Proper use of fertilizers and other lawn care products, whether of synthetic or natural origin, contributes to healthy plant growth. Applying too much of a synthetic fertilizer may cause foliar burns or injury to the plant. Using too little may result in inadequate pest control or nutrient deficiencies.
The only way to know just how much fertilizer or pest control product is being applied to your lawn is to calibrate your application equipment. Calibrating simply begins with knowing the total square footage of your lawn and making sure you apply the correct amount of material for that square footage according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Always read and follow the product label. Always sweep or blow sidewalks and driveways back into lawn areas.
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Apply only as much water as the soil can absorb. Simply match the output of your irrigation with the infiltration rate of the soil. Most soil only infiltrate 0.25 to 0.50 inches per hour. Early morning watering will:
1) Reduce evaporative losses due to cooler morning temperatures;
2) Provide an even distribution due to calm winds; and
3) Reduce disease potential by removing morning dew.
Aeration is a practice of pulling soil plugs to open the soil surface for better air, water and nutrient movement. It is a practice that also helps to reduce compaction and thatch by spreading soil plugs on the surface. Soil plugs crumbled and fall freely into aeration hole as spreading some soil into the thatch layer where soil microbes can feed on thatch debris. Aeration is a practice that can be done in both spring fall.
Aeration is the very best way to begin a fall fertilization program. Applications of fertilizers after aeration will move nutrients immediately into the root-zone of your lawn. This practice has shown excellent results in the density and color of cool-season turfglasses on their way to recovery from summer stresses.
Aeration is also an excellent practice prior to fall over-seeding. If lawns show some thinning from a stressful summer, over-seeding is recommended to maintain the density desired for a quality lawn. Aeration prior to seeding will help ensure better seed/soil contact for improved germination.
A thick lawn mowed tall (3 1/2 to 4 inches) is your best natural weed control. Over-seeding of cool-season grasses should occur in September to maintain the density required for competition against weeds. Lawns showing some thinning from summer stress can be over-seeded with
1. Mow tall (3 to 4 inches). Mowing tall can reduce annual weeds by 80% and conserve soil moisture.
2. Let clippings fall. Put nutrients (30% nitrogen & 50% potassium) back into the lawn. Reduce waste.
3. Keep mowing blades sharp. Leaf cuts made by a sharp mower blade are cleaner, heal faster, and reduce disease potential. Observe leaf tips, since shredding or tearing indicates a dull blade.
4. Frequency of cutting should be deterrmined by the " 1/3 Rule. "
5. Avoid mowing wet grass. Distribute grass clippings as evenly as possible.
6. Change direction of mowing each time to mow.
7. Avoid using grass clippings in compost when treated with chemicals.
8. Use steel bladed trimmers to edge sidewalks and curbs. String trimmers scalp turfgrasses and promote weeds.
Turfgrass pest (weeds, disease, insects) are there for a reason. It is often related to a weakness in the plant or some deficiency in the soil (often related to microbial activity). Identification still remains the first step in the pest management. However, instead of looking how to instantly control the pest; ask yourself, " Why is it there? " Majority of our pest problems can be controlled by selecting resistant varieties of turfgrass species, following best management practices , and maintaining a healthy, balanced soil.
A Routine soil fertility test (pH, neutralizable acidity, phosphorus potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter, and cation exchange capacity) is recommended under the following circumstances:
Before Establishing a new lawn, whether from seed, sod, or sprigs.
Every three years on established lawns (early spring or early fall).
Annually when attempting to correct a nutrient deficiency or change the soil pH.
We believe communication is essential to excellent service. We ask that if you notice problems in between treatments such as weeds, brown spots or anything you feel is unsightly; call our office right away.
We look forward to working with you to develop a healthy and beautiful lawn.
The Progressive Lawn Managers Team