Proper lawn maintenance will allow for a healthy lawn to thrive year after year. Performing the correct treatments at the correct times of the year is crucial in ensuring that diseases, insects, or environmental stresses don't have any adverse effects on your lawn.
The first treatment of the year is a combination granular product which contains both fertilizer and a preventative crabgrass control product. Timing is critical when making this application, as crabgrass seeds begin to germinate in mid spring, depending on weather conditions. In order to prevent crabgrass from germinating, a control product must be applied before the seeds germinate. In addition to crabgrass control, it is crucial to “feed” the turf. The summer can be quite harsh on the turf, so providing nutrients early in the spring is essential for a lawn to flourish through late spring.
The second treatment to your lawn is the same combination product of fertilizer and a crabgrass control product used in the first treatment. A liquid broadleaf weed control product will also be applied to remove any other weeds that may have popped up or are not controlled by the crabgrass pre-emergent material. A quality slow-release fertilizer application will allow for a feed of about 6-8 weeks. By the time this second application is applied to your lawn, the turf will need more nutrients to sustain its growth into the summer. Also, the preventative crabgrass control product is applied again to prevent crabgrass (and other weeds). The reason for this repeat application is as follows: Crabgrass seeds do not all germinate at the same time, but germinate throughout the growing season (April through September). Because of this, the first application on a control product will only provide about 2-3 months of acceptable control. By applying a second application, an additional 2-3 months of preventative crabgrass control will be achieved. The chart below illustrates this principle.
This treatment will be the final fertilization until early fall. The fertilizer used in this application will provide a slow but steady release of nutrients over the course of the summer. This application is extremely important to be performed correctly, as excessive nitrogen will be detrimental to the turf, especially in hot summers. When there is too much top growth in the mid to late summer, the turf is not strong enough to endure hot temperatures. This will cause lawns to “burn” and turn light brown. This may appear similar to water stress (drought), but proper management of both nutrients and water are essential to a healthy summer lawn. If any weeds are present, they will be spot sprayed with a liquid herbicide.
As mentioned previously, a fertilizer application in the mid to late summer can be very detrimental to lawns. Given this, the summer is an acceptable time to address another other very important part of your lawn; the soil. Having a balanced pH is extremely important. Soil pH is one of the most important aspects of nutrient management. Nutrient availability is directly tied with soil pH. This simply means that at certain pH levels, certain nutrients are not available to the plant. So, in essence, you (or a lawn care company) could apply as much fertilizer as you want to your lawn, but none of the nutrients will be taken up by the plant because of the soil’s pH. This is shown in the figure below.
Given our geographical location, we receive more acid rain than most other states in the country. Because of this, soil pH levels are usually acidic (less than 7.0). In order to combat this, lime is applied to raise soil pH. Raising soil pH is a slow process that needs to be repeated every year (remember that acid rain continues to fall all year long). Because lime is not a nutrient source to the turf, it is safe (and important) to apply at this time (it does not contain nitrogen).
After the summer, it is important to replenish both the soil and the plant with nutrients that were depleted. Due to the growth pattern of cool season turf grasses, autumn is the time of year in which grass grows most aggressively.
In order for the turf to grow properly, it will need the correct amounts of nutrients present.
This fertilizer application is designed to both give a small amount of nutrients immediately, but also allow for a steady feed for the next two months, until the final fertilization of the year.
Also, if there are any summer annual weeds present, they will be spot sprayed with a liquid herbicide.
Even though spring is about five months after this application, the way that your lawn comes out of winter heavily depends on what you do in November. This fertilization allows for a quick and healthy spring green-up. If no fertilizer is put down, the plants will not have enough nutrients to carry themselves though the winter effectively. Though there is not much top-growth over the winter, turf is still growing by utilizing carbohydrates that are created and stored within the plant in the late fall. Carbohydrates are stored energy reserves for the plant to use throughout the winter and early spring.
Aeration is the most important practice that can be done to a lawn aside from proper fertilization and watering. The benefits of aeration (removing cores of soil) are endless but include
Over seeding is an important practice that should be done every fall to ensure that new grass can fill in any areas that may be weak from summer stress. By having new seedlings, a denser canopy will form, which will prevent weeds from germinating in the spring. This is also important for lawns that have suffered from grub damage or severe drought stress.
A blanket application in your yard thus controlling these pests so you can enjoy your outdoor activities. This treatment is most effective using a series of 5 applications.
This will be series of one to five applications which commences in late spring. By treating around the perimeter of your house, you can reduce the amount of the following insects in your yard and house:
Grubs cause severe damage to lawns every year. Grubs do not eat the leaf blades, but chew off the roots. This can cause turf to appear light brown in irregular-shaped patches. The turf may easily be pulled or rolled up upon investigation. One major sign of grub activity is skunk damage or holes in lawns by other rodents or birds. If you have grubs, it can be painstakingly difficult to return the lawn to pristine condition in a short amount of time. The best way to fight grubs is prevention, by applying a preventative product in the same manner that crabgrass is prevented (but with a different chemical).