Posts Tagged ‘grass’

Autumn lawn care

Published by mrgrass on September 29th, 2015 - in Fertilizer, Lime

October beckons more treats than tricks when it comes to attending to your home or commercial lawn this fall. After a brutal summer of drought and heat, October is your best last chance to make repairs before winter because the soil is warm and competitors like annual weeds are dead or dying. And that’s no trick.


Don't let fall play a trick on you see year, give your lawn plenty of treats like lime and potassium.

Don’t let bad summer weather trick you out of a great lawn this October.

As you place your pumpkin and harvest baskets of flowers out, don’t miss a golden opportunity to seize one of the best months in the year for growing healthy grass and making repairs. Consider October a cousin to May, without the cold soil and germinating annual weeds.
Have your soil tested for low potassium. I have been finding lawns low in potassium this year and October is a great month to apply a specialized blend of high potassium fertilizer designed to correct this deficiency. For the benefits of potassium fertilizer read



Have you limed lately? Fall is a wonderful time to lime your lawn. Lime will move the soil pH upward from acidic to a slightly acidic range, optimum for turf growth plus making fertilizer more available to your hungry grass. If a calcium based lime is used, your lawn will love you even more because turf loves calcium and so does your soil. For the benefits of lime read
Don’t forget about mowing height as Halloween approaches. This is the time of year when you can begin to slowly drop your mowing height from 3” in the beginning of October down to 1.75” by the time trick or treat arrives. Any mowing in November, or your final cut, can be razor short at 1.5” in preparation for snow. If you put your mower away too early, you risk having your lawn overwinter with an early 70’s hair cut that is much too long lending to snow mold, winter kill, vole and winter damage. Before winter retirement, take your mower blade off and get it sharpened. You’ll be ready for spring and your lawn will thank you.


Patience with Your Lawn

However, a living landscape is much different then ordering your coffee with extra sugar in the morning. Living plants, including grass, are not easily changed by your desires or a swipe of your debit card. This mindset is hard to break evidenced by, “If my lawn is treated today, it had better respond by at least tomorrow morning”. Sorry my friend, but there are complexities of the outdoor environment that may be difficult to control irrespective of your desires.

Red Thread is a very common disease during the summer.

Red Thread is a very common disease during the summer.

Living grass and the soil beneath is a complex ecosystem which does not easily yield to our commands and thoughtful applications. Even under the best lawn care program, high heat or drought can hinder expected improvement during the season. A harsh winter can take your lawn back five steps after so much hard work the prior season. Mowing short can undo months of hard earned results if done at the wrong time of day and year. Patience is what I recommend, with a dash of hope, to any homeowner dreaming of that emerald carpet.

Think of all the working pieces in a lawn, the soil, the grass itself, the location, and then the care it receives in terms of mowing, watering, raking and such. There are a lot of variables, each playing a role in hindering or helping overall improvement to your lawn. The instant fix mindset does not work in the realm of living plants with so many “what ifs”. Sure, there are general predicable outcomes for any action, but there are many side roads which can lead to disappointment without a measure of patience.

There are no pizzas with extra cheese in the world of lawn care, only a mower with a sharp mulching blade. Patience means knowing that one season of weed spraying may not live up to your expectations. Patience means knowing that too much water can be just as bad as no water. Patience means knowing that you cannot have instant success when dealing with living plants.

There is a Latin proverb which says, “He who endures with patience is a conqueror”. Maybe we do live in a fast-paced society with a frenzy to be the best and have it all. Perhaps patience is a lost art and could be practiced in the many areas including lawn care. A fascinating thought worthy of reflection. I hope this year you can be the conqueror of your lawn and so much more while enduring with ample patience.


A brief commentary on spring lawn seeding


Spring lawn seeding can be done in a single spot or an area providing a quick way to repair plow damage and dead spots from the winter, or damage incurred in the drought of 2012.  If done correctly, spring seeding can help restore otherwise lost grass area adding to summer enjoyment.

Spring lawn seeding can help repair plow damage

Spring seeding can normally be done once the ground warms until early-to-mid June if properly done and with appropriate weed suppression.  Spring seeding takes a second seat to fall seeding due to reduced crabgrass and weed pressure in the fall.  Fall seeding affords warm soils and fast germination without crabgrass or annual weed choking out new growth.  However, with special treatments, spring seeding can be successful if done carefully and with the proper grass blends.

Regardless of how you fix your lawn, the grass types installed are critical toward long term success.  All grass blends are not created equal and you get what you pay for in terms of age, weed content, and site specific blends, be it drought-shade, sun, play or other locations.  Cheap grass seed and a lack of foresight is a common error in repairing or installing a lawn.  What appeared to be success can quickly turns to brown grass and defeat.

Full lawn installations are best saved for early spring or late summer into fall due to generally favorable weather.  Small repairs can be done anytime during the year but keep in mind, you will have weeds and crabgrass of varying population levels.  These weeds can be treated with a variety of specialty sprays but these are not inexpensive and must be done properly with qualified, licensed turf companies like Chippers.

Watering is the second most important factor in achieving good germination and helping establish a new lawn.  Without water, your seed will stay dormant and cannot germinate.  If you water in the beginning and then stop, the shallow rooted seedlings may perish within days without an adequate supply from rain or irrigation.  Try and water in the morning and late afternoon in the absence of rainfall to keep the seed alive and improve both germination and growth performance.

The overall success of your seeding can be summed up by two main factors; watering and seed type/quality.         



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