Posts Tagged ‘Fertilizer’

Fall lawn tips

Generally speaking, the summer of 2014 on average was a little cooler and wetter than the past few years. The few hot and humid periods did cause a spike in disease issues like red thread but overall our lawns’ were fortunate not to have to endure extended drought. What does this mean for the average lawn as fall is a mere few weeks away?

 

Back to school time is fix up your lawn time

Back to school time is fix up your lawn time

 
First, actively growing lawns means faster recovery and a more robust turf plant going into the winter, especially if you take advantage of the weather. Aerating, over seeding, lime, a few fertilizer applications, and perhaps potassium will put your lawn in top condition for next spring. My advice is not to squander this unique scenario and time period but seize its advantages.

 
A bit of caution, healthy growing grass can easily mask grubs eating your lawns roots. The classic brown patchiness may not be visible until the invaders are much larger and difficult to control this fall or next spring. If you have not had a preventative grub treatment earlier this year, take a brisk walk around your lawn, especially in the sunny areas, and pull up on the grass to see if it is weakly rooted. If so, you may well see small white grubs within the first few inches of loam below the grass. Treat them now, don’t wait!

 
Over seeding with such warm, moist soil is a dream come true for lawns and can yield fantastic results to help thicken up your existing lawn. Bare patches should be top-dressed and then seeded after aeration. September and early October are the best time periods to seed a lawn, no question about it. Seed your lawn now, don’t wait until spring!

 
Healthy grass will grow aggressively and save extra energy down below in the root system. Providing a generous supply of nutrients during the fall allows for a healthy growing lawn that can save extra energy for winter and next spring’s green-up. Don’t forget to fertilizer a few times and be sure to lime. If you forgot to lime this year, it’s never too late as liming any time is just fine.

 
A final word on year-end lawn mowing. Keep your cut high at 3” for now but you can begin to lower it in October by about ½” per week. The slow decline in height will help harden your lawn off and not expose it to a harsh scalping on one massive slicing. Most lawns will grow well into late November so your final cut should end up at around 1” to 1.5” in November. Mowing short in height is ideal for helping minimize snow mold and winter damage caused by long grass.

 
This fall could be the best in years, don’t let your lawn miss out on a great growing opportunity.

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Prepare your lawn for fall this August

As summer winds down, I hear a lot of folks saying they always like to wait until September or October to begin lawn repairs. My response is, “Why wait until fall”? While fall is ideal for many lawn repairs after a hot, wet or dry summer, (seeding, topdressing, aeration, and over seeding), a wetter, cooler summer means you can get a jump start in August. These extra weeks gained by not waiting for fall means more growth and a better chance for new grass to survive the upcoming winter. I recommend August lawn work with several important objectives and facts in mind.

 

An established lawn looking great after topdressing and seeding.

An established lawn looking great after topdressing and seeding.

 

 

First, annual weeds, including crabgrass and other obnoxious plants, begin the slow process of dying, losing their iron clad grip on previously damaged or thin patches of turf. Crabgrass no longer germinates as it did in the spring or early summer; the threat of being overrun is subdued simply because of the time of year. This is a big reason to start lawn renovations in August versus later in the fall.

 
Unlike the past several summers, this summer has been wet and moist, making an ideal environment for August seeding. The soil is moist and warm, both critical factors for any kind of lawn renovation, from a small patch to a complete lawn installation. The extra weeks gained by August repairs can tip the scale for winter survival simply by allowing for more growth before the season winds down to a close in November. Seed needs warm soil and moisture to properly germinate and grow; we have both conditions as I write this blog post.

 
Is your lawn thin? Does it have weak areas? Don’t just throw down any seed. The most successful reseeding means core aeration, top-dressing with compost or loam over the bare areas, then seeding/over seeding with a blend of hybrid grasses best suited for your location. All grasses are not created equal for the same site or location. For more information on the importance of selecting the correct grass seed click here   http://www.mrgrassblog.net/2012/08/11/grass-seed-facts/

 
As fall approaches, build up your lawn’s energy reserves by adding high calcium lime, spraying compost tea, and adding vital nutrients with any high grade fertilizer that is low in phosphate and contains organic material (natural or organic). Once the new grass exceeds 3”, be sure to mow; mowing is more helpful then not mowing. And, while I always recommend mowing to a 3” height during the season, your last cut before winter should be the only short cut right around 1.5”. This will help prevent winter snow mold and discourage mice damage.

 
As you shop for back-to-school items, don’t forget your grassy friend outside called your lawn. Remember, fall is the best time of year for many aspects of lawn care and this year it looks as though we have gained August as well. Don’t wait, make your plan and take action today.

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Potassium lawn fertilizer use in the fall

Published by mrgrass on October 8th, 2013 - in Fertilizer, Lawn Care Companies

Our old friend potassium is the third letter (K) listed in the analysis of fertilizer and is second only to nitrogen in importance, use, and need.  (The three components of fertilizer are NPK: Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium.) It should come as no surprise that deficiencies of potassium can predispose your lawn to all kinds of issues, most which you will never see or know about unless informed.  Sandy soils are often the most common lawns to be low in potassium due to a low CEC, a fancy acronym for “Cation Exchange Capacity”.  Simply put, the more organic matter and smaller your soil particle size (clay) the higher your CEC will be and the ability to hold onto and release potassium to your grass; this is very good.  On the other hand, sandy soil has large soil particles which have difficult time retaining potassium.  All soil particles and nutrients have positive or negative charges and like magnets beneath your feet, they can dictate what is or is not available for your lawn to use.  The same analogy is true with soil pH and calcium content as a low soil pH tends to bind up or hide valuable nutrients like nitrogen or potassium.  So what specific benefit does potassium play in your lawn’s overall health?

Potassium lawn fertilizer

Potassium lawn fertilizer

Potassium has a critical role in the ability of grass to uptake and use water and therefore is of great benefit for wear and drought tolerance.  Potassium is involved in many internal plant health issues including manufacturing food and cold tolerance.  Since potassium helps open and close tiny pores (stomata) in the leaves themselves, you can bet low levels surely influence the ability of your lawn to endure heat, use, and drought.  Potassium has also been linked in some studies to help reduce certain diseases, or at least those situations that would predispose your lawn to diseases.  Potassium increases cold hardiness a very valuable benefit in VT and NH!  Since potassium fertilizer is often very salty by nature, its use is generally restricted to late fall as a supplemental lawn application.  This allows for maximum effect for the spring growing season. If you suspect your lawn could benefit from a late fall potassium treatment, be sure to check in and find out with your local lawn care professional before the snow flies!

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