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TURFGRASS, GRASS SEED, AND GRASS PLUGS
Seasonal Lawn Tips:
All Season All Grass Variety Tips:
• Monitor for insects and diseases.
• Keep mower blades sharp.
• Treat broad-leaf weeds, like dandelions, as needed.
• Monitor sprinkler systems for malfunctioning heads and valves.
• Avoid watering in late afternoon or evenings.
• DO NOT remove grass clippings. Clippings are comprised of nitrogen and water. Leaving clippings on the lawn to decompose will add fertilizer to the turf and extend the life of landfills. Clippings do not cause thatch.
Bluegrass and Fescue Seasonal Tips:
Spring is a very important time of year for lawn maintenance. What you do now will affect the turf for the rest of the year. Aerating and raking debris can be performed in early spring but delay fertilizing until the ground temperatures reach 50 degrees. The best time to apply your spring fertilizer is in late April or early May. If you fertilize too early in the year, you will reduce root growth, increase top growth, and your lawn will require extra mowing.
Use a slow release fertilizer with a pre-emergent to prevent crabgrass and foxtail contamination later in the season. Treat broadleaf weeds if present. It is not necessary to treat for grubs during the spring. Grubs rarely cause damage to the turf at this time, and because they are in their mature stage, the grubs are difficult to eradicate with insecticides.
Water only as needed. DO NOT OVER WATER! Setting your sprinkler system timer for the entire season is unwise and wasteful. Continually adjust your watering schedule to fit the weather and the season. Your grass will be healthier and you could save up to 50% on your water bill. Mow at 2 to 2 ½ inches.
Summer is a very stressful time for cool season grasses. Follow the Monthly Chart of Turf Care at the bottom of this page for the fertilization schedule for your grass. As the temperatures increase, the need for water increases. Adjust your watering schedule by lengthening the time of each cycle. Infrequent, deep watering is generally better than frequent, light applications. Always water in the early morning while winds are calm and before the heat of the day arrives. You will have better coverage and less water will be lost to evaporation. Watering in the morning also helps prevent disease. Watch carefully for areas turning yellow or brown. These areas can show up where heat stress tends to be the greatest. Brown patches along the south or west side of buildings, and on slopes or along sidewalks, are often mistaken as a disease but are usually due to heat stress.
Check the soil conditions for moisture by pushing a long screwdriver into the ground. If it is difficult to push in, soak the area thoroughly. It may take an hour or more to properly soak your lawn. Repeat every other day until the grass returns to normal. To adjust your watering system to adequately irrigate your lawn, you may need to add sprinklers, alter the range deflector, or increase the nozzle size of the sprinkler head. Simply adding time to the clock is not a good idea. This will over water some parts of the yard, wasting water and money.
Do not waste your money on fungicides unless necessary. These are expensive and usually give minimal results. If you do have a persistent disease problem, you will need to re-sod or over-seed the damaged areas in the fall with better varieties of grass.
Monitor your lawn for insect damage and treat only if needed. Remember, treating for harmful insects will kill the beneficial insects in the soil as well. It is better to keep nature in balance and help only when needed. Treatment for grubs is best if done in early August when new grubs are hatching and they are more susceptible to insecticides.
Adjust mowing height to 3 inches to help cool the grass plant and reduce turf stress.
Now is the time to prepare your lawn for winter. Reduce watering as the temperatures cool. Aerate where thatch is a problem. Sod or over-seed with improved varieties if needed. Discount stores are not a good source of high quality seed.
Monitor for insect and disease damage and treat accordingly.
Mow at a height of 2 to 2 ½ inches.
Buffalograss Seasonal Tips:
In early spring, [or late winter in southern locations] mow your buffalograss to a height of 1 inch. This will remove the old grass debris and allow the sun to warm the soil faster so your buffalograss will green up earlier. Since you are helping the ground warm earlier than normal, you will need to apply a pre-emergent or a fertilizer with crabgrass and/or annual grassy weed control at this time. Any product available at your garden center should be OK to use. Read and follow the label. Repeat this application at a ½ rate in 6-8 weeks for season long control.
Your buffalograss is actively growing at its best during the warm summer months. This is the time to fertilize. Apply your first application when the daytime temperatures are consistently in the 70’s. Always use high quality slow release fertilizer. Water immediately after applying to activate the fertilizer. Repeat application in 30-45 days. In southern climates a third treatment can be beneficial 45 days after the second. Any broad leaf weeds can be treated with a chemical application. DO NOT use any product that contains 2 4-D during the hot temperatures of the summer. This may stunt the grass but it should not cause permanent damage. Water only if additional moisture is needed. Mow to your desired height.
Fall maintenance should be minimal. Water if needed. The late fall is an excellent time to control any broadleaf weeds. During this cool weather any broadleaf weed control may be used, including 2-4D products. You may also control any unwanted perennial grasses or hard to kill broadleaf weeds during the late fall. Once you have had 3 hard freezes with the temperatures reaching the 20’s, it is safe to apply a non-selective herbicide like Round-up® or other glysophate herbicide. This should kill anything except your buffalograss. DO NOT apply before 3 hard freezes.