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Let's Talk Lawns

The fall lawn season is nearly upon us and after the long, hot, Hampton Roads' summer, it's time to start preparing for re-establishing your lawn or maybe preparing for a new lawn. We want you to be prepared when the weather cools in September to easily be able to lay your seed and have the lush lawn you have always wanted.

Cool Season Lawns:
Cool season lawns thrive in cooler temperatures that range from 55-75 degrees. In the Hampton roads area, we recommend fescue as the best lawn seed or sod for this area. Fescue has the best heat tolerance of all cool season lawns and actually loves our cool winter weather as well.

Why Fall:
Fall is the best time to establish a fescue lawn as summer will be the furthest season away from when you first start the young lawn. Starting in the fall allows for root development, better utilization of fertilizer and longest the time to establish before summer comes around again.

Preparing to seed:
Whether you need to start from scratch or you just need to get ready to seed, there are lots of things you can do now to get ready before it is time to seed.

Starting From Scratch:
There are many reasons you may want to start a lawn from scratch. For many of you this may be your first lawn, and it's always easier and more economical to start from scratch. You may have more weeds then lawn - a general rule of thumb is 50% weeds or more in the lawn you will save time and money starting from scratch. You may have a mix of different types of grasses. In this case, lawns look uneven due to different growth rates, and you will also see different textures and different colors of green. Having one type of grass is much more appealing to the eye. If you decide to start from scratch, come in a let us get you started, the sooner you start the sooner you will have a new lawn this fall. The biggest step in starting from scratch is killing the existing weeds and lawn. Hi Yield Killz All is the best complete killer, a non-selective weed and grass killer, will kill whatever you spray it on. It has the highest active ingredient than any other brand on the market for the price. Killz All is a great value and a great way to get the unwanted grass and weeds dead to the root. Starting early allows time for multiple sprays if needed.

Check your pH:
Knowing your soil pH is very important to maintaining and establishing a lawn. If your pH is too low or too high then weeds will grow better and lawn grasses like fescue won’t be able to get nutrients out of the soil or out of the fertilizers you apply. In Hampton Roads, our soil is mostly acidic, and usually ranges between a 4.5 to a 5.5, which means your lawn can not get 30%-70% of the fertilizer you put down. We offer free pH testing in all three of our year-round locations. If your pH is low, then applying Mag-I-Cal will raise your pH much faster then normal lime with a fraction of the weight, 1 bag of Mag-I-Cal is equivalent to 200 lbs. of lime. It will change your pH in 4-6 weeks where pelletized lime takes 6-8 months.

Invest in your soil:
You should invest as much in your soil as you do in your lawn seed and fertilizer. Your soil is where the lawn will live and thrive over the years, so making sure your soil is in good health will insure a healthy lawn. McGill compost is a great local compost that can be applied as a thin layer across the lawn or bare ground that will act as a perfect seed bed when you lay your seed. Love your Lawn Love your Soil literally feeds your soil microbes therefore making your soil less compacted, more nutrient rich and will help in root development in your new lawn.

Tilling, Aeration and Dethatching:
While these techniques may be important in some cases, it is not recommended to do them on a regular schedule and definitely not every year. Tilling is usually done when starting from scratch, as it will loosen hard soils and allow for grass to be raked up when done. We only recommend tilling if you need to level bumps or waves in your soil level and rather then tilling you can smooth out a soil level by adding topsoil to low spots. Tilling will also stir up the soil and bring weed seeds to the top surface where they can now germinate, thus causing a larger more significant weed problem. Aeration is only recommended when soil has become very compacted, and using Love your Lawn Love your Soil twice a year will give you similar results and keep your soil loose and porous. Dethatching is only needed when thatch becomes a problem. Thatch is caused by the build up of grass clippings underneath the lawn that will restrict air flow and nutrient penetration. Using a bagger when mowing the lawn will help prevent thatch build up, and may completely eliminate the need for dethatching. You can use your lawn clippings to start a compost pile that you can use around the yard and garden. Applying a thin layer of compost can also help biodegrade your thatch build up and supply rich nutrients and organic matter to your soil.

Weed Killers:
If you have a few weeds or crabgrass issues, then now is the time to take care of those, as you need to allow for 2-4 weeks before applying seed. Fertilome Weed Free Zone and Weed Out with Crabgrass Killer are the two best to accomplish this. They are selective herbicides that will eliminate the weeds but not harm your existing fescue. These can be done now so you are ready to overseed and fill in bare spots this fall.

See You Soon:
Lawn Care supplies are fully stocked in our three year-round locations in Hampton, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Please come in and talk to a lawn care expert about how we can help. FREE lawn Classes will be held every Saturday, at all locations this fall beginning September 10th through October 8th, at 11am.

NEW FALL TRENDS FOR 2016

Melamine Plates
“They’re not paper!”
With the look of paper plates, these whimsical melamine plates have been flying off the shelves since we got them in. These quality pieces are dishwasher safe, and McDonald Garden Center has the highly sought-after patterns that are selling out online and at other retailers. Keep in mind, we can’t guarantee your favorites will be there - so shop it like it’s hot! Starting at $19.99

Scarfs, Hats & Socks
“The Weekend Collection”
So yeah, it may still be a teensy bit warm outside…but we are already dreaming of these super soft, super cute knit scarfs with matching knit hats. From the World’s Softest Socks Company, based out of Niota, Tennessee, this line of fall gear is all about fashionable, cozy comfort with socks, that many say, are like, “walking on clouds.” Starting at $9.99

…We can almost smell the pumpkin spice lattes and cinnamon candles

Enamelware Dishes - Blue Crab and Old Bay
There’s just something about these blue crab and old bay pieces that brings a sense of nostalgia to the kitchen. Old Bay, the diamond dust of the Chesapeake Bay, sets the tone of tantalizing tastes while the Blue Crab embodies everything we love about the Hampton Roads area. Hand-dipped and fired, this dishwasher safe cookware is made of carbon steel-coated porcelain-enamel and trimmed in stainless steel. Starting at $9.99

These are sure to be a treasured heirloom for generations to enjoy.

Metal Pumpkins
We are obsessed with these stylish and high quality metal pumpkins! Perfect as a statement piece, or versatile enough to fit into an overall concept, they are the quintessential must-have for fall décor. Starting at $9.99

Looking for a whole theme? We’ve just launched our Autumn 2016-17 collection at all three year-round locations with pumpkin stakes, lanterns, wheat wreaths, and everything from classic to quirky.

New Rubber Duck Glycerin Soaps
These adorable little quackers made a splash in our office the minute we laid eyes on them! Made in the USA, these duck soaps feature rubber duck toys swimming happily in fruity-fragranced, naturally-moisturizing glycerin soap. $8.99 each

Washing your hands has never been more endearing! Fun Fact: If visit our Chesapeake location, you may see how we have a certain affinity for these fine feathered friends.

New Local Wall Décor Scenes
You don’t have to be a Hampton Roads native to appreciate the beauty of our cities. The 757 has something special - perhaps the blending of the beauty of the coast with the richness of our country’s history. We like to think it’s the melting pot of residents who landed here from area codes of their own. Either way, this line of wall décor is the perfect way to honor the pride of living in our 7 cities. With iconic images from Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Hampton, these high quality boards can be used indoors or outdoors in a covered area and are manufactured and designed in Raleigh, North Carolina! Starting at $24.99

It’s a sign of good taste.

Homestead Purple Verbena, perennials, deer resistant

STAFF FAVORITE "HOMESTEAD PURPLE" VERBENA

Michelle, Assistant Store Manager, shares one of her favorite perennials.

My pick is trailing ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena. Although we have a wide selection of annual verbenas in many colors, this perennial variety produces large clusters of purple flowers that bloom late spring throughout summer and into the first frost. Along with its large clusters of flowers, it has rich, dark green foliage that showcases its vivid purple blooms. Homestead prefers full sun, well draining soil, and once established, only needs occasional watering during hot periods in the summer. Cutting the verbena plants back at the end of the summer will encourage continued flowering well into the fall. Its hardiness ranges from zones 7-10, and is typically evergreen in Hampton Roads.

Homestead Purple is a rampant grower and will quickly fill in any open space. It typically grows 1-foot high and 3-feet wide, making it perfect for borders, groundcovers and rock gardens. This perennial also looks great in containers on a patio or porch. It's also a beneficial plant to pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. And, if you have issues with deer eating your plants - no worries, this plant is resistant and usually not on their menu! “Homestead Purple” verbena is a great choice for any Hampton Roads gardener.

Downtown Newport News, Virginia, Washington Avenue, 1975

ADVERTISING FLASHBACK TO 1975

We're taking a trip back in time to 1975. See McDonald Garden Center Owner, Eddie Anderson, reminisce about the marketing techniques of yesteryear.