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Serving Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin

Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance. Mulch eliminates mowing around trees and shrubs, providing a physical barrier that prevents damage from lawn mowers and weed trimmers. A 2-4 inch layer is adequate to prevent most weed seeds from germinating. The mulched area should include as much of the root zone as possible. Individual plants, such as trees, should have a mulched area to extend at least 3-6 feet out from the base of the plant. It is important to pull the mulch 1-2 inches away from the base to prevent bark decay. Some think that if mulch is good, then the more the better; however, the mulch layer can become too deep. Excessive amounts of mulch can result in a situation in which roots are growing in the mulch and not in the soil. In some cases, pests become a problem in the excessive amounts by tunneling through the mulch and chewing on the roots and plant bark.
Winter Pruning
Winter pruning (dormant pruning) is a process of removing deadwood and thinning out of shrubs, usually in late winter to early spring. In the winter you are able to see the entire structure of the plant, helping to determine what should be removed. This process is not only for aesthetic reasons but promotes new growth and encourages flowering and fruiting. In most cases the shrubs come back in the spring looking better than ever!
Sod - It is important to begin watering newly installed sod within 30 minutes of it being laid on the soil. Apply at least one inch of water so that the soil beneath the turf is soaked. Daily watering of is essential during the first two weeks.

New Seed - We recommend to be watered every other day until germination, at which point watering should continue frequently enough to complete establishment of lawn area.

General Watering - Whenever possible, water lawn in the early morning to maximize the turfs own growing cycle. Try to avoid late night watering.

Deciduous Shrubs/Trees - We recommend to be watered every other day for two weeks, after that point, a schedule of every three days is best for the next six weeks. Watering will need to continue once a week or until established. Again, this may need to be adjusted depending on weather conditions.

Evergreen Shrubs/Trees - We recommend to be watered every other day for the first two weeks, after that point a schedule of every three days is best for the next six weeks. Watering will need to continue once a week or until established. This may need to be adjusted depending on weather conditions.

It is also critical that new Evergreen shrubs and trees be watered once a week in the month of October and November. This will help against winter damage.

Watering Methods:

Creekside recommends a professionally installed irrigation system to best maintain your landscape.

Garden Hose - Turn your water on to a slow trickle and rest the end of your garden hose over the root ball of the plant. During drought like conditions, the hose can run for approximately 1.5 hours on a large tree (2.5" diameter). Make sure to move the hose periodically to ensure the entire root ball is saturated.

Soaker Hose - A great way to water plants growing in a bed or in a specific area. Since a soaker hose waters at a slow rate, it is important to make sure they run long enough to soak the root ball and surrounding soil. Also make sure your house is covering all sides of the plants; ideally it may need to be moved around during the course of watering. During drought like conditions, for plants about 18" tall, the hose should run for a minimum of 4 hours.

Sprinklers - Ideal to soak an entire bed of plants. Monitor sprinklers to make sure they are watering the plants deeply and thoroughly.

Gator Bags - These bags, used in drought like conditions, are secured to the tree trunk. They can hold up to 20 gallons of water, which is released slowly to the root ball over a period of 15-20 hours.

NOTE: Wilted leaves does not necessarily mean the plant is not getting enough water. It can be the result of over watering as well. Make sure to feel the soil to determine before grabbing that hose!
You probably understand the need for regular fertilization, watering and proper mowing in maintaining a healthy lawn. If you are like most people however, you have probably never realized the importance and benefits of lawn aeration.

The root system is the heart of the grass plant. Core aerating on an annual basis encourages deep, dense, healthy root growth. Lawns with healthy root systems are stronger and better able to survive insects, disease and drought conditions.

Why does that golf course look so good? Their secret for that thick, healthy turf is aerating two to three times each year. Opening up the soil allows the grass roots room to grow and breathe.

Benefits of Aeration:
  • Reduces the need for homeowner irrigation
  • Improves the effectiveness of lawn products
  • Decreases weed issues
  • Relieves soil compaction
  • Helps reduce and prevent thatch
  • Improves the penetration of air, moisture and nutrients deep in the soil promoting deeper, denser, healthier root growth
  • Breaks up layered soils so moisture and nutrients can penetrate deeply
  • Stimulates new side growth resulting in thicker lawns
  • Improves drought tolerance through deeper roots
  • Reduces moisture and nutrient run-off

Soil compaction can be your lawn's worst enemy. Compacted soils restrict air penetration deep in the soil, causing roots to suffocate and die. As a result, roots grow shallow and horizontal up on the surface where air is available. This condition leads to weak, unhealthy turf, thatch problems and lawns that are more likely to have problems with droughts, insects and disease injury.

Get some air into your soil and your root system will respond, producing deep, dense and thicker turf. Before you know it, your backyard may look like that beautiful golf course!!
Sod or Seed
Seed: Seeding can be done in the spring, however weeds and high summer temperatures often reduce the chance of success. Most annual weeds that compete with new grass seedlings germinate in spring. In addition, the short growth period in spring allows little time to develop a root system to survive the summer heat. For best results seeding should be done in late summer to early fall. Seeding done during these periods allows enough time for the grass seed to become well established before winter. Watering the new site is very important. For the best germination, be sure that there is moist soil to a depth of 2-4 inches. After seeding, water only as needed. Some drying during the day will not harm the seed, it may actually enhance germination. Gradually taper off on watering as the grass grows larger and the temperature cools. Ordinarily, 6-12 weeks are needed for establishment. It takes a full season for the new lawn to be a mature and durable turf, able to withstand traffic.

Sod: Sod should be laid as soon as possible or within 24 hours of delivery or pick up. Keep the sod moist but not saturated until firmly rooted in the soil, then gradually reduce watering. In 2-3 months, it can be treated as an established lawn. Aerification may help to prevent layering caused by peat or soil that came with the sod; aerate after establishment in the fall to at least a depth that goes through the sod and penetrates the existing soil layer.
Thatch Managment
What is Thatch?

Thatch is a sponge-like layer of living and dead plant parts, located just below the grass. It is rarely visible from the surface, as it accumulates between the base of the grass plants and the soil surface.

Excessive thatch is the#1 reason for most lawn problems!

Thatch harbors turf damaging insects and contributes to the growth and spread of disease causing fungi.

Is thatch harmful to my lawn?

Yes it is, and here's why:
  • Thatch layers act like sponges, trapping moisture and nutrients on the soil surface. This encourages roots to grow in the thatch where they become weak and die, causing more thatch
  • Thatch reduces the effectiveness of applied fertilizers and other lawn care products
  • Thatch makes an excellent breeding ground for turf damaging insects such as sod webworms, cut worms and chinch bugs
  • Thatch traps moisture near the surface of the grass, which contributes to the development and spread of disease
  • Thatch weakens the health of the lawn, making it more susceptible to damage from drought, heat, insects and diseases
Fertilizer is like a vitamin for your lawn. Lawns that are under fertilized tend to be thin with poor color. Lawns that are over fertilized tend to have thatch problems and are more prone to insect and disease damage.

Fertilizer is made up of 3 main elements: Nitrogen (the 1st number), Phosphate (the 2nd number) and Potash (the last number). Each element has a specific purpose. Nitrogen is used the most. It produces fast growth, thicker grass and gives a dark color to the grass. Too much nitrogen however can be damaging causing too much top growth leading to less root growth. You need a balanced fertilizer for your lawn with all 3 elements.

The best time to apply fertilizer is when it is actively growing in the spring and again in the fall. Summer fertilizer is not often necessary unless the lawn has light or poor color. If done during summer it should be applied at half the normal rate.

Call or email us today for more information and recommendations on timing and applications.
Got Geese?
We have the solution!

These birds are known to devour turf, mess up your patios, walks and lawns with their droppings.

Flight Control is a revolutionary new product made of naturally occurring plant compounds that repel geese! It is odorless, harmless to people, pets, wildlife, vegetation and even geese.

After Flight Control is applied to your turf areas, it denies geese their basic need to feed on your grass. The product first sends a visual warning (the geese see it, but people don't) and then delivers a harmless but very effective gut reaction if they attempt to feed. The product works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If geese can't eat, then they have no reason to stay!

Goose Facts:
  • Every three years the Canada geese population doubles!
  • Each goose can eat up to 3 lbs. of grass, and excrete more than 2 lbs. of feces everyday!
  • Droppings can contain toxic bacteria such as E. Coli and Toxoplasmosis
  • Droppings and bacteria can get on your shoes, then be tracked into the house
  • Turf affected areas become unusable
  • Geese cause soil compaction and increase the need for core aeration
  • Geese usually return to the same lawns year after year

  • Call Creekside today for your geese troubles!