil test will also provide you with information about the chemistry of your soil. The process of transferring the nutrients into soil requires a complex chain of chemical reactions that can only happen if several elements are in balance. The most important of these is pH. In City, our soils tend to be alkaline and need to be amended with Lime to provide an ideal growing environment. How lime and other chemicals react with the soil requires knowledge of cation exchange sites, particle attractions and base saturations. All of these come into play just to grow the you like to look at from your window.

       

      This month, when you see your neighbors playing in the dirt making muddy snakes and dirty golf balls, you will know they are on their way to having a beautiful lawn.

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      Kansas City Lawn and Landscape Watering Guidelines

      City’s Lawns and will benefit dramatically if you know how to properly them. There is no other homeowner controlled aspect of caring for your more critical than proper . It is also the number one mistake I see City homeowners doing

      It is essential to first understand what your want in an ideal world. Most of our lawns and in City will thrive on 1.5” of per week. This can come from either rainfall or . Ideally 1.5 inches would be applied in one long and slow . However, in City, our clay based soils have a hard time absorbing more than ½ inch of per hour before begins to run off the surface so we have to very slowly – hard for sprinklers to do – or on multiple days in smaller amounts. Counter intuitively, we want these cycles to be on successive days, not spread evenly through out the week since our goal is to deep into the ground and not to keep the surface moist.

      Knowing how much we need is the first step – the next step is knowing how to apply that and for how long. Most homeowners will either be applying by manual sprinklers or an automatic system. Both require you to know how much is applied in a given amount of time by your system.

      To measure the output of your sprinkler heads…

      1. Set a container with straight sides (I use a butter dish) in the middle of the sprinklers path. a Turn on the sprinkler and monitor the amount of in the container.
      2. Turn off the sprinkler when the amount of in the can has reached one inch (measure with a ruler – it can be deceiving)
      3. This is how much that sprinkler system puts out in one hour.


      Now, I know most of you will not take the time to accurately measure out your sprinklers output – despite its importance. So here are some rules of thumb for determining your sprinklers output. For automatic systems – spray heads (the ones that pop up and don’t move) typically need about 45 mins to put down 1” of and rotors (the ones that sweep back and forth) need about 2 hours. So a generic program that I suggest for my customers is designed to put down 1.5” of spread between 3 separate cycles. I set it so that the lawn gets watered Monday, Tuesday and Friday. This is a good compromise of deeply but also making sure that the does not run off.. I set zones with spray heads to come on for 30 mins and zones with rotors to come on for 60 mins. This is adjusted if the soil is unable to absorb this amount of . Also, all should be done to supplement mother nature. If she gives us ½” of then you can reduce by that amount.

      For those of us unlucky souls who do not have automatic it takes a much longer to our lawns. Most of the typical impact sprinklers used if set on full circle put out about 1/3 of an inch per hour. Since they slower they can be left on longer. I usually suggest you twice a week for 2 hours before moving the sprinkler. If you are only using the sprinkler in a half circle then you can cut that in half

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      Watering Kansas City Landscapes

      Quick, look out your window! Your Kansas City lawn is inhabited by exotic residents from faraway lands. They have come from all corners of the globe and they plan on staying. They will require you to take care of them. No use complaining, after all, you not only invited them, you planted them. If you are like most homeowners in City, you have a landscape full of exotic . Your bluegrass lawn is from Europe, your beautiful Dogwood is from Japan, your lush impatiens can trace their roots back to Africa and even City’s favorite plant, the yew, can trace its lineage back to Ireland. Although all these can survive City’s heat and cold, they need supplemental to thrive. each plant can seem overwhelming, but with a little knowledge and a few tips you can have a beautiful, well-watered landscape.

      By dividing your landscape into four categories, you will better able to manage your needs.

      Turf

      Your lawn is one of the thirstiest parts of your landscape. Most lawns require 1” of per week. This can either come from rainfall or supplemental . The most important (and most often broken) rule of lawn is to deeply and infrequently. City’s most proud gardeners, with their spirits blinded by the glory of our lush spring, begin their lawns religiously. Convincing themselves that if they can get their lawns green enough now – they will stay green through the . Unfortunately, every ounce of excess they throw on the in the early spring is deadly. If the soil in the lawn is not allowed to dry between , the roots of the plant grow very shallow, encouraged by the ample and warmth at the surface. However, City’s glorious spring is only the opening act to our reliable, but dastardly summers. Shallow roots are a death sentence to your lawn. By only when the top 6” of soil have dried out, you will be dispensing some tough love that will result in your lawn being able to survive the .

      For systems in Overland Park and other cities, you should be every as little as possible but as deep as possible.  I usually start by suggesting that homeowners try to 3/4″ for each zone on two consecutive days.  So they will on Monday and Tuesday and not again for the rest of the week.  This long deep and infrequent si the kept to healthy all long.  If you cannot quite make it through the whole week without looking wilted then you can give another 3/4 inch on Friday.  To get 3/4″ of from an system usually requires atleast 40 minutes on rotors and 20 minutes on spray heads.  However, every sytem is differnt and you should ideally measure how long it takes for yuor sytem to apply that amount of . Use a straight sided container placed out in the middle of the sprinklers zone and turn it on and let it run until it has fille dup with 3/4″ of .  That is how long it will need to run.

      Trees/shrubs

      Trees and shrubs are often ignored when it comes to because of the perception that such a large plant must be able to pull from deep down in the soil. However, most of a tree’s roots are in the top 3 feet of the soil. Although trees can and will survive in City, supplementing their just few times through the year will reward you with increased growth, enhanced beauty and bolstered resistance to disease and stress. Typically, trees will need a little extra in the middle of the and a couple times during the hottest part of the . for trees should be done by observation, not a schedule. When you see signs of stress such as wilted or dropping leaves, apply 3” of to the area under the braches. This can be done with a well-adjusted impact sprinkler or a soaker hose. The method of application is not as important as making sure ample is applied where and when the plant needs it.

      Perennials

      Perennials have widely varying needs based on species and type. It is important to know the specifics for your when . These can generally be learned by talking to your favorite landscaper or nursery. However, there is still a guideline that will lead you to the healthiest and most beautiful flowers – only as much as your need and not a drop more.

      Annuals

      annuals is different than other types of . Annuals tend to be shallow-rooted and need ample to thrive. Annuals should be watered when they first show signs of stress. In the heat of the , may mean every day. If you annuals from overhead, do so early in the day. this This allows the leaves to dry out preventing disease from hurting your .

      is the most important gift you can give the exotic residents of your landscape. You will be rewarded with beautiful, healthy that can thrive year round in ’ foreign landscape.

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      Kansas City Landscaping get ready for Heat

      It is time for City Landscapers to prepare for the heat.  forecasts are showing that City will soon be hitting 90 degrees for the first time this year.  This tends to be a  tipping point for the lawns and .

      You can help your landscaper and service by taking care of your lawns needs.

      New Trees or

      new trees or when the top 3″ of the soil dries out completely.  the slowly and deeply allowing the entire root system to become soaked.  larger take more time.

      This is very important.  You cannot give a time to because every soil will absorb at a different rate.  The goal is to the entire root system and then let the entire roots ystem dry out just before adding new .

      Lawns

      Lawns should be with 1″ of per week.  This is best done with one long slow if your soil will absorb that much .  Most City lawns will do just fine with one long .  Depending on the type of sprinkler being used — This may require up to 1 hour of .  It is best to measure the rather than guessing.  I use a straight sided margarine tub placed int he middle of the sprinklers path to tell.

      is an essential part of maintaining your .   It does not have to be difficult but it does have to be consistent and done correctly.  If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment to this post and I would be happy o help you out.

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