Posts Tagged ‘concord lawn care’

Summer lawn tips

Dramatic weather fluctuations in temperature and humidity cause real problems to your summer lawn. Daily temperatures in the upper 80’s or low 90’s directly contribute to our cool-season grasses shutting down to protect themselves resulting in brown or tan patches in your lawn. High heat also contributes to fast drying of the soil which speeds up the browning in a normally green lawn.

 

Grub control being applied to a large lawn

 

Lawns really prefer temperatures in the 70’s, so grass browning is a normal part of summer. Even with adequate soil moisture, high heat slows lawn growth and the typical lush lawn you had in the spring fades to lighter shades of green. July and August can be brutal on lawns, especially if you are mowing too short and have not been diligent in preparing your lawn in the spring and even the previous fall for summer weather.

 
Thin lawns or those predisposed to quick drying, perhaps with a higher sand content or southern exposure means the soil will become very hot, leading to crabgrass germination and annual weeds like spotted spurge, oxalis, black medic, and purslane. These heat-loving weeds will pop up in a short time, barely noticeable until they begin filling in thin or bare areas within weeks. Spurge is particularly aggressive and will literally grow up and over your lawn like crabgrass. Crabgrass thrives in hot and dry weather, seemingly growing inches overnight under ideal summer conditions. What can be done?

 

 

Spurge is a fast growing summer annual weed.

Spurge is a fast growing summer annual weed.

 

 

Preventative measures are the best course of action starting off the year with a spring pre-emergent, broadleaf weed control, and high mowing, and mulched clippings to recycle valuable nutrients. However for severe weed infestations or those with a low tolerance for such invaders, summer spraying can provide some relief. There are several products available which will specifically target the crabgrass and annual weeds during July and August. A few treatments can do a nice job restoring a civilized lawn which may have become overrun by crabgrass along the driveway, walkway, or patio sections.

 
Areas prone to high heat such as along roads, thin areas, and pavers are particularly vulnerable to weed invasion even with a spring treatment of inhibitor simply due to the weak turf foundation and the harsh conditions of summer. Any pre-emergent product applied can only stand up so long in thin or bare areas of a lawn which is why a thick, healthy lawn is the best defense. High heat is not the only down side to summer lawn blues; high humidity can spell double trouble as diseases like summer and brown patch can really take hold and do damage in short order.

 
In the case of brown patch, too much water when combined with high heat can set your lawn up for damage and thinning virtually overnight. Watering in the morning is your best friend and a little less water is better than too much when it comes to irrigation systems. I’ve seen a lot of lawns killed with kindness as irrigation systems drown the grass, and although the color is better and there is less dry brown, damage from summers diseases can cause more significant turf loss.

 

 

For a free mowing magnet, just e-mail or call anytime.

For a free mowing magnet, just e-mail or call anytime.

 

 

On the flip side, short mowing and not enough irrigation promotes summer patch, especially in sod or bluegrass lawns. Summer patch damage becomes evident as pitting, scars, and crescent-shaped lesions due to heat, humidity, and turf under stress like drought. Short mowing further compounds the problem which means even more stress placed on your lawn resulting in permanent damage. Seeding with a disease-resistant rye grass into the patches in the fall will help ease the visual trauma.

 
Think of the summer as a time to get your lawn through a bad cold or flu and fall as the cure. The goal is to prevent as much damage as possible from weeds, insects, drought, and disease. Sometimes a light touch is better than spraying materials which further stunt and stress out an ecosystem already under duress. Each lawn is unique, but many underlying principles remain the same in respect to irrigation, mowing, and lawn treatments.  As always, the best offense is a good defense in the spring and fall. When in doubt, seek professional advice; what you chose to do or not do this summer really can impact your lawn.

 

In any case, take a vacation, this is great beach weather!

 

 

Enjoy your summer vacation but be sure to follow basic lawn tips.

Enjoy your summer vacation but be sure to follow basic lawn tips.

 

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Red thread disease

Published by mrgrass on June 22nd, 2014 - in Cultural Practices, Turf Disease

Nothing can spoil the fine view of a healthy lawn than an abrupt case of red thread. Appearing from spring until fall and typically confined to humid or wet weather, red thread can pop up in a short period of time with a characteristic fist-sized patch of pink emanating out of the ends of the grass blades. This discoloration later turns tan or light brown. Red thread can be spread to other lawn areas if cut when wet because it is a moisture-loving fungal disease. Red thread is a very common lawn disease and can really make a nice lawn look rather unsightly. Fortunately, keeping your lawn healthy is the best prevention: a.m. watering, regular mulching of the clippings for a natural fertilization, and not mowing when wet.

Older red thread in a home lawn
Unfortunately, some grasses like fine fescue are more prone to becoming infected with red thread than say bluegrass. Commercial mowing can also spread the disease from one infected lawn to another under the right conditions, such as wet grass. The good news is red thread is primarily an esthetic disease, not generally causing any long- term damage, unlike brown or summer patch. (See http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2013/06/11/lawn-diseases/ for additional information on summer or brown patch.) The characteristic pink patches are most noticeable early in the morning while dew is still present. Red thread actually grows out of the tips of the grass blade appearing like pink cotton candy. A fungicide can be used to clean up the disease, especially if there is a low tolerance to how it looks or perhaps a special event is planned and the lawn needs to be in pristine shape.

Red thread disease in lawn
Mulching your clippings helps recycle valuable organic matter and actually helps keep the lawn more stable in terms of year-round health. Grass clippings help reduce peaks and valleys in a fertility program or when unusually wet weather causes a rapid growth rate, depleting the bank of food available to your lawn. Cutting at 3” also insures a more supportive root system, ideal when hot weather hits, keeping the soil surface cooler and inhibiting weed seeds from germinating.

Red thread patches in a home lawn
If you think you have a case of red thread disease, give your local lawn care provider a call and have it checked out to confirm this diagnosis. Like a common cold, red thread can pop up and then just go away, so don’t fear.

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Organic weed control

Published by mrgrass on May 19th, 2014 - in Broadleaf Weeds

Most folks do not understand or believe that lawn weeds can be effectively reduced with organic products and methods.   There are several effective sprays which will specifically reduce broadleaf weeds while leaving surrounding turf grass unharmed.  Your lawn can be treated with organic products in the spring and or fall and generally two sprays do just as good a job as conventional treatments.

 
If you have dandelions, clover, hawkweed, or even ground ivy and violets, organic sprays can significantly reduce these weeds and many more in your lawn.  A cautionary note on weeds they are a sign of a bigger problem in your lawn.  Weak lawns with poor soil quality, low soil pH, compaction, and thin turf create the ideal environment for promoting more weeds than grass.  So while you may want to attack the known, visible issue – broadleaf weeds, the big picture issue is generally more complex and should be dealt with first or in conjunction with organic weed reduction.

 
Many weeds indicate a sour soil or compaction.  Plantain and Pineapple weeds (pictured below) are classic indicator weeds growing in compacted soil.  You can see plantain on playgrounds, ball fields, or even paths along roads where traffic causes compaction in the soil.  The solution is core aeration in combination with spraying for the weeds.  Once the weeds are gone, you need to replace the empty space with hybrid turf grasses better suited for the location.  Appropriate timing is critical along with the proper sequence of events for successful results.

 

Plantain weedPineapple Weed means compacted soil

 
Organic weed control should and can be used in conjunction with lime, aeration, compost tea, and a variety of slow release fertilizers for substantial visual results most folks look for when spending money on their lawn.  If you are considering a longer-term approach and want to be environmentally conscious, look for a licensed lawn care company ‘.  As I have said before, even organic products can cause harm in the hands of untrained or unlicensed workers.  If an organic product is designed to attack a pest, be it a weed, insect, or disease, you must be licensed to legally use these materials.  This makes sense doesn’t it?  After all, why would you want to hire a company not truly prepared to do the job right – ethically, legally, and morally when it comes to your family, pets, and the environment?

 
Don’t let weeds get you down this year, now you know you have choices and knowledge is the power for success.

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