FAQS

(Click on a Question for the Answer)

Q. How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?

Mowing the lawn is an American weekend pastime. The sounds of mowers and the smell of fresh cut grass are trademarks of spring and summer. But, does the lawn need to be mowed every weekend? Or is bi-weekly mowing a better idea?

Here are things to keep in mind regarding how often and when to mow:

  • Ideal grass-blade height is related to the grass species. If you like super-short grass, that’s great, but you might find your current lawn species isn’t happy with that choice - evidenced by its yellowing/browning grass blades after you mow. Select a grass-type that is in agreement with your preferred blade-length. We can help you make the right choice for your landscape.
  • Follow the 1/3rd rule. Never cut your grass more than 1/3rd of its current blade height or you will shock it. If your grass is on the longer side, raise your blade to the highest setting and then lower it slightly with each subsequent mowing until you’ve achieved the ideal length. Then maintain the 1/3rd rule from there. If grass blades quickly yellow or brown after you mow - it’s a sure sign you’re cutting them too short.
  • Use sharp blades. Sharp blades are integral to grass health. We recommend maintaining an extra set of sharp mower blades so you can exchange them easily and won’t be out of commission if your blades are being sharpened in the shop.

You can read, “How to Mow Your Lawn,” for more detailed tips and information.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. I Have a Tree that has Suffered a Recent Injury - a Large Gash in the Trunk - Do I 'Dress' the 'Wound' and if so, How?

I Have a Tree that has Suffered a Recent Injury - a Large Gash in the Trunk - Do I 'Dress' the 'Wound' and if so, How?

This is a question often asked by homeowners.  Tree wound dressing is definitely a thing of the past.  Long term studies have shown there is no benefit whatsoever from applying any product or dressing to a wound.  In fact, the reverse is actually true; tree dressings have demonstrated greater attractive properties to insects!  Your tree wound will heal much easily and quickly left untouched. 


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. Should You Overseed Your Lawn in the Spring or Fall?

Should You Overseed Your Lawn in the Spring or Fall?

All of the above. Really, it depends on what’s going on for your lawn. If your lawn looks lush and healthy, you can skip a season. Since overseeding is enhanced by core aeration, and we aerate the most in the fall, it’s easy to make lawn aeration and overseeding a combined service.

Keep in mind that most grass types have a 45-60 day “lifespan” at which point the blades begin to die off. If your lawn is all the same “age” it can be worth it to overseed in both the spring and the fall so your lawn always has a significant percentage of younger grass blades to keep it looking more green and vibrant. After that, a single overseeding session will probably be fine.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. What Happens if I Over-Fertilize My Lawn?

What Happens if I Over-Fertilize My Lawn?

Over-fertilizing your lawn is like over-feeding yourself - it’s toxic. In the case of your lawn, over-fertilization will result in “burning.” Too much nitrogen or an overdose of salt will burn grass blades and/or their roots, causing them to turn an unsightly brown. If you seriously burn your lawn, you can burn yourself so use caution and chemical-proof gloves while tending to over-fertilized grass or removing excess fertilizer. Drenching the lawn for a few hours or so can help to move extra fertilizer deeper into the soil layers, out of the reach of delicate roots. 

It’s always a good idea to utilize soil testing services, to determine the right fertilizer combination - and application dosage - for the lawn in any given season. Of course, you can also hire the Joshua Tree lawn maintenance team to take care of this for you.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

 


Q. What is Lawn Aeration?

What is Lawn Aeration?

Lawn aeration - commonly called core aeration - is the process of removing plugs of turf from lawns. These plugs should be about 3-inches long, ensuring enough soil is removed to free up the lawn roots.


While this process can be done manually, using hand tools, most homeowners prefer to hire professional lawn care teams to do the work for them. Joshua Tree’s lawn care team uses the powerful Z-Plug core aerator, which does the job right and without damaging the existing turf. The plugs are intentionally left on top of the turf so they can decompose and replenish the soil below with nutrients and organic materials.

Read, Core Aeration: Let Your Lawn Breathe Easy, to learn more. 


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

 



Q. What Time of Year is it Best to Apply Lime to a Lawn?

What Time of Year is it Best to Apply Lime to a Lawn?

Liming is a tried and true lawn care maintenance step that helps soil maintain a healthy pH (acidity/alkalinity) balance. If your soil test results indicate that your soil is in need of a lime application, then applying lime is a good idea.  

That being said, late summer or early fall is the optimal season for liming. By applying lime before the first frost, you give soil plenty of time to absorb the lime and for pH levels to balance out before the spring growing season. Early spring is another good time to apply lime. Keep in mind that grass roots have a hard time absorbing nutrients if the pH balance is off. Thus, fertilizing a lawn without first adjusting the pH is a waste of time and money - and keeps your lawn in a malnourished state - and potentially “burnt” state (more on that below).

 


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. When is it OK to Mow After Overseeding?

When is it OK to Mow After Overseeding?

If you are already observing a regular mowing schedule that is right for you and your lawn, you can continue with that - even after overseeding. Ideally, you might keep a slightly less diligent mowing schedule to minimize the amount of footstep, tire and/or mower traffic affecting the seedlings. Keep in mind that it will take a while for those little seedlings to achieve the height of the mower blade. When they get close to that - and exceed it a bit - you’ll be all caught up.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. When is the Best Time to Mow my Lawn?

When is the Best Time to Mow my Lawn?

Much to night owls’ chagrin, mid-morning hours are the best hours to mow your lawn. Wait until the majority of the dew has evaporated. By mowing mid-morning, grass blades have the rest of the day to “heal,” and this makes them less susceptible to fungus and other diseases. Also, never mow when the grass is super-wet, like just after a rain or irrigation session. The blades should be on the drier side, even if that means waiting a bit longer than you would like between mowing sessions.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. When Should I Aerate My Lawn?

When Should I Aerate My Lawn?

If you follow a regular lawn maintenance schedule, core aeration is done during the grass’s growing season - typically spring or late summer/fall. This allows the lawn to take advantage of the newly provided space. We also recommend overseeding at this time. 

Aeration + Overseeding are a match made in heaven when it comes to a lush, healthy lawn. Plus, those new and existing roots will have all winter lawn to rejuvenate in the presence of improved gas exchange, room to expand their branching root system, as well as improved water and nutrient absorption.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. When Should I Mow My Lawn In Spring?

When Should I Mow My Lawn In Spring?

There’s no magic “date” for the first spring mowing. Rather, you need to keep an eye on grass blade height. Knowing about the one-third rule above (try to mow your lawn 1/3rd shorter than the current grass blade height), you can wait until your grass reaches the desired height, then let it grow about ⅓rd more. That is your signal that it’s time to mow. Cutting grass too short results in grass blade injury, which will make it turn yellowish or brown at the tips. Injured blades are also more susceptible to pests, fungus and disease.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist

Q. Why is Lime Application for Lawns Important?

Why is Lime Application for Lawns Important?

Each grass type has its preferred pH level. Some grasses prefer a more acidic soil, others prefer things on the more alkaline side of the pH spectrum. While there are exceptions, the soil here in Pennsylvania tends to become more acidic over time. This is because our annual precipitation, combined with diligent irrigation schedules, move calcium (an alkaline nutrient) down and out of the soil. By applying lime, we replenish the calcium and simultaneously reduce the acid levels to a better place.


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist


Q. Why Should I Aerate My Lawn?

Why Should I Aerate My Lawn?

Just like water in a fish tank, water aeration occurs to allow fish to breathe, therefore, soil needs to be aerated to ensure plant roots can breathe. Grass roots, like other roots, require water and nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Access to space, oxygen, water and nutrients is compromised by compacted soil. 

Soil compaction is a byproduct of time and lawn use. Even if lawns are rarely used or walked on, they are still susceptible to soil compaction because soil’s particles constantly shift down in response to gravity and the pull of percolating water. Soil particles also compact as organic matter and nutrients are used up by the roots. 

Annual lawn aeration reverses this process by removing just enough soil to allow things to comfortably expand and reposition. Added root space enhances gas exchange (root respiration) between the roots and the air above the surface. It creates more space to hold water, which increases water absorption and drain-ability. The process of core aeration also removes accumulated thatch, which further contributes to water and nutrient deprivation. Finally, aerating the lawn allows fertilizer and other lawn amendments to sink deeper into the soil layers where they are the most useful. 


Do you still have a question? We'd be glad to help. Please submit your question and we'll get back to you asap: Ask the Arborist