Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Lawn Care Tips

Winter draws in and the days of relaxing in the sunshine on your beautifully manicured lawn are a distant memory, replaced by the sight of wet, cold and soggy grass and leaves and the nagging thought that you should be doing some work - maybe our winter lawn care tips will help. It is not too late to spend a few hours ensuring your turf survives in the best way and comes out fighting when spring finally arrives, heralding a new year of fresh growth.
We will cover what you should be doing in the five main areas of lawn care as well as a final top tip for anyone considering laying a new lawn in the spring.
Tip #1: Mowing
As autumn turns to winter and before the first snowfall hits, it is time to start dropping the height of your mower blade to take off any of the final young growth of the year. This young grass is less robust than the crown at the base of the plant and is easily affected by snow and frost which can lead to winter diseases finding an accommodating home.
Mowing back this young growth can be done gradually over a number of weeks to minimize the shock to the turf.
Throughout the rest of winter, the grass becomes mostly dormant and only in extended periods of milder weather will the grass start to grow and may need a very slight trim to keep it in check. If so, raise the blade height up to just cut the tips.
Tip #2: Feeding
Generally, the advice here is to not feed your lawn over winter. The turf is in a state of almost hibernation over the cold period and isn't putting any new growth out as it is too vulnerable to the weather and winter diseases that can attack damaged and broken blades. Spring and summer nitrogen based feeds will cause the grass to sprout. If you are preparing for the spring and must feed, there are some potash and phosphorus based fertilizers specifically designed for autumn and winter can encourage healthy growth. These specialist winter lawn fertilizers are available from normal outlets.
Tip #3: Aeration
After a summer and autumn of hard use, some parts of your lawn may have become compacted. As discussed in the lawn aeration section, a healthy lawn needs to get air, moisture and nutrients down to the roots so a light session of aeration before the first snows and frosts come can help prepare the turf for winter and the coming spring. Simply walk it with some lawn aeration shoes or use a hollow tine or drum aerator for larger lawns to break up the soil.
You will notice that worms are relatively inactive in the winter as they head deeper away from the cold. When you start to see the worm casts appear in spring you know it is time to get ready to spruce the lawn up again as winter is ending.
Tip #4: Scarifying
The continuous damp weather of winter is the ideal breeding ground for many diseases that can effect your turf. Clearing moss, leaves and other debris before the first snows and frosts and then keeping the turf as clear as possible can minimize these issues and leave the grass ready to spring back in the new year.
Tip #5: Watering
As with feeding your lawn over winter, you shouldn't need to water it either saving another chore. The grass will slow down its requirements for water and food and as it effectively hibernates through the cold patch, storing its energy in the base of the blade and the roots. If it has been a very dry autumn before, water well when the snows and frost clear in early spring to maximize the turfs ability to bounce back.
Tip #6: Preparation for a new lawn
If you are preparing to lay a new lawn in the spring, breaking the ground up in the winter is a great way to get the earth loosened up and full of air pockets. As moisture seeps in between the grains of soil and then freezes, the water expands as it becomes ice and forces the grains apart splitting any stubborn, hard clumps of soil. Prepared this way, you start the new year with a well aerated, loose soil perfect for early seeding and saving you a lot of backbreaking work.
Winter is a great time to sit back and leave the lawn be as the natural processes slow to a minimum and the inclement weather keeps you indoors. After you have prepared the turf for the new year with our winter lawn care tips, it is the perfect time to contemplate next years tasks and sit back and learn with a lawn care book!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Black Mulch Is Great For Winter Plantings.

At Dixon Landscape Materials we have always sold a lot of Black Mulch and had trouble keeping enough of it in stock, so now we stock 100 yards of it at a time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mulching New Plantings for the Winter

Dave explains why it's so important to protect new plantings with mulch when winter is approaching.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What type of grass is best for your lawn? Unlimited Landscaping Video Blog

So you need to put new grass in your lawn but you're not sure which type to plant. Lawn Care expert Scott Whitehead gives you some options in his video blog from Unlimited Landscaping.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hillside Gardening - Tips for Slopes Hillside gardening and landscaping can present many challenges. See how the steep slope can be terraced into a functional garden with concrete steps, walls, concrete pavers, decomposed granite and great plants.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Modern Patio Design Get ideas for modern patio design. See how concrete, pea gravel, and decomposed granite are used on this modern patio design to create a look that ties into the rest of the yard.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Always Popular Salt & Pepper Decorative Rock At Dixon Landscape Mate...

Raj Hansra of Dixon Landscape Materials shows off the always popular Salt & Pepper decorative rock. This rock has rounded edges generally and has a great mix of whites, grays, blues, and tinges of gold. It looks good wet or dry and Dixon Landscape Materials keeps it in stock in 3/4" as shown, 3/8" pea gravel size, 1-1/2" size.

Call Dixon Landscape Materials at 707-678-8200, and visit the website at

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Importance of Effective Landscape Drainage

Each time your lawn is subjected to heavy rainfall, where does all that water end up? Poor drainage can result in a myriad of problems, including damage to your home's foundation, damage to plants and generally turning your yard into a swampy, muddy mess that's as unsightly as it is unhealthy for the lawn you try so hard to keep well-maintained.
Similar to how a house requires a solid, firm foundation, at the core of any properly executed landscaping endeavor should be a good drainage system. After a spell of heavy rainfall, evaluate your yard to see just how well it is currently draining. If you have lots of pooling areas and puddles forming, some drainage lines might be in order.
Fortunately, there are many different drainage options available, depending on your needs and the layout of your home and yard. The simplest of these is simple underground pipes which carry excess water to the street and release it.
Channel drains are another option, perfect for preventing roof runoff from flooding the landscape below. These drains are installed into the concrete, channeling water away from the home into a pipe below the level of the concrete. Normally the top portion of the channel drain has a protective grate which keeps out debris and prevents clogging. The channel connects to another pipe, which leads water away from the house (preferably out to the street).
If specific areas of your lawn or garden are giving you trouble, an isolated area drain may be a good answer. When water collects into puddles, not only does it look bad but it also produces a literal breeding ground for mosquitoes. A simple area drain connected to a drainage pipe will work wonders by carrying the excess water to the street in a series of underground pipes. From time to time you may have to clean off the cover of the drain receptacle to ensure the drainage channel remains unobstructed.
In areas with sensitive plants such as raised planters, making use of a French drain can result in excellent excess water management with very little hit to appearance. Basically, a French drain is nothing more than a perforated drainage pipe wrapped in landscape fabric. The fabric will allow water to pass through into the pipe to be diverted away, but soil, roots and other debris will not be able to pass through into the pipe.
Another prime suspect for drainage issues is the downspouts on your home. Downspouts are commonly installed on homes these days, however they are rarely setup properly to ensure excess water is moved far enough from the foundation and/or garden. If the downspout is draining water directly at the base of the house, this can lead to your garden or lawn literally being eroded away. If the water draining from the roof isn't directed away from the house, it will quickly find its way down into the foundation and flood the surrounding area in your yard. An adapter should be attached to the end of the downspout, connected to a drain pipe which leads the water out away from the home.
In order to guarantee proper drainage throughout your entire yard, a complete underground drain system is highly recommended. This system will normally consist of a series of lateral trenched pipes that are interconnected throughout the yard. These pipes would ideally also be connected to the channel and area drains and downspouts around your home. Collectively, this system would divert all excess water downhill where it can be released without causing damage to either your home or landscape.

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