10 Best Practices for Lawn and Tree Care

Vibrant and picturesque landscaping is one of the most effective methods businesses and property managers have used to attract more customers and generate interest in their location.

A stunning commercial landscape can increase the aesthetic value and provide a welcoming atmosphere. In order to maintain this quality and appeal, it is important to provide optimal care for lawns, trees, and plants.

Lawn Care

To create a lush, enviable lawn…

1. Choose Sod or Seed

As you start planning your lawn, the first step is to decide between using sod or seed. Then select the type of grass according to its purpose, depending on if you’re building a sports field, a playground, or turf within your landscape.

The seed will be the most cost-effective option and is ideal for large areas, but requires more planning time and strategic planting. The best time to seed is in the late summer or early fall, and it takes 8-10 days for the first green to show, and 6 weeks for the newly established lawn to fully emerge. Keep in mind that as soon as the grass begins to grow, so will the weeds.

If you need a lawn immediately, sod is a better option. It’s less vulnerable to weeds and can prevent erosion on slopes. This instant gratification solution comes with a higher cost of materials and is more labor-intensive, but it can be particularly ideal for smaller areas of lawn.

Talk to lawn care professionals about the types of grass that would work best in your landscape and climate.

2. Mow Carefully

When mowing your lawn, cut only one-third of the grass height at a time. A good general mowing height is 3 inches for many lawns.  Change up the mowing pattern every time and keep your mower blades sharp to prevent damage to the grass. Return the grass clippings to the lawn to retain valuable nutrients left in the organic material. During a time of drought and extreme heat, it’s better to mow less frequently to reduce stress on the lawn.

Insufficient care while mowing can cause damage to your lawn, so we recommend talking to a lawn care professional about how best to take care of your grass.

3. Water Properly

Proper watering is critical for your lawn and makes the difference between having a lush, green turf and having one that is dry and browning. Some keys to proper water management are:

  • Water deeply once or twice a week, rather than a little every day. This mimics natural weather patterns and leads to deep root growth and increased drought resistance.
  • Ideally, water between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. to avoid losing water to evaporation and for maximum effectiveness.
  • Water evenly across the lawn.
  • Check often for leaks in the irrigation system.

It is important to irrigate your lawn according to the local water ordinances and to know the state of water in your area. Work within those guidelines while keeping your lawn hydrated as best you can.  

4. Aerate

In the process of aeration, the lawn is perforated, meaning that small plugs of soil are removed to help relieve soil compaction. These small holes allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grassroots, stimulating deeper growth and strengthening your lawn. It’s best to aerate turf during the spring when you can rent equipment or hire lawn care professionals to aerate your lawn for you.

5. Fertilize on a Schedule

The ideal time and frequency to fertilize your lawn depending on the type of grass. Coordinate fertilizing with your watering schedule, and irrigate soon after fertilizing to help everything to soak in. The nitrogen found in grass clippings can serve as a natural fertilizer when spread over the turf, and will also increase the water-holding capacity of the lawn.

Organic compost can also help condition the soil for healthier grass and ground cover growth, adding microbes that improve nutrient uptake.

Tree Care

For stately, thriving trees…

1. Plant a Variety

Choose a variety of tree types to plant in your landscape, rather than just a single species, or ‘monoculture.’ Diseases and insects typically target a specific kind of tree, so you risk losing all your trees in case of a breakout, while a mix of tree types provides better protection.

For optimal shade and color in your landscape, consider different types of evergreen or deciduous trees.

2. Plan Ahead

Research your trees and know the mature height of each species before planting. This knowledge can then help you to strategically plant each tree in a space that will be big enough for the full-grown tree. This is particularly important when a tree is planted near walkways, rocks, or other hardscapes, as the tree should have plenty of space for root growth without upsetting other landscape features.

When looking at each kind of tree, consider the health issues and hazards that are common to that tree. Plan out how best to protect it, and prepare deep root feeding and fertilization treatments. Schedule annual maintenance evaluations with certified arborists to talk about the health of your majestic trees and how you can continue to keep them happy.

3. Prune Properly

Poor pruning practices are one of the greatest dangers to a tree, and should only be done by an expert. From the early stages of growth, train new trees to fit the space and follow the desired appearance.

Never “top off” a tree to control its height. Instead, remove the competing leader branch, any crowded branches, malformed branches, those with narrow-angle of attachment, and any broken, diseased, or sucker branches. Prune for clearance over sidewalks and near parking lots for safety.

Trees that have been carefully pruned and maintained will stay healthy overall and have a higher quality of flowers and fruit.

4. Preserve and Move or Remove

Your trees are valuable assets, and some of the most important features of your landscape. It’s important that you choose the right species for the long term, and plot out the landscape according to projected changes. Be careful to avoid putting a tree in a space that it will eventually outgrow, as this can stunt the tree and lead to destroyed sidewalks and an overall imbalance in landscape design.

If a tree does need to be moved from its current location, many times it can be uprooted and planted in another place in the landscape, or on a different property altogether. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to completely remove the tree and the stump for optimal appearance and health of the surrounding area.

5. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

There is no need to spray preventatively for pests and diseases, and it can actually introduce chemicals into your landscape unnecessarily. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on the long-term prevention of pests through a combination of techniques. First, retain predators and parasitoids, which are harmless to the trees, to serve as protection. Also, choose trees that are less susceptible to disease and funguses, particularly those common to your region. Be on the lookout for possible infestation, as catching it early on gives the best chance at controlling potential damage.

When necessary, pesticides can be used as a last resort by a licensed and experienced professional, but IPM’s multi-pronged approach has proven successful at many levels early on.
By taking good care of your trees and lawn, you are setting up a foundation of excellence in your landscape. When making changes on your own or enlisting the services of tree and lawn care professionals, remember these best practices for maintaining the heights and foundation of your property.