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weed and seed in baltimore city

Canton Waterfront Land Care

We all play an important role in protecting our health and that of our family and pets, of wildlife and our waterways, especially the Chesapeake Bay. The City of Baltimore, in collaboration with Maryland Pesticide Network, is transitioning Canton Waterfront Park to a Bay-friendly, pesticide-free lawn and landscape care program.

Our goal is to provide a safe, healthy and attractive open space for Canton residents, and park visitors and to demonstrate how organic land care improves the health and appearance of lawn and landscape plants while protecting your family’s health and the environment.

Why Organic?

For pest and weed management, organic land care eliminates pesticide use and exposure. Pesticides are linked to acute and long-term negative impacts on human health wildlife and the health of Maryland’s waterways. Pesticides are linked to such chronic diseases as asthma, autism, birth defects, cancer, reproductive, nervous system, and childhood developmental disorders. Pesticides are also linked to alarming rates of bee hive deaths and intersex fish in our waterways.

The Secret to a Healthy Garden: Healthy Soil

Healthy soil is full of all kinds of life—worms, good bacteria and microorganisms producing nutrients that feed healthy grass and plants so they can withstand insects, weeds, disease, drought and heat. “Dead soil” lends itself to weeds and diseases that require treatment.

What We Are Doing, What You Can Do

Step 1: Test Your Soil—Canton Waterfront Park’s soil has been tested to assess what it needs to be healthy. You can buy a testing kit at home and garden stories or from your local Cooperative Extension office.

Step 2: Feed the Soil Healthy Food—Based on our soil testing, supplements have been applied to the park grounds. Your soil test, for example, may indicate the need for calcium, magnesium, zinc or micronutrients—minerals necessary in small amounts for healthy soil and sold at home and garden stores and online. Feeding your soil needed supplements along with a natural, organic fertilizer, improves grass and plant growth.

Step 3: Balancing the Soil’s pH Level—Soil testing will also tell you whether your soil is overly acidic or alkaline. The acid/alkaline level in healthy soil is balanced at what is known as 6.8 pH. If your soil is too alkaline (over a 6.8 pH), apply elemental sulfur. If your soil is too acidic (under 6.8 pH), you can add lime or bone meal also sold at home and garden centers.

Step 4: Overseed for Weed Control—“Overseeding lawns” is just what it sounds like. Namely, you’re sowing seed over existing grass, in order to fill in the bare patches. Weeds are out-competed by thick, healthy turf. The Park has been overseeded to naturally resist insects, fungal diseases and weather changes. Grasses best suited to most of Maryland’s climate are “cool season” varieties: Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fescues, and bentgrass. Before spreading grass seed aerate the soil to facilitate penetration of water and nutrients into soil and roots, using an aerator. Aerators can be rented at home and garden stores.

Step 5: Fertilize & Compost—Maryland’s new lawn fertilizer law requires homeowners and lawn care professionals to comply with application restrictions, use best management practices, observe fertilizer blackout dates and follow University of Maryland recommendations when fertilizing lawns to protect our waterways.

Since most soils in Maryland provide all the phosphorus that established lawns need, lawn fertilizer products sold in Maryland do not contain phosphorus unless labeled for use in establishing lawns or patching a small area. The Park is fertilized with organic phosphorus-free fertilizer and top-dressed with compost. Synthetic fertilizers, by contrast, interfere with microbial life in the soil.

Your homemade organic fertilizer (from leaves, grass clippings and food scraps) or purchased compost (plant-based) is an excellent way to provide your garden with nutrients. Compost supports and maintains a healthy soil and microbial community.

Apply once a year, usually in the fall, for better nutrient uptake, reduction of nutrient runoff and leaching, and increasing the soil’s water-holding capacity.

Step 6: Practice smart mowing—Taller grasses prevent weeds, stay green longer and reduce runoff, so mow with sharp blades set to 3 inches. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to return nitrogen and organic matter to the soil.

When Do You Spread Grass Seed in Maryland?

Spring is here in Maryland and the temperatures are starting to rise, the last little bit of snow has melted, and homeowners are finally starting to think about their lawn.

Now is a good time to consider overseeding that lawn, so that it stays lush and beautiful all summer.

But when is the best time to overseed? Is it too late? Too early? Let’s look at overseeding more closely to better understand why, when, and how to do it.

What is Overseeding?

Overseeding is spreading new grass seed, oftentimes a different variety, over your existing lawn. There are many reasons why this helps improve the quality and appearance of your lawn. For one, seeding with a different type of grass will help protect your lawn from disease. In addition, some grasses survive better in cooler temperatures, and other in hotter, dryer temperatures. By overseeding your lawn with a different type of grass can ensure your grass looks good for as long as possible. In addition, by adding more seed to your lawn, you’ll create a thicker, more lush grass that is more resistant to weeds. Having thick, healthy grass can reduce weeds, reduce disease, and make your lawn look a step above.

When Should I Spread Seed?

But when is the best time to spread new seed? That partly depends on what type of grass you’ll be planting. Some grass thrives in slightly cooler temperatures, and benefits most from being sewn in the fall. Many other types of grass do better being planted in the spring.

The question is more, which type of grass should I get, than when should I spread the seed. If you are planning to spread some grass seed now in the spring, just look for varieties that say to be spread in the spring. Now is the best time to add some more grass to your lawn, as a thicker lawn will help prevent weeds from taking hold as the temperatures rise.

If you are unsure how you can take your lawn to the next level, and you think spreading new grass seed would make a big difference, call us at Vin’s Total Care Landscaping today to talk about your options. Our team can seed your lawn with climate and season appropriate grass seed to ensure your lawn looks lush and healthy all summer. Call us today to talk about your Catonsville, MD lawn care needs!

Weed and seed in baltimore city

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