May and September are perhaps the two biggest months when it comes to helping your lawn. May is the best month to prevent crabgrass, reduce broad-leaf weeds, knock back ticks, spray compost tea and fertilize. Wow, did you write that down? Unless you set aside the time, you will surely miss the golden opportunity to set the stage for a successful lawn in 2014. Failure to address key issues in May means your lawn may certainly suffer, and in the case of ticks, your family and pets may pick one up. Why all the fuss you say?
Lawns usually begin to grow in May as soil temperatures warm to stimulate new growth just like in trees, shrubs, and flowers. Grass must grow to recover from ice, snow, and damage resulting from surface feeding of mice or moles below ground. Just because your lawn went to sleep last November does not mean all is well this spring because winter can deal unpredictable damage.
Since preventative crabgrass control is dictated by soil temperature, May is the best month to apply a barrier to help reduce this obnoxious weed from overtaking your own little piece of grassy paradise. May is a great month to knock back weeds like dandelions, clover, hawk-weed, violets, “creeping Charlie”, and chickweed. Since ticks are coming out to breed, May is the best month to spray for them around your house and wood- line to help reduce your likelihood of a pet or family member picking up a tick.
Compost tea is full of beneficial micro-organisms that fire up the natural processes in the soil below your grass. More bacteria and fungi mean more available organic matter and a greener lawn, pure and simple. May is a superior month to spray compost tea because is coincides with turf recovery and preparing for hotter summer weather. As a probiotic, compost tea adds organic matter and can be sprayed right up to the water in the case of public water supplies, lakes, and streams. For more information on compost tea, use the search function on my blog and you can find more specific benefits to compost tea in past articles.
Since most turf grass requires 3 to 4 lbs of Nitrogen from fertilizer per year, May becomes a critical month to add this important nutrient to promote a dark green, healthy lawn. Fertilizer should be provided in a slow release formulation for a consistent, extended release that can improve winter recovery. Slow release formulations can be in a granular form or in liquids with the proper amendments. If you are unsure, ask your lawn care provider if they use or have these products. In my experience, very few companies that spray liquid fertilizer have them prepared in a slow release formulation, like Chippers does.
One last note of caution, many over-the-counter grub control products, such as milky spore, are setup as preventative, not curative treatments. (Preventative = preventing grubs from becoming established while curative = curing an existing grub problem). Therefore, applying a preventative in May is generally too early and will not kill grubs you have in your lawn right now. This is a very common mistake, confusing curative over-the-counter products to preventative materials. Using the wrong product will waste your time and money not to mention the objectionable application of applying an ineffective pesticide. Knowledge is power and Chippers turf division has both. May your lawn thrive in the month of May!