Washington DC lawn care services
Washington DC is home to almost 200 native and naturalized grasses. This gives you plenty of choices for usage on your property and lawn, but obviously your yard will not maintain itself! Maybe you work all week and would rather not spend your weekends cutting, seeding and fertilizing your grass, or maybe you just don't have a passion for lawn care. Either way, we're not judging! We just want to help with your lawn care in Washington DC.
Washington DC is in the transition zone
DC is in the transition zone of America, which means it experiences hot hot summers and freezing cold winters. This can make it very difficult to grow and maintain grass. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, Buffalo, Carpet, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia typically grow in the southern U.S., where winters are mild and daytime temperatures are high. Alternately, cool-season grasses grow in the northern parts of the country with harsh winters and cooler summer temperatures. Grasses like Ryegrass, Bluegrass, and Fescue grow best in the north.
Transition zoners such as yourself have a decision to make; do you want to grow cool-season grass that can stand up to the cold and stay lush green but dies when it gets warmer in the summer? Or do you want to grow warm-season grass that thrives in the summer heat but goes dormant and brown when it gets cold?
Grasses commonly used in the transition zone
Fine Fescue can withstand both hot and cold temperatures, and is the most tolerant type of grass in shaded areas. However it grows very very slow, so lots of patience is required. Fine Fescue should be moved to one to two and a half inches.
Tall Fescue is a cool-season grass, but it tends to do better in heat than most other cool-season grasses. However, it does not handle cold winters. Tall Fescue should be watered every three to seven days during the hot, dry months and the grass develops a healthier root system when given deep soaks. The recommended mowing height for Tall Fescue is two to three inches.
Kentucky bluegrass is a favorite in the DC area due to its ability to withstand freezing winters, and hot summers if it's taken care of properly. The Kentucky bluegrass however does not do well in shade, and needs to be planted in full sun to thrive. It also needs to be given a good, nourishing soak every five to seven days, with at least half an inch to an inch of water each time. Kentucky bluegrass develops short roots if waterings are shallow, so be sure to soak the grass to the ground. Kentucky bluegrass should be mowed to one and a half to two inches.
The first three grasses we discussed were cool-season grasses. However there are some warm-season grasses that can do well, if properly maintained. Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede grass can grow in a transition zone, however they need a minimum air temperature of 60 to 65 degrees and soil temps of 50 degrees for growth to begin. It's also important to remember that these types of grasses will go dormant and turn brown during the cold winter months.
How to help your Washington DC grass thrive
The type of grass you grow is obviously very important to your yard's appearance but there are other conditions that can affect it too. When dealing with grass in fragile conditions, you have to protect it from as many other factors as you can. Foot traffic is something that can be greatly detrimental to the health of your lawn. Grasses with medium to hard textures, like Fescue, stand up better to foot traffic. Some grasses recover from heavy traffic more quickly than others, such as Kentucky bluegrass.
Keeping up with DC weather
Washington, DC weather is much like the city's politics, unpredictable!
Summer in DC is hot and humid, with July and August being the scorchers. Sometimes it doesn't even cool down at night! If you're growing cool-season grass, it will stop growing and lose color during a hot summer. It can even become a breeding pool for disease and insects! To prevent anything bad from happening to your lawn, we suggest mowing your lawn early in the morning or in the afternoon at the latest. We recommended 6am - 10 am as the best watering widow.
Fall in DC is classic, as the leaves turn colors and the temperature cools down. It rains less during fall than any other season in DC. Fall is the best season to seed your grass. This will help fill in any bare spots your lawn has suffered from the summer heat.
When winter arrives, Washington, DC gets blanketed in snow, although there is plenty of freezing rain as well. Washington DC gets about 40 inches of rain per year, with an average of 115 rainy days. The rain can get so cold that it causes ice storms! If you planted warm-season grass, this is when your lawn will start to suffer. It will go dormant, and probably turn brown in color. Regardless of the type of grass you planted, winter brings the threat of disease to your lawn. When grass is constantly wet, it becomes an incubator for mold. Cool-season grass is the most susceptible to snow mold. Snow mold is best controlled using manual removal and preventive measures. You can use a rake to break up the growth of snow molds and aid the recovery of your grass. It's also important to remember to clean your gutters! A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Regular Washington DC gutter cleaning can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Springtime is a favorite season of DC residents, with temperatures averaging 67 degrees. The famous cherry trees bloom along with public gardens blossoming. The temperature does drop very quickly when the sun sets. This is also the best time to feed your lawn! Before the hot, dry weather comes around, you should fertilize your lawn. This will help your lawn hold on to the nutrients until it needs them.
Should you hire a Washington DC lawn care professional?
The vast knowledge and experience of a professional is especially helpful in the tricky transition zone, where soil type and local climate conditions will play a role in finding the right grass type. From Washington DC yard services to Washington DC snow removal, a professional might be just what you need to get your yard exactly how you desire.