Frequently Asked Questions
Elmsdale Landscaping Ltd
HOW MUCH TOPSOIL DO I NEED BEFORE I LAY SOD?
4 To 6 inches of topsoil is generally the suggested thickness recommended since the grass roots will grow at least that deep. A healthy layer of topsoil will allow for a healthy root zone environment, reduce stress and provide nutrients.
HOW DO I LAY THE SOD?
QUICKLY!!!!!! This can not be stressed enough. Be prepared and ready to lay your sod once it arrives. We guarantee our sod but it must be laid within 24 hours upon delivery. Sod is a living product that requires air, light and water to survive.
Once the topsoil is in place and firm (not fluffy) a starter fertilizer should be applied such as 16-32-6 at 5-10 lbs per 1000 square feet. To achieve a professional look always lay sod on the perimeter end to end lengthwise. This will ensure any cut in pieces are not on the outside edge and it will minimize stress on smaller pieces. When possible the sod should be placed in a brick-like or staggered pattern, this will make the seams less apparent. The sod should always be fit tightly together, this will help the sod retain water and recover faster. Watering can begin as soon as the sod is starting to get laid, especially if the sod is somewhat dry due to weather conditions when harvested. The initial watering should thoroughly wet the soil in the sod. The goal of subsequent waterings, based on weather, is to keep the sod from drying out, not to keep it saturated. Over watered sod deters root development into the soil beneath and it can also stimulate undesired species.
HOW WIDE IS THE FORKLIFT THAT YOU USE TO DELIVER AND PLACE THE PRODUCTS?
The machines we use are 8 feet wide. We rely on the judgement of our experienced operators to place the product in the best location, within reason, for our clients. They always try to leave as small a footprint as possible.
HOW DO YOU READ A BAG OF FERTILIZER, WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN?
There are usually 3 numbers on a bag of fertilizer (20-10-10), they indicate the amount (percentage) of macro nutrients, by weight, in the bag. They are always in the same order, N-P-K. Generally speaking N stands for nitrogen (speeds up the metabolism of the plant, increases greening), P for phosphorous (increases and supports root health) and K stands for potassium (supports seed/fruit development and winter hardiness). Various factors affect nutrient absorption such as soil chemistry (pH), plant health and weather extremes. Soil tests are a good method of determining what type of fertilizer one needs. To keep it simple think of fertilizer as human food, N sugar, P protein and K carbohydrates. It is not healthy to eat a diet of just one of these components, plants are the same.
In summary it is wise to apply fertilizers with a representation of each nutrient to support overall plant health.
HOW DO I GET RID OF MOSS?
Moss, generally, is an indicator of low pH and poor drainage. Shady areas are prone to moss establishment since they take much longer to dry out. Regular applications of lime, both spring and fall, will discourage moss growth. There are products known to kill moss, their active ingredient is Zinc. After one treats for a moss problem it would be advised to over seed thin spots and fertilize to help the lawn recover.
ARE SOME GRASSES BETTER THAN OTHERS?
Each type of grass has its own qualities. In our climate there are 3 species that are commonly used, Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescues and Perennial Ryegrass
Depending on the species, germination can range from 14-30 days. The blade width is average and it can be distinguished from other grasses because the tip of the blade is cupped, commonly described as canoe shaped. It has good wear tolerance and does well in full sun. Uniquely, bluegrass spreads laterally via underground runners called rhizomes. This enables the plant to fill in bare spots and be self repairing.
There are many types of fescues, generally germination can range from 7-14 days. The blade width can range from very fine (creeping red and chewing fescue) to coarse (tall fescue). Fescues display various traits including good wear tolerance, grows well in the shade and salt tolerance.
Due to its quick germination (5-10 days) it is often added to seed blends to act as a nurse crop. The blade is medium width and commonly identified by having one side dull and the other shiny. Unfortunately this grass does not usually survive our winter season.
I HAVE MUSHROOMS GROWING IN MY LAWN, SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
No, not at all. Mushrooms are just a part of nature and will go away quickly. Mushrooms occur very quickly and are just the fruiting body of a fungus. When the optimum conditions occur, a balance of warm temperatures and high relative humidity, a "flush" of mushroom growth will happen. Longer grass will keep the air still longer and prolong the conditions ideal for a flush. To minimize these optimum conditions one can mow the grass a bit shorter during times of high humidity.
I THINK I HAVE CHINCH BUG, WHAT DO I DO?
Chinch bug damage is indicated initially by yellow patches in the lawn. They feed on the crowns of the plant and they do not like excessive water. Most areas first affected are higher, dry parts of the lawn. Chinch bugs are very small, an adult is only about 4 mm long, dark in color with a small white X on its back. They hatch in the spring as tiny nymphs that are pink to red in color and mature through out the season.
To confirm one has chich bug there are 2 methods, visual inspection or using a cylinder. For the best chance to find them check the egde of an area that appears infected. To visually inspect look at the base of damaged plants, be patient, they are very small and avoid light so they will be running and hiding as you look. The cylinder method employs the use of something similar to a coffee can opened at both ends. Press the can 2 inches into the ground then add soapy water, if the water level drops add more water. If there are any chinch bugs present they will float to the surface of the water in the can in less than 10 minutes.
There are many insects that like to feed on grasses, chinch bugs, June bugs and leather jackets to name a few. The easiest way to minimize the damage of insects is maintain a healthy thick lawn so it has a chance of tolerating an infestation. The other option, if all fails, is to call a local company that specializes in insect control.