20 Oct 2015
Using leaves as mulch

The Benefits of Using Leaves as Mulch

Why Leaves?

Using leaves as mulch on Raleigh lawns makes sense on so many levels:

  • It is completely free if the leaves come from your own lawn
  • You don’t have to worry about transporting anything to or from your lawn
  • Leaves have important trace minerals that the tree pulled from your soil and can be recycled back in
  • They decompose quickly and don’t grow fungus as readily
  • Leaves prevent evaporation, keeping better soil moisture

It is common practice among lawn experts to shred their leaves and use them as a mulch. That is because many of these benefits cannot be said of whole leaves. So, what additional benefit comes from shredding the leaves before using them as mulch?

Why Shred Leaves?
Actually, there are many reasons shredded leaves make much better mulch than full leaves. For one, full leaves block in so much air and water that it can suffocate the lawn’s growth. The excess moisture cannot evaporate and fungi form. There is also a possibility of matting as they bunch together. Whole leaves do not disintegrate as quickly, either, so they cannot improve lawn fertility as readily.

For best results, gather your leaves and find a way to shred them as finely as possible. There are leaf mulching machines that are specifically designed for the job, but others use their lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Overall, finely shredded leaves are a perfect mulch for around flower beds and trees because of the low cost, convenience, and effectiveness they provide.

Those in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, can rely on Barefoot and Associates as local experts in mulching and fertilization.

20 Oct 2015
Ask the Expert: The Perfect Length for a Lawn

Ask the Expert: The Perfect Length for a Lawn

Barefoot and Associates is a local expert for those in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, who are seeking answers on all lawn care questions. Every week we are asked a wide variety of questions from customers and others in the area. We are confident that if you have a question, we will be able to answer it to your satisfaction.

One of our most common questions: 

What is the proper length to mow one’s lawn?

North Carolina is in a transitional zone between northern areas that use more cool-season grasses and southern areas that rely more on warm-season grasses. This means property owners use a wide variety of turfgrasses with different recommended lengths.

Each of these grass types does have a “healthiest” length for cutting, however. Cutting below that length can be damaging to the lawn, exposing it to heat and disease. After finding the recommended length for your particular species of grass, it is best to err on the longer side of that number when you mow. During hotter months this is especially true. In cooler months it is not as harmful to cut in the lower end of the recommended length.

Grasses that are kept shorter (between ¼ inch and an inch) include bent grass and bermuda grass. The middle range (one to two inches) include zoysia, centipede, and St. Augustine. Longer grasses that should stay above two inches include tall fescue, buffalo grass, and bahia grass.

If you’re unsure what grass makes the most sense for your lawn, or how to best care for it, give us a call.

22 Sep 2015
Crabgrass control at Barefoot and Associates

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass for Good

Crabgrass is a nemesis of lawn lovers everywhere, including here in the Raleigh area. It’s scientific name, Digitaria is a warm, seasonal plant that grows annually that many people consider a weed. The reason behind the name “Crabgrass” comes from its characteristic of sharing a common and shallow root system that appears to be spread out like a crab across the lawn.

How does Crabgrass emerge?
When the weather warms, the soil in the earth gradually warms as well. This is when crabgrass starts to grow.
Once the temperature of the atmosphere reaches around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Crabgrass seeds left by plants prior begin to grow; the seeds that never germinated the year before now begin to do so.
These germinating plants quickly grow and emerge onto the exterior surface.
Crabgrass plants create thousands of seeds every year to be left in the ground to produce more Crabgrass the following year.
However, come fall, Crabgrass stops producing seeds and the cold weather kills off the rest of that year’s plants.


How to eliminate Crabgrass from your lawn

The best way to eliminate Crabgrass is to focus on preventing it from emerging at all. Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied to kill the soon-to-germinate Crabgrass seeds before they ever have a chance to sprout. In addition, it is best to maintain a healthy, full lawn as a defense to Crabgrass.

For example, if you water your lawn less frequently and more deeply, the shallow root system of the Crabgrass will not be able to use this resource. Though, your turfgrass will.
Another method of Crabgrass prevention is to mow your lawn a little longer than normal so that the Crabgrass does not receive the direct sunlight it needs in order to produce more plants the following year.


Barefoot and Associates can eliminate your Crabgrass invasion

In reality, winning the war against Crabgrass is a difficult task. The timing for laying down pre-emergent herbicide, for example, has to be very precise. You can do this by taking soil temperatures, followed by applying the herbicide at just the right moment. Barefoot and Associates have the Crabgrass prevention process down to a science. Call us at 919-934-3554 if you’re in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas and are interested in our help on dealing with the aggravating problem of Crabgrass, once and for all.