1. Neglecting your soil – Don’t guess…soil test! A green, lush, healthy lawn stats with good soil. Healthy soil includes a good texture, to proper nutrients and a balanced pH level. The ideal pH level is between 6.5 & 7. If the pH level is below 6.5, the soil is too acidic. Acidic soil can be brought to neutral level by applying Lime. If the pH level is above 7, your soil is too alkaline and needs a sulfur application. Within minutes we are able to tell you the pH level of your soil. Just give us a call and we will come test the pH of your soil for no charge! People often neglect their soil by not relieving compaction. Soil easily becomes compacted from everyday foot traffic and weekly mowing. By aerating your lawn in the Spring and Fall you will notice a huge difference in your lawn. The root system becomes deeper and produces thick, luscious, green grass. Aeration is a very cost effective way to reduce compaction.
  2. Improper MowingDull Lawn Mower blades tear the grass rather than providing a clean cut. The tearing of plant tissue can create a breeding ground for insects and disease. Another common mistake is cutting your grass too short. This encourages weed growth, increases heat stress during the hot summer months and makes your lawn more susceptible to insects and disease. You should never remove more than 1/3 of the grass at one time.
  3. Too much / Too little watering – Water is vital to all life. Too little water and things die, too much and things drown. This is very true when it comes to your lawn. Lawn clippings are nearly 90% water. Several people are concerned about not watering their lawns enough, in fact, more lawns are damaged by over-watering than under-watering. However, there are a few exceptions. A newly seeded lawn requires more water than an established lawn requires. Proper watering after installation will ensure the turf gets established. It will also have a huge impact on how well the lawn continues to grow for years to come. Within a 1/2 hour of installation you will need to water the new seed with at least one inch of water. Be sure to water the new seed daily, keeping the seed moist, not soggy, until it is rooted. An established lawn does not require as much water. The amount of water a lawn needs is determined by the overall health and ability to withstand use and drought. The standard for most established lawns is one inch of water per week. Try to water your lawn first thing in the morning. If you water your lawn in the evening there is a chance that this moisture will cause fungus throughout the night. Here is some helpful advice for knowing if your lawn needs water. Your lawn needs water if your foot prints are still visible an hour or more after watering. On a well-watered lawn your foot prints will not be visible. Also, if your lawn has a grey-blue color to it, it’s probably in need of water. Use a soil probe, such as a screwdriver to determine how dry your lawn is. If it can be pushed into the soil easily, it should have enough moisture. Remember too, just because your lawn turns brown during extreme dry periods does not mean it is dying; grass goes dormant during such periods.
  4. Failing to De-thatch – Thatch is a tightly packed layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develop between the turf and soil surface. If this layer is over a 1/2 inch thick it can prevent air, water, and nutrients from reaching your soil and getting to the roots. Malnourished roots will result in a lawn that struggles to thrive in unpleasant growing conditions. In order to determine if your lawn has a thatch problem, remove a small plug of turf several inches deep. If the spongy layer of material between the turf and the soil is over 1/2 – 3/4 inch you should consider dethatching or beginning a program which will encourage thatch decomposition.
  5. Failing to Aerate – Aerating a lawn is recommended when soil becomes compacted. Aeration is also recommended when air, water and nutrients are unable to reach the root system. Aeration pulls plugs of soil out of the ground which then allows air, water, and nutrients in. Not only does it create a deeper root system it also relieves compaction.
  6. Removing Lawn Clippings after Mowing – Lawn clippings are a great source of nutrients for your soil. As long as you mow on a regular basis, it is beneficial to NOT remove your clippings.
  7. Mowing Mishaps – Often times, people try to reduce the number of times they mow by mowing too low, known as scalping. At any given time, you should never remove more than 1/3 of the lawn at one time. When grass is mowed too short it encourage weed growth, increases heat stress during the hot summer months and makes your lawn more susceptible to insects and disease.

Nearly every homeowner is aware of the importance of applying lime to the home lawn. However, few probably have a complete understanding of why liming can be an important aspect of the home lawn care program, how to determine if liming is needed.

Lime is applied to the soil of home lawns to increase the soil pH, a measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity, can directly influence the vigor and quality of the home lawn. When the pH is below 7.0, the soil is said to be acidic; when above 7.0, it is alkaline.

Several factors cause the formation of acidic soil conditions. One primary cause is the leaching of base nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium form the soil. This occurs more frequently in areas of heavy rainfall or on heavily-irrigated turf. A second cause is the use of acidifying nitrogen fertilizers. Most of the fertilizers applied to lawns have the potential to cause acidic conditions. However, the extent to which fertilizer application will affect soil pH is dependent on a number of factors, including: type of nitrogen applied, amount applied, types of other nutrients present in the fertilizer, soil type and irrigation frequency. Other factors which may act to reduce soil pH are decomposition of soil organic matter and irrigation with acidic water.

A highly Acidic Lawn

When the soil pH drops below 6.0, a number of nutrients necessary for proper growth become less available for use by turfgrass plant. These include: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium and molybdenum. As these nutrients become less available, the lawn’s color, vigor and ability to resist (or recover from) heart, drought or traffic stress will be reduced. Applications of enough lime to raise the soil pH above 6.0 can increase the availability of these nutrients, thus making it easier to maintain the quality and vigor of the lawn.

An excessively high (alkaline) soil pH (greater than 8.0) is just as undesirable as a low pH. When the pH exceeds 8.0, such nutrients as nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc become less available for use by the turfgrass plants in the lawn. The result may be a less vigorous, unhealthy lawn.

 

Give us a call at (217) 347 – 7500 or Contact Us Today for a soil test!!

When do you start mowing your new lawn?  The grass is growing and getting tall but this is the time that the most damage can be done.  You can start mowing when the grass has reached 4 inches tall, not any sooner.  When you start mowing your lawn, cut the grass at least 3″ high or on your mowers highest level.  This will prevent the young grass from being stressed or damaged from mowing.  If your grass gets much longer than 3 inches it will mat, leading to winter lawn disease problems such as snow mold.  If you cut it shorter than 2 inches, you will severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring.  DO NOT SCALP! Scalped lawns lose density, have shallow root systems and bare spots which make it easier for weeds to take over.  Taller grass provides shading of the soil surface and reduces lethal temperatures near the base of the grass plants.  Taller grass has deeper roots and a lower tendency to wilt.  Taller grass draws moisture from a larger volume of soil and therefore requires less supplemental irrigation.

Change your mowing directions every time you mow.  By mowing in the same direction every time, you create streaks and lines that grow back irregularly.  To keep your lawn as healthy as possible, it is important that your lawn is not trampled or continuously matted to the point were it is not allowed to grow properly.  You should cut cross-diagonally, or in the opposite direction every time.  You will be amazed at what a simple process like this can do for your lawns appearance.

Lawns are easier to take care of and Strip when proper mowing techniques are Followed

Contact Us today or call (217) 347-7500 for a FREE Lawn Care Maintenance Estimate!!

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Benefits of Lawn Aeration

On May 13, 2011, in Lawn Issues, Services, by Admin

Aeration:

  • Increases water intake
  • Reduces water runoff and puddling
  • Stimulates root development
  • Reduces soil compaction
  • Increases the tolerance to heat
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown

 

Aeration is the natural exchange of soil and air.  The process is mechanically removing small plugs of thatch and soil form the lawn to improve soil aeration. This process not only helps heavily used lawns but also lawns growing on compacted soil.  Having you lawn aerated will improve the depth and extent of grass rooting which will allow better water uptake, enhanced fertilizer use & thatch breakdown.

Annual aeration is beneficial for turf growing on heavy clay or subsoil’s.  Both Spring and Fall are ideal times to aerate your lawn.

A Successful Customer Appreciation Day!

On May 3, 2011, in Services, by Admin

We would like to thank everyone that took time out of their weekend to spend it with us. We had an amazing turn out, even with the high winds and at points I thought we were going to need to pour a new parking lot!!! It is our customers who have made us what we are today, without YOU we are only a name.  Once again it was great seeing everyone with smiles on their faces and plates full of food.  Remember “Kiefer Bucks” are in full swing, for every $50.00 spent you will receive $5.00 towards your next purchase!!

Play System

Picture 1 of 42

The Children were having a ball with their newly found friends!

 

More Customer Appreciation Day Photos

 

 

In the beginning Kiefer Landscaping set forth to go above and beyond all other landscape companies by providing peace-of-mind to our customers, who quickly became friends.  After analyzing the situation we realized that there are multitudes of other communities who deserve the same satisfaction.  Over the past five years we have been expanding operations to cover, not only Central Illinois but Eastern Missouri and Western Indiana. One-by-one communities saw how easy and beautiful we had made their neighbors daily lives, with things as simple as lawn care maintenance. It didn’t take long before they wanted the same satisfaction for themselves.  Our company thrives on the miles of smiles we have created but more importantly the fulfillment we have received through the acceptance of our newly made neighbors and friends.

Our Lawn Care Maintenance crew is on of the best in Illinois, with crew members that have over 12 years vested in the practice and technique of a well manicured yard.  Not only can our customers rest assured their lawns will be taken care of whenever need be but they also know that our team takes time every day to sharpen all blades and make sure all equipment is 100%.   With our guys on the job our customers can finally envision those beautiful stripe patterns gracing their front and backyard.

We also pride ourselves in uniquely designed landscapes.  Whether someone wants their own secret garden filled with hostas, hydrangeas, and ornamental trees or a peaceful retreat where they can listen to the flowing water of their new waterscape, our customers know that we are the best of the best when turning dreams into reality.

During those hot summer months many people think about watering their lawns but too few people have the time it takes to dedicate themselves.  By choosing Kiefer Landscaping our customers know they have a licensed WeatherMatic Irrigation platinum contractor on the job to install top-quality hassle-free sprinkler and irrigation systems.  Our team takes the extra time to map out and ensure maximum amounts of coverage with minimal installation, leaving your lawn looking effortless.

If you or your family have been wondering how far we will go to turn your dreams into reality take a few moments and review our service area below.

Arcola, Illinois Fairfield, ILlinois Mattoon, Illinois St. Joseph, Illinois
Bellville, Illinois Fairview Heights, ILlinois Monticello, Illinois St.Louis, MO
Benton, Illinois Flora, ILlinois Mt. Zion, Illinois Swansea, Illinois
Carbondale, Illinois Glen Carbon, Illinois Newton, Illinois Taylorville, IL
Casey, Illinois Greenville, Illinois O’Fallon, Illinois Terre Haute, Indiana
Centralia, Illinois Highland, Illinois Olney, Illinois Troy, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois Hillsboro, Illinois Pana, Illinois Tuscola, Illinois
Charleston, Illinois Indianapolis, Indiana Rantoul, Illinois Urbana, Illinois
Collinsville, ILlinois Lawrenceville, Illinois Robinson, Illinois Vandalia, Illinois
Columbia, ILlinois Litchfield, Illinois Salem, Illinois Vincennes, Illinois
Danville, ILlinois Louisville, Ilinois Savoy, Illinois Waterloo, Illinois
Decatur, ILlinois Mahomet, Illinois Shelbyville, Illinois West Frankfort, Illinois
Edwardsville, ILlinois Marion, Illinois Springfield, Illinois
Effingham, ILlinois Marshall, Illinois St. Joseph, Illinois

Contact Us today for a FREE estimate and consultation!!

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Sod Installation:

We have been creating instant lawns for commercial and residential customers for over 20 years now by professionally installing top grade sod. By choosing our team you are guaranteed the very best in quality and customer service from start to finish.  We will ensure that the sod is installed smooth and tight with no visual seams, dips or humps. We have installed large commercial projects like the one at Purdue University, to small projects for  residential yards. Whatever your sod needs, we would be happy to rise to the occasion to meet and exceed your expectations for your new lawn. It is important to note that if an irrigation system is not installed at the property that you must maintain watering your sodded areas until the lawn is established. Contact us today for a FREE estimate and consultation!!

Why wait for seed to germinate when you can have an instant lawn!

Seeding a new or existing lawn

On February 8, 2011, in Seeding Lawns, by Admin

Seeding:

Did you just build a new home and are in need of a nice, thick lawn or are you a current home owner that wants to rework and reseed your yard? Our team has been grading and seeding lawns for over 20 years and has the experience and expertise to meet all your needs. We will make sure that the yard has the proper slope for drainage and is smooth in every direction without any humps or dips.  We first go through and do a rough grade to get the elevations and slope to the desired areas and then run over the area again in each direction with a finishing rake to ensure a perfectly graded yard.  After everything is perfect we start seeding the lawn along with our excellent starter fertilizer to ensure all grass will come up thick and dark green and stand far above your neighbors. Kiefer Landscaping uses our own special fescue blend to help maintain the quality of lawns we install. After the seed and fertilizer is applied, we will than blow a nice layer of straw over the seeded area with one of our professional straw blowers. We have multiple sizes of straw blowers and are able to meet your needs no matter the size of the project.

 

Slit Seeding:

This is the process of cutting seed into existing lawns without destroying or removing your existing lawn. The slit seeder utilizes closely spaced vertical cutting blades or discs to create a slit in the turf, which seeds are then placed. Along with helping your lawn grow thicker and healthier there are other advantages such as: seeds germinate faster, higher grass survival, even distribution of seed, fuller more lush lawn, and it cost much less than removing sod for new seeding. The best time to complete a Slit Seed job would be late August into early September

 

16 Tips to Seeding a New Lawn:

  1. Soil preparation is the number one factor in installing a new lawn.  If your soil contains heavy clay or any loose gravel, your lawn will more than likely not grow thick and luscious.
  2. You will need four to six inches of quality topsoil to have a healthy lawn. This should include rich black topsoil, organic material and a small amount of sand.  These help the grass seed germinate quickly and eliminate weeds in the future.
  3. Another option is to add starter fertilizer.  This will help give your lawn the nutrients it needs along with the quality topsoil.
  4. Use a tiller to mix the fertilizer.  and topsoil together.  Also, break up any compacted areas.  This will help prevent compaction in the future. Also, make sure all contaminated soil, weeds and old grass clippings are removed.
  5. To make sure you have soil, have the pH level tested.  The ideal level is between 6.5 and 7.  If the level is below 6 the soil to too acidic.  A lime application can be made to help bring this to the neutral level.  If the pH level is above 7 the soil is alkaline and a sulfur application needs to be made
  6. Begin raking the soil to level it out.  Again, make sure no rocks, debris, weeds or grass is in the prepared soil.  Now is the time to make sure your grading is the way you want it.  Make sure the grade is gently sloping away from your home or any buildings.  Do not be afraid to till, roll and rake the preparation area several times!
  7. The next step is choosing the correct seed blend for your area.  A good mix for Central Illinois is a blend of Fescues. The best time to plant this variety is mid-August to late September.
  8. Now it is time to plant! Try to pick a day with zero wind because it is important to apply seed evenly.  A new lawn will require a spreader.  The bag that contains the seed should state the coverage needed for the best results.  It is best to seed your lawn in sections.  Using a spreader, sow half of the seed in each section one direction and then come back at right angles when you sow the last half of the seed.  Any thinly seeded areas can be seeded by hand.
  9. A light application of fertilizer high in phosphorus will help with root growth.
  10. Apply a half-inch of quality topsoil over the seeded area.  Or you can use a light weight rake to work the seed into the ground, no more than a quarter of an inch.  It just needs to be deep enough to where the birds and wind will not take it out of the ground.
  11. A roller can be used to lightly pack the soil down.
  12. Next, water the seeded area.  This will help the soil set and hold the seed, so the germination process can start.  A fine spray is the best technique when watering.  Water regularly for 10-14 days.  Be sure to water first thing in the morning!! It is recommended to stay off the lawn as much as possible.
  13. After the seed has germinated you can gradually stop watering.  Watering every other to every third day for a week or two, following germination is ideal.  An established lawn should only need one inch of water per week for the rest of the growing season.
  14. When you mow for the first time, do not mow lower than three inches.
  15. A six-step fertilizer program is a great way to keep your lawn full of the nutrients it needs.
  16. If you did all the things listed above you should not have problems with weesd.  Be sure to fertilizer, mow, water and aerate when needed!

Lawn Maintenance:

Our lawn care & maintenance services are unmatched in the area. With over 20 years experience our team has perfected this service into an art form. By choosing Kiefer Landscaping you can rest easy knowing that tasks such as lawn mowing and weed eating are being taken care of by the best around. Our expert crews know that there are certain ways a yard should be maintained to maximize its benefits. Mower blades are sharpened on a daily basis, leaving them dull opens up your lawn to pests and diseases. We also alternate mowing patterns so over time ruts aren’t apart of your landscape. Also by removing no more the 1/3 of the leaf blade you are maintaining the hearty-ness of your lawn, removing anymore than that would be very stressful for the plant and would lead to pest and disease problems. Another mistake a lot of companies make is bagging the grass clippings, even though the lawn may look nice once finished, over time it will begin to loose its luster due to all the nutrients in the clippings that are needed by your lawn. Our crews also pride themselves in laying out beautiful stripe patterns in every lawn they mows or maintain, never again will you have to try tirelessly to get these effects. While most people consider lawn maintenance to be just lawn mowing we at Kiefer Landscaping know that in order to maintain a healthy lawn for life there needs to be more done than just the simple cut, and that is the biggest difference between us and our competitors.

 

6-Step Fertilizer Program:

The secret to having a green lawn lies in providing sufficient nutrients and having an effective fertilizer program.  Our rigorous 6-step fertilization program consists of: Balanced feeding of granular fertilizer, granular fertilizer fortified with iron, custom formulated fertilizer to keep lawn green and healthy during hot summer months, insect control, granular fertilizer with extra nitrogen and potash for rich, green fall color with extra vigor, lastly we do a special feeding to promote winter root growth and encourage a vibrant, green lawn for the spring.  Some of the many benefits of fertilizing your lawn consist of: Promoting consistent green color, foliage growth to fill in bare spots, develops strong roots, improves the overall health of the lawn, and prevents pesky weeds.

Spring & Fall Clean-Up’s:

Spring and Fall clean-ups can be a hassle for anyone and that’s why more and more people have turned to us for their clean-up needs.  Our customers know that with our crew on the job it will be completed on time the first time.  We will come out and service your property with a multitude of things such as: bed maintenance, top dressing mulch, pulling weeds if any, trimming, pruning, leaf removal, pressure washing, irrigation and pond start ups and blow outs, top dressing of landscape rock and many more.  All work is completed by cleaning up all debris and blowing off all hard surfaces, by the time you get home you will have a beautiful landscape ready to bloom with no traces of us having been there.

Tree & Shrub Trimming & Fertilizing:

Tree and shrub trimming and removal is needed to help your landscape flourish.  Having your plants professionally trimmed will enhance their natural beauty.  It will also prevent disease, decay, and help from penetrating and infecting other areas of your plants.  It is very important to have a hanging or diseased limb removed due to the fact that it could cause major damage to your property or the plant itself.  Keeping your trees trimmed will make them more wind resistant, beautiful, and less susceptible to disease. Some of the benefits include: complimenting you and your home, extends the life of your plants, brings plants back to their natural shape and size, preserves strength and stature, encourages flower and fruit development.  Trimming at a young age will train them to grow properly however if done wrong it could kill the tree and cause rotting to start or deform the tree.  Also, topping is a huge mistake, we see this all over the area, and trees that are topped will almost always become diseased and result in death.

Deep root fertilization is preferred and the most effective method for fertilizing trees and shrubs.  Through this process a liquid time-released fertilizer is pressure injected into the roots.  Well-nourished plants have better resistance to disease and insect attack.  Deep root fertilizing can help keep your plants healthier, promoting the luxurious foliage that adds beauty and value to your property.  When you drop fertilizer on top of your lawn the grass receives most of the benefits, that is why it is so important to feed your trees and shrubs with a deep root fertilizer treatment.  Enjoy the benefits of having us treat your trees and shrubs: Bypasses elements that keep your plants from being nourished, promotes deep root growth and prevents shallow roots, increases sturdiness of plants, puts water and nutrients where plants need them most, perfect for plants with delicate blossoms or petals, injected into the ground which keeps fertilizer away from pets and children, promotes tree growth to provide more shade, and increases blooms and frequency of blooming periods.

Landscape Winterization:

Landscape winterization is something few people think about doing but it is critical to giving your landscape a head start next spring. A landscape winterization consists of removing all annuals, trimming down all perennials, removing all debris from your landscape beds, pulling all weeds and winterizing any ponds or water features you might have in your landscape beds or anywhere else on your property. This is a crucial step to ensuring your water feature will be functioning correctly for years to come and also to ensure your perennials can start shooting up when that wonderful spring airs rolls in.

Lawn Renovation’s:

We have been renovating lawns for over 20 years. When people hear lawn renovations they may think of a new landscape or something along those lines. While this is all part of the process the main thing to remember is that a lawn renovation is exactly that; a renovation of your existing lawn. There are many things that can be done to get your lawn back to its original luster. First we start off by getting any weed problem, if any, under control. We do this by physically pulling and using a broadcast herbicide. Next, we take a look at the thatch situation and begin the process of Dethatching, depending on how extreme the build up is one could either use a hand rake, a power dethatcher, or a sod cutter. We then continue the process by preparing the soil which can be done by hand raking, aerification, or vertical mowing after applying Kiefer Landscaping’s special blend of fertilizer it is time to start the seeding process. Rotary spreaders, drop spreaders, and slit seeders are all good means of broadcasting seed throughout a lawn. The final step in the process is to lightly irrigate the newly renovated area up to twice a day but never letting it become soggy.

 

 

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