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Reseeding Your Existing Lawn

If your lawn is thin or full of weeds it is time to reseed. Spring or fall is the best time of the year to renovate your lawn. There is usually plenty of rain and the temperatures are cool which is ideal for grass seed to germinate and establish.

Step 1- Test the pH of Your Soil
The first step to successful lawn care is to make sure the pH of your soil is in the correct range for optimum growth. When soil is too acidic nutrients get trapped in the soil and cannot be used by the grass plants. Applying lime helps to release these nutrients so the grass can easily extract them from the soil. The best range is a 6.5 to 7 on the pH scale. Dees’ has easy to use kits that will allow you to perform the test at home. You may also bring in a cup of dry soil to our lawn & garden experts and we can perform a FREE test while you wait. 

Step 2- Remove Weeds
All weeds in your lawn should be removed before you reseed. Do this by pulling them out by hand. If there are too many weeds in your lawn then consider spraying a safe and effective lawn weed control such as Bonide Weed Beater Ultra. This weed control does not harm your established grass and is highly effective in cool weather. You can reseed 2 weeks after the application. Always refer to the application rates on the bottle of weed control.

Step 3- Thatch & Remove Leaves and Debris
Thatch is a layered mass of dead grass blades and roots which accumulate between your actively growing turf and the soil. This layer can restrict the movement of air, water and fertilizer to the roots of the grass plant. This layer will also inhibit good seed germination because new grass seed needs to be in contact with the soil to germinate. Remove thatch by using a specialized thatch rake or rent a gas powered thatcher. These tools will remove this layer and expose the soil but will not remove your established turf. Rake up this thatch and any leaves or debris and add it to your compost pile or discard in the trash.

Step 4- Mow Your Lawn Short
Mow your lawn very short prior to applying your seed. This will make it easier for the seed to make contact with the soil. It will also make the final step of top dressing more effective. This cut will also help remove any small debris that you were unable to rake up after thatching

Step 5- Aerate Your Lawn
Oxygen in the root zone is just as important as water for your lawn. Compaction of the soil eliminates air pockets of oxygen and results in shallow rooted plants that are more susceptible to drought, weeds and insects. Compaction will happen over time due to lawn mowing, foot traffic, pets and heavy snow. Use lawn aerator shoes while you cut the grass or rent a lawn core aerator to correct this problem.

Step 6- Apply a Seed Starting Fertilizer
Apply Jonathan Green New Seeding Lawn Fertilizer which is great for root building. This will help the new grass seedlings develop a good root system as well as re-establish your existing lawn. Always use a fertilizer spreader and follow the spreader application settings on the back of the bag. Remember that more is NOT always better when applying fertilizer.

Step 7- Seed Your Lawn
Determine the type of grass seed you will need based on your light conditions, availability of moisture and amount of traffic your lawn receives. Do not ruin all of your hard work in the previous steps with a low quality “bargain” seed. Let us help you select the best grass seed for your lawn. To apply the seed evenly we recommend using a spreader to sow the seed as opposed to broadcasting it by hand. Don’t be concerned when you notice very little seed going down on the ground. Remember that one seed does not equal one blade of grass, each seed germinates and becomes a large clump of many grass blades. Spreader settings are on the back of all quality bags of grass seed.

Step 8- Apply a Top Dressing to Seed
Spread a thin layer of good top soil or compost over your newly reseeded lawn. This will not only help protect the new seedlings but also helps keep them moist during the early stages of their development. Bumper Crop Soil Conditioner or Scotts Lawn Soil are perfect for this application. The easiest way to do this is by spreading it with your hands then running a rake over the entire area to settle it below the established turf blades.

After you have completed the work it is important to water your lawn properly to keep the seedlings moist. Water frequently but do not let puddles form. Puddles will cause seed runoff and an unevenly seeded lawn. Keep children, pets and heavy traffic off the lawn until it matures into an established turf.


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Spring Lawn Maintenance Advice & Tips | The Dees’ Nursery

Spring Lawn Maintenance Advice

Growing a great lawn is very easy–not as complicated as you think. This spring has been perfect for working out in your garden. Start now to get the thick lush lawn you have always dreamed of.

A Lush Lawn in 8 Steps

Step 1: Thatch -You need to de-thatch your lawn. Thatch is a layer of decaying organic matter between the grass plant and soil surface. It is made up of mostly dead grass blades and grass roots. If it is over 1/2 inch thick, it can create a favorable environment for disease and insects. It can also interfere with your fertilizer and any remedies you apply to your lawn. A thatch rake will clean out the problem, or you can rent a power rake. After de-thatching, rake up all the dead grass and leaves or debris. Then give your lawn a quick close mow.
Step 2: Aerate Your Soil – Aeration is the next step in good lawn maintenance. Most people don’t realize this but plants roots need air in the soil just as much as they need water. Lawns that have heavy traffic or pets can get soil that is compacted. When your soil is too compact, there is less room for air, and water cannot get down to the root zone easily. You can correct this problem by using a lawn core aerator twice a year or use lawn aerating shoes (cleats on steroids). Wear the lawn aerating shoes every time you cut your grass.
Step 3: Apply Lime to the Soil – Lime balances your pH and makes your fertilizer work better. Check out this link for more information on why lime is so important for a great lawn.
Step 4: Apply Fertilizer – Fertilizing is essential in maintaining a thick green lawn. You should feed early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. We recommend 4-Step Fertilizer programs because they not only provide you with the feed, but also each step usually contains one problem solver such as weed prevention, weed control, and insect control. Purchasing a 4-Step program is the most economical way to have a great lawn.
Step 5: Watering – Watering is a critical step in having a great lawn. During the spring, watering every 3 days should be enough. In the hot summer months of late June through August, it may be necessary to water every day to every other day. Depending on how much direct sun each zone gets, you should water 30 to 60 minutes per zone. This will saturate the soil down to about 6 inches, which is the root zone of the grass. Watering in the morning is the best time, as this will cut down on evaporation that can occur during mid-day and maximize water penetration.
Step 6: Disease & Insect Control – Occasionally your lawn may be the victim of a fungus or insect problem. Fungus normally happens in the hot humid months. Applying a disease preventer in May should help you in warding off common diseases such as dollar spot, powdery mildew, red thread, or fusarium. Grubs are the most common insect and can damage your grass in mid spring to late summer into the fall. As long as you catch either problem in time, you can minimize the damage with proper insect or disease control.
Step 7: Common Weeds – Even though you are using a 4-Step Lawn Care Program, it is possible to still get weeds in your grass. Walk your lawn once a week and spot kill any that may pop up with a Ready-To-Use lawn weed killer. This is the best and easiest way to keep weeds in check before they become a real nuisance and start to take over.
Step 8: Mowing Your Lawn – Keeping your grass at the proper height is essential to lawn health and appearance. Turf cut too short has a shallow root system and requires more weed control. The ideal height for grass is 2-3 inches. Mow your lawn at least once a week. If you mow frequently–such as twice a week–you can let the clippings drop back onto the lawn. If you mow less frequently, then you should consider bagging your clippings.

Having the perfect lawn is not as complicated as you think. Following these basic steps will assure you of a better lawn this year, and you will be the envy of your neighborhood. If any of you want to take the “Pepsi challenge” against my lawn, send some pictures. We can call it The Dees’ Lawn Idol contest. My lawn will be tough to beat.

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How to Treat Lawn Fungus

Many customers come into The Dees’ Garden Center swearing their brown lawns were caused by grubs. Brown lawns can be caused by several things. It could be lack of water, insects, or fungus. Any lawn, no matter how lush and green, can sometimes come under attack by that “always lurking in the background” common lawn fungus.

Some fungus will do damage in cool wet weather while others will do damage in scorching humid heat. There is always weather that makes perfect conditions for your lawn to get attacked by fungus, and even the cooler weather poses a threat.

The most important and best line of defense in preventing your lawn from developing some sort of disease is proper care. Proper mowing, fertilizing, and watering are absolutely necessary in keeping these potential problems at bay and if even one is not done properly, your lawn can become susceptible to disease.

Types of Lawn Fungus

There are many diseases that can take hold of the grass, but the most common in these parts are dollar spot, brown patch, and red thread.

    • Dollar Spot can occur on almost any type of grass, it looks like small brown dead patches of grass that can range in size of a golf ball up to a basketball. It will multiply over the course of weeks and can overtake and kill your lawn.
    • Brown Patch is another common disease that can turn your green lawn brown and dead almost overnight. It differs from dollar spot in that the brown patches are always much larger and usually the damage done is much quicker.
    • Red Thread usually attacks your lawn in cool damp weather. It is identified by pinkish red grass blades that have fine threads at the tips.

The Dees’ Nursery Can Help!

Proper identification of lawn problems is the key to making sure you use the correct remedy. We would prefer you take a 12 inch by 12 inch sample of grass out of your lawn and bring it in to us so we can identify your problem. If you have one of these diseases, The Dees’ Nursery recommends Bonide Infuse Turf Fungicide*. It is a broad spectrum systemic fungicide that gets into the grass plant killing and preventing many turf diseases.

*All products mentioned in this article are available at The Dees’ Nursery & Florist in Oceanside, NY.

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Salt Water Damage on Lawns & Garden Beds | Dees’ Nursery

Salt water damage to your lawn is a fact of life for many of us living so close to the ocean and bays of beautiful Long Island. A storm surge from a hurricane or heavy rain can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden beds.

I know for many of you the last thing you need to worry about after a surge that floods your house is your lawn or garden. You have invested a lot of time and money into your landscape. Don’t give up. After the water recedes, you get the basement pumped and life starts to get back to normal. You should consider these few simple steps to get your lawn and garden back to health and protect it from salt damage.

Treating Salt Water Damage

1. Debris Removal
The first thing you should do is remove any debris such as leaves, branches and garbage. This will allow sunlight to get back down to the grass plants and help start to dry out the saturated, sponge-like soil. The next thing is to remove any silt (very small particles of rock) that may have deposited on the lawn as the water moved out.

2. Lawn & Garden Aeration
After removing debris, you need to aerate the soil of the lawn or garden. Aerating is simply poking holes a few inches into the soil. This can be done by wearing a pair of aerating sandals* that have 2 inch spikes on the bottom (similar to golf shoes), or you can do it by hand with an aerating tool. You can also rent a core aerating machine, which is similar to a lawn mower that you run over the lawn and it takes out plugs of soil. Another effective method is by slicing the soil with a spade. Be cautious to keep foot traffic to a minimum.

3. pH Balancing Your Lawn
Salt leaves excess sodium in the soil and it will probably change the pH. You should do a soil test and correct the pH balance by adding lime*, if needed. The next 2 steps are the most important. Irrigate your soil with fresh water to help wash the salt out of the root zone and then apply gypsum* to your soil. The gypsum will react with the salt and break it apart so it does minimal damage to your lawn or plants.

4. Fertilizing Your Lawn
Don’t fertilize right away. You don’t want to encourage excessive growth in damaged soil. Instead, apply a top dressing of compost such as Bumper Crop* or manure such as Chickity Doo Doo* and slowly add organics back to the soil. Apply regular fertilizer about a month later. This should bring your soil back to normal.

*All products mentioned in this article are available at The Dees’ Nursery & Florist in Oceanside, NY.

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Why Applying Lime to the Lawn is So Important

Many of our customers come into Dees’ in March and April and start asking us about getting their lawn started for the spring. After purchasing an annual lawn fertilizer program many people forget an important step in the successful lawn process and that is applying lime to the grass.

Your Lawn’s pH Level
The pH of the soil under your lawn is a critical factor in how your grass will grow. The pH range is the acidity or alkalinity of soil. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Levels below 7 are acidic and levels above 7 are alkaline. The key to good soil for your lawn is a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. If the pH is not in this range, nutrients basically get tied up in the soil and cannot be used by the grass plant. If your pH is too low or too high, the fertilizer you apply is only partially utilized by the grass.

The best way to determine the soil pH is to perform an easy to use pH test. You can also get your soil tested by the Nassau County Cornell Cooperative Extension service for a small fee.

Balancing Your Lawn’s pH Level
If it is determined that your pH is too low, then you will have to apply lime to the soil. Limestone is a source of calcium that will raise the pH of your soil. Many of you will notice your neighbor’s landscapers applying the white powder to their lawns. This is lime. If you have not applied lime to your soil in a few years and have been regularly applying fertilizer, then chances are your soil is acidic.

Having a correct pH in your lawn will also help control moss. Moss thrives in a soil with a pH below 6.0. When you raise the pH then this will eventually slow down the moss activity.

Lawn Care at The Dees’ Nursery
In a nutshell, lime will make your lawn fertilizer work better. We sell lime in many forms such as pelletized, pulverized, or granular and Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal. Please stop down for a recommendation for your specific needs.

Have fun and enjoy your lawn for years to come.

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Fall To Do List

    1. Plant a basket of narcissus for holiday bloom.
    2. Protect built-in sprinkler systems: drain the system and insulate the valve mechanisms.
    3. Tie limbs of upright evergreens to prevent breakage by snow or ice.
    4. Open up spaces in dense trees to allow wind to pass through.
    5. Rake and destroy leaves from fruit trees that were diseased this year. Remove mummified fruit.
    6. Cut back chrysanthemums after bloom; clean up the ground.
    7. Plant window garden of lettuce, chives, parsley.
    8. Plant shrubs and trees that supply winter food and shelter to birds.
    9. Stake young trees loosely so they can develop strong trunks.
    10. Wrap the trunks of young trees with an insulating material to protect them from cold.
    11. Mulch, mulch, and mulch some more.