Archive for the ‘Crabgrass’ Category

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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Your brown lawn may have more than a color problem

High heat and lack of rainfall has NH & VT lawns turning brown

 

The summer of 2012 is shaping up to be one of record heat, sun, warmth, and drought in many areas across the USA.  While this is fabulous vacation weather for the beach and outdoor activities, your lawn may have gone brown months ago depending upon your location.  In New England, we are experiencing dry weather not felt since the 1950’s.  I don’t imagine Elvis would be pleased to have a brown lawn upon his return home from touring.

At any rate, severe lack of moisture can create other problems beside the straw colored grass you see below your feet.  Extended dry periods cause the soil temperature to dramatically rise, which in turn causes crabgrass and other noxious annual weeds to germinate in earnest.  While your cool weather-loving turf is asleep trying to just survive, weeds can pop up and seemingly grow inches a day.  This is especially true of crabgrass, even with a preventative treatment applied in the spring since the product’s life span only lasts into late July or early August in NH or VT.  Super heated soil creates an ideal growing environment for crabgrass, even in the best cared for lawns.  A light touch is the best course of action until September arrives and restoration efforts can begin.

A more serious side to drought is the fact it attracts all kinds of heat- loving insects like Japanese beetles, chinch bugs and sod webworm to name just a few.  Damage can be occurring right under your feet without a hint of the battle raging in the soil or on the hot brown surface of your beloved lawn.  Left unchecked, fall rainfall comes and your lawn never recovers, which might be attributed to small grubs feeding from late summer right into fall.

Even those grassy areas lucky enough to have irrigation or some shade are not immune to the heat and humidity.  I have seen plenty of brown patch disease rising up overnight due to humidity and wet grass, with the resulting damage visible the next morning.  Mowing grass already in drought conditions or during the heat of the day is like pushing a friend over a cliff with the flu, just plain mean.  The best advice in a hot summer with a significant lack of rainfall is to stay off the lawn if possible, watch and treat for insects as necessary based upon population levels, and irrigate if possible in the morning – even if only for a short period of time.  Even a little water is better than nothing when it comes to keeping the dormant growing point of your grass alive.  Like an IV in a sick patient in the hospital, any moisture applied is better than none in an absence of rainfall.

Any fertilizer used should be at a low rate, slow release, and generally granular in nature.  With autumn only a month away, we are at the top of the roller coaster and things should slowly begin to improve as August fades into September.  If your lawn has taken a hit like many have, plan now to have restoration services lined up in order to take advantage of the best growing time of year for grass – fall!  Services like core aeration, overseeding, lime, compost tea, and organic or natural fertilizers can bring a lawn back to life in preparation for 2013.

Enjoy the heat now because your lawn sure hates it, at least in New England.

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Crabgrass in your lawn is more than just a weed problem

Published by JKeefe on April 10th, 2012 - in Crabgrass, Lawn Care Companies

Crabgrass solutions

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