Lawn Weeds are popping

Just a quick post to mention that Lawn weeds in turf are now in full swing. I just sprayed mine yesterday and they are already curling today.

For a full article about treating and identifying lawn weeds, please visit :

A couple quick tips:

1. Use the right product for the right kinds of weeds

2. Read the label and use only as much as required. More is not better and in many cases can be worse to your turf and less effective.

3. Granular weed controls are more effective when the grass is wet so that the weed control can stick to the weed.

4. If spraying , try not to spray when It is Very hot or when rain is in the forecast. You want the weed control to stick to the weed for as long as possible.

5. Do not mow or chop down weeds first, then spray. Work the other way around. Spray when weeds are full, then wait a few days to mow or weed wack. You need some leaf tissue for the weed control to stick to.

6: For weed ID help, visit
Good luck with your weeds!


Proper Liming of Turf

Hi Folks.

I get many questions about the proper Liming of a lawn all the time. The questions vary, but these are often the most popular.

Should I lime my yard?

How often should I lime my lawn?

How much Lime should I put down?

Whats the difference between powdered lime and pellets?

When is the best time to lime?

Will lime kill moss? (I answered that one in my last post)

I have found 2 links to answer these questions . I will add some finer points to liming later, but these links should answer most of you questions.

12 questions about liming from Ohio state

more detailed Liming information from Ontario Ag dept.

One last thing. From these articles, you will understand that all lime isn’t equal. The magic number is usually the CCE (calcium carbonate equivelent) .

CCE of 100 means that the lime you are buying potent lime. It is a measure of against pure calcium carbonate.

The less the CCE, the less liming power the lime has. You will then need more lime to do the same job. Its not that lower CCE liming materials are bad, they just will require more. I have seen Lime sold at Big Box retailers with a CCE as low as 48%. It will take you twice as much of this lime to what a 100% Lime material will do.

Spend you money wisely. Sometimes the 3 for 11.95 deal at the garden center isn’t such a good deal after all.

In my next post, I will detail how to calculate these numbers if you are applying lime from a soil test recommendation. Happy Liming

How do you remove moss from a lawn ?

moss in shade grass

I have been asked this question many times. Unfortunately, their is not one easy answer that I can give you.

Why not? Moss is a product of a few different problems and usually you need to take care of all of them to keep the moss form coming back.

Do Moss Killers Work? Yes and No. They do work, but most of them Don’t solve the problem and it just turns the moss a dead orange color. You still need to rake it out and change the enviromental conditions that it favors. Until I was ready to take care of it the right way, I would rather see green moss than bright orange moss. Save your money.

Does Lime Kill moss ?

Let me say this. No, lime does not kill moss. Never did. Its a popular misconception because Lime increases PH and moss usually likes acidic (lower PH) soil. Adjusting your PH will help, but it wont kill any moss you have. More on Ph below.

Well, how do you get rid of moss then?

Moss is usually a product of Shade, low PH, bare spots, moisture and drainage problems.

It is most commonly found in the shade (but not exclusively) where grasses don’t usually grow real well. It prefers acidic soil (low PH) and likes moisture.

I would try these steps:

Rake out the moss with a hard rake.

Try pruning nearby branches to allow even a little more light in

Adjust PH. Lime is fine, but can take 4-6 months. Try using a product called Solu-Cal. It works real fast and that speed may help prevent the moss from coming back. It will also create a better enviroment for any seeding you do.

Try seeding with the proper seed to fill in the bare spots. If its shade, then a quality shade seed. Heavy shade will be difficult to grow grass, and that is a topic for another day. If you need help see my previous post Selecting Grass Seed. You will need to water it to germinate it.

Try improving air flow and/or drainage in the area. The pruning will help. Aerating deeply may also help. Incorporating some organic matter may also help.

Once grass is germinating and the moss is out, try to maintain the PH levels with regular Lime or Solu-cal use. You don’t want to give it an invitation to come back.

One last thing.

I have seen moss in full sun and in thick lawns. In these lawns, I would suspect the PH to be low and compacted soil. I usually see moss in the full sun in newer lawns. New developments in wooded areas that are 10 years old and less seem to have the most trouble. I suspect it has something to do with excavating the wooded area that naturally contained moss to build the houses. They also drive many heavy machines all over the place to build these developments. This creates heavily compacted soils that don’t drain well. Contractors usually bring in 2-3 inches of topsoil on top of these native compacted soils so you could have a compaction problem even if the top 2-3 inches is aerated and drains well. Once it gets below that layer is when it runs into problems.

In cases like this, Correct the PH and do your best to improve drainage. Maintaining a proper fertility program will also help .

Here are a couple other links to moss help from universities. they pretty much sum up what I explained here, but some other points as well.

University of Nebraska moss control

moss control in greens and grass Penn State

If this information at is helpful to you, tell a friend or link to us from your blog or site.

Who says you can’t grow grass in sandy soil?

sandy soil lawn

This picture inspired me to find a couple good resources for dealing with Sandy Soil in home lawns.

Here are a few links to some very good information on amending sandy soil in general and when planting new grass seed.

Next Time, We will deal with CLAY even though they touch on it here.

Growing grass seed in Sandy soil
Amending sandy soil with compost

For some seed selection help in sandy or dryer soils, check my previous post “Selecting the right grass seed

Printable Lawn care guide to soil & fertility. A little more advance for those that want to know about soil structures and fertility. A great read from Washington State University regardless.

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Weekend Landscape Planting Tips

Weekend Landscape Planting Tips.


Now is the time many get the itch to go buy some plants to plant in their landscape. Some tips from years of experience.

Plant in odd numbers. 3’s, 5’s etc…. This forces you to not plant in such a uniform, rigid (do it yourself look) fashion. Thats rule # 1

Rule 2. Plant in layers. Low growers up front, medium growers in back. and maybe a couple bigger sizes in back to give the appearance of an existing garden. Spend the few extra bucks on these plants because I will detail how to save money on some of the others.
Planting is eyewash ( a merchandisers term). Do not make the mistake of buying all 1 and 2 gallon plants. I drive by many weekend projects like this and it looks hokey.

You can however use theses smaller less expensive plants on you low first groupings. These are probably the plants you will buy more of than others sizes. Low growers like euonymus ( in many shades and colors) , some dwarf day lilies , certain barberries, or any dwarf habit plant. Then add the middle group. Buy some slightly larger plants like 3-5 gallon size and lay them out in groupings. You don’t need them all in the same area. These you may get your informal balance by placing toward the ends with one in the middle if your using 3’s as a guide. You will use less of these larger slightly more expensive plants.

Then the 3-4 ft size in back. You can buy even buy a couple single variety plants plant for these more expensive plants.
Consider shapes, color etc in all decisions.

Some of the first row plants, instead of placing through out the whole area can be grouped in 3s and 5s in a small area. Especially if it has same color foliage or flower. This will give a striking appearance of group color.

I like to plant in triangles sometimes my self. One smaller plant at the head and 2 plants closely behind. 5’s you can alternate 2-1-2 or 2 an 3’s.

In corners, plant a larger plant in the back corner (can be single larger specimen plant). I use a lot of upright habit plants in these areas instead of spreaders. Plants like arborvitae, full grown dwarf alberta spruce, etc. This gives a nice balanced look.

In perennial beds, you may use all 1-2 gallon size plants. These new growers every year, so all you need to choose is growth habits instead of immediate sizes when dealing with shrubs.

You may even use some perennials mixed in as your first row plants groupings for color similar to others in different areas, but different plants. This looks nice without the repetitive plants throughout.

Some times repetition can be good , others not so good.

An easy way to accomplish this whole scheme is this.

Drive around the neighborhood ( or walk), make note of others plantings. Make note of what looks good to you as far as color, species , layout etc.

Chose 2-3 main color combinations you want. I like various greens, reds and yellows, myself.

Once the colors you like are established, it is easy to go to the next step.

Research these color choices for plants with these colors. Consider the growth habit, and texture. Different leaf textures and sizes look great.

Find 1 or 2 of the big variety for the back layer. I like the evergreens for the back drop. Other lighter colors stand out and look great against this backdrop.

Decide on the 2-3 or 4 medium plants you want for the medium row. Other greens, reds , yellows , etc.

Then, depending on area size, find the 1-2 gallon front row guys.

Could be 3 -5 different plants. Some other great choices are blue junipers and even a blue fescue ornamental grass. Low, slow, grower. One trick I use is if I use a group of one color in one bed, i carry the color scheme into the next beds , but with different plants(the non repetition thing). Use one blue somewhere, use the other blue in adjacent, differently shaped beds,

Chose plants and consider Flowers. Try to stagger the blooming times for all plants to give an always blooming affect. Some plants are valued for the leaf color and texture and don’t bloom which is great. You can plants single variety bloomers in the same color in color groups together for a striking effect when in bloom. Usually the front row, low growers.

Middle row can have some distribution in the whole area . Lighter blooms (whites, light pinks, or even purples and bright reds) stand out against the larger back drops of the greens for a great look.

When planting, don’t use any fertilizers at the time of planting other than organic enhancements in the hole. Other fertilizers can actually burn newly transplanted roots.

Some even argue about over enhancing the soil (unless it is terrible) in the planting holes. The idea behind it is this:
If you make the soil to good in the hole and it is not so good just outside the hole, the roots wont spread out as well into these areas later. It’s like being in a warm, controlled climate house, then going out in the cold. If you could, you would stay in the comfortable area.

Go see some others landscapes, make notes, choose plants and get at it this weekend.

Lay out the entire thing first before you dig one hole!

Start with back row, then the middle, then the front.

Step back, view from different angles and the same ones others will view it from. Tweak, reposition if necessary.

Once it’s right, DIG.

WATER THEM SLOWLY. Immediately, continuously until established.
See my previous article about shrub bed weed control to keep weeds out of your new plants.

Good luck!


Cool Season Crabgrass Help

Now is the time.

Your lawn is the place

crabgrass in lawn
Its Crabgrass!
This is a short post, but very useful. I have written about crabgrass in previous crabgrass posts, so I wont go there now.

This is a link to some good Crabgrass Q & A. It should be helpful…

Spring is finally here!

What grass is supposed to look like.

After a little break, we will be updating regularly with all the lawn care tips you will need this year. Stay tuned

For now, a couple quick points.

Crabgrass prevention is here. Water it in and do all raking and lawn work first. Don’t break the crabgrass barrier after you’ve applied it.

Do not use traditional crabgrass prevention when seeding. Siduron (tupersan) is the crabgrass preventer you can use that wont inhibit your seed germination. A bit pricey, and I recommend 2 applications 1 month apart for best results. The alternative is crabgrass nad weeds in July.

If it isn’t raining where you live, you need water even if its cool.

Now is a great time to amend and balance your soil. Check PH and adjust if necessary. For a great new product try Solu-cal instead of regular lime. It’s 4 x more powerful, works as soon as 2 weeks, uses less and costs less than the 4-5 bags of lime it replaces. I’ve used it myself and I will applying a bag very soon to my own lawn. Just make sure it is Solu-cal and not some other bag claiming similar results. I’ve seen some products on garden center shelves that sound similar,but are just overpriced lime. They don’t contain a proprietery acid that makes the calcium in Solu-cal available immediately to your grass. Just like in earlier posts, I will try to steer you away from wasting your time and money with retail products that just don’t work well.

Think about shrub bed weed prevention. See my earlier post for tips. Just do your mulching and raking beforhand and water it in. It will save weeding time later.

Check your lawn mower blade. Make sure it is sharp. It sounds small, but it is a big deal. Really!

Now get out there this weekend and don’t forget the gloves. Only 20 minutes with a rake can make for some nasty blisters if your hands aren’t in gardening shape yet.

Check back for more timely tips this spring or better yet, subscribe to one of the Feeds and don’t miss one.