Mike’s Professional Lawn Care uses state of the art professional mowing equipment. The following explains how lawn striping works and what can be done to increase the lawn striping effect.
The “stripes” that you see on a lawn or athletic field are caused by light reflecting off the blades of grass. It has not been cut at a different height nor is it a different breed of grass. The “stripes” are made by bending the blades of grass in different directions. It’s all about direction!
The direction that the grass is bent determines the “light” or “dark” colored stripe. When the blades of grass are bent away from you, the grass appears lighter in color because the light is reflecting off of the wide, lengthy part of the blade. When the blades of grass are bent towards you, the grass appears darker as you are looking more of the tips of the blades (a smaller reflective surface) and the shadows under the grass. So cutting a lawn in an opposing pattern (up/down, right/left, north/south, east/west etc) provides the most contrasting stripe effect. Interestingly, as the “color” of the stripe is dependent upon what direction you are looking at it from, a “light” colored stripe will appear “dark” if you view it from the opposing direction.
Grass types can be a factor in striping. Certain breeds of grass will bend easier and can provide a better stripe pattern. Warm season grasses (found in the southern regions of the United States) are typically more difficult to stripe as they are more rigid and harder to bend.
The stripe is also affected by the position of the sun. Stripe patterns may seem more intense at various times of the day and in different light levels. When the sun is behind you, you will see a more intense stripe pattern.
Mike’s uses only the highest quality Marbain® Cutter Blades – and sharpens them after every 15 hours of use. This ensures the very best cut for every job.
Marbain® cutter blades are lighter in weight than the typical steel used for cutter blades. A lighter weight cutter blade means the blades will start and stop quicker and produce less wear on the PTO clutch brake. Less horsepower is absorbed turning the lighter weight blades which provides more usable horsepower for cutting. Less weight also means faster blade tip speeds for a cleaner cut and better mulching of clippings.
Marbain® blades are also stronger and harder than typical blade steel which means they require sharpening less often and are more resistant to bending and impacts.
Many people who want a nice looking lawn do not realize just how important the job of mowing really is. There are five dimensions of mowing to be considered. (a) Cutting height (b) Mowing Frequency (c) Mowing pattern (d) Mower operation and (e) Disposal of clippings.
Cutting height of different varieties of grass is mentioned below. Lowering the cutting height can be disastrous. Removal of a large portion of the leaf results in reduced carbohydrate production, because the leaves are largely responsible for photosynthesis.
Mowing frequency has a general rule not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf at one time. Time of year will vary depending on rate of leaf growth.
Mowing pattern is far less critical but should be considered. A side-by-side mowing pattern is acceptable if the 360° turns can be made on sidewalks or roadways. If the turf is thinning due to about face turns, try a circular cut. Mowing operations should be operated at the speed specified by the manufacturer. Rapid, spinning turns, can cause bruising and tearing of the turf.
Do not remove clippings. Short clippings decay quite rapidly and do not contribute to thatch formation. The only two situations when clippings should be removed (a) When excessive clippings may smother the lawn. (b) When surface clippings give the lawn an objectionable appearance.
The two most common errors of mowing are: Lawn isn’t mowed often enough. Lawn is mowed too short. The proper heights are: Bluegrass (Common Kentucky) 3″ to 3 1/2″, Bluegrass (Improved Varieties) 2.5″ to 3′′, Fescues – 2″ to 3″, Zoysia grass – 1.5″ to 2.5″.
We have had this question many times. Customers that are not happy with other lawn care providers will say “Are you going to use those big spin around machines on my yard?” The answer is yes and no. We train our operators not to “spin” or make a zero degree turn, but rather to slow down and make wide 3 point turns or turn around on the street or driveway when possible. We also use the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t expect a roofer to install a new roof with a tac hammer, nor a decorator to hang a picture with a sledge hammer. At Mike’s, we have the same philosophy. We won’t cut a small front yard with a huge mower. We use smaller and lighter walk-behind units to avoid turf damage and rutting. On larger areas of the property we will use larger riding machines to reduce mowing time and keep our costs competitive. We take every precaution to guarantee the best results. That’s the Mike’s PLC standard.
The most Common Error committed by people is light irrigation. Too little water too often encourages a multitude of problems such as shallow root system. The need for watering depends mainly on your soil and of course, the weather.
Rainfall is no guarantee. Light showers merely wet the surface. Short down pours do the same. Most of the water is lost in runoff before it can soak in.
How much water is needed?
A lawn will use as much as two inches per week in hot, dry weather – a fraction of that when it is cooler. If you decide your lawn needs water, you should put on enough to wet the entire root zone as shown on the other side.
When is the best time?
If you can, avoid late afternoon or evening irrigation. Grass that stays wet for a long time favors development of diseases. However, do not avoid watering at these times if this is the only time you can water. The important thing is water. Avoiding late afternoons is secondary to providing the needed water. In heavy clay soils prevent watering to the full amount at one time, frequent watering is then necessary.
More people are asking for information regarding organic lawn care. Many people want to decrease or eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in their home lawns. There is concern some products may be harmful to humans, beneficial insects, wildlife, and pets. This is not necessarily true however. With proper use and common sense precautions, lawn care products are quite safe. That being said, organic lawn care does have some benefits over traditional lawn care.
The term conventional or traditional lawn care as used here, implies the use of inorganic fertilizers, or more correctly, soluble fertilizers. Most traditional lawn fertilizers are soluble fertilizers. They provide macro- and micro-nutrients to the lawn as soon as the fertilizers get wet and soak into the soil.
Organic fertilizers are not soluble—in other words, adding water to organic fertilizers doesn’t change them or make them readily available for plants to use. They must first be processed by microbes before the nutrients are in a form useable by plants. Inorganic fertilizers are in such a form that this intermediate microbe step is not required. As soon as soluble fertilizers become wet, they are ready for use by the plant.
The plant can’t tell the difference between a soluble fertilizer and an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizers take longer before they become available for plant use. Soluble fertilizers become available much faster, which could be a problem. However, today, fertilizer producers have incorporated a time-release aspect to their fertilizer. This slows down the nutrient release time-table to a controlled release.
One of the main advantages of organic lawn care is that the homeowner is more involved in the health of their landscape and ecosystem. This is an important difference. It represents a commitment to the environment. This commitment benefits not only your lawn or landscape, but also the local wildlife including beneficial insects and microbes living in the soil.
The soil is the real beneficiary of organic lawn care. Part of an organic program is the addition of organic matter such as compost or lawn clippings to the soil. Over time, this additional organic matter greatly improves the health of the soil.
Improved soil contributes to healthy plants that will be less susceptible to damage from pests or environmental stress. Fertilizer may be applied less frequently than in conventional lawn care but timing of application becomes especially important. Weeds, insects, and diseases are managed by cultural practices that are oriented toward prevention. Natural organic methods also emphasize the recycling of organic wastes.
Limited scientific research has been done on exclusively natural organic lawn care programs. However, well-documented research has been done on many practices that are an integral part of organic lawn care such as core aeration, mowing height, and top-dressing with compost. Recommendations for a completely natural organic approach are therefore based on years of collective experience.
Being aware of the options involved in organic lawn care will make you a better informed gardener and a more responsible landowner.
Sometimes spots are caused by pets. Other problems could be the start of disease or insect activity.
Yes, there is a product sold at local pet stores such as grass saver. You can put a few drops in your pets water to neutralize the urine. This will not harm your pet/pets.
Pet waste should be cleaned up on a regular basis from a sanitary standpoint. Dead spots will occur from either excessive urine or fecal matter, not to mention our techs are not fans of it getting in their boot treads, on our equipment, or in our trucks. We love our dogs as much as you love yours, but kindly please clean up after them!
One hour following treatment is an acceptable timetable for lawn re-entry. We have never had any of our clients, children, or their pets sick from any product we use. Your lawn is only sprayed when treated for broadleaf or grassy weeds and dries within 20-30 minutes. All fertilizers are completely safe and non-hazardous. Mike’s PLC has Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) upon request for all products we apply.
Your lawn can be mowed 1 hour following any treatment. Any broadleaf controls will be totally dried to the leaf plant with our wetting agents. Fertilizers are granular and will lay on the soil line and break down slowly. Mowers will not sucks the pellets up or change the effectiveness in anyway. We encourage homeowners to mulch the lawn clippings if they are mowing their own lawn. If bagging the grass is a must, waiting a full 24 hours from a treatment is best.
No watering is required. The only treatment that you may want to water in is the grub worm preventative. If you can’t water it in, it will sit at the soil line for up to four weeks without losing effectiveness.
The only aspect of our treatment which may be affected will be the broadleaf weed controls. Using our wetting agent, even light showers will have little effect on elimination of targeted weeds.
Snowfall before or after a treatment will have no effect on treatment. Snowfall will help to dissolve granular products and carry it into the soil to feed the lawn.
Our techs will determine exactly what is too many leaves to service a lawn. Scattered leaves will not hurt effectiveness as our granular products will bounce off the leaf and disperse to the soil. Do you need assistance with leaf removal? Contact us for a quote before the leaves take over. Excessive leaf cover and compaction will damage your lawn!
Yes, any creature other than earthworms should be reported to us for an evaluation right away.
Plugs should not be raked off of the lawn. Aeration plugs will dissolve in a short period of time through natural rainfall and mowing schedule.
Fall is always best between Labor Day and the 10th of October. Patching of areas in the Spring can be done but usually new grasses will be lost with our first Summer heat wave.
The BEST time is early in the morning between 4am and 9am. Otherwise between 5 and 7 in the evening. You want the lawn to have time to dry before sundown or it can promote fungus.