Posts Tagged ‘concord lawn care’

Crabgrass Q & A

Published by mrgrass on April 23rd, 2015 - in Crabgrass

Q. It’s April and my lawn is full of crabgrass, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass is an annual plant and does not even germinate in NH and VT until mid or late May. Any grasses you see now and suspect are crabgrass, are not. They are perennial grasses and may appear to look like crabgrass. This is a very common misperception. Unwanted perennial grasses need special care including manual or herbicide removal.

 
Q. I always have crabgrass, nothing seems to work, what can I do?

 
A. Crabgrass generally indicates an underlying problem like unhealthy soil, recent insect damage, or some other event that allow it to flourish rather than your lawn. Although pre-emergent products work great, in the absence of surrounding grass, the barrier will fail and the problem will reoccur year after year. Only by improving the soil and adding superior grass seed into the infected area will you ever conquer this ongoing issue.

 

Q. I typically dig out crabgrass and weeds, is this doing more harm than good?

A. Whenever you tear up any plant, you bring up more of the weeds’ seeds to the surface where they will germinate. While you may have temporary relief and feel good about removing crabgrass manually, you are actually making the problem worse by depositing seeds that would otherwise have remained dormant buried below.

 

Q. When is the best time to apply crabgrass control?

A. In NH and VT, there are several types of pre-emergent control products that do a nice job by safely preventing not only crabgrass, but also many annual weeds from germinating in the soil. A pre-emergent is the best product and means to reduce crabgrass. By definition, a pre-emergent must be applied before the crabgrass rears its ugly head! Soil temperature is the big deal here and once mid to late May arrives, you are likely to have crabgrass germinating; especially in sunny locations like along your driveway, walkways, or roadside. Once crabgrass germinates and while still small, in the two or three leaf stage, there are other products that can be used to still gain control. For larger crabgrass, you would need to switch to yet another specialized material for use through August. Once fall rolls around, just let this annual plant die off. However, the best way to prevent crabgrass is with a thick healthy lawn created with healthy soil, adequate nutrition, and by mowing at the proper height (2” first cut of the season, 3” May – September).

 
See my blog http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2012/03/30/crabgrass-is-more-than-a-crabgrass-problem/ for information on crabgrass.

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5 Things Your Lawn Wants to tell You

1. Location

As the winter begins and your lawn is covered by ice or snow, there are some secrets your lawn may be hiding. For starters, and this may seem simple, your lawn’s location has a huge bearing on what you should be thinking about before spring arrives. For instance, that encroaching tree line has slowly but surely thinned out the edges of your lawn over the past 5 or 10 years. Your once proud carpet of green has become a band of dirt and moss due to the shade and overgrown limbs hovering above the now missing grass.

2. Grass seed

The second lawn secret reveals that all lawn grasses are not created equal and do have limitations in response to drought, heavy use, and shade. Yes, many turf types can tolerate less than desirable growing conditions, but left alone, thinning and ultimately bare ground will result. Much like a receding hair line, the question is not if, but when the grass thins out enough to get your attention. Don’t think throwing lime down or some patch seed mix will suffice, oh no, this situation beckons professional help. Only an intervention to change the site and current grass types will truly resolve and reverse turf loss.

3. Mowing height

Although the 70’s have come and gone, many lawns are treated and cut at less than optimum intervals and height. The third lawn secret beckons a weekly cut to a handsome and proper 3” most times of the year, not a foot every month. If your lawn could speak, a basic request would be for a regular mowing and a realistic cutting height; not a shaggy carpet reminiscent of the 70’s where bell bottoms earned their following. On the other hand, a short military type cut can brown a lawn out for the summer causing irreversible damage. The harm done to your lawn by improper mowing cannot be underestimated.

4. Healthy soil

A fourth and valuable fact relates to soil health and the ability of your turf to not just exist – but to thrive. Healthy soil, full of organic matter, bacteria, fungi, and worms support not only a vibrant root system but a lawn that can withstand pests and environmental stress. Chronic and heavy use of salty fertilizers and other products over time can reduce soil health and thereby predispose your grass to a host of health issues. If your lawn could talk, it would ask for more positive reinforcements in the form of compost tea, organic materials, lime, and other soil enhancing actions.

5. Timing

Timing does matter. Our fifth lawn tip is timing as it relates to pest control, soil enhancements, seeding, aeration, and other helpful activities. Most pests, including weeds and insects are best controlled at very specific times of the year. For example, ticks are best controlled in the spring and late fall – the same time as most broadleaf weeds. Crabgrass is best controlled in the early spring while lawns installations, overseeding, and aeration are best done in the fall. Soil enhancements are best applied in the spring and fall when accompanied by seeding. Your lawn would tell you timing is everything!

 

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Looking Ahead to the 2015 Lawn Care Season

2014 Was a Good Year
It sure feels good to be able to say that 2014 was a good year for grass, at least in the Northeast. This can mostly be attributed to adequate moisture and no substantial heat waves. Cooler temperatures in general meant lawns did not go into heavy dormancy and therefore did better on the whole compared to the recent past. While spotty insect activity was typical, as was disease issues which had a better chance to flourish in the moist or humid conditions, taken on the whole, 2014 was a darn good grass season.

 

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

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

 

Good Start to 2015
Unless your lawn underwent a tragic event, most folks are poised to start the 2015 lawn season in better than average shape. Great fall weather, with a touch of drought meant most lawns could prepare for the winter, especially if given some extra love. A cautionary note – a winter of ice and prolonged snow can still lead to winter kill, ice damage, and snow mold as March yields to warmer weather.

Review Your Lawn Program
As a home or business owner overseeing a maintained lawn or landscape, you should keep a few things in mind during the winter months before the daffodils pop. Review your 2014 services and be sure to give extra attention to your new 2015 program, most of which are mailed or e-mailed during the winter for acceptance. Are the current treatments sufficient? Are the products employed the right choice for the job based on your location or proximity to water for instance? Perhaps there are services which could be added or even dropped based on your budget or goals for 2015.

In any of these cases, knowing what your program was and will be is critical in stacking the cards in your favor for success in 2015. Once spring arrives, time passes quickly and often folks are busy with other activities, sometimes missing an important calendar window such as spring crabgrass or tick suppression in May. Reviewing and approving your landscape program over the winter removes this obstacle and ensures a more streamline flow come spring, eliminating the chance of starting off on the wrong foot so to speak.

Benefits of Early Approval of Lawn Program
As a provider of these types of services, Chippers can speak first hand as to how vital knowing the “who, what, and where” of our clients by the time taxes are due. The reason is simple; it ensures the proper timing and scheduling of important applications, particularly in the busy months of spring. The “what” helps us procure the precise materials demanded to do the job based on the program selection. Once the snow does go, the “who” ensures a timely application for superior results. The “where” helps us with efficient and effective scheduling.

In addition, there are often financial incentives for you for signing up early. Many companies provide early sign-up or even prepay discounts as a direct reflection of the importance of preseason approval.
No matter whom you employ to care for your lawn or landscape, be sure to ask questions if unsure about a given treatment, its need, or the products used. No matter what you may have heard or believe, there are numerous alternatives to accomplish the same result with organic or natural products.
A little effort now can put you in control of your landscape budget and yield big results come spring. Your lawn care or tree/shrub program should be in the same category as planning you garden with all those colorful seed catalogs with the promise of delicious fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Plan now for great results in 2015.

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