Category Archives: Lawn

Lawn and landscape advice

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 :
https://doyourownlawncare.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/manage-your-weeds-the-professional-way/

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 Weedalert.com
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.

park_grass.jpg
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 doyourownlawncare.com 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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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.

Keep Weeds out of your Shrub Beds

weedweb2.jpg

Shrub Bed weed management

Weed Control in your shrub beds can be tedious and difficult. You can either pick them out regularly or try to find a product that can help keep them under control. With so many different products, it’s often very hard to find the right ones that work.

I am here to help sort it out.

There are 2 different types of weed controls.

Pre-emergent weed controls
Post emergent weed controls

Pre-emergent weed controls like Gallery & Treflan (known as Preen on the retail market) are applied before most of the weeds and grasses are present. They settle in the top layer of the soil & don’t allow the weed seeds you have to break through and become a problem.

With most pre-emergent products, it is a good idea to apply them at least a couple times. I like to apply them early, and again 45-60 days later again in the summer. This continues to send the message “Stay out of my Beds” throughout the summer.

Products like Treflan are available in granular form. Products like Gallery are dry or liquid concentrates that are mixed with water and sprayed to prevent weeds. Although these pre-emergent products generally present No harm to your existing plants, always read the label and water them in after application.

Post emergent weed control products are applied after weeds have emerged and you must now get rid of them. You need an actual weed to kill.

Within the post emergent group, you have 2 other types.

Selective & Non- Selective

Non selective herbicides like Round-up affect all vegetation. They do not selectively kill one type of undesirable weed while not affecting other vegetation around it. Non Selective weed controls can be very useful in certain types of situations.

Selective weed controls kill target weeds without affecting other products around it that come in contact with them.
The best example to give is using lawn weed control products to kill weeds in the lawn, but don’t kill your grass.

Products like Ornamec do exist that will kill annoying grasses & weeds in your landscape beds, that do not harm any of your plants. They are often referred to as “over the top” products because you can spray around and over the top of your plants without harming them.

This is often a better strategy than simply picking weeds by hand because many times, hand weeding leaves roots and pieces of the grass intact and the keep coming back. Low growing junipers are the worst.

Non selectives like Round up can also be used in certain areas.
Shrub beds with plants that are spread out well, offer the opportunity to use non selective weed controls like Round up.

You must make sure it is not windy and avoid spray drift at all costs. Narrow the nozzle spray pattern on your garden sprayer too. The narrower pattern will help keep the product right where you need it, on the weed and not on your plants.

Some other tips to keep weeds down in your shrub beds.

Use quality weed fabric whenever possible to keep weeds from breaking through.

Use bark mulches to keep soils cooler. Weeds tend to like soil warmth. Mulches help to keep soils cool. Check here for more mulching advice.

Don’t allow weeds and grasses to from seed heads. Try to take care of the weeds before more seeds are produced and deposited for next year’s crop of weeds.

Do any cleaning in your beds before you apply pre-emergents.
Pre-emergents form a barrier on the top of soil that prevents certain weeds from popping through. Raking, digging and foot traffic disturb this barrier and may provide areas for weeds to pop through.

Read this post for some additional Weed Control Strategies

Click here for information on where to purchase some of these weed control products.

For other resources check www.elawnhelp.com also.