Lawn Maintenance: Q & A
What is the easiest grass to plant and maintain in the Houston area?
St. Augustine is the most common type used in Houston. Zoysia and 419 Tiff varieties can also be found. As long as good lawn maintenance practices are followed, these varieties do well in our climate.
How often should we cut our grass?
Turf typically needs mowing weekly through the summer and every other week in the winter months.
In taking care of our turf, what do we need to know about Houston’s soil?
Because of this region’s dense clay soil, most Houston lawns benefit from aeration at least twice a year. Aeration ensures that water and nutrients get down into the root system. You’ll find that your lawn maintenance program yields dramatically improved results with aeration.
Since water is often a problem–in rainy years because there’s too much and during droughts because there’s too little–what are the recommended watering practices?
Water long, water less–a good practice for all your landscape. It ensures deeper water penetration, which gives your plant material stronger root systems and thus healthier plants. It also makes your lawn more drought-resistant. Additionally because you water less, you save money on your monthly utility bill. In the cooler months of November through February, you should run your irrigation system in the late morning to reduce standing water, which is a perfect breeding ground for fungus.
We have a low spot across the length of our back fence. What solutions can you offer?
Drainage systems positively impact residential landscape maintenance. These systems drain water from low-lying areas, and in so doing, they prevent standing water that can cause slippery surfaces, mosquito breeding grounds and drowned landscaping. Additionally, a proper landscape drainage system helps care for your lawn as it moves water off of your property in a timely manner, which encourages healthy grass and allows your maintenance crew to perform their regular lawn maintenance duties.
Regarding fertilizing–what kind and how often?
Types of fertilizers include organic, semi-organic, fast release, slow release, winterizer and low salt. Two other important treatments are insecticides and fungicides, which help control fungus and insect infestations. Lawns in Houston perform best when fertilized four times per year.
Our busy schedules don’t allow us the time we used to have to care for our lawn. What do we need to know about hiring a landscape service firm?
When reviewing the contract or scope of work, determine how often you want them to work. Discuss whether the price includes edging and trimming of shrubbery. You can request that diseases be identified and that you be presented with an estimate for treatment. All surfaces should be cleared of debris which naturally occurs during a service call. The best firms also include the skimming of water surfaces for pools, ponds or fountains.
As with all new hires, ask for references. It’s a good idea to drive by these homes, so you can get a realistic feel for what you’re actually buying from the landscaping firm.