May 2011 News Letter

Aeration / Lets get rid of thatch
In a previous newsletter and in recent post to our blog we have written about proper care and feeding of your lawn. Now that you know how and when to properly fertilize your lawn there is another item about which you need to be concerned. Not only does your lawn get hungry, it also needs to breathe. As your grass grows it develops a layer of debris including grass stems, roots, and clippings on the ground which either slowly decomposes and/or accumulates over time. We call this layer thatch!

You may not be familiar with thatch because it accumulates on the surface of your soil just under the grass line and usually out of sight. Thatch is most common in warm weather and creeping grasses such as Bermuda, Zoysia, Bent grass and Kentucky Bluegrass. In good conditions thatch serves a healthy purpose. Thatch can shade the root system of your turf preventing heat damage on our hot summer days. A proper layer of thatch aids in moisture retention and reduces soil erosion. Lots of microbes and bacteria reside inside a decaying thatch layer. These organisms are a vital part of the overall health of your turf.

Too much thatch can turn a healthy lawn into hay! Choosing vigorously growing grass varieties and applying excessive amounts of nitrogen can increase thatch development in your turf. Mowing infrequently or allowing grass to grow too tall before mowing and compacted soil conditions also lead to shallow root development which increases thatch production. A thick and matted thatch layer will stop water and nutrients from getting below the soil line. When this happens the grass plant will have to compete for space and turf roots will grow shallow in order to obtain moisture and will eventually die compounding the thatch problem.

The best way to manage thatch layers in any lawn is to aerate yearly. Aeration is a process of punching holes in the thatch layer and removing the core, thinning it out. This process is done using a core aerator. This takes plugs out of the ground, leaving holes approximately one-half inch in diameter and up to three inches deep. Many clients ask why we do not remove the cores. Depositing the cores back onto the lawn releases soil bacteria that naturally feed on thatch as well.

Core aeration provides several benefits:
  • If your ground is hard and you have trouble with water going into your soil, aerating can loosen the compacted soil.
  • Aeration encourages healthy root development by allowing water, air and nutrients direct access to the root system of your turf.
  • As the turf thickens it naturally loosens compacted soil. Core aeration increases the drought resistance of your turf. As root growth deepens the grass will be able to access water at a deeper level allowing it to be watered less often.
  • Healthy thick turf is a natural weed preventer. Thick roots leave little room for weeds to germinate.
You should aerate your lawn in the Spring as part of your overall organic lawn maintenance practices. It's also a good idea to lay down a nice starter fertilizer after the aeration so the nutrients can get directly into the turf's root system! Click here to Contact Precision Lawn Care about doing your Spring Aeration for you!
The Gift of Forgiveness for Mother's Day
Many of us will recall happy moments or mundane daily moments when thinking about Mom, but some may recall some other kind of moment. Perhaps the best thing you could give your mother for Mother's Day would be forgiveness. Isn't it about time that we realized that our mothers are fallible human beings, just like the rest of us? Strong women, quiet women, noisy women, weak women have given birth to children and it may be that forgiveness and compassion is what you, and she, needs most.

Forgiveness seems hard -- until you realize what it is. Forgiveness is stepping back from the resentful picture we replay in our heads when we relive our hurt feelings, in order to look at the other person in the memory. If we continue to retain our childhood thinking on this subject we will continue to have our childhood feelings about it, too. Whether your mom is alive or not, put on your adult thinking. Look at the woman who was your mother from another point of view.

What were things like in her life at the time the incident occurred? Did she have enough money to pay her bills? Did she have an addiction of some kind? Was the man in her life treating her well? Was she loved? Was she unhappy or under pressure about something? Was she suffering loss of some kind? Was she depressed or anxious? Once you begin to take her life and state of mind into consideration you can come to the conclusion that how she acted that day was not based on you, but on her own life and situation.

When we were children we thought as children. We may have reached inaccurate conclusions because there may have been some information we either did not know or did not pay attention to. Whether you have the opportunity to talk to her and find out what she was going through at that time, or not, you can always begin to consider, assume, and trust that if she had the opportunity to relive that moment in her right mind, she would very likely choose to do things differently.

When you get to the point where you feel sure that if she had known how that moment in time was going to affect you, she would not have done what she did, that is forgiveness. It is letting her off the hook. If you are willing to let her be a human being who made mistakes, for whatever reason, then you will begin to have peace in your heart concerning that matter, and also a new found compassion for her.

You may not even need to talk to her about the incident. Keep it in your heart and nurture your new perspective and understanding of her. The next time you get together she may even notice that something is different. In those cases where your mother is unable to reciprocate, then just be at peace inside yourself knowing that you have given up that old childish resentment and moved on. Forgiveness would probably be the best Mother's Day gift you could give her - and don't forget the white carnations - the official flower of Mother's Day!