Aeration Lawn Care Seeding Watering

Maximize Seed Growth with H2-Mooow

Double or triple your grass coverage with an easy watering routine!

After those boiling Virginia summers, our lawns are parched. We bet yours are, too! But recent rains, coupled with crisp autumn weather, mean there’s no time like now to grow some grass.

 

Harmonize with Nature

Scenario: Mr. Jones, your neighbor, knows grass can take anything. It’s tough, just like him. He struts around his lawn, chucking handfuls of seed everywhere. By the time spring rolls around, his lawn will be so green, everybody will have to wear sunglasses. Yeah, it’ll be that bright.

Chuckling to himself, Mr. Jones walks away after a few more minutes of tossing seeds. That was easy. And rain will take care of everything else.

Ah, but he forgot that his lawn is already stressed from summer. New grass will definitely have trouble getting established on such dry soil.  Months from now, Mr. Jones will wonder why his yard looks so frazzled and wimpy.

You don’t want to grow grass like your neighbor, right? No way!

We’ll show you how to avoid frustration and save money. All you have to do is work with nature. If that sounds even more difficult than throwing seed around, trust us. It’s simple. Take a look:

  • Get sprinkling. Grass seeds require daily watering. Rainfall alone isn’t enough for thirsty turf, but guess what? Sprinklers are even better. In fact, watering 2 times a day can double or triple your crop!
  • Keep track of shade and sun. Turf seed grows best when soil is damp. If your garden is mossy and dark, however, you probably don’t need too much water. On the other hand, bright yards with no shade require much more sprinkler time.
  • Thwart the blow dryer. Grass seeds easily dry out, and gusty weather makes them even more vulnerable. If your yard is like a wind farm, then you’ll need to water more frequently.

 

Water, and They Will Grow

You’re probably thinking, “I get it already!” But we really can’t emphasize the importance of daily watering. It’s the difference between you and Mr. Jones. Well, OK—regular watering prevents you from buying more seed and starting over next year.

Still, you need to have a watering routine. Without one, you’ll be just as bad as your sloppy, fictitious neighbor.

Here’s how we water seeds:

  1. Water early in the morning, before the sun evaporates all the moisture.
  2. Water 15-20 minutes at a time.
  3. Right before your lawn completely dries out, water for the second time.
  4. To ensure all seeds get watered, rotate your sprinklers for maximum coverage.

Wondering what happens if you overwater?  It’s easy to get distracted and leave a sprinkler on for much longer than you intended. Or, maybe a storm arrived the second you wrapped up the hose. Regardless of the reason, it’s easy for seeds to get washed away. Bummer, right?

Fortunately, MowCow customers are covered.  Whenever we seed lawns, we leave behind Headache Bags for this very reason.  Tip: check your doorstep after we leave—you’ll find your very own sack of extra seeds! And guess what?  If those get washed away, we’ll come back and reseed at no charge.

Extra Credit

For those overachievers out there (we know who you are), there are even more ways you can encourage seeds to grow.  So, let’s dig a little further!

To really, really improve your lawn:

  • Check your sprinkler(s). Sometimes, they lose efficiency from age or damage. Is yours slacking off? Here’s a quick test: grab empty tuna or soup cans and scatter them around the watering zone. Later, check them and see how much water is inside. Pro tip: it helps when you’ve turned off the sprinkler first.
  • Get a timer. That’s right, you don’t have to hang around the house while the sprinkler does its job. Timers are easy to buy, too. Most box stores have them for about $20-$40.
  • Harness the power of earth, wind, and fescue. We’re talking about aeration, a MowCow specialty. Our Aeravator opens passageways in the soil for fresh oxygen, nutrients, and water. Add new fescue (grass) seeds to the mix, and you’ve given your yard an excellent start!
  • Install an irrigation system. Automation saves water and reduces utility costs. Plus, every corner of your yard gets covered. If this sounds good to you, let us know and we’ll happily explain the installation process. We think you’ll be thrilled by the benefits.

 Have fun with your new lawn and seeds!  Have any remaining questions or concerns?  Feel free to call us!  It’s grass season, and we know you want to start off on the right foot. We can help with that! 

Get my lawn started

Lawn Care Nature

What’s this fern-like Weed?

The excessive spring rain in Northern Virginia has lead to dramatic weed growth.

Queen Anne's Lace weed just pulled from landscape bed
A freshly pulled Queen Anne’s Lace weed

This spring, we’ve hit the jackpot on steady soaking rains. Our reward is lush green growth, and unwelcomed weeds in the lawn and landscape beds. A roadside weed that we’re seeing quite often is Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota.

The fern-like foliage of Queen Anne’s lace has unexpectedly sprouted in many of our client’s landscape beds. Our Technicians repeatedly hear clients share, “What is this? I’ve never seen this tall weed here before.”

Queen Anne’s Lace seeds can lay dormant in the soil for up to five years, waiting for good sprouting conditions. Steady rain, on multiple days, like we’ve just experienced, percolates down deep into the soil, triggering germination in the buried seeds.

 

How did Queen Anne’s Lace end up in my garden?

Prolific white flowers, which are produced in the plant’s second year, put out hundreds of tiny seeds. Queen Anne’s Lace has a sweet bloom, similar to the cow parsnip, but much smaller. This plant can become invasive and extremely hard to eradicate due to the strong, deep taproot and the velcro seeds. These hitchhikers move to new locations on pet fur, pant legs, birds and even car tires.

Queen Anne's Lace Flower Head with central red flower
The “beautiful white lace” Queen Anne was tatting has a telltale central “drop of blood” from a single prick of the finger

 Queen Anne’s lace roots smell just like ‘real’ carrots.

Queen Anne's Lace weed, (left) compared to a stubby orange carrot (right)
Queen Anne’s Lace, (left) a stubby orange garden carrot (right).

In fact, this plant is the direct ancestor to the commercially grown carrots we eat in our salads.  As this fast growing plant gets taller, its leaves shade out smaller plants growing nearby and underneath.  The best (and most time consuming) way to remove Queen Anne’s Lace is to carefully pull out each plant, making sure to get the deep taproot.

 

While it may not look nice in your landscape beds, caterpillars of the large eastern black swallowtail butterflies, think the weed looks and tastes just fine.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar on Queen Annesl ace weed
Black swallowtail caterpillars munching Queen Anne’s Lace flowers. Photo credit: Edith Smith

 

 
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Lawn Care

Tree and Shrub Program

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Tree and Shrub ProgramKeep your investment healthy.

GrowCow offers organic-based tree and shrub program applications for health & vitality, and more resistance to pests, disease, and harsh weather conditions. (6 services)

We inspect your trees and ornamental shrubs for leaf munching and leaf sucking insects as well as viruses, fungi and other pathogens.

Keeping your plants healthy, robust and able to resist disease and pest pressure is the most practical environmentally responsible approach.

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Tree & Shrub Program with a purpose

Tree and Shrub Program with the EPAWe practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the environmentally sensitive approach that relies understanding the life cycles of pests, how they interact with the environment and managing their damage economically and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

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Lawn Care

5 Misconceptions about Lawn Renovation

I have to rototill my lawn to make it grow better

Lawn-Renovation-TillerWhile rototilling your lawn can help level out very uneven soil and open up air spaces, it is not necessary to sustain a healthy lawn. Tilling can bring buried weed seeds to the surface and cover up essential topsoil. Microbes, essential for breaking down thatch and organic material, reside in this top layer. Top dressing with compost or topsoil, as well as aerating and seeding will give you good results with much less effort.
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If I use sod rather than seed, the lawn will be better

Lawn-Renovation-Roll-GrassSod may look better when initially laid down, but the health of the soil is what determines the long term health of the turf grass. You can choose the optimal seed blend for your location and you’ll not have to deal with transplant issues. Developing stronger roots when planting, increases the likelihood you’ll have healthier and deeper roots over time.The effort put into healthy soil preparation is the most important determination.
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If I add extra fertilizer, my lawn will be healthier

Lawn-Renovation-Happy-GrassTurf grass will only use what it needs. Too much fertilizer applied at the wrong time can burn your turf. Excess fertilizer can wash off lawns into storm drains and local waterways causing BIG algae problems. Always test your soil first to see what it actually needs to support healthy turf.
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I always need to put down lime when I add seed.

Lawn-Renovation-SeedDon’t guess. Soil test. Lime raises the pH of your soil. You only know if soil pH is low by testing the soil. Soil test kits can be picked up at your local Cooperative Extension office.

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Once I remove these weeds they will never come back

Lawn-Renovation-WeedsWe wish this were true! Weeds are opportunists, and will rapidly colonize any thin or bare areas. Commonly overlooked ways that weed seeds move into yards is by birds, animals, and vehicle tires.

Many backyard birds eat weed seeds and ‘deposit’ them. New weeds are frequently seen sprouting below tree branches, along fence lines and on the ground under roof gutters. House sparrows for example, weave nests from dried grass seed stalks and line them with fluffy dandelion seeds. New dandelions can sprout up on the ground below the nest or perch.

Lawn-Renovation-BirdsDandelions may be more abundant as birds drop seeds while moving in and out of their home. Additionally, crabgrass and other weed seeds may be picked up on the road where they routinely sprout in pavement cracks. These are carried home in tire treads and wash into lawn edges during rain storms.
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Lawn Care

Bay Friendly

Why are we so insistent about testing your soil?

Soil nutrient levels vary throughout Northern Virginia. We only want to put down what your lawn needs and nothing more. Turf growing in healthy soil that is pH balanced can absorb applied nutrients. We want nutrients, including nitrates and phosphates found in fertilizer, to stay on your lawn. During rain storms, excess nutrients can be transported to local streams and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay where they harm the ecosystem.

Protecting water quality.

We entered into a voluntary agreement with the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation to protect and improve Virginia’s ground and surface waters. We have submitted and received approval on our Nutrient Management Plan, which covers the amount, placement, timing and application of nutrient containing materials. Our technicians are trained to follow this plan and responsibly handle all lawn care products. Unlike most lawn care providers, we have an environmental scientist on staff who keeps us abreast of current research and water quality issues in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Save the Bay Options.

image-save-the-bay-dcrMowCow offers organic programs and designs stormwater solutions that effectively decrease erosion and sediment run off. Top Dressing with nutrient-rich compost is highly encouraged. It will increase water retention in the soil, decrease run off and require less nutrients. We want lawns to act like sponges, soaking up stormwater.

 

 

Lawn Care

Lawn Care Programs

Lawn Care you can feel good about

Lawn Essentials Plus

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Lawn Essentials

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Cutting Edge Organic-Based Lawn Nutrition

Through consistent product research, testing and feedback from clients, our lawn nutrition team selects the best natural products for Northern Virginia lawns to enhance soil health and soil biology.

The Safest, Most Natural Lawn Care Approach

MowCow is a low-nutrient applicator! That means we only apply what is needed, when it is needed. MowCow partners with leading organizations such as Businesses for the Bay, and Virginia Tech turfgrass experts to stay informed on the latest environmentally friendly products.

Good Grass Guarantee

If your grass isn’t growing, MowCow will make it right.
The fine print:

1. Have our lawn care
2. Keep your account current
3. That’s it!

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Lawn Care

Why Crabgrass?

Top Five Reasons You have Crabgrass – even if you treated crabgrass_downspout

1. Crabgrass seeds are carried by wind and may have blown into your yard after your pre-emergent barrier was applied in spring.

2. Crabgrass seeds, which are all over our roads and parking lots, are easily trapped in car tire treads and carried to your driveway. Rain washes them into the driveway-lawn edge.

3. Crabgrass seeds easily attach to pant legs and shoes and are carried to your home.

4. Crabgrass seeds get trapped in between your pets’ fuzzy toes and on their fur, as well as animals passing through your yard.

5. Crabgrass seeds carried by wind and birds onto your roof, wash into downspouts flow right into your lawn.

crabgrassroad2

A single plant can produce up to 150,000 crabgrass seeds a year, many of which are carried away by wind and water. These tiny seeds can lay dormant in your lawn for years, sprouting when you least expect it. People and pets unknowingly transport the seeds during their daily activities.

Lawn Care

Why is my lawn greener than my neighbor’s lawn?

Lots and lots of reasons!

It could be that you and your neighbor have different varieties of turf grass that grow at different rates. It could also be that your soil is warmer. Warmer soil can lead to faster growth.

If you’re a GrowCow lawn care client, your soil has more beneficial microbes, like endo-and ecto-mycorrhizae. These microbes are breaking down soil nutrients which are readily absorbed by your turf grass.

Without getting too technical, mycorrhizae are microscopic fungi that surround and even penetrate turf grass roots. In exchange for carbohydrates; these fungi provide nutrients such as phosphorus and some nitrogen to the plants. It’s a terrific natural partnership!

Are these fungi readily available in the soil? Not typically. Especially if your soil has been chemically treated, heavily waterlogged or has very little organic matter near the roots. These natural lawn boosters are also frequently absent in newly constructed neighborhoods, where the soil has been relocated and compacted.

If you want to kickstart your turfgrass, contact GrowCow and we’ll get your lawn back on track.

Lawn Care

When will the grass finally start growing?

In Northern Virginia, most of our lawn grasses are ‘cool season’ grasses.  This means they grow best during spring and fall. These grasses include many varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescues, fine fescues and perennial rye grass.  The roots of cool season grasses grow best when the soil temperature is between 55ºF and 65ºF. The shoots, the above ground parts, grow best between 65ºF and 75ºF.

Even though the snow-covered soil surface is downright chilly today, measuring just three inches deeper, I found the temperature in the root zone to be twenty degrees warmer.  The coolest root zone temps are located out in the center of the yard, while the warmest soil (54ºF) is found right up next to the foundation of the house.  This is why you might find grass and even flower growth happening sooner near your dryer vent.

Turf grass roots break dormancy even before you see the spring green up, which is already starting.

So when will the grass finally start growing?  If we get another week or two of consistently warm days, that’s all it will take to warm the lawn and kick start these roots and shoots right on into spring.

Lawn Care

Will road salt and deicing products impact my lawn?

In Northern Virginia, most of our lawn grasses are ‘cool season’ grasses.  This means they grow best during spring and fall. These grasses include many varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescues, fine fescues and perennial rye grass.  The roots of cool season grasses grow best when the soil temperature is between 55ºF and 65ºF. The shoots, the above ground parts, grow best between 65ºF and 75ºF.

Even though the snow-covered soil surface is downright chilly today, measuring just three inches deeper, I found the temperature in the root zone to be twenty degrees warmer.  The coolest root zone temps are located out in the center of the yard, while the warmest soil (54ºF) is found right up next to the foundation of the house.  This is why you might find grass and even flower growth happening sooner near your dryer vent.

Turf grass roots break dormancy even before you see the spring green up, which is already starting.

So when will the grass finally start growing?  If we get another week or two of consistently warm days, that’s all it will take to warm the lawn and kick start these roots and shoots right on into spring.

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