How healthy is your lawn? Is it green, lush and weed-free? Is it everything you want it to be? We hope so, but if not, maybe a little extra knowledge can help. We’ve surveyed many of our customers to find out which myths are most common and problematic. In an effort to alleviate some of these misunderstandings, we offer these 10 myths and what to do about them.
Myth #10: I have had crabgrass in my lawn since March!
Crabgrass is a nasty weed, and can really make a lawn unattractive. Something that most people don’t know about crabgrass is that it is a summer annual weed, meaning that the plant itself only lasts for the season, and each year a new generation grows. So, crabgrass doesn’t show up in your lawn until June at the earliest. In March, what you’re probably seeing is orchard grass, which is very similar to crabgrass in appearance, but it is a perennial weed, meaning the plant lives for multiple years.
Solution: Unfortunately, since orchard grass is perennial, there is not a selective herbicide that will not kill your perennial lawn as well. The only option left is to spray a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup and replant the affected area.
To help prevent crabgrass from infiltrating your lawn during the summer, an application or two of pre-emergence herbicide in the spring will go a long way. For any crabgrass that does emerge in your lawn, there are good post-emergence herbicides to help you kill it. Doing so before it goes to seed will also help prevent another generation from infiltrating your lawn in following years.
Myth #9: If snow is on my lawn, an application is ineffective.
You may think that melting snow washes away an application, therefore making it ineffective. Actually, the melted water carries the nutrients to the soil. Here the roots can absorb them and get a great head start for the year. We apply two types of herbicide, one is systemic, which is also absorbed by the root system, the other is contact herbicide, which is absorbed through the leaf. With the extremely cool, moist temperatures, the stomata in the leaves of the broad-leaf weeds are wide open, and thus, can absorb a lot of herbicide as the snow melts.
Solution: Don’t let a snow storm get in the way of a greener lawn by the end of March and get an advantage over your weeds.
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After surveying many of our customers, we found some common myths which can be very problematic. In an effort to alleviate some of these misunderstandings, we offer the second instalment of our 5 part series, we give you myths 8 and 7. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please take advantage of the comments section below this post.
Myth #8: If I keep my lawn short, it will make it healthier and greener.
The top of a blade of grass is where you will find the deepest green. With green as the goal for your lawn, it is best to cut off as little as possible while still leaving it neat and healthy. A longer blade also allows for more sunlight absorption and therefore more nutrient production and healthy growth. On the other hand, if the blade is cut too short, there is less of the blade to absorb the sunlight, leaving a weaker lawn. This gives more opportunity for invading weeds to germinate and infest your grass. New weeds are most commonly found in the edges of your lawn, therefore, the same principles apply when edging.
Solution: We recommend that your bluegrass lawn be mowed on the second highest setting (2 1/2 to 3 inches). With this in mind, avoid cutting off too much green by only mowing (or edging) off the top 1/3 of the blade.
Myth #7: The more grass fertilizer sprayed, the greener my lawn will be.
If a little works well, a lot will work great…right? While that may work with some things in this world, it actually doesn’t apply to grass fertilizers. Applying too much fertilizer would be like a human eating 10 salads at one sitting. Salad can be very healthy for us (as long as you don’t put in too much Ranch dressing), but too much at a time makes it impossible for us to absorb all the nutrients and leaves us with a very sore stomach. The same happens when too much grass fertilizer is applied to a lawn at one time. We call this “lawn stomach ache” a burned lawn.
Solution: If applying fertilizer yourself, make sure you stay within the recommended limits on the label. If you use a lawn care service such as Turf Plus, you can let the professionals worry about the amount applied.
From fertilizer to herbicide, Turf Plus offers lawn solutions to common lawn myths. We offer the thrid instalment of our 5 part series, we give you myths 6 and 5. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please take advantage of the comments section below this post.
Myth #6: The sunnier the day, the better the spray.
We need the sun. It’s a fact of life. And while the sun is essential for plant growth, it is not necessary when receiving an application. In fact, an overcast day can be helpful for two reasons. First, the stomata on the plant’s leaves (which allows fertilzer and herbicide to be absorbed) are more open in cooler temperatures, and thus have better absorption rates. Second, rain water can carry the rest of the fertilzer and systemic herbicide to the roots where they are also absorbed.
Solution: If you’re experiencing sunnier, drier weather, make sure you water in the application soon after (in the summer between 2 and 24 hours later). If you get a heavy rain, just sit back, relax, and let the rain water in the application for you! After two weeks you will know for sure if the application has been effective. If for some reason the weeds are not showing signs of damage, contact Turf Plus and we’ll respray at no additional charge.
Myth #5: Pre-emergence herbicides should be sprayed in February or March.
Pre-emergence herbicides kill crabgrass up to the “two-leaf stage” and is only effective for 120 days. Summer annual weeds such as crabgrass and spurge germinate heavily in the northern states from June to August. So, if you want to prevent those summer annual weeds throughout the entire germination season, then April or May is the best time to do so.
Solution: Apply a pre-emergence herbicide in April or May so it will last the entire germination season. If you’ve missed the “pre-emergence window” there are post-emergence herbicides that will help kill mature spurge, crabgrass and other summer-annual weeds.
Myth 4 and Myth 3 are uncovered! If your lawn has ever suffered from drought, this post is for you. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please take advantage of the comments section below this post.
Myth #4: Turf Plus doesn’t need my feedback to make my lawn look great.
Knowledge is power, and while we know what it takes to make your lawn look great, we don’t see your lawn as often as you do, nor do we know what your lawn care goals are. Our goal is to tailor our information and services directly to your lawn care needs, which can only be done if we know what that is!
Solution: Tell us what you think! Let us know what problems or questions you have so we can address them both on our web site and at your home. If we can do this, not only will your lawn look better, but the lawns of many others as they benefit from your questions and our experience.
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Myth #3: The first sign of drought is a brown spot.
You know your lawn is dry if its brown and the soil is dry, but by this stage, the blades are dead and new growth is required for that area of your lawn to green up again. Drought can be identified in time to save the blades before they die. A dry lawn is characterized by a dark-green smoky hue. When stepped upon, the blades remain prone longer and will not readily bounce back. A well watered lawn will act much more lively and many of the blades will spring back within a second or two.
Solution: Look for areas of your lawn that have a dark, smoky hue then check the soil and blades for dryness. If drought is the problem, check your sprinklers and adjust them to water affected area evenly and deeply. This will revitalize your lawn and prevent brown spots.
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In this, the 5th and final installment of “The Top 10 Myths of Lawn Care and What YOU Can Do About It” we uncover the biggest and most influential lawn care myths! Strangly enough, both of them talk about watering. This just goes to show the importance of watering and how big an impact correct watering can have on your lawns’ overall health.
Myth #2: If my lawn is dry, it’s not getting watered frequently enough.
It is logical to assume that if your lawn is dry, more water is required. That statement is true, but we must consider the difference between quality and quantity (depth vs. frequency). Frequent, 15 minute bursts of watering keeps the moisture very shallow. This allows other players to steal it from your lawn, like the sun or new, germinating weeds. It may not be that your grass isn’t getting enough water, but that their roots are missing out in what’s needed. By the time the water finally gets past the crown and into the roots, the sprinklers are turned off, thus resulting in drought.
Solution: Grass roots can grow up to ten inches deep, therefore, we recommend about ten inches of moist soil before you stop watering. Your lawn, like your new pet, can and must be trained! It is important to water deeply and only as needed to force a deep root system, strengthen your lawn, and help prevent new weeds!
Let me reemphasize this: Train your roots by watering deeply and only as needed to save you time, water and money; and save your lawn from weed infestations and other problems!
When properly trained, a good deep, even watering (about 10 inches of moist soil), between one and two times a week will be sufficient for your lawn. However, it may be necessary (if your soil is dry) to water more frequently during an especially dry and/or hot spell.
Myth #1: My sprinkler system has even coverage.
While it is possible that when your sprinkler system was installed, it was fairly even, over time the weather and other external forces cause sprinklers to self adjust. This becomes readily apparent as the weather turns hot and dry in late spring and summer, where you will see signs of drought in certain areas.
Solution: To fix this problem, simply take the following steps:
- Place containers of the same size and shape around your coverage area to catch the water; some in the green areas of your lawn and some in those areas which are prone to turn brown.
- After a good watering, observe each container to see where coverage is low. This will help you determine which areas are driest.
- Take this knowledge and adjust the sprinklers to better water the dryer areas. (If you don’t have time to adjust your sprinklers immediately, use a hose sprinkler to augment watering in dry areas until you have time).
- Repeat these steps until you have reasonably even coverage.
We hope you’ve learned something new by reading this article. We would really appreciate any feedback you could give on this article or any lawn care questions you may have. Leave a comment or email us. Help us, help you to grow and maintain a superb lawn!