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6 Ways to Winterize your Lawn and Brave the Cold

Winter is coming, and while we’re bundling up in our cozy sweaters, lawns need to winterize too! As the temperature drops and the leaves fall, there are plenty of ways to protect and prepare your lawn for future growth. Not sure how to get started? Check out these six tips to help your lawn brave the cold weather! Your spring-gardening-self is sure to thank you for it. 

1) Say Bye to Weeds

If you don’t take care of weeds before the winter, they’ll be competing for nutrients with your precious plants in the spring! Now is the time get them out using a spot spray, pulling them, or applying a preemergent. Espoma Organic Weed Preventer is a long-lasting solution for established lawns, but do not apply a preemergent if you plan on overseeding or have recently seeded. 

2) Rake it Up

Breaking up thatch material is a great way to show your lawn some TLC, especially if you plan to overseed. Thatch—that organic layer of dead roots, shoots, and stems—can block water movement and create unhealthy grass discoloration. Dethatching your lawn with a dethatching rake allows for better oxygen circulation, deeper root growth, and insect prevention. 

3) Pull out the Plugs

Speaking of foot traffic, if your lawn has dealt with a LOT this summer, it might benefit from core aeration. Core aeration machines evenly remove plugs or “cores” of soil from your lawn to relieve compaction, promote root growth, and improve the flow of water and oxygen. There are some manual alternatives to core aeration, but the machines are the most effective. After a busy summer, core aeration is a great way to bring fluffy and healthy green grass back to your lawn.

4) The Gift of Nutrients

Lawns get a lot of traffic in the summer, so it’s important to help your lawn recover and prepare for winter by feeding it nutrients! Make the most of the fallen leaves by mulching your leaf debris and use Espoma Organic’s Fall Winterizer fertilizer for easy, natural replenishment. Packed with potassium and slow-releasing nitrogen, our winterizer is formulated to promote spring greening and provide the long-lasting nutrition your lawn needs.

5) Get the Lime-ing Right

After the stress of summer, your soil pH may need some specific attention. Our Espoma Organic Lightning Lime is an ultra-fast, strong solution that allows your lawn to better intake water and nutrients. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, Lightning Lime is your lawn’s best friend and a great addition to your winterizing checklist. 

6) Grass Goals

To overseed or not to overseed, that is the question! While your decision should depend on your lawn’s goals and state of being, overseeding can improve turf quality, help repair weak spots, and control weeds. It’s a great way to make the most of the last of these warm temperatures and get some growth started before winter settles in!

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Make this coming spring season easier and greener by winterizing your landscape! Have a winterizing tip of your own to share?

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Seven Steps for a Fantastic Fall Garden

 

Fall: it’s the season of transition. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing colors, and the air is getting crisp and breezy. While you might be thinking it’s time to pack up the gardening supplies until Spring, there’s no reason the growing has to stop yet! With this seasonal shift comes perfect weather for establishing new plants, great deals at garden stores, and a decrease in pests. In fact, this special season offers plenty of opportunities for preserving, planting, and preparing. Make the most of this time with these seven tips, and get back in the garden! 

 

     1. Don’t Forget Your Veggies

Don’t let the cooler weather fool you, there’s still time for growth. Broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and kale… fall is the season to plant these beloved vegetables. If your vegetable garden needs a boost, use our famous Organic Garden-tone or Grow!

 

 

2. Success with Succession

Maximize your harvest all throughout fall with succession planting. Harvest one crop, then replant one with a shorter maturity date, plant companion crops, stagger your seeding so harvest arrives in intervals, or plant a crop with varying maturity dates (broccoli, for example). Try out one of these methods and keep growing with our Garden-tone

 

 

     3. Bring in the Big Guys

Looking for a bigger way to upgrade your garden this fall? Plant trees and shrubs while the soil is still warm, use our Organic Tree-tone to nurture their development, and give them a chance to lay roots before winter settles in. Just be sure to keep them well-watered and protect those roots with mulch!

 

     4. Free Fertilizer 

Have you tried using those fall leaves to your advantage? Thick piles of leaves can be a lot for your lawn to tolerate, but mowing over what’s fallen creates smaller pieces that break down in the soil easier. Time to tackle that leaf pile and get your lawn some natural nutrients!

     

     5. Allium On the Way

Patience is a virtue… and so is planting ahead! Give your garlic, onions, and shallots a jump-start by planting them after the fall equinox. With full sun, rich soil, and crisp fall weather, your allium vegetables have plenty of time to get rooted before weathering the frost. Check out this article here for more tips on allium planting! 

     

     6. Take Cover

Mustard, peas, and clover are great cover crops to plant in the fall. Not only do cover crops prevent erosion, they can create better, richer soil for gardening. Let them grow throughout the fall and winter, then turn into the soil in the spring to enjoy the nutritious benefits of your labor.

     

     7. Winterize, Winterize, Winterize

Think of it as a gift to your future self. Keep up with weeding, winterize your watering system, and give your lawn a much-needed refresh with our Organic Fall Winterizer. These little chores make all the difference when getting your garden through upcoming winter frosts.

 

There’s so much in store this season, and with these tips, you can fall in love with fall gardening. Have your own must-do or want to share a photo of autumn in action? 

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Petscaping for Mutts

This summer, give your four legged friends a safe and comfortable place to play.  By petscaping, you are showing your pets where they can and cannot play in order to keep your beautiful garden out of harm’s way.

Petscaping will help your mutt have a better relationship with you, your landscape and your neighbors. Keep your pets in mind this season and watch as they stay out of trouble for years to come.

Let Mutts Play:

Keep it Cool. Provide a cool, damp, shady area for your pooch. This will not only keep him away from your garden, but it will also cut down on digging. You can use either sand or grass for this special place for your pup.

Make a Space. Your pets want to be in the spotlight, just like your kids! Make an area for them to run around in where they will be seen. Many dog runs are placed in areas out of the way. Let them have their moment, front and center.

Water Danger. Be mindful of where your pets are in relation to water. While they might have fun splashing in the sprinkler, they should be wearing a life vest when in a lake as they can get tired too.

Gardening for Your Mutts:

Go Organic. Both your lawn and garden are places your pup will explore. By using natural organic materials such as Espoma’s organic lawn care and organic fertilizer, it keeps even hidden dangers away.

Pet Safe Plants. Where do your pets love to go? If they are always sniffing around in certain parts of your garden, plant pet safe plants. This way both your garden and your pets thrive.

Fence them in. The plants we mean! If your pet is constantly getting into your garden beds, set up a fence to keep them out. Just be mindful of sharp edges to protect them from getting hurt.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide on how to get a Safe Paws Lawn!

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Winter is Coming – Frost Preparedness

It may still be warm outside, but that doesn’t mean winter is not going to come bite us in the bud. Frost is coming and it will hit your garden hard if you aren’t prepared.

Be sure to find your first frost date and prep your garden for winter.

What is Frost?

Frost is when the dew you see on your garden turns into ice crystals. This happens when the temperature drops down to 32° F or lower.

Even a light frost can end your garden for the season. This happens when temperatures are between 29-32°. When frost hits a garden that hasn’t been properly prepared, you can say goodbye to heat-loving plants.Winter can be hard on any garden, but many plants can be protected from a light frost and continue to grow until your first hard freeze.

Find your Frost Date.

The easiest way to find your frost date is to type in your zip code into this frost date calculator.

This calculator gives you an idea on when frost will hit first and when you can expect temperatures above freezing in the spring. The percentages on top of the chart explain that you have that much of a chance of having frost for that date. For example, in the Fall 32° row, if you have the date Oct 14 under the 50 percent column, you have a 50 percent chance of 32° on October 14th.

What does this mean for your garden?

Once you know your frost date, it’s time to prepare your garden to preserve what you can.

Prepare. Often times, first frosts are light and followed by some sunshiny days before everything freezes over for good. Cover crops with a blanket or cloth material to keep them warm during this period. Try to avoid plastic as it can freeze and crack. You can also try to hose off your garden first thing in the morning to get any of the excess ice crystals off and warm your plants back up.

Harvest. Remember to harvest as your vegetables continue to ripen. You don’t have to make a mad dash to get all of your vegetables inside, but keep an eye on them. If they stop producing or if a harsh frost is coming, harvest any vegetables on your plants and let them ripen inside. Frost will damage the delicate tissue of fruits and veggies like tomatoes.

Wait. For winter vegetables, such as some squash, pumpkins, and cabbage families, you can wait until after the frost. In fact, some root crops actually have improved flavor after the frost. Check your seed packet or with your local garden center to check which vegetables you can keep outside during a frost.

Feed. Lawns will stop growing when it gets colder. This is great news for you – no more mowing! Give them a fresh dose of Espoma’s Fall Winterizer Lawn Fertilizer to help it withstand the winter’s harsh cold.

When the hard frosts are on the way, it is time to put your garden to bed for the winter.

Step-by-Step: Prep the Garden for Winter

Did you feel that? Jack Frost has flown in for the season. We’ve already felt the first nip of cold weather, which means your garden has, too.

For many, the first frost date arrives in late October or early November.

Help your garden weather the cold this season. Prepare the lawn and garden beds now for an easy, fruitful spring.

Gardening for winter consists mostly of outdoor cleanup, followed by an indoor revival. Cleanup first, though!

winter lawn

Clip, Drip and Equip the Garden before Winter

  • Discard the Deceased. Compost spent annuals and vegetable plants.
  • Protect Perennials. Water perennials (rose bushes included!) once more. Then, after the ground freezes, cut perennials back to 3”, and remove any dead or diseased cane on roses. Finally, mulch.
  • Create a Clean Slate.Remove weeds from garden beds and then create superb soil. Take the soil test and add organic amendments as needed. After a hard freeze, mulch beds.

winter-lawn-care

So Long to the Lawn

winter garden tips

Ta-Ta for Now Trees

  • Leave the Leaves. Turn those golden leaves into garden gold by composting them!
  • Bolster the Bark. Feed trees with an organic tree fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Tree-tone for winter sustenance.
  • Stare at the Bare. After the leaves have fallen, examine your tree for weak spots and problems to prevent damage from fallen tree limbs during snow storms.

Your garden’s been put to bed for the winter and will surely sleep soundly. Now, let’s focus on those incredible indoor plants to keep you gardening all winter long.

Keep Your Lawn Strong – Even in the Dead Of Winter

If you want a greener lawn in spring, did you know the most important time to organically fertilize your grass is the fall? Most people guess spring!

Learn why a fall fertilizer — or winterizer — is so important and how to correctly apply this organic lawn food.

Winter Lawn Care Essentials: Boost Your Lawn with an Organic Lawn Winterizerwinter lawn care

In the fall and winter, your lawn looks like it’s done growing, but it’s actually flourishing underground. Grass roots are absorbing nutrients so long as the ground isn’t frozen.

Applying a slow-release, organic lawn winterizer supplies your grass with nutrients throughout fall and winter.

A lawn winterizer is simply a food formulated to help your lawn survive winter. Lawn winterizers contain nitrogen to promote thicker, fast-growing grass come spring. This organic, winter fertilizer also possesses potassium to help lawns recover from summer droughts.

In spring, your grass then uses this stored energy to grow greener grass fast — usually by mid-March.

Put Your Lawn to Bed with an Organic Winterizer

  1. Give Your Lawn a Look. Check if you have cool or warm-season grass. Most areas with freezing winters grow cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass or fescue. Southern regions have warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, Saint Augustine or Zoysia. Only apply winterizer to cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses do not get fertilized at this time.
  2. Prime Time. Apply an organic lawn winterizer one week after your final mow of the season. Or if it’s easier to remember, apply around the week of Thanksgiving.
  3. Need to Feed. Spread organic fertilizer onto dry grass. Get step-by-step instructions on applying lawn winterizer here.

Applying a lawn winterizer is like wrapping your lawn up in a cozy blanket and presenting a warm cup of soup.  Your lawn stays warm and well-fed during winter, so it can grow back thicker, greener and faster next spring.

Still looking for more info? Check out our Winter Lawn Care Pinterest board?

See Spot Go. Tricks to Fix Brown Spots in the Lawn

At summer’s end, your lawn may begin to look less than stellar.

If your entire lawn is brown, no need to worry. Your grass has gone dormant, which happens during heat waves with little rain. Your lawn should bounce back as soon as the weather cools and rain returns.

The real problem is those random, pesky brown spots in the lawn. Luckily, there’s treatment.

  1. Pup Clean Up. Dog urine is one of the most common causes of brown spots. These small, round patches appear in areas where your dog does his business. Repair these spots with organic gypsum. To avoid future mishaps, train your dog to go only in a certain section of the lawn.
  2. Brown Bares. Some brown spots are actually soil peeking out through bare spots. Now is the time to reseed your lawn to fix bare spots.
  3. Learn from the Burn. Chemical fertilizers when spilled, overused or incorrectly applied cause lawn burns. Dilute by watering. From now on, stick to organic lawn fertilizers. Organic lawn food is safer for you and your pets and more cost-effective in the lawn-term.
  4. H2O Flow. Check your lawn after watering. If the surface stays wet while the soil remains dry, the watering is too frequent and superficial. To fix, water deeply
  5. That Thatch Patch. A thatch layer of more than 1/2” decaying grass prevents water from getting to living grass roots. Break up the thatch with a rake. Then, apply an organic lawn fertilizer.
  6. Know the Mower. A dull mower blade tears grass, causing brown spots. So, sharpen your mower blades every fall and spring. Also, if your mower blades are too low, you’re scalping the lawn. Avoid more brown spots by never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass’s current height.

See spot disappear! Those unpleasant brown spots are on their way out! You’re one step closer to a greener, lusher lawn.

Live on Lawn! Tips for End of Summer Health

From barbecues and summer parties to gardening and endless games of fetch with your pup, your lawn has endured lots of activity this summer.

But, the summer isn’t over yet and your lawn needs some TLC. Go out with a bang by rejuvenating your lawn and prepping for the cooler season ahead.organic

safe paws espomaHelp Your Lawn Hang On All Winter Long

  1. Know How to Mow. When mowing, keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots.
  2. Agree to Reseed. If all of your lawn looks dry and brown, overseed the whole lawn. If only certain areas look bare, reseed only those spots. First, perform a soil test and improve if needed. Then cut grass and remove clippings. Level and rake soil smooth. With a broadcast spreader, apply a seed that best suits your region and weather. Finally, water.
  3. Prepare with Care. Get your lawn ready for the cooler weather ahead by fortifying it with nutrients. An organic fall winterizer promotes growth, helps lawns recover from drought and increases winter hardiness. So apply an organic fall winterizer after you’ve seeded and mowed. Follow instructions here.
  4. Fido First. Always use an organic lawn fertilizer or winterizer. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to your dog. This exposure has been linked with a higher risk of canine cancer. Keep your dog alive longer by making sure their paws are safe thanks to organic lawn products.

And just like that, you’re done with lawn care for the summer! How are you going to celebrate? We foresee a barbecue with fresh herbs and spicy homegrown peppers.

Dogscape – So Every Dog Has Its Day

In the garden and in life, dogs are our best pals. Plus, they’re the only ones who ever seem to help us weed!

So, thank them by dogscaping and create a yard that’s dog-friendly to keep them happy, healthy and out of trouble.

Create a Landscape of Wagging Tails and Happy Dogs:

1. Safe Paws, Safe Pets. Dogs love your lush, green lawn. The chemicals used in many lawn fertilizers and products aren’t safe for pets or people for that matter. Keep dogs’ paws safe, happy and healthy by opting for a 100% organic lawn program.

Safe Paws, Safe Pets organic lawn program.

2. Munching on Mulch. Since dogs often eat mulch, choose one that’s non-toxic and pet-safe. Avoid cocoa mulch, and any mulch that has essential oils, resins or chemical insecticides. Apply it like this.

safe paws organic lawn

3. Mend the Fence. Whether you choose electric or wooden, fences prevent dogs from running away and keep them safe. Check for holes, gaps, breaks or broken latches. And, fence off pools, ponds and fire pits to prevent injuries.

Safe paws organic lawn

4. Let Them Play! Make a doggy-dream spot by picking an area in the shade and fill it with their favorite toys.

Safe Paws organic lawn

5. Keep them Cool. Add a pool! A kiddie pool is cheap, loads of fun and protects dogs from the summer heat. Want it a bit more hidden? Dig out an area to create a pseudo in-ground pool, so only the top 1-2” is exposed. You can fence in the area if you please.

Safe Paws, organic lawn

6. Dig It. If your dog is frequently digging up your favorite flowers, create a dog-friendly dig spot. Pick a spot and put a border around it using rocks or bricks. Then, fill with loose dirt or sand. Bury a few toys and bones here to introduce the area. Reward your pup with treats when they dig here.

Safe paws organic lawn

Do you hear that? It’s the distant, but unmistakable sound of your dog’s tail wagging! Congrats, your dog officially has the coolest, safest yard in the neighborhood.

Keep Your Pet Safe During Hot Summer Days

Summertime means the fun doesn’t stop! From barbecues and homegrown veggies to beach trips and sunshine, we bet you’ve got a lot planned for the next few weeks.

Pets would like to follow us wherever we go. And we love traveling with our dogs, whether it’s to the mountains for a getaway or just to the garden center.

Are you (and your pet) taking a road-trip this summer? Keep the good times rollin’ by keeping pets safe in the hot weather.

During the summer months, never leave your pet alone in the car. Even with the windows cracked, your car’s temperature can rise 19°F in 7 minutes. Let’s avoid those types of hot dogs!summer pet safety

Here are hot weather traveling tips from the ASPCA:

  • Keep a bowl of water outside in the shade, and pack water and a bowl for dogs when traveling. Pets need lots of fresh, cool water in hot weather.
  • Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal.
  • Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible.
  • Provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.
  • Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments.

Another way to keep your dog cool is to avoid giving them a buzz cut! Get this — keeping your dog’s long hair groomed actually helps circulate air and better regulate body temperature.

Unsure if your dog is over-heating? Go inside, give ‘em water and check for heat stroke. Look for redness around the eyes or excessive panting. Cool them with a refreshing bath. If you’re still concerned, call the vet.

Another way you can keep pets happy and healthy this summer is to make sure the lawn is pet safe.

Did you know most lawn fertilizers contain harmful chemicals that can lead to canine cancer? Most people simply don’t know! Use only organic lawn fertilizers to keep your pets cancer-free this summer and for years to come.

See how we’re keeping dogs safe through Safe Paws — and how you can help.

Share this post to help keep more pets safe this summer!