Why Natorps

 

Lawn Care Tips

Care for New Lawns

Care for Established Lawns

Summer Care for Lawns

Core Aerating Lawns

Evaluate Your Lawn in September

Keeping the Lawn Looking Good

Lawn Mower Blight

Controlling Moss in the Lawn

Controlling Nimbelwill in the Lawn

Controlling Nutgrass In Your Lawn

Controlling Wild Onions

Return Grass Clippings to Turf

Shuting Down Your Lawn for the Season


 




How Should I Care for My New Lawn? 

Seeding a new lawn can be done in spring or fall, although fall is the absolute best. If necessary, summer seeding can be done as long as you can keep the area you've seeded moist at all times. Grass seed can also be sown in late winter.
Preparing the Seed Bed For New Lawns:
Rake and grade the area fairly smooth. Remove rocks, twigs, and construction debris.
Renovating Established Lawns:
First mow the existing grass as short as possible. If you simply need to over seed or to reseed bare spots, rake the areas so they are crumbly, then skip to the 'Fertilizing' section.
Spray with ROUNDUP following label directions.
Wait 7-10 days for the vegetation to brown and then proceed with the raking out process. Use a thatching rake or a stiff garden rake to remove all thatch and other loose vegetation. It is not necessary to remove the dead grass. It is necessary to prepare the soil so that the grass seed will make contact with the soil when it is planted.
If there are any bare spots, chop the soil 2" deep leaving the clods between golf ball and marble size. You can rent a slicer which will make preparing the soil for larger areas much easier. Run the slicer East and West and then North and South to create a grid pattern. On a hillside, run the slicer horizontally across the slope. DO NOT ROTOTILL! If you do you will turn over thousands of weed seeds that will be happy to grow all over your lawn.
Fertilizing
Now you are ready to apply your fertilizer. Use a low nitrogen formula such as 11-22-22, which is best applied with a broadcast spreader. A drop spreader can be used, but be careful not to over apply.
Seeding
Our Natorp garden experts will be happy to assist you in making the right seed choice for your yard. Seed can be applied by hand, which is fine for bare spots, or with a spreader, which is best for larger areas. It is extremely important for the seed to make soil contact. It simply will not grow if it doesn't.
Straw
At this time, a light covering of straw can be applied. Although straw is optional, it does help keep the area moist, which is essential to seed germination. One bale of straw should cover between 750 to 1,000 square feet. You should be able to see 50% soil and 50% seed. When straw is applied correctly it does not need to be removed later on.
Water
Grass seed must be kept moist until it germinates. Water thoroughly. At first provide fairly short, but frequent watering. As the seed begins to germinate, you will not need to water as often, but remember not to let the seeded areas dry out for long periods of time. Try to water early in the day or early in the evening.
Mowing
When the new grass is 3"- 4" tall it is time to mow. Set your mower at a mowing height of 2.5" to 3" high. Cutting the lawn high is a good natural weed control, as cooler soil temperatures discourage weed seed germination. Mow often. The more cuttings you make, the faster the new lawn will mature. Mow as late into the fall as necessary. Your last cutting of the season should be 1.5"- 2" high. This will help prevent lawn disease. Remember to rake up as many leaves as possible before the ground freezes. Leaves left on the ground will smother the grass trying to live beneath it, which means you'll have new bare spots in the spring.
Weeds
After you have mowed the new lawn at least three times it should be safe to apply a weed killer if weeds are a problem. Be sure to follow label directions for the product you are using and be sure to use a product that will eliminate the type of weeds you have.
Winter Seeding
If you cannot seed in the spring or fall, you may seed in late January or early February. Remove any twigs and leaves in the areas to be seeded. Apply your seed to those areas. The freezing and thawing soil will create a natural seed bed. Be aware that the success of winter seeding depends on our weather.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Should I Care for My Established Lawn?

Watering
Lawns generally require the equivalent of 1"-1.5" of rain every week. If rainfall is insufficient you must supply the difference. Frequent short waterings are actually harmful to your lawn. They encourage a shallow root system that will be hard pressed to withstand drought or an insect attack. When it's necessary to water, place a straight sided container, such as a coffee can, in the area where you are running your sprinkler. When there is one inch of water in the container it's time to move the sprinkler to another area.
Fertilizing
The effectiveness of fertilizer application depends on how well it is applied and the condition of your spreader. To avoid streaking, split the total fertilizer need in half. Apply one half up and down the lawn, and then the other half back and forth.
The following are suggested times and fertilizer formulations for lawns in our area. To know exactly what your lawn needs have your soil tested by your County Extension Service.
Fescues    
Sept. - Oct. : 11-22-22 Nov. - Dec. : 30-3-15
Ryegrass,  All-In-One.  Bluegrass     
March - May : 30-3-15 Sept. - Oct. : 11-22-22   Nov. - Dec. : 30-3-15
Zoysia,  Bentgrass
Mid-May - Mid-July : 30-3-15
Mowing:  Recommended Mowing Heights
Spring: 2"-2.5"
Summer: 2.5"-3"
Fall and Winter: 2"-3"
Never remove more than one third of the grass height when you mow. If you "scalp" your lawn you will expose the turfgrass to sun scald. If you mow properly you will not need to rake and remove the clippings. In fact those clippings will break down and provide beneficial nutrients to your lawn, which can reduce the need to fertilize by 25%.
Keep the blades of your mower sharp. You want to cut your grass, not tear it. The higher mowing height for summer will keep the soil line cool and shaded. That will help discourage weed seed germination.The shorter mowing height recommended for the last mowing of the season will help to prevent disease.
Weeds
First of all there is no such thing as a weed free lawn! There are, however, control measures that can minimize the problem. You will first need to know what type of weeds you are dealing with. There are two categories; broadleaf weeds and annual weeds. They require different controls. When and how they are applied will mean the difference between success and disappointment. For a specific weed problem, bring a sample of the weed or weeds that are giving you a problem to any of our garden stores for identification and suggested treatment.
Insects and Diseases
Some turf problems can be avoided by maintaining good watering and maintenance practices. Lawns that start the season healthy can tolerate some insect problems or a weather induced disease attack. If you find that a problem is escalating, bring a sample, roots and all, of the injury in progress to any one of our garden stores. It is important for the sample to be at least 12"x12" in size. It should be taken from the edge of the problem area so it shows both healthy and damaged grass.
Thatch
If you wait too long and are removing more than one third of the grass blades when you mow, you should remove the clippings from the lawn. If you do not remove them, they can combine with the cuticles of the grass blades and form a layer of thatch. A thatch layer of more than 1/2" will interfere with the absorption of water, fertilizer, pre-emergent weed killers and insecticides. Remove thatch with a hand rake or a power thatcher. It is also possible for soil compaction to cause the same problems. In this case a power core aerator will help. The best time to thatch or aerate is early to mid fall or early spring.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Should I Care for My Lawn During the Summer?

The summer season can be a very trying time for homeowner's and their lawns.  So, here are a few general tips to help keep your lawn looking its best this summer.
1.) Keep mowing on a regular basis.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blades each time you mow.
2.) Mow at a higher mowing height.  Keep your mowing height at least 2 and 1/2 to 3 inches.  Longer grass blades mean less stress on the turf, the crowns are shaded and protected from the heat of the sun, grass roots should grow deeper, and your turf will do much nicer during the summer than the lawns mowed close and stressed.
3.) Change your mowing pattern each time you mow.  Mow east to west one week, then north to south the next.  Then take it diagonally.  Just like the golf course pros do!  This encourages your grass to grow upright, rather than laying down (being mowed one direction all the time) and definitely creates a happier lawn!
4.) Throw those clippings back into the turf.  Returning those clippings is like one additional fertilizing each year.  Grass clippings are 75-85% water, decompose quickly, and do not create thatch problems.
5.) Have those mowers blades sharpened on a regular basis, which means at least 3-4 times throughout the mowing season.  Dull blades shred rather than cut which will give your lawn a yellowed look, and will make the grass more susceptible to disease.
6.) Be sure to clean out under the mower deck when you are finished mowing.  It is important to remove that grass build up, especially if you have an under the deck exhaust.  It also helps the mower deck to operate properly.  So keep under the deck cleaned!
7.) Last, but very important, if your lawn does not get enough rainfall, water as needed.  Remember the golden rule of 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so.  If we do not get it naturally, you have to supplement. And when you do supplement, do it all at one time; a deep, thorough watering.  Deep watering creates a deeper rooted lawn, which makes it much sturdier during possible drought situations, as well as being a much healthier lawn.  Please, do not be a water tease.  One thorough watering is much better for the lawn and all plants, than frequent watering teases! 

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



Why Should I Core Aerate My Lawn?

You know, a lush healthy lawn begins with a lush healthy root system.  And if your soil is loamy and rich in organic matter, no problem!  But if it is like most folks it is good old heavy compacted  clay.  Root growth is inhibited by heavy clay because of the restricted oxygen supply, lack of moisture, lack of nutrients, etc.  Well here is a way to begin to turn that heavy compacted clay, into the perfect base for that lush healthy lawn.

It is called core aerating, and is a process done with a core aerating machine (available at mnay tool rentals), which uses hollow tines to remove plugs of the soil. And it is the removal of these plugs, that is so beneficial to the turf.  Core aerating loosens compacted soils, which is especially important in yards where kids play or there is a lot of foot traffic or heavy equipment, it helps in the reduction of thatch, it improves water infiltration to the grass roots, improves nutrient infiltration, increases oxygen supply to the roots, releases carbon dioxide, and ultimately, encourages new, deeper root growth, which as we all know, means a healthier lawn.

The frequency of core aerating depends on your soil and the amount of use your lawn receives.  Once a year is good, twice is even better.  And if you have never core aerated before, well now is the time to get started.  Spring and fall are actually the best two times for aerating (while the lawn is actively growing), with fall being the better of the two.  And, if you anticipate seeding or fertilizing the lawn, core aerate first

Proper soil moisture is important when you aerate, as it needs to be not too dry and not too wet, but just in the middle.  When core aerating your lawn, the cores should be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, and about 2-3 inches deep.  It is nice to get the cores about 3-5 inches apart, so it may require a couple passes over the turf with the machine.

By the way, if you are curious what to do with the cores that are deposited on the soil's surface, well, just leave them alone.  They will dry, begin to fall apart, and the next time you mow, they will disappear back into the top of the turf.  But it will look a little funny for a few days!

Core aerating - one of the best things you can do for your lawn!

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form
     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



Why Should I Evaluate My Lawn in September?

September means turf month - and that means you need to be evaluating your lawn, right now!  So, where do you start when evaluating your lawn i August?

First, take a look and see how much desirable grass remains.

If the turf is brown, look closely to see if the crowns are still green and viable.  If so, they will fill back in this fall with the usual fall fertilization.

If there are voids in Bluegrass lawns, 4-6 inches in diameter, they will fill in on their own.  But if those 4-6 inch voids are in turf type fescues or perennial ryes, spot seeding will be needed to fill in the voids.

If you find perennial grassy weeds like zoysia, nimblewill growing in the turf, or even tall fescue clumps in a bluegrass lawn, treat those now with Roundup, and then reseed those areas in September.

If your lawn has 50% or more broadleaf weeds, you should consider total renovation, which means everything is killed with Roundup (2 applications 10 days apart may be needed), and then reseed the area in early September.

If the lawn is 70% turf grass and 30% weeds (or less), a good fall feeding followed by a late fall or early spring weed control will work quite nicely.  Even with this ratio of turf to weeds, plan to over seed the lawn to help thicken it up. 

Evaluate your lawn now, so you can do whatever is needed to be ready for September.

Remember, September is turf month, which means time to core aerate the lawn, over seed the lawn to thicken it up or to reseed the lawn if you are renovating, and time for the first fall feeding.  So make sure you have your turf plans in place.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Do I Keep My Lawn Looking Good

Keeping that lawn looking its best can be a bit trying at times.  So here are a few cultural tips to help your lawn "look good"!

Mow higher rather than lower   - Your lawn will be much happier if you raise your mowing height (rather than lower mowing, where the lawn is under constant stress).  Maintaining lawn between 2 and 1/2 and 3 and 1/2 inches is recommended for most cool season grasses.  (Longer grass blades look greener and give more mass, shade the soil and help reduce moisture loss, taller grass means deeper and thicker roots, as well as more food being made and sent to the roots, and a longer cut usually requires less mowing frequency.
Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blades each time you mow, and throw those clippings back into the turf   -Grass blades are mostly water and about 10-15% nitrogen, so they break down quickly (do not contribute to thatch), totally enjoyed by earthworms, and return nitrogen back to the soil.  Be sure to mow on a regular basis / mulching mowers are great for chopping those blades finer for an even quicker breakdown.
Sharpen the mower blade  -Do this on a regular basis (as often as every 12-15 hours of use – or at least 2-3 times during the season).  A sharp blade makes a clean cut rather than shredding or tearing the grass blades, which can make the lawn look yellow or brown, as well as susceptible to diseases.  A sharp mower blade also makes it easier for the mower to cut the lawn.
Change directions each time you mow  -Mow north to south one time, then east to west the next.  Maybe even mow diagonally every now and then.  This keeps your grass blades standing upright, rather than laying in one direction.
Core aerateing the lawn  -Core aerating the lawn (pulling plugs out of the soil) helps to open compacted soils and allow better air flow, water flow, and nutrient flow to the roots.  Also helps to alleviate soil compaction due to soil types, foot traffic, etc.  (This is also a great time to add organic matter back to the soil by topdressing after core aerating and raking the compost into the open holes.)  Done spring or fall - frequency depends on soil types, traffic, etc.
Water as needed, and do it thoroughly  -Most lawns would like 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so.  If you need to supplement that inch, do it all at one time - deep and thorough watering.  Early morning (5-9AM) is best, late afternoon 'okay'; mid day and night are the worst.  Make sure you have a rain gauge to know how much rainfall your lawn has received.
Feed the lawn as needed (depending on type of grass)  -Two feedings in the fall are thee most important feedings for all cool season grasses.  Spring feedings (early summer) may be needed depending on type of grass, as well as weather and soil conditions.  Have you soil tested to see exactly where it stands with nutrients and pH levels.
Choose the right grass!  -There is no one "best" grass for the area, but some do better than others.  Check with the garden store pros to determine which grass (blend or mix) is best for you and your lawn.
Remember, a thick healthy lawn means fewer weeds and disease problems   No lawn is ever totally weed and disease free, but can be minimized thru proper cultural practices. 

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form
Back to Lawn Care Tips



What is Lawn Mover Blight?

When a tree is bumped or scraped by a lawn mower, the resulting wound can actually threaten the life of that tree.  Not only is the wound itself damaging, but disease organisms can also enter the wound, causing further problems.  We call this "Lawn Mower Blight"!

The bark of a tree serves an important purpose, transferring sugars from the leaves to the roots, and water from the roots back to the leaves.  If the bark is destroyed, the tree has no way to feed the roots, they begin to decline and eventually, the tree dies.    Micro-organisms can also attack damaged bark, cause decaying, which can move inward and eventually cause structural damage.

Now, Lawn Mower Blight occurs when gardeners try to trim the grass around tree trunks with the lawn mower.  String trimmers can also cause this damage.  We call this "String Trimmer Blight".  The mower bumps the bark or the string trimmers bruise the bark and the damage is done.

Preventing Lawn Mower and String Trimmer Blight is simple - remove all the turf around the base of the tree and replace it with mulch.  Mulching not only cuts down competition between the tree and the turf, it also helps conserve moisture for the tree roots. 

Remember - never mulch more than 1-3 inches deep, and never, ever place the mulch directly against the trunk of the tree.  That can cause "Mulch against the trunk of the tree blight", which is a whole nuther story.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Can I Control Moss in the Lawn?

If moss begins to appear in your lawn, it is usually an indication that for whatever reason, the conditions are not good for growing grass.  The grass dies out and the moss moves in.  Moss does not kill grass - it grows where the grass will not.  Once moss becomes established, grass will not spread into those areas. Conditions that favor moss and not favor grass include one or a combination of the following: 
-Excessive shade 
-Low pH of the soil 
-Poor drainage 
-Compacted soils 
-Excessive irrigation 
-Low soil fertility 
-Poor air circulation 
-Shallow rocky soils

Killing the existing moss - Moss can be killed or mechanically removed, but unless the favorable conditions change to favor growing grass, the moss will eventually begin to re-grow.  Moss can be killed with the use of many manufactured moss and algae killers, copper sulfate or iron sulfate, or by using a home remedy of dissolving 1 small box of baking soda in 2 gallons of luke-warm water.  Place in tank sprayer and spray the moss.  Burns it off within a day and keeps it away for 4-6 weeks.  Raking the moss with a hard rake will also help in drying the moss and airing the soil.  Again, these are all temporary fixes.

Changing the conditions-
Shade:  Moss tolerates shade better than grass.  So thinning and limbing-up trees will help increase sunlight and air circulation.  Removal of selected trees will also help allow in more sunlight and better air flow.  Also consider planting a more shade tolerant grass such as the turf type tall fescues.  In extremely shady areas where grass will not grow, consider planting shade tolerant groundcovers or mulching the area.  And if all else fails, let the moss grow.  It is green, and does well in the shade!  Work around it.
Check the soil pH:  Although pH of the soil is minor factor in favoring mosses, if the soil is too acidic for turf growth, adjust with lime to a favorable ph for turf (5.8 to 6.8 or so).
Poor drainage:  Re-grading, adding French drains, elevating areas, etc, are all ways to increase better water flow through the area.
Compacted soils:  Core aeration is the best way to open up compacted soils.  The next step would be to back fill those holes with coarse sand for added aeration.
Excessive Irrigation:  Watering on a regular schedule is not good.  Water only as needed and water thoroughly and deeply each time you do.
Low soil fertility:  Again, have the soil tested.  More than likely, beginning a regular lawn care feeding program (getting nitrogen back into the soil) does the trick.  But do have your soils tested to see what they may lack.

Once you have altered these conditions, feel free to begin renovating the area and growing grass once again - moss free!

Click to downhoad this tip in a print friendly form
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Can I Control Nimblewill?

Description:  Nimblewill is a warm season perennial, which means it grows well in the heat of the season, and goes dormant during the cooler parts of the season.  It tolerates both sunny and shady locations, loves moist areas, and is very distinguishable with its bluish green short leaves, spreading wiry flat growing habit, in low circular patches.  Nimblewill turns a whitish tan right after the first good frost, and remains like that until it re-greens in late spring.
    Nimblewill has very shallow roots, and spreads by both stems that root into the soil and by seed, which are produced anytime between August and October (the flowers are on long slender stalks).  These seeds will remain dormant in the soil until the following late spring, when they will begin to sprout.  This weed can be very invasive in both the lawn and the landscape, and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions including gravely soils.

Prevention of nimblewill:  This includes keeping the lawn as thick as possible (modify the growing conditions for the turf by improving soil drainage, reducing shade, increasing air movement, etc. to increase the turf's capability to compete), as well as hand pulling or eliminating it before it goes to seed in the late summer.

Control of nimblewill:  Physical removal, making sure all roots and stems are removed from the soil will work.  Again, do this before the plants begin to flower and set seed.  You can also try using an herbicide labeled for nimblewill control, and spraying when the weed is young and tender (late spring to early summer).  Spraying with a labeled selective herbicide can be very mixed in results, and will require several applications.    The best means of control for young and tender or matured and established nimblewill is the use of a non-selective herbicide, such as Roundup, and killing the entire infested area, Nimblewill, turf, and all (and further out to be sure you kill it all).  Then re-seed or re-sod that area. Roundup is only effective on actively growing nimblewill, and may require 2 applications.  Make sure the weed is totally dead, and that all has been killed, before re-seeding or sodding the area.  NOTE:  If nimblewill seed is present in the soil, it can come back quicker from seed than the new lawn seed can become established.  Sodding helps to keep the nimblewill seeds from germinating.  It may be advisable to do this type of renovation in August for seeding or sodding in early September.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form   
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Can I Control Nutgrass in My Lawns and Landscape Beds?

One of the most asked gardening questions is, "I have got patches of this light green waxy course leafed grass like weed growing in my lawn and landscape beds, and it is growing like crazy.  What is it, and how do I get rid of it?"  It is called nutgrass, or sometimes referred to as watergrass or nutsedge, and it is not a grass, but is a sedge.  And a really tough sedge to try and get rid of.  It grows faster than the regular grass, it is a limey green, and it loves moist areas or low wet spots, although it will grow elsewhere.  It is a perennial, and reproduces from seeds, tubers, and nutlets, which is why it is so hard to get rid of!

Here are a few tips for controlling Nutgrass:

1.) Hand pulling younger plants (plants just sprouted from seed) may offer some control, but once the tubers and nutlets have formed in the ground, pulling practically becomes a waste of time.  You get the top of the plant, but many of the tubers and nutlets remain in the soil, ready to regrow.  So if you want to physically remove the nutgrass, be sure to dig out the plant, foliage, tubers and all.    If drainage is a problem (compacted poorly drained soils favor nutgrass growth), try to make necessary corrections to eliminate the problem.

2.) For control in the open landscape beds, 'Roundup' (Kleenup) or 'Sedgehammer' are your best bets, as both will move down into the tubers and nutlets for complete control.  But, it generally will take repeated applications before getting nutgrass totally under control (definitely use a surfactant for better results).  Spray it, kill it, if it regrows, treat it again, and again, until control is had.  Remember that 'Roundup' (Kleenup) is non-selective and will kill what it is sprayed on.  Only spray 'Sedgehammer' on the nutgrass as well.  Use caution when spraying - always read the label first.

3.) For the lawn, 'Sedgehammer' does an excellent job stopping nutgrass in its tracks without harming the turf (definitely use a surfactant for better results).  Spot treat the lawn areas infected with nutgrass (best at 3 leaf stage, then again as needed), not the entire lawn.  After the nutgrass disappears, keep watch for any regrowth, which may require a second, possibly third application of 'Sedgehammer'.   The other is called 'Nutgrass Nihilator' by Monterrey Chemical.  Same procedures apply, and works quite nicely getting rid of that nutgrass.  (Bonide's MSMA as well as Weed Beater Plus also list nutgrass as a weed controlled.)

4.) VERY IMPORTANT FOR OPTIMUM CONTROL - Now here is the secret for the best success using 'Sedgehammer' or 'Roundup' (Kleenup) or 'Nutgrass Nihilator' for nutgrass control.  Use a surfactant in the spray which helps these herbicides stick to the foliage of the nutgrass, giving you even better results.  It is a must for spraying chemicals to control nutgrass.

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How Can I Control Wild Onions?

Never fails - every spring one of the first things to green up and start growing are clumps of wild onions or garlic (next to the chickweed and henbit).  And they pop up in both the lawn and the landscape beds.  Wild onions are cool season perennials, and begin growing before the turf and most weeds become active.  Both species have slender, waxy, smooth green leaves growing upward, and produce a strong odor (garlic or onion) following mowing.  They grow from underground bulbs and bulblets, and tend to grow in poorly drained soils, but will grow just about anywhere.  The invade landscapes by being transported in contaminated soils, or by distribution of the bulblets or seeds.  These will germinate in the late fall months, as well as spring and even early summer (but seen mostly during the cooler months).  So now the question is, how do you get rid of them?

Wild Onion Control:
1.) Physical Removal - This is probably one of the most effective means of control.  But, for best results, you must remove everything that belongs to that clump.  Stems, roots, bulbs, and closely surrounding soil.  Dig the entire clump, making sure to get everything, and pitch it out, soil and all.  Replace the hole with new soil.
2.) Cultural Practices – Maintaining a healthy lawn and correcting drainage problems may help reduce infestations. 
3.) Mowing - This will not kill the wild onions, but regular mowing will weaken the plants as well as preventing them from setting seed or bulblets.
4.) Chemicals - In the lawns, these are considered broadleaf weeds, but not all broadleaf weed killers are effective against wild onions.  Sprays labeled for wild onion control are most effective applied in spring or fall, and will require repeated applications (be persistent).  The foliage is very waxy and makes it difficult for herbicides to adhere and penetrate, so either bruise the plants by hitting with a stick, or even spraying after mowing may help.  Or, use a surfactant to help the herbicide adhere and work more effectively.  Bonide's Weed Beater Ultra works great in cooler temperatures and does a nice job on wild onions.  You can reseed within 2 weeks after application.  In the landscape beds, using a non selective herbicide (Roundup,  Bonide's Kleenup, Espoma's 4in1 Weed Control) will work, but again, bruise the plants prior to spraying, or add the surfactant to the herbicide before spraying.  And again, it will take repeated applications.

If you can not beat 'em, eat 'em!  Yes, wild onions are very edible.  Feel free to cut and use the greens from wild onions (make sure they have not been sprayed with herbicides) in salads, soups, or where ever you would use chives or green onion greens.


Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips



Should I Return the Grass Clippings to the Turf?

Proper lawn care includes regular mowing of the lawn.  And mowing the lawn produces grass clippings.  Do not bag those clippings and send them to the landfills.  Throw them back into the turf where they came from!

Reasons for NOT bagging grass clippings:
-Grass clippings do not contribute to thatch.  Thatch is a brown spongy layer of material made up of dead grass stems and roots.
-Clippings are 75% water and break down quickly.
-Clippings contain Nitrogen (P and K) and other nutrients as well. 
-As much as 50% of the nitrogen applied to the lawn is removed when grass clippings are collected.
-Nutrients in the clippings are returned to the soil (can provide as much as 25% of your lawns total fertilizer needs). 
-Clippings add organic matter back to the soil and encourages microorganisms, resulting in water conservation and less fertilizer needed. 
-Less fertilizer needed means cost savings for you, and reduction of pollution in rain water runoff from your yard.
-Clippings left on the lawn means no bagging and hauling / no additions to landfills.  Also reduces mowing time by as much as 40%.
-Earthworms enjoy grass clippings.

Research Proves It!  -A recent study comparing lawns where the clippings were returned to the lawn vs. being removed showed that the lawns with the clippings returned had: -45% less crabgrass  -up to 60% less disease  -up to 45% more earthworms  -60% more water reaching plant roots  -25% greater root mass  -50% reduced need for nitrogen fertilizer.  (University of Connecticut)

NOTE:  When mowing to return grass clippings back to the turf, mow on a regular basis, with a sharp mower blade, never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow.  If the grass gets too high, adjust the mower height to remove 1/3 of the blade, and then mow again in 2-3 days, and again in 2-3 days until the desired height is reached.  Do not bring overgrown grass back to the normal mowing height in one mowing!

Other Uses for Clippings:  Grass clippings can also be recycled as a mulch in the garden, soil amendment, or added to the compost pile (assuming no weed killers have been used - leave those on the lawn).

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form
Back to Lawn Care Tips



How to Shut Down the Lawn for the Season

As the season winds down, there are few things we need to do for our lawns (cool season grasses) to help them not only finish the season properly, but to help get them ready for next spring!

1.) If the grass is growing, keep on mowing.  As the temperatures continue to cool down, the grass will also respond to cooler air and soil temps, as well as shorter days, and slow down in its growth.  But as long as it keeps growing, you need to keep mowing.  We have been known to still be mowing at Thanksgiving time!  So keep up the mowing schedule as needed, remembering to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow, change directions each time you mow, throw those clippings back into the turf when you mow, and throw those finely ground leaves back into the turf as well.  Note: If you live in an area where snow mold has been a problem, feel free to lower your mowing height 1/2 inch (from normal) for the last 2-3 mowings.  This is not necessary in most areas as long as you keep mowing until the lawn has stopped growing, but some folks just feel better lowering the height for the last couple of mowings anyway.  If the weather changes and gets cold before you get that last mow in, make sure the ground is not frozen and the temperatures are in the mid to upper 40's or higher before you mow.  If the temperatures do not get warmer, forget the last mowing.  (If the grass has frost on in, stay off the grass.  Walking or running equipment on frozen grass will definitely kill those grass blades.)

2.) When the lawn has pretty much stopped growing for the season, then it is time for that final feeding, using a high nitrogen fertilizer.  No, this will not encourage your lawn to keep growing, but instead, keeps your lawn looking greener through the winter, and actually helps it get off to a better start next spring.  Remember that the 2 feedings in the fall (September and once the lawn has shut down) are the two most important feedings you gave give your lawn!  Note: Do not apply fertilizer to the lawn if the ground is frozen.  Wait until the day time temps get into the mid to upper 40's or higher.  If the temps do not warm up in the next week, forget the last feeding.  Again, if you are in an area where snow mold has been a problem, feed the lawn in early to mid November.

3.) If there are leaves still falling in the lawn, make sure you keep collecting the leaves.  Wet leaves left on the grass over the winter will shade and smother the grass below.  Mow them back into the turf or rake and collect.

4.) When you are finished mowing for the season, take your lawn mower in and have it serviced.  Do it now, rather than waiting for next spring, when everybody else wants to get their mowers serviced!

Click to download this tip in a print friendly form     
Back to Lawn Care Tips

 

Follow Us!