Got Mushrooms?

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We do.  Mushrooms this time of year are pretty normal, especially in over-watered lawns or humid conditions.  Common mushrooms are part of a harmless fungus that starts under your turf, breaking down organic material into nutrients your lawn can use.  Since most mushrooms in your lawn are a sign of a healthy ecosystem, it may be best just to leave them alone.  Aesthetically, they may not be very appealing to look at.  Or you may be concerned with children and pets being around them.

If you want to get rid of them, simply just rake them up, or give the lawn a quick mow.  Something to consider are watering habits.  Although watering habits may not always prevent mushrooms, you should always water established lawns deeply and infrequently and only if rain has been scarce. Light irrigation promotes shallow rooting, non-drought hardy turf, and encourages crab grass. Newly sodded lawns require water one or two times a day while newly seeded lawns will require water two to four times a day.  Most lawns in our area will need from 1 – 1-1/2 inches of water per week.  In drier conditions, the mushrooms tend to go away.

In extremely dry conditions watering your lawn anytime is more beneficial than not at all.  However, the most ideal time to water established lawns is 4am – 8am.  Although this is not the most convenient time to water for most of us. The second best time to water is 8am – Noon.  Try to avoid midday waterings.  Contrary to popular belief watering your established lawn in the mid-day sun does not cause turf to burn.  However, a disadvantage to mid-day watering may include loss of moisture through evaporation, making it difficult to thoroughly wet the soil.

For more information on Irrigation Practices visit Purdue Extension:   https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ay/ay-7-w.pdf.

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12 Quick Tips to Make Your Lawn Look Its Best, The 2017 Update

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Red Hen Turf Farm PRESENTS ... 12 Quick Tips to Make Your Lawn Look Its Best

1.    Mowing 
The best height to keep grass for our area is 2-1/2 to 3 inches high. Mow when the grass grows out ½ to ¾ inch.

  • BONUSCLICK HERE for Purdue Extension’s free publication on Mowing, Thatching, Aerifying, and Rolling Turf …

2.    Fertilizing (and Liming)
The first rule of fertilizing is to read the label of the product you are using.  Two more important factors to consider when fertilizing your lawn are HOW MUCH and WHEN to apply.

Experts recommend an ANNUAL TOTAL 2-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet throughout each growing season for most established full-sun lawns (Kentucky bluegrass; Kentucky bluegrass mixed with perennial ryegrass and/or fine fescue) in Michiana. Ideally, your annual total of nitrogen should be split into 2-5 applications, with each single application of nitrogen being about 1 pound per 1,000 sq. ft.  For established shade lawns, about half as much nitrogen is suggested.

On the flipside, how often you fertilize affects not only lawn appearance, but also its maintenance level. The more often you fertilize, the more you’ll have to mow, for instance.

About applying lime … Red Hen Turf Farm does NOT recommend that you blindly follow this annual ritual unless you have done a recent soil test that indicates you need to adjust your soil pH.   While lot of so-called “experts” recommend lime (especially in the fall) as a way of adjusting the pH of your soil to make it less acidic, we don’t agree with this advice.  The idea behind liming your lawn is that you are trying to raise the soil pH near neutral to increase the availability of most plant nutrients.  While proper soil pH is necessary to achieve a healthy, attractive lawn, most Indiana soils under turfgrass do not need liming. 

THE BOTTOM LINE:  At Red Hen Turf Farm, we feel that the reality is that every single lawn has its own unique needs, so we recommend that you do a soil test every 3 years. If you use our soil testing procedures, we’ll provide you with a kit that you’ll mail to a certified lab.  The cost is $25 for a single sample, and $10 for each additional sample. The results are sent to us and we will translate them into layman’s terms, using this
information as an important piece of the puzzle for us to create a Customized Fertilizer Program, designed just for you

  • BONUS:  Learn how Red Hen Turf Farm can help you get your soil tested AND help design YOUR Customized Fertilizer Program by CLICKING HERE … And, Yes, we do sell Fertilizer and Spyker Spreaders. Here’s our 2017 Price List.

3.    Watering 
Very few people who have an “automatic” sprinkler system water turf properly. Most end up over-watering! You should water when the soil is dry to a depth of 4 inches and then water long enough to wet the soil 4 inches deep. Looking at the soil is the best way to tell how moist it is. Invest in a soil probe! Avoid watering in the late afternoon or early evening.

  • BONUS: Check out Purdue Extension’s free publication, “Irrigation Practices for Homelawns” by CLICKING HERE

4.    Shade 
There is no grass that likes shade. Turf is poor in shade for two reasons:

  • One is lack of quality and quantity of sunlight present and
  • The other is reduced air movement that keeps sun or wind from drying wet leaves.

Lessen shade and increase air flow for better grass. You can have either healthy grass or shade, not both…

  • BONUS: Learn more about trying to grow Grass in Shade via our website by CLICKING HERE

5.    Grubs
Most people are caught up in the hype of killing every grub. The truth is that most grubs do VERY LITTLE HARM, and it’s completely normal to have SOME grubs in your lawn … in fact, all lawns have grubs! It takes 5 or more per square foot to cause problems. Protect the environment and save some $$ by eliminating or reduce the size of preventative applications. If you are sure you have “grub problem,” there are a number of pesticides with varying efficacy depending on when you apply them.  For example, we currently carry a combination fertilizer / grub control product – 15-0-3 PLUS IMI  (“PLUS IMI” means that the 15-0-3 fertilizer has an added chemical called “Imidacloprid,” a widely used and powerful insecticide that can also affect non-targeted beneficial insects.)  We carry the 15-0-3 as well as a granular insecticide without a fertilizer “built in” called Dylox 6.2.

  • BONUS:  CLICK HERE to read our previous blog post on the topic of Grubs … especially if you think you might have a true “grub problem”, including the times of the year that are most effective for treating the affected area.
Click on the Image to Read Purdue Extension's "New White Grub Pests of Indiana"

Click on the Image to Read Purdue Extension’s “New White Grub Pests of Indiana”

6.    Moles 
The primary diet of moles is earthworms, not grubs!  Old fashioned traps and gell baits that mimic worms are the only things that work.  Tomcat mole killer is a brand that Purdue Extension recommends.

7.    Thatch 
Thatch is the dark cocoa brown material that is below the green and above the soil. It is created by the death of old plant parts that are below the mowing height. Clippings do not produce thatch! 

How much thatch is ok?  Up to ½ inch of thatch is ideal and greater amounts are bad. Increasing levels of thatch are caused by over applications of fertilizer and water.Multiple passes (8 or more) with a core aerifier in September for a 2 or more years along with management changes can reduce thatch.

8.    Dog spots 
Pick up the feces and for urine, dump some water on the spot if you observe the act. Re-seed or sod as there is no resistant grass for this area. Despite what you may have heard, we, along with Dr. Steve Thompson, DVM, Director of Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Wellness Clinic, do not recommend changing your dog’s diet without consulting your own vet first. It is either dogs or turf!

  • BONUS: Read Dr. Thompson’s article, “Dog-Gone-It Lawn Problems!” by CLICKING HERE

9.    Weed control 
The best way to prevent weeds is to have thick turf that is mowed high and not over-watered. Grass will out-compete most weeds. By the way … moss is not an invading weed. Moss likes shade and tends to occur where turf is then (and thin turf usually ALSO accompanies shade conditions). You can’t fight Mother Nature, so the reality is that you will usually need to just live with the moss, or even give up on grass and install ornamental beds with shade loving plants. Another option is to cut down the trees to allow the grass to thrive, and you can read our website link on “Grass in Shade” to learn more.

10.    Crabgrass 
The best crabgrass preventer is to mow high and manage the turf so it is thick. TV adds scare people into applying outrageous amounts of herbicides that may not not needed! If you continually have a crabgrass problem, make a first application of a preventative herbicide in mid-April/early May, and a second application in late June. Red Hen’s 15-0-3 + Cavalcade is a good crabgrass preventer choice.

11.    Disease                           
Lawns that are mowed, watered, and fertilized properly have the fewest diseases. Disease outbreaks are the result of a combination of factors occurring at the same time. These factors include the presence of the pathogen, the status and vulnerability of the turf, and certain prevailing environmental conditions.  A prolonged period of hot, humid weather can cause occasional non-fatal outbreaks. The genetics of your grass play an important role in disease control. For example, newer varieties of Kentucky bluegrass (such as the ones that Red Hen Turf Farm uses in our 100% Kentucky bluegrass sod) have greater overall resistance compared to fescues, ryegrasses and old bluegrass varieties. 

To effectively control a lawn disease, first you need to accurately diagnose the problem  – BUT lawn diseases are hard to identify because the pathogens are typically microscopic.  Diagnosing lawn diseases is both an ART and a SCIENCE that requires a systematic approach. What we are able to observe is usually the RESULT of an infection, and not the pathogens themselves. In other words, if you are seeing patches of discoloration in your lawn, you could be seeing the RESULT of a lawn disease caused by a microscopic pathogen.  Another challenge to diagnosing the problem is TIME – if you can recognize the initial stages of the outbreak, this will greatly increase the likelihood that you can treat it and your lawn will recover.

If you decide to start applying chemicals to your lawn without first confirming what the disease is, this can be expensive decision and can actually cause more problems.  If you think you are seeing signs of disease in your lawn, we would recommend limiting yourself to scientific research-based resources.  Specifically, for this part of  mid-west Indiana, we endorse the following:

12.    Finding Reliable Answers                      
As we have already touched on, we feel that Googling random website or following word-of-mouth advice are not reliable ways of getting lawn care information.  Everyday, we talk to customers that have been following certain lawn practices their entire lives … and so often it turns out they were mis-informed.

There are so many “urban myths” out there, especially when it comes to the 11 topics discussed above.  If you’re ready to make sure that the information you know is based on science and research, you’d be best off limiting your resources to:

  • Purdue Extension / Department of Agronomy (up-to-date, research-based information, specific to our geographical location) – Online at www.agry.purdue.edu/turf
  • Michigan State University Extension (up-to-date, research-based information, specific to our geographical location)  – Online at www.msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/home_lawns
  • Red Hen Turf Farm’s website (our info is derived from Purdue / MSU Extension and other reliable sources, including decades of experience) – Online at www.redhenturf.com
  • Red Hen Turf Farm’s Customer Service Crew, especially Turf Operations Manager, Jeremy Cooper … our contact info is below!

CONTACT US
Phone
: 574-232-6811
Emailturf@redhenturf.com
Webwww.redhenturf.com

GET UPDATES when we publish new blog articles and share other helpful, timely tips SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX – It’s Easy to Subscribe to Red Hen’s E-Newsletter by CLICKING HERE

Red Hen Turf Farm – The Best Turf on Earth!  We grow & sell KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS SOD HARVESTED FARM-FRESH ON DEMAND in Northern Indiana, along with GRASS SEED, FERTILIZER, WEED CONTROL PRODUCTS & MORE to homeowners, landscapers, contractors, garden centers alike

 

Originally posted 6/6/14 and Updated 5/12/17
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Weed of the Month – Common Chickweed

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Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips Click on the image to read more on Common Chickweed from Purdue

Lately our customers have been bringing Jeremy gifts.  They say, “what is this and how can I get rid of it?”  The last few customers brought in what we identified as Common Chickweed.

Common Chickweed is primarily a winter annual broadleaf weed.  Common chickweed produces small bunches of white flowers with five petals that may appear as 10 petals in early spring.  Chickweed germinates in late summer or early fall however can vary throughout the year if soil conditions are shady and saturated enough.

There are several things you can do to help prevent chickweed. Improving turf density is the key.  Ensure you are not over-irrigating (learn more about watering your lawn properly from Purdue at THIS LINK).  Mow at the correct height (2-1/2-3 inches), and get on a routine fertilizer schedule to thicken turf (learn more HERE).

Common chickweed in your lawn may indicate poor turf issues.  It thrives in compacted soils that may be consistently over saturated or poorly drained. Don’t rule out aeration as another option to maximize your turf resilience.

Chickweed also thrives in shady conditions so finding a solution for shady areas such as pruning trees to allow turf to grow and dominate the space will help.

If you have a few chickweeds, just pull them out.  Triamine Jet Spray, a popular pre-mixed foamy herbicide in a can that we carry, is also a good product to use on smaller areas.

If you have larger areas needing treatment, there are two ways you can treat.  Pre-emergent (before germination) and post-emergent (after germination).

Since we are currently in the post germination stage for chickweed (May), herbicides with the active ingredients of phenoxy acid and/or MCPP used alone or in combination with other phenoxies or non-phenoxy herbicides can be used.  An example of a product to use from us is Speed Zone.  You may find repeat applications are needed for post emergent treatment.

Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips Click on the image to read more on Common Chickweed from Purdue

Pre-emergent treatment can be performed in the autumn months.  Use herbicides that contain isoxaben, pendimethalin, prodiamine or dithiopyr such as Tenacity, which we also carry.   Always read, understand, and follow the label directions.

Thanks to our customers for bringing in your “weird weed” gifts – although some of the staff here at Red Hen would prefer donuts (like me).

Have a weird weed?  Bring it in or take a picture of it and email it to us – we’ll tell you what it is, how to prevent it and/or how to treat it.

Happy Spring!

~Michelle, Red Hen Customer Service Specialist

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Red Hen 2017 WEED ALERT – The Crabgrass is Coming! The Crabgrass is Coming!

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CRABGRASS
Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips

Just a quick reminder….

It is once again time to get your crabgrass preventer out on the lawn.  That is, unless you’re planning on a spring seeding … then you would NOT want to apply any type of weed herbicide.

Our 13-0-5 with crabgrass preventer (the Grey Bag) is a great choice, especially at only $29.50 plus tax.  It covers 12,500 Square Foot, at a rate of 4 pounds per 1000 Square Foot.Photo of Red Hen - Fertilizer and Tools_03-11-16

I was down south in Alabama last week looking for signs of crabgrass, but the house we rent every year was all weeds.

Jeremy's vacation view in Alabama

Jeremy’s vacation view in Alabama

From the websites I use to track turf-related problems across the nation we are starting to see it germinate in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.  It’s a matter of 1-2 weeks and we’ll start seeing this common weed migrating to the north.

Getting your preventer down now will help stop crabgrass from germinating and kill other weeds also. With last year’s 5 weeks of little to no rain I think it might be a good idea to apply a crabgrass preventer twice this year to stay away from the summer flush of crabgrass. HOWEVER, that said, the only way I would recommend to do 2 applications is if you have open turf and have had problems in the past.

Do remember that its need to be watered in and applied at the right rate to be effective. Please always read the label.

Want to learn more about keeping crabgrass under control?  Check out our previous blog posts on this topic by CLICKING HERE.

Until next time!

Jeremy and the Red Hen Crew

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LATE-SUMMER CRABGRASS CONTROL TIPS (from the Red Hen FAQ Vault)

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Crabgrass Photo by Michigan State University Extension

Crabgrass Photo by Michigan State University Extension

Getting right to crabgrass … it’s been bad this year! From site visits and talking to quite a few landscapers and customers, with the lack of rain this spring and summer, I believe that non-irrigated lawns saw the most dramatic turf-decline this year, and on a related note, the brunt of crabgrass germination. We have definitely seen a lot of customer photos this year of grass-type weeds in general.

The best way to control crabgrass is to maintain a dense, healthy turf. That way, your grass is more likely to out-compete crabgrass (and other weeds), preventing weeds from establishing. On the other hand, crabgrass tends to have rigorous survival and reproductive capabilities.

So, for lawns, it may be unrealistic to expect a crabgrass-free lawn (BUT YOU CAN TRY!)

It may be that, in the end, you will have to accept a few crabgrass plants.

Are you dealing with crabgrass at this point in the year? Do you want to get this weed under control?

If so, we recommend following either of the 2 following methods to hopefully put you in a better position by next spring:

Option 1. Let the crabgrass go for now, and wait until fall and let Mother Nature kill it off. After mid-July, crabgrass plants are usually too large to control effectively. Crabgrass begins flowering and setting seed in July and will die out with the first major frost. It will take a while for these plants to decay, but at least you won’t see any in the spring. That is, unless you have allowed the crabgrass to go to seed this year, in which case you will be dealing with those seeds germinating next spring.

Option 2. As Purdue Extension points out, “Proper fertility, mowing, and irrigation is essential for crabgrass control; consider herbicidal control only if necessary.” If you are not able to tolerate the crabgrass in your lawn, we specifically recommend using a product that we carry called Q4 (CLICK HERE to read the label). We really like Q4 because it covers all 3 major types of undesirable weeds all in one bottle — grassy weeds, broadleaf weeds, and sedges. If there was only one herbicide product that I could use on my lawn, it would be Q4.

For better crabgrass and broadleaf weed control next year, you’d really need to do some strategizing over the next few months.

For example, by adding 25-0-10 fertilizer to your lawn two times from now until winter, this should make your lawn much less weedy going into the 2017 growing season. WHY IS THIS? The thicker and stronger your grass is grass is, the better your grass can out-compete weeds. Regular fertilizing is one of the important steps towards making that happen.

Have you ever wondered why is it that we don’t see a lot of fertilizer commercials in the fall, like we do in the spring?

My guess is that the marketing teams for the big name brands do not use turf science, but are instead driven by the purchasing habits of homeowners (for better or worse).

Our job at Red Hen Turf Farm is always to strive to save our customers time, money, and/or both. So, let’s use some turf science and feed your lawn when it needs it the most.

If you told me that you only wanted to fertilize 1 or 2 times each year, you might expect I’d recommend doing it in the spring.

In fact, you would get the most bang for your buck by fertilizing in September and then again in November. Are you surprised? We wrote a blog about this very topic that you might want to check out by CLICKING HERE. We have also written quite a bit about crabgrass in the past, which you can read by CLICKING HERE.

And guess what? It’s all based on turf science, with Purdue Extension as a major source that we consult, and we always recommend that our customers do the same.

 

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It JUST SNOWED, right? Well, the Crabgrass is Coming!

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Well we are looking to have an early spring this year. It sure has been nice sitting outside with the neighbors, getting my boat ready and even washing my truck. We even harvest our first semi of sod on Friday. I know last year I was not doing this to much later.
When the phone starts to ring and customers start coming into the Shop, it’s time to look at timing of CRABGRASS.

If you have been in the Michiana area for a while you know we have had an early season like this not too long ago. But it is usually hard to remember how your yard looked by the end of the year.

The last early spring we had some home lawns had breakthrough of crabgrass. We call it the summer flush. This could be the year to apply a CRABGRASS PRE-EMERGENCE (aka a “Weed and Feed”) two times.

But remember not every yard is the same and neither is the weather from year to year.

Looking at the long-term Growing Degree Days (GDD), I would say that the next 3 weeks would be a great time to apply Crabgrass pre-emergence.  

Photo of Red Hen - Fertilizer and Tools_03-11-16

Our 50 pound bag of 13-0-5 w/.28% Barricade herbicide (the GREY BAG, front row, farthest to the left) is a GREAT CRABGRASS PRE-EMERGENT  that INCLUDES FERTILIZER.  It’s only $29.50 and would cover 12,500 square feet when applying at 4 pounds per 1000 square feet.  CLICK ON THE PHOTO to be taken to a LINK with the technical specs on our 13-0-5 for crabgrass management.

After your first application is done, perhaps you’ll find that your yard is just not thick enough. A second crabgrass pre-emergent application 60 days later can be beneficial. I do believe the last time I recommended this to all was in March 2013.

Some key points to remember going into this season:

  1. It rained a lot last year in the spring. This year could be different.
  2. Pre-emergent herbicides must be watered in to be effective.
  3. Always follow the label on fertilizer, and don’t forget that the labels can change from time to time.
  4. Ensure even distribution of product especially where you are most likely to see crabgrass.
  5. Thin turf is often a problem in compacted area such as just off a driveway or sidewalk, in non-irrigated areas, and with low-cut turf
  6. Crabgrass can start to germinate when the average daily soil reaches 57° to 64° F.  A Crabgrass Pre-Emergent is most effective when you apply it BEFORE the weed starts to germinate.  We are at 49° F as of 3-9-2016 at the farm.

Come on out and visit us soon!  Our current hours are Monday – Friday, 8AM to 4PM Eastern time.

And – as always – we’re here for questions – 574-232-6811.

Lastly, as a BONUS, you can read some articles from our archives that address CRABGRASS by CLICKING HERE.

Until Next Time,

Jeremy and the Red Hen Team

first cutting 2016_collage with new trebro and gordon_fb 3-11-16

 

 

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From the FAQ Vault – It’s officially Autumn … I hate raking. What do you recommend I do with these tree leaves laying around on my grass?

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Public Domain Photo by Charles Rondeau

Autumn Dry Leaves (Public Domain Photo) by Charles Rondeau

In the past few weeks, we’ve gotten quite a few phone calls about tree leaves.

People are asking, “Should they be kept on the grass, removed completely, or mulched?”

Some of these calls were from customers with newly installed sod, others have sod that was installed a while ago, and still others were calling about their lawns that were established by seed.

No matter the origins of your grass, and no matter the age of your lawn, at Red Hen Turf Farm we do NOT recommend letting your leaves cover up your grass throughout the entire winter.  

Yes, if you do enough Googling, you’ll see articles that tell you it’s desireable to let the leaves stay there, mainly because a thick layer of leaves gives wildlife a nice place to live and find food.  We disagree about this being a good idea.

In fact, we recommend you limit the advice you get online to reputable, regional websites such as Purdue University Extension, Michigan State University Extension, and Ohio State University Extension. At times, we also might use extension.org and other “land grant university” websites, although we try our “local” sources first.

When we give advice to our customers, it’s typically based on these “land grant university” / Extension websites because they only publish information that is backed up by scientific research and they pass the so-called C.R.A.P. testwhich means they are Current, Relevant, Authoritative / Accurate, and their Purpose is to provide science-backed information to the community and to fellow experts.

University of Minnesota Extension suggests that if you MUST allow leaves to cover up 10-20% of your lawn, it might be fine but leaving an excessive amount of leaves on your lawn over the winter is not advised.  WHY NOT? Many reasons, including:

  1. Excessive leaf coverage over winter will likely smother your grass and inhibit growth in the spring.
  2. Leaves shade your grass, which can prevent your lawn from being able to photosynthesize in the late fall.  Photosynthesis is crucial for plant growth because it’s the process that let’s them turn sunlight into “food”.
  3. Thick layers of leaves can smother and completely kill the turf. Removing the interference from fallen tree leaves also allows your late season nitrogen applications to reach the turf more effectively, and improves the efficacy of late-season broadleaf herbicide applications. Therefore, for optimum turf health, it is critical to remove the tree leaves, or at least break them up.
  4. Leaves, even in small amounts, can trap humidity at the surface of your turf, which may encourage snow mold diseases.
  5. The animals like mice, moles, and voles that might enjoy living in your leaves may cause more damage than usual.

So, what might you do with your leaves?

  1. Rake them up or use a blower, then either compost them, dispose of them, or use them to mulch a non-turf area of your landscape such as your garden of flower beds.
  2. Use your mower’s bagging attachment, then either compost them, dispose of them, or use them to mulch a non-turf area of your landscape such as your garden of flower beds.
  3. If the coverage is no too excessive, you can MULCH your leaves with a mower.  This chops them into small pieces that won’t smother your grass. Mulching is an especially good way to handle autumn leaves since the nutrients and organic matter will benefit your lawn and soil. To learn more about mulching leaves check out THIS LINK from the City of New Rochelle, New York, which provides information from Purdue and Michigan State Universities.

Until next time! And keep the questions coming … The Red Hen Turf Farm Crew.

 

 

 

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Crabgrass in the Fall – Having a Completely Crabgrass-free Lawn is a Tough Chore!

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Crabgrass growing next to a sidewalk

Crabgrass growing next to a sidewalk  >>> Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips, Weed Management Next to Sidewalks and Driveways (July 14, 2014) – CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO READ MORE

As most of you are WELL aware of, crabgrass is a common summer annual weed in our Michiana lawns.  In July, crabgrass plants were busy flowering and spreading their seeds, but each year it will die out naturally after the first frost.

But what can you do about crabgrass in the months between July and October/November when we usually see our first frost?

Unfortunately, the best time to control late summer / early fall crabgrass is to go back in time and deal with it in THE SPRING with a PRE-EMERGENT herbicide (like our 13-0-5 Fertilizer + Crabgrass preventer), along with mowing right, watering right, and fertilizing right.

Crabgrass is tough to kill and reproduces very effectively.  To expect a 100% crabgrass-free lawn is probably not very realistic – Mother Nature has the upper hand. The most effective approach to controlling this weed is to nurture and maintain a dense, healthy lawn to out-compete crabgrass (and other weeds by default), and prevent it from establishing in the first place.

We’ve been getting quite a few calls and visits from customers whose lawns are mostly free of this weed EXCEPT along areas like the edges along sidewalks, driveways, and roads.  These sections have two major issues going against them:

(1) SALT from winter that is still hanging around in the soil; and

(2) COMPACTION from things like foot traffic, auto/mower tires, and piled snow.

Crabgrass – among other weeds – is very tolerant of growing where there is salt and compaction.   Turf grasses are sensitive to both salt and compaction, and tend to NOT grow well in these spots.  Kentucky bluegrass is especially sensitive to salt damage, while perennial ryegrass, fine fescues, and tall fescue are more tolerant, but not totally resistant.

Another common trouble-spot is along the seams where sod was laid but the edges of the rolls were probably not placed close enough together.  The turf growing in these seams is thin and weak, allowing weeds to out-compete your grass.

Again, the crabgrass you see now in late-August WILL die off with our first frost.  But what about using a POST-emergent herbicide?  There are effective products to use, but TIMING is everything and ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.  Common to these post-emergent crabgrass herbicides is that you need to apply them when the plant is YOUNG … and, well, once we get past mid-July the crabgrass plants are usually
too large to control effectively. Another challenge to treating crabgrass that has already shown up is that these post-emergents work best at temperatures below 85ºF on clear days with low humidity.  That’s pretty hard to do in the dog-days of summer!

So what do I do this time of year in my own yard? I pulled a few out of my front yard the other day. I have more in the backyard and I plan on leaving them. I am not going to try to attempt to eradicate them with herbicides at this time. They are very big and tougher to kill. I am going to tolerate them because they will die with the first frost. Every year I tell many customers that you can apply Crabgrass preventer 2 times in a year.   If crabgrass was bad this year, I would look to doing better prevention next year.

On the other hand, if you’re up for the challenge, we do carry some post-emergent herbicides that we’d be happy to educate you about.

For more in-depth, science-based information, check out Purdue Extension’s publication, “Control of Crabgrass in Home Lawns” by CLICKING HERE.

As always, give our team a call if you have any questions – 574-232-6811.

Jeremy and the Red Hen Turf Farm Team

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Crabgrass and What’s Up with Other Weeds in Your Lawn

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Snow at Red Hen 4-22-15 collage
So what is up with this weather?  This morning’s lake effect snow showers at the end of April was a surprise. I am just glad our employees were ready and more importantly dressed for it.

So what did this weather do to us in the Michiana area in terms of lawn care?

Well we still have time to get our Fertilizer PLUS Crabgrass preventer down before it starts to germinate. I would have this done within the next 2 weeks to get the most benefit out of applying it.

Can you apply a Crabgrass preventer later than within the next 2 weeks and still have at least some effect? Well, yes you can BUT when you buy something why not get the most out of it?

With some spring broadleaf weeds starting to grow, it’s also time to get these under control. When our temperatures are going to be as low as weather broadcasters are stating, we have to understand what will work and won’t work. Some products we carry are great for cool temperatures but not for high humidity and temperatures over 85 degrees.  (Also, to catch up our past posts on fertilizer and weed control, CLICK HERE.)

So my real TAKE-HOME POINT of writing this post today is that reading and understanding a product label is very important. A few of you have heard me say that just because a product is on a store’s shelf does not mean it needs to be on your yard. Well now you have purchased something from Red Hen’s shelf, so the question becomes, “Is it a good time to put it down?”

Think back to the day that you came in and bought a product. Was the weather different? Was it sunny, raining or cold?

One of my goals everyday is to save my friends, coworkers, clients and family time, money and hopefully both. Read the label and (HERE’s THE KEY) if you do not understand part of the label give us call and hopefully I will save you both.

Take care of yourself and your yard,
Jeremy Cooper

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Straight from Red Hen’s FAQ Vault … Should I apply Crabgrass Preventer in the Spring? And WHEN?

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CRABGRASS Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips

CRABGRASS
Image Source: Purdue Turf Tips

Hi everyone.
I hope everyone is faring well with the winter we have been dealt with this year.

We’re about 2 weeks away from the official first day of Spring, and this time of year one of the most asked questions asked about fertilizer is when is the best time to apply.

My own recommendation for the Michiana area is usually within a few days of what Purdue forecasts, so here we go…

I know in my yard I have a few spots where the turf has thinned and I know these are areas where crabgrass will take over, so I am going to apply 13-0-5 with Barricade (crabgrass preventer) on my yard on April 18, 2015.

But remember your yard can be different than mine. Just a few variables that you should look for include:

  • Were your sidewalks edged last year exposing the soil?
  • Is your soil compacted next to the sidewalks, drives and decks?
  • Is your turf thin in certain areas?
  • Are you able to regularly irrigate to keep your lawn growing?

If you have any of these problems, I would apply a crabgrass preventer. It is a lot easier to prevent crabgrass before it happens.

If you have any lingering questions feel free to call or email us.

Learn more:

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