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Posts Tagged ‘Lawn’

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Northern Grasses

In roughly the northern half of the United States, cool-climate grasses are used for lawns. In this part of the country, lawns put on most of their growth in spring and fall and slow down in the hot months of summer and the cold months of winter. The most common grasses are:

Kentucky bluegrass. Grass seed mixes in the North will have a high proportion of Kentucky bluegrass. A mix that is identified for sunny areas should have mostly bluegrass, since it does best in sun.

Fine Fescues. Most fescues have finer blades than Kentucky bluegrass, and since they do well in shady areas, they are the dominant seeds found in grass mixes for shade. Red fescue and chewings or hard fescue are favorites.

Tall fescue has a wider leaf blade, almost like Kentucky bluegrass, and stands up to hot summers better than Kentucky bluegrass.

Perennial ryegrass. These have a Kentucky bluegrass-like look and feel, but grow from seed much faster. Many named varieties are available and these are often combined with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue in grass seed mixtures.

Grass seed mixes may also contain annual rye grass. This establishes quickly and dies after one season. It is used to stabilize the area while the premium grasses become established. It is also used to cover vegetable gardens that will not be used for a season, then turned under when it is to be replanted. Avoid using annual ryegrass for a permanent lawn.

If your lawn appears to be thin — for example in a shady area — try overseeding. Just before the growth season in spring and fall, scatter grass seeds over the existing lawn and rake them down into the root zone. Keep the area watered.

Two areas of the country don’t quite fall neatly into the conditions that clearly favor cool-climate grasses or warm-climate grasses. One of these is the area of the high plains, where native grasses such as buffalo grass and wheatgrass are used — particularly where there is no irrigation. The other is a transition zone that runs like a belt from the southern half of California to North and South Carolina. Both the northern and southern grasses are found here, and local conditions make the right choice critical. Consult your local extension agent or garden center for advice.

Warm-climate grasses

These are found throughout the South. Often they are wide-bladed and coarse compared to the northern grasses. They put on vigorous growth during summer and go dormant and turn brown in winter. Golf courses and some homeowners keep lawns green by overseeding with annual rye grass toward the end of the growing season. Instead of being started from grass seed, lawns of warm-climate grasses are usually started from planting sprigs, plugs, or sod.

Bermuda grass. Durable and heat-loving, Bermudagrass is the most common of the warm-climate grasses. It does not do well in shade. Hybrid bermuda grass is very soft and fine-bladed and is therefore a common choice for golf greens in southern regions.

Centipedegrass. This grass makes a good lawn in hot areas, although it is lighter green in color and subject to drought damage because of shallow roots. It does well in poor soil.

St. Augustine grass. St. Augustine does well in shade and is fast-growing, but is subject to damage from chinch bugs. It prefers slightly alkaline soils over acid soils.

Zoysiagrass. This grass establishes slowly, but when it gets going forms a dense, wirey, fine-textured lawn and is resistant to heat and drought. It tolerates shade, where it grows slowly. Zoysiagrass is relatively free of diseases and insect problems. Many improved varieties are available.

If you have deep shade, steep banks, or other problem areas, it might be worth investigating the many ground covers that can be used in place of grass lawns.

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Dandelion

I’m going to war.

That’s right, it’s me against the dandelions. Because somehow, overnight, all of those sweet, cheerful yellow blooms scattered across my lawn turned into tall, scraggly, ugly puffballs. And now they have to go.

The problem is my neighbors. Lawn A is a beautiful, flawless, weed-free swath of green. Lawn B on the other side is the most abundant, expansive display of dandelion puffballs I have ever seen.

And I am the only buffer between them.

Naturally, I feel responsible.

I’ve got to keep the dandelions from invading Lawn A. They are creeping their way through my front yard, and if they make it across it will be MY FAULT!

So I’m taking action. I just bought a bag of Bonide Weed Beater Complete. It kills AND prevents about 50 grassy and broadleaf weeds, including dandelions. Prevention is important, because, even if I kill what’s there now, I need to keep the seeds from Lawn B from sprouting as they waft their way into my lawn on every breeze.

It’s so easy even I can do it. The 10Lb bag covers 5,200 Sq Ft. I’ll just follow the spreader settings on the back of the bag, and in a few minutes I’ll have a Dandelion proof barrier that will keep the puffballs where they belong. – In Lawn B!

Bonide Weed Beater Complete will kill most common lawn weeds, and prevent new ones for sprouting for the next 60-90 days.

Weeds Controlled: Chickweed, Clover, Crabgrass, Dandelion, Foxtail, Goosegrass, Ground Ivy, Henbit, Nutsedge, Plantain, Poa, Spotted Spurge, Purslane, Wild violet, and more.

Got Weeds? Give Bonide Weed Beater a try:

Bonide Weed Beater Complete

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Moss

Customer question: I have a great deal of moss in my lawn. Should I treat the lawn with a moss killer and then de-thatch? What is the best way to prevent the moss from returning?

The best way to keep moss from returning is to change the conditions. The same conditions that are great for moss are difficult or impossible for grass to thrive in. These include:

  • Too much shade
  • Compacted soil
  • Poor soil fertility
  • Poor drainage
  • Low pH

It’s fine to start with a moss killer, but unless you change conditions, the grass won’t fill in, and moss will come right back.

After applying moss killer, de-thatch to loosen up the soil, and rake up all the dead stolons along with the moss.

Reseed bare areas; then put your lawn on a regular feeding schedule, mow frequently, and water as needed.

Test your soil for acidity. Ideally, soil pH should be 6-7. If it’s lower, add lime to encourage the grass, and discourage the moss.

These steps will help the grass grow lush and thick enough to crowd out any moss.

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Lawn

Using fertilizer correctly grows healthier plants, saves money, and is environmentally responsible. Follow these 10 tips for success:

  1. Apply water soluble fertilizers only when plants are actively growing. Nutrients must be taken up quickly by plant roots or they will simply be washed away.
  2. Slow-release fertilizers and compost can be applied any time, since nutrients remain in the soil and are available to plants over a long period of time as needed.
  3. Avoid excessive feeding; this can lead to rapid over-growth that attracts pests, but doesn’t help the plant’s health or appearance.  Also, excess fertilizer ends up in streams and lakes where it will pollute the water.
  4. Mix as directed on the package. Too strong a solution can “burn” plant roots, and also end up washing away into waterways.
  5. Do not use lawn fertilizer on flowers; the high nitrogen content may encourage the growth of foliage at the expense of blooms.
  6. Don’t feed trees, shrubs, and perennials with a fast-acting fertilizer in autumn. Plants are preparing to go dormant for winter, and should not be encouraged to put out new growth.
  7. Have your soil tested every few years. You can use a home Soil Test Kit  or send a soil sample to a testing lab. Your local cooperative extension office can recommend a lab.
  8. Make sure the soil pH is appropriate for the plants you are growing. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.8. The soil’s pH affects how available the nutrients in a fertilizer are to plants.
  9. Avoid fertilizing lawns during very hot weather, when they are essentially dormant.
  10. Remember that with fertilizer, more isn’t necessarily better.

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The approach of spring leads many of us to look at our lawns and think Uh-Oh. Well, maybe that’s just me, but I do know that many of you will be seeding to fill in bare spots or just thicken up your lawn.

Perhaps the most critical part of the job is also the most time-consuming – keeping it watered. You have to keep those seeds and tiny plants moist. If they dry up they either won’t sprout at all, or they will germinate and quickly wither and die.

Mulching will help hold moisture in, but straw comes with it’s own set of problems. It’s a pain to spread, may contain weed seeds, and may block sunlight. In fact, it can also block some of your painstakingly applied water from reaching seedlings.

Take a look at ENCAP’s Lawn Starter Mulch Kit. It’s a granular mulch plus starter fertilizer and can be applied with a spreader or sprinkled right out of the bag. It contains everything you need to help your seed germinate and gives it an optimal environment to establish.

ENCAP’s Seeding Mulch Kit uses their patented Advanced Soil Technology™ (AST™) that improves soil structure by creating millions of microscopic “spaces” in your soil. Those tiny air pockets are vital to healthy soil and deep root systems.

Here is how ENCAP describes it:

“The AST™ technology is a combination of proprietary polymers called water soluble polyacrlymides (WSPAM) which are impregnated into and coated onto our products. When activated by moisture, the polymers are released from the product and begin to engage the soil where they provide many benefits including:

Improved soil structure and soil aggregates
Improved seed establishment
Better water infiltration
Improved root mass
Reduced soil loss from erosion
Resistance to soil crusting”

You know what- seeding a lawn is hard work. This sounds like a solution that will not only make it a little easier, but will also give you better results-more germination, deeper roots, healthier soil. Want to give it a try?

ENCAP Lawn Starter Mulch & Fertlizer

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Weed Tutorial

Weeds fall into several categories with regard to their growth and reproduction. Knowing more about the weeds in your yard will help you eliminate them more effectively.

Annual weeds only live one year, and rely on seed to perpetuate the species. Some annual weeds produce hundreds of thousands of seeds in order to ensure their survival.  That being the case, the best way to eliminate these weeds from your yard is to keep them from producing and spreading seed.  A good Weed Preventer will help.

Winter annuals
germinate in the fall, survive the winter, then produce seed and die by early the next summer. They’re the ones you see dying off in early summer, and think you’re in luck. But remember, they’ve already spread seeds waiting to sprout in the fall.Speedwell, Henbit, Chickweed, andPepperweed
are some examples.

Summer annuals
germinate in the spring, flower, go to seed, and die with the first hard frost.Black Medic, Purslane, Carpetweed, Spotted Spurge and Crabgrass are a few.

Perennial weeds
live from season to season, and can be some of the most difficult to control because they reproduce from seed, but also by underground stolons, stem nodes, or a piece of root left in the soil. some examples are:Nutsedge, Plantain, and
Dandelion.

A Weed Control Strategy

Mow high. Mowing at 3 inches (or recommended height for your type of turf) helps grass shade out weeds and encourages a thicker lawn that makes it hard for weeds to compete in.

Reduce soil compaction. Weeds like crabgrass will pop up in areas where soil is compacted, like heavy traffic spots, or alongside driveways and paths. Until the soil is loosened, lawn will not thrive, and weeds will be a continual problem.

Thicken the lawn. Most weeds won’t compete. they’ll take advantage of bare or thin spots to gain a foothold. Repair bare spots early and fertilize to promote a thick lawn that will be a barrier to weeds.

Pull weeds. This is easiest after rain, when soil is damp. Remember, each weed you can be rid of before it goes to seed can save you from dealing with dozens or hundreds of its offspring next season!

Use a pre-emergent weed control product. A pre-emergent weed control gives you a head start. If you can prevent weeds from sprouting, you’ll give your lawn a better chance to fill in thin spots on its own; and you’ll reduce next years weed crop by preventing plants from coming up and producing seed.

Some Good Weed Prevention Products:

GreenLight Crabgrass Preventer

Preen

 

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In case you have ever wondered about Ironite Liquid Lawn and Garden Spray but were too afraid to voice your concerns, here is someone who may inspire you as well as get you the answer you need:

“I would like to know how long this product has to dry after spraying so that the dogs can be on the lawn?”

The answer you’ve all been waiting for:

Wait 1-2 hours for it to dry before allowing pets to go on lawn.  What you want to avoid is having the animal walk on the wet spray, it get on the animal’s fur and later the animal licks the fur and is effected by the spray.  While the drying times depend on the temperature and humidity outside a 1-2 hour wait is best. 

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