Archive for the ‘Crabgrass’ Category

Summer crabgrass woes

Published by mrgrass on July 11th, 2013 - in Crabgrass

A typical July and August brings ideal summer heat for optimum crabgrass growth.  Hot summer days slow normal grass growth but crabgrass takes off like a rocket; growing up and then outward to claim weak, thin, or bare lawn areas.  If you failed to apply a pre-emergent spring crabgrass suppressant, chances are your lawn may look like the lawn to the left in the picture below compared to one treated to the right.  The lawn on the left is actually 90% crabgrass and come fall, it will all die leaving behind a brown dusty mess.    A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, a thousand crabgrass plants!  If left untreated, millions of crabgrass seeds will take hold as a new school year begins.  If you forgot or do not think a crabgrass suppressant works, just keep looking at the picture below – with only one treatment in May, simply amazing.  Even the bare/plow damaged edges are crabgrass free as of July 9th!

Crabgrass in a lawn

Fear not, there are still treatments which can slow, thin out, or completely eliminate existing crabgrass in small, medium, and even larger areas.  Chippers’ turf division offers several post emergent sprays which can be used to target just the crabgrass, not the good grass you want to save.  One well-timed spray can provide superior results when done properly with our licensed lawn technicians.  If you have lime green crabgrass and it is starting to resemble the photo above, give me call or your local lawn care company so you don’t allow your lawn to be lost in a jungle of crabgrass this summer. 

What else can you do to prevent crabgrass from taking over? In most cases, a healthy lawn which is cut properly and treated fairly in terms of care will have the best defense against germinating crabgrass; density.  Fair care refers to fertilizing, lime, aeration, and compost tea for example but does not mean any or all need necessary be done to insure a healthy lawn.  A proper cut and a thick healthy lawn are your best natural defenses against crabgrass.  This just makes good sense.  Think for a moment, a thin lawn has hotter, exposed soil and hot soil lets crabgrass seeds germinate and grow fast – real fast.  A few too short mowing cuts can cause an explosion of crabgrass in weeks where proper 3” mowing would have prevented some, if not most, under the same conditions.

If your lawn is in trouble, have a qualified company inspect the problem and provide solutions.  Something might be appropriate now, next month, or this fall depending upon the infestation given the overall lawn location and condition.  Don’t let a good lawn go bad, stop crabgrass before it engulfs your mailbox and pets!

 

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A look back at the 2012 lawn care season.

There is little disputing the 2012 growing season was a record breaker in more than one area.  Extreme heat and corresponding drought caused widespread damage to even well cared for lawns.  The effect of these weather phenomena then led to massive explosions of pests like grubs and chinch bugs.  Even with November fast approaching, the pest issues will spill over into the spring of 2013, and if left untreated, will continue to cause turf damage.  There is little that can be done for physical lawn repairs at this point in the growing season like bringing in new loam or trying to establish a lawn through seeding.  However, beneficial turf treatments applied now like potassium, lime, compost tea, sea kelp, and slow release fertilizer can help both a damaged and healthy lawn.  Lawn repairs ranging from small to full renovations should be explored now or at least during the winter months as landscapers and lawn care companies will be overwhelmed this spring by sheer volume of repairs necessary never mind pest treatments.  Timing could not be more critical in terms of seeding and treating for damaging turf and ornamental pests than the spring of 2013.  Even if the weather pattern returns to a more “normal” or stable pattern, the repercussions of this season’s heat and drought will continue into 2013.  Although brown grass in October can be a result of past drought and exposure to dry weather, it can also spell bug troubles in the surrounding lawn as grubs vigorously eat fast growing root systems.

Don't wait until the spring to make your lawn plans

I am seeing grubs in record setting numbers and on lawns which have never had a past issue.  While a curative treatment is only a short term fix, a preventative treatment in 2013 may well be in order for more lawns than previously expected.  I do not normally endorse the use of materials to preventatively protect against grubs, which in a normal year are rarely a huge issue unless past history indicates a problem.  However, I will be firmly endorsing both curative and preventative grub control on a case-by-case basis for 2013 because of the high risk factors recently experienced in New England.  Furthermore, another mild winter would further enhance tick populations in 2013 in addition to hundreds of other outdoor pests.  Make a note on your calendar to explore the potential health issues this winter and make plans, if deemed appropriate after speaking to professionals in the industry, such as Chippers.

On the bright side, the recent rain and cooler weather in combination with fall lawn treatments are helping damaged and weak lawns recover to the maximum degree possible before winter.  Don’t dismiss potassium, compost tea, and aeration after the harsh growing season we experienced this past year.  All of these treatments can be done well into November in most of New England so long as the ground does not freeze.

White grubs are eating your lawn without you knowing it!

In closing, don’t forget the millions of crabgrass seeds which were deposited in record numbers along driveways, patios, and walkways because of drought or insect damaged lawns.  Although a thick, healthy lawn is your best defense against crabgrass, some areas will not be up to the task without additional help of a preventative crabgrass barrier in the spring of 2013.  Timing will be key and a lot of good can be done in an eight week period next spring, so don’t file your lawn contract when it arrives this winter, review it carefully and setup a proactive plan to both protect and perhaps restore your home lawn for the investment it truly is!

 

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Broadleaf weed problems?

 

As Labor Day approaches, you are likely forced to think about school resuming and the sad state of affairs with your lawn.  If you have an average lawn in New Hampshire or Vermont, you are likely going to find fat broadleaf weeds like plantain, dandelions, and clover among a host of other weedy villains.  Let us not forget to give tribute to the massive crop of crabgrass which has now grown into your driveway, patio, and walkway cracks!  You my friend have lawn problems!  What to do?  There must be something that can be done!

If you attempted to treat for weeds this summer, your efforts were most likely in vain due to high temperatures and dry conditions.  Broadleaf weeds are best reduced when they are actively growing which usually occurs with cool fall or spring weather when soil moisture is adequate.  Any summer spraying usually just causes the surrounding turf to brown under the stress and the weed itself might look a worse for wear but does not die.  This year brought such unusually hot and dry weather, attempting to keep a lawn free of weeds and especially crabgrass seemed like spraying a house on fire with a garden house.  While proper mowing does help, irrigation became vital if your well supported the flow or your town did not put a watering ban in effect.  Brown grass caused the soil to heat up quickly where dormant crabgrass and annual weed seeds popped up and grew overnight, basking in the hot noon sun.  That is the past and explains why your lawn may look the way it does today, even with professional care.

Moving forward, you have two main options, renovate and repair damaged lawn areas to regain lost lawn or go after the weeds once we get cooler, wetter weather.  My advice to most folks is to aerate and seed in the fall and repair any lawn damage without the pressure of crabgrass and annual weeds, that are now dying (something about them dying in the fall).  With reduced competition, fall becomes the best time to overseed and aerate a lawn after a brutal New England growing season.  Go after the weeds next spring when seeding is less effective and crabgrass lurks, just waiting to over run your best efforts in lawn repair.  There is little time now to spray for weeds and seed, given most weed control products have a one month waiting period before seeding is recommended. My advice for the average home owner is to get as much grass back now and then deal with the weeds next spring.  Try improving the soil quality by adding sea kelp or compost tea to get an edge next spring.  The next few months are critical and should be taken full advantage of if you really want to make a difference in your home lawn; not only this fall but to set the stage for the entire growing season of 2013!

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