Checking For A Spongy Thatch
Should You Be Aerating Your Lawn
One of the most common questions from homeowners is how to determine if they should be aerating their lawn. Your lawn is probably a good candidate for aeration if it:
- Gets heavy use, such as serving as the neighborhood playground or racetrack. Children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction.
- Was established as part of a newly constructed home. Often, the topsoil of newly constructed lawns is stripped or buried, and the grass established on subsoil has been compacted by construction traffic.
- Dries out easily and has a spongy feel. This might mean your lawn has an excessive thatch problem. Take a shovel and remove a slice of lawn about four inches deep. If the thatch layer is greater than one-half inch, aeration is recommended.
- Was established by sod, and soil layering exists. Soil layering means that soil of finer texture, which comes with imported sod, is layered over the existing coarser soil. This layering disrupts drainage, as water is held in the finer-textured soil. This leads to compacted conditions and poor root development. Aerating breaks up the layering, allowing water to flow through the soil more easily and reach the roots.
Why Is Iron Important For Your Lawn
Iron supplements for lawns became especially popular with homeowners trying to rival the lovely green grass of golf courses.
Its especially effective when you apply iron to Kentucky Bluegrass or Fescue Grass lawns. It can help these types of grasses retain a dark green shade during the hottest parts of the summer.
Iron also doesnt cause extra growth or create a need for additional irrigation, which nitrogen fertilizers do. If youd like to learn more about the difference between Nitrogen and Iron applications, start here.
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Lawn Care Month By Month
You can also view our Lawn Maintenance Guideline for more information.
Sharpen mower Cleanly cut grass is less susceptible to disease.Lime Pelletized lime is the easiest to use. Do not lime if ground is soggy. Now. OR
Clean up winter debris once the ground firms up.Start a new lawn Use a starter fertilizer. If you need to prevent crabgrass from seeding along with the grass, use an appropriate pre-emergent . Now through May.OR Wait until September.Mow weekly, 2½-3 high. Dont cut off more than 1/3 of the blade at any one mowing. Leave clippings if no disease is present and they wont smother the grass.Fertilize Use a maintenance fertilizer.OR Use a Step 1 product , before forsythia blooms drop, with a pre-emergent weed control if you need to control crabgrass and other annual weeds .
TROUBLESHOOTING Check for snow mold damage. Use a lawn fungicide if necessary.
Dethatch if more than ½ of thatch. Now.OR Wait until early October.Water 1 inch+ per week, including rainfall. Best time is from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. which allows blades to dry, minimizing disease potential. Watering once a week for a longer period is better than more frequently for short periods, enhancing drought tolerance by encouraging deeper roots.Fertilize Use a maintenance fertilizer.OR Use a Step 2 product in late May or by June 15 if broadleaf weeds are a problem.
Control broadleaf weeds. A liquid broadleaf herbicide is most effective.
Should I Be Fertilising My Lawn Now
- Fertiliser balance is crucial too little and it can starve, too much and you wont see it at its peak either
- If youre keen on looking after your lawn then getting a handle on fertilising is important
- There are a few tell-tale signs with your lawn to let you know if it needs fertilising
- Autumn fertilising is ideal to send your lawn into winter as healthy as possible
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Do I Need To Fertilize My Lawn Every Year Yes And Here Are Some Tips On How To Do It Correctly
Your soil supplies some of the nutrients that turf grass needs but most soils are not able to provide all of them during the entire growing season. A healthy and actively growing lawn uses a great deal of energy. Fertilizer helps your lawn stay healthy by promoting new leaf and root growth. Read on to learn more about why it is important to fertilize your lawn.
Why Lawns Need Nutrient Replacement
Very often the cycling of nutrients is cut short on home lawns. This is partially due to necessary maintenance practices needed to produce quality turf. To complicate things further, some turf species and certain turf situations, such as sports turf, require intense maintenance and added nutrients to meet the high level of expectation. This requires the removal of fallen leaves, twigs and branches, and even grass clippings, that would otherwise have returned nutrients back to the soil. Those lost nutrients must be replaced.
What is Fertilizer?
Can I Avoid Fewer Mud Puddles and Patches?
The use of fertilizer will strengthen your grass roots so they can quickly absorb more water than unhealthy roots. This firms your soil and lessens the chances of water pooling to form messy mud puddles and bare patches.
Will Fertilizers Help with Weed Control?
A thick lush lawn with strong roots can choke out weeds by preventing them from taking a foothold in the first place.
Can Fertilizers Encourage Fewer Pest?
A Few Tips to Remember Before Fertilizing
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Lawn Care Seasonal Guide
Ladies and gentlemen, March means it’s time to start your engines. The annual lawn care routine is about to begin.With so many products on the market, maintaining a healthy lawn can be confusing. There are four, five and even six step programs, not to mention the various treatments applied by commercial lawn services. The secrets to a great lawn is knowing what to do and when. It’s all in the timing!
I am continually asked for simple lawn care guidelines for here in Kansas City. I have heard you and created a simplified calendar for our areas cool season grasses .
Broadleaf weeds can be spot treated with a spray, or use a fertilizer that includes a weed killer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness of the sprayed weed killer, but the fertilizer needs to be watered in. Wait 24 hours after the application before watering if the product is a combination of fertilizer and herbicide for best weed control.A heavy crabgrass infestation may require a follow-up application. If necessary apply a second round of crabgrass preventer in early June. Only one application is needed if you applied Dimension or Barricade in the spring. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in.
Have questions? The Garden Hotline is staffed by trained EMG volunteers and Extension staff who will assist you with questions.
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When To Fertilize Cool
Fertilize cool-season grasses in early fall. These fertilizers are often sold under the moniker “winterizer fertilizer.” Many lawn care professionals state that cool-season grasses can get by with just one fertilizer application per year in the fall. The fall feeding is responsible for a quick green-up in spring. For most regions where cool-season grasses grow, apply fertilizer in October or November. Make applications before grass starts to discolor with the arrival of cold weather. Check with your local extension office or a reputable garden center to discover the proper timing for your region.
Cool-season grass types include fescue, bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. Cool season grasses grow best at temps of 60 degrees to 75 degrees in areas with cold winters .
Winter Lawn Care Advice: November
You may still need to mow your lawn during November, if this is the case ensure your mower is set to one of its highest cutting settings. As the winter is almost up on us, now is a good time to give your mower blade a good clean or to give the whole mower a service before putting it to bed until the spring. Continue to remove any fallen leaves from the lawn to reduce the risk of disease. If any early frosts fall remember not to walk on the lawn to reduce the risk of damaging it. Take a look at our Gardening in November article for more detailed advice.
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Using A Handheld Broadcast Spreader
A handheld broadcast spreader works well for fertilizing small lawn areas. Walk evenly and slowly, and be sure to overlap distribution patterns slightly with each pass. A small spreader like this also works really well when you have shady areas in your lawn that require a different fertilizer rate than the sunny sections. Some fertilizers combine an herbicide with the lawn food. These products are sold as weed-and-feed lawn care products and are applied using a lawn spreader.
The Main Potassium Benefits For Turf Grass & Lawns
- Plant Metabolism Potassium helps plants to retain water and remain in balance. This allows the plant to properly regulate the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that are absorbed at any one time.
- Root Development While generally phosphorus is viewed as the treatment for a plant that needs help with root development, potassium also plays a key role in establishing the roots of young plants.
- Disease Resistance Potassium is essential in developing the defensive mechanisms of the plant to better tolerate stresses such as temperature extremes and excess wear and tear from humans and animals.
Although those are the three main buckets that potassium affects in grass there are more things it does. Lets summarize them now.
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Iron In Granular Form
Apply granular iron supplements directly on the lawn soil with a broadcast or drop spreader. This type of iron supplement for lawns will take longer to have an effect since the structure of its molecules needs to be broken down, which happens over time.
You wont have to use this kind of iron supplement as often as you would a spray form, though, and the effect on the color of your grass tends to be more enduring.
How To Apply The Overseeding On The Soil
Once the soil is prepared, the reseeding can be spread. Since the grass seeds should be spread very evenly, a spreader is also suitable for this purpose. Make sure that there is no wind. Grass seeds are very small and light and quickly evaporate. Once the lawn seeds are distributed on the ground, there are two different approaches to how you can proceed.
Option one suggests you firm up to reseed a bit, otherwise, it will blow away the next day. You can either use a lawn roller, which you can borrow from a hardware store for a small amount of money, or you can use treads. Some amateur gardeners also just tread them down carefully if the areas are small.
Other gardeners suggest working to reseed into the soil with a rake. This also prevents the seeds from flying away. Which of the two you choose has long been a debate that has yet to produce a proven result.
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What Fertiliser Should I Use
Slow release fertilisers are almost always better value for money, so if you are looking for a slow release feed for your lawn for the entire season, then granular fertilisers are the way to go.
Lawn Solutions Fertiliser is a slow release granular fertiliser which was developed for use on Sir Walter DNA Certified Soft Leaf Buffalo lawns, but it will work equally well on other lawn varieties, such as Couch, Buffalo, Kikuyu, Zoysia, Tall Fescue, Bluegrass and Ryegrass, delivering all the nutrients your grass needs to recover and grow.
All you need to do is use the right amount for the size of the lawn, spreading it out evenly and water it in really well. If you do not water it in enough, the granules can burn the leaf of your lawn, so make sure you apply enough water.
Fertilising or more so, the lack of it is one of the biggest factors behind poor-performing lawns and can be readily rectified with inexpensive, all-round fertilisers like Lawn Solutions Fertiliser available from the Lawn Store. Order a bucket and try it out to give your lawn a head start into winter and if youre still unsure why not contact one of the Lawn Solutions Australia Turfgrowers or Lawn Solutions Centres around the country and they can help with any specific fertiliser questions about your lawn that you may have.
What To Watch Out For When Applying Iron
Its important to be aware that iron can stain concrete, and therefore you should be careful to avoid walkways, athletic courts, and concrete driveways when applying iron to your lawn.
This happens because of the chemicals in some synthetic iron supplements.
Iron can leave ugly orange stains on your concrete patios and other hardscape features of your landscape, so this is something that you will want to keep in mind.
I use a supplement called Dr. Iron which delivers great results and does not stain concrete, and I highly recommend it, especially if youre concerned about preserving the beauty of your hardscape features. It works wonderfully to green up my lawn.
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When To Use Compost
Compost does more than feed grass it also builds and feeds soil. Compost contains microorganisms, micronutrients and organic matter items that nourish soil and foster a healthy underground environment in your lawn. When should you use compost? Spread a thin layer over lawns in early spring to fuel strong growth. Any time you plan to aerate, spread compost after aerating to improve soil and give roots a boost. It’s also a good idea to apply compost before overseeding thin turf. Add compost to a lawn by the shovelful in several places.
When To Schedule Lawn Maintenance
It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.
- Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
- Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
- Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
- Crabgrass doesn’t develop until late spring or early summer, so don’t apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.
See Water-saving strategies for home lawns for information on how and when to water.
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How To Aerate Your Yard
If you’re convinced that your lawn is in need of aeration, here are some lawn care tips on how to do it:
- Before you get started, make sure the soil is moist enough. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to aerate soil that is bone dry. Aerating the day after a rain shower or watering your lawn the day before is advised.
- Most aeration machines cover only a small percentage of soil surface per pass, so make multiple passes over the most compacted areas. Save resources by leaving unaffected areas alone
- The excavated soil plugs should be allowed to dry and then broken up to give your lawn a uniform, clean appearance. Break them up by running them over with a lawn mower or pounding them with the back of a rake.
- An aeration myth is that if you apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn in the spring, aerating your lawn will destroy the herbicide “barrier.” This is not true research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention.
- After aerating, it’s important to continue basic lawn care practices such as proper fertilizing, mowing and watering.
Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. If your lawn is a candidate, make it an integral part of your lawn care regime. Your lawn will thank you for letting it breathe again.