Posts Tagged ‘lawnmaster’

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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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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