Fall Bulbs

Bright Spring Blooms Start in the Fall

After a long cold winter, a colorful bloom of spring flowers is a sight for sore eyes. But if you want the bloom, you’ve got to plant the bulbs. Here are some tips.

How to Select Quality Bulbs: Look for bulbs that are plump and firm. Avoid bulbs that are soft, withered, or growing mold. Look for big bulbs. Typically the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom.

Choosing the Best Time to Plant: Spring-blooming bulbs are best planted in the fall. Wait until nighttime temperatures range from 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit, but make sure to plant at least 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.

Planting Tips: Make sure to plant your bulbs at the proper soil depth, usually about 2-3 times deeper than the bulb is tall. Plant bulbs pointy side up, and choose a location with full sun and well-drained soil.

Design Ideas: New to planting bulbs? Consider the following design ideas:

  • When will the bulbs bloom? Different varieties bloom at different times. Read up on the bulbs you’re planting, so you’re not disappointed when your early-season crocuses bloom well before your mid-season tulips.
  • Most bulbs look best when planted in clusters. Irregular groupings create a concentration of color that is more striking than bulbs planted in a straight row. See for yourself. Toss a handful of bulbs onto the ground and plant them where they land.
  • When grouping different bulb varieties, consider the height of the bloom. For best effect, position shorter plants in front and taller plants in back.
  • Consider planting bulbs amongst perennials. As the bulb foliage withers, new growth from perennials or ornamental grasses will conceal the unsightly foliage. This tip will save a lot of time cutting down dead bulb foliage each year.

Lawn Aeration: The Secret to a Perfect Lawn

In addition to basic lawn care practices, such as mowing, watering, and fertilizing, annual lawn aeration is a key step to ensure your lawn is looking its best come spring time. If you’ve never heard of lawn aeration, or are unsure whether it would benefit your backyard, please read on.

What is lawn aeration? Lawn aeration is the process of mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil from a lawn.

What does lawn aeration do? Lawn aeration reduces soil compaction, which improves water and nutrient uptake, giving your grass plenty of food, water, and space to grow and thrive. Every time you step on your lawn, mow your grass, and even every time it rains, the soil beneath the turf becomes more compacted. Compacted soil is bad for a number of reasons. It limits water, nutrient, and oxygen absorption and prevents grass from developing deep roots.

Lawn aeration also helps prevent or eliminate “thatch” problems. Thatch is a layer of organic matter consisting of living and dead roots, crowns, and lower shoots located between the soil surface and the green grass blades. While a small thatch layer can help prevent soil compaction (about ½ inch or so), too much thatch can act like a sponge, absorbing all the water and fertilizer and preventing it from reaching the lawn’s roots (and creating a perfect breeding zone for harmful insects and organisms). The aeration process breaks up the thatch layer allowing water, air, and fertilizer to reach the lawn’s root system.

When should you aerate and how often? In the seacoast, our lawns primarily consist of cool weather grasses, which are best aerated in the early spring or mid-late fall. We prefer to aerate in the fall because it really improves spring green and growth.

As for how often, most lawns benefit from annual aeration, but there are exceptions. Lawns that see a lot of activity (tractors, bobcats, etc.), and lawns growing on clay-rich soil will benefit from semi-annual aeration.

How do I know if my lawn has a thatch problem? A lawn with a thatch problem will have a springy, almost bouncy feel underfoot. But to be sure, it’s always a good idea to have a professional take a look. Give us a call. We’d be happy to help.