Archive for October, 2011

Snow mold in your home lawn

Published by JKeefe on October 24th, 2011 - in Cultural Practices, Turf Disease

Classic visible snow mold damage

Cultural practices such as regular raking and mowing rank high on reducing snow mold in a home lawn setting during the fall.  Do not be tempted to cease mowing in October when a final cut should be done in November as the grass enters dormancy.  Not allowing leaf litter to accumulate or remain on the lawn as winter approaches is a great way to help minimize snow mold problems.  Cut your lawn a little shorter in late fall, as low as 1.5 inches to minimize matted grass and leaves.

Aerating will help reduce compaction and maintaining a slightly acidic soil pH will also help reduce pink snow mold.  Minimizing the amount of highly soluble nitrogen is also an important factor as succulent leaf blades are more susceptible as fall becomes winter.  Use of a slow release fertilizer while applying lower rates of nitrogen is a great solution if you have experienced snow mold problems in the past.

Gray and Pink snow mold are the two most widely known snow mold diseases in our geographic region.  Gray snow mold prefers actual snow cover while Pink can manifest itself just fine without snow so long as the moisture and temperature range are desirable.  Most snow molds become visible in March and can grow well into April with the appropriate weather conditions manifesting themselves in discolored patches ranging from 1-2ft to mere inches in diameter.  These patches can take on the appearance of cotton candy with colors ranging from gray, to pink, to white depending upon the time of day and type.

Reducing snow along your driveway, walkways, or minimizing large piles will help minimize gray snow mold at your home.  Fungicides should only be used as a last resort in a home lawn setting but can offer some protection with proper timing (late fall or early spring) and combination of products.  Creating a healthy lawn with a diverse turf grass population alongside proper cultural practices is going to be your best asset toward snow mold prevention.  If you do experience snow mold damage next spring, be sure to have your lawn aerated, raked, and fertilized to help maximize recovery of the affected areas.

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October lawn projects prepare your lawn for colder weather

October is a great month for lawn work

Fall is an excellent time to repair your lawn. Especially after experiencing a ten year heat record this past summer.  Regardless of what went wrong, having a game plan now is critical toward taking advantage of warm autumn soil, cool nights, and ample rainfall.  This typical weather combination makes fall an ideal time to repair and improve lawns in NH and VT.  So what can be done?  What should you consider in terms of products or services this fall to help your home lawn?

Aeration and overseeding should be at the top of your list because both will help your lawn in numerous ways.  Review my prior blog posts for the numerous benefits of aeration and overseeding.  So long as soil moisture is good, aeration can be done well into early November while most seeding should cease by the end of October.  Topdressing any bare spots before the weather turns too cold is a great way to repair damaged areas of your lawn.

Sandy soils, new lawns, and those with thin topsoil depths are at a disadvantage in terms of supporting a high quality lawn without planned treatments.  Applying calcium lime, natural or a high potassium fertilizer can maximize turf health now before colder weather arrives.

Work done in October can turn an otherwise weak, thin, or damaged lawn around; setting the stage for spring.  The healthier you get your lawn during October the better your grass is prepared for the winter.  Remember, most crabgrass control products do not allow seeding and use of that product simultaneously next spring.  Although spring lawn seeding and repair can be fruitful, the weather often plays a huge roll regarding rainfall and heat.  You will also face annual weeds as they germinate in new soil, presenting serious competition to your young lawn.  These two factors make fall (versus spring time) the opportune time to make repairs and achieve maximum results.

October Checklist:

-      Aeration with possible overseeding

-      High Calcium Lime

-      High potassium fertilizer

-      Schedule snow mold treatment for November

-      Balanced fertilizer if last treatment exceeds 2 months

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