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Beautiful Landscapes Are in Our Genes

Lawn Care

The first step in proper lawn care is having a lush, beautiful, and weed-free lawn is choosing the right grass for your site. Whenever possible, plant low-maintenance, pest-resistant grasses that will require less watering and fertilizing.

Have your soil tested at least once every five years so you can add the proper nutrients and balance the pH.

Plant grasses only where they will do well. Heavily shaded areas call for other plantings.

Apply fertilizer in the late summer and early fall.

Water your lawn only when it needs it, generally once a week.

Avoid mowing your lawn too short, and take off only about one-third of the height of the grass each time. Using a mulching mower and leaving the grass clippings in the lawn will reduce the amount of fertilizer you need since it recycles nutrients back into the soil.

In a nutshell that is what you need to do for proper lawn care. If you feel you may skip parts because of time constraints, family obligations, etc. H~DNA is ready, willing, and able to help you enjoy your best lawn yet!

What happened to the Impatiens?

The summer of ’13 was a blooming nightmare for Impatiens lovers on Cape Cod.

Where this colorful plant once decorated lawns and landscapes, there were instead dying flowers and patches of empty soil, the result of a killer fungus called downy mildew.

A white, fuzzy mold, downy mildew could be seen on the backs of affected Impatiens plants. Once it attacks, it’s impossible to remove this type of mildew, but it can be prevented with fungicides, bacteria, and watering management.

Here are ways to prevent the spread of downy mildew:

  • Begin to treat your plants as soon as you notice a gray or tan furry growth on the undersides of leaves and stems, or leaves that appear “water-soaked.”
  • Apply preventive fungicides to healthy flowers to head off the mildew. Two organic brands are Serenade and Actinovate.
  • Introduce healthy bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis and Streptomyces lydicus, to help healthy plants fight an influx of downy mildew.
  • Alter your watering days so that the ground has a chance to dry out between waterings. Mildews and molds love dampness.


I recommend using Bonide Fung-Onil Multi-Purpose Fungicide Concentrate on plants and in the soil. This fungicide concentrate, containing Echo Lite Chlorothalonil, provides a broad-spectrum control of diseases such as leaf spot, rust, blight, fruit rot, mildew, scab, and mold on vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, shrubs, shade trees, and lawns. For effective disease control, mix as directed and apply with a garden sprayer for thorough and uniform coverage.

Dethatching—why your lawn needs it

Dethatching is an important aspect of providing proper lawn care (link “lawn care” to appropriate page) for your property. Thatch is the layer of living and dead stems, roots, rhizomes, and runners between the green blades of grass and the soil surface. A thin layer of thatch (less than a half-inch thick) can be beneficial to your lawn because it helps to limit weed germination, reduce water evaporation, and protect from frost damage.

Thick layers of thatch can prevent water, air, and nutrients from penetrating the soil, which causes reduced root growth and increases the potential for drought stress. A thick thatch layer also can harbor insect pests and encourage fungal growth.

Some grass species, such as tall fescue and perennial rye grass, do not product much thatch. Others, including Bermuda grass, bentgrass, and Kentucky bluegrass, have creeping growth habits and rapidly build thick thatch layers.

I recommend dethatching in the spring, prior to the first application of lawn products. Call H~DNA to dethatch your lawn with the right equipment and expertise.

© Alison Caron Design