What a pain in the crabgrass!

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When is a good time to apply a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer? This is what we’re telling our customers:

So we never have an “exact” date on when to apply the crabgrass pre-emergent since every season is different. We monitor the weather and soil temperatures.  Crabgrass germinates when the soil temperatures are consistently 60° F degrees for 3-5 days at a 1/4″ level. Remember, crabgrass pre-emergent must be applied at least 2 weeks prior to germination for it to be effective. April 1st looks like a good target date right now but that may change depending on weather conditions.  Here’s a great (real time) link for crabgrass germination and optimum times to apply pre-emergent from Michigan State University:  GDD Tracker

As you may know, the best crabgrass prevention is a dense, healthy turf, but because crabgrass has a massive reproductive & survival capability, it is common to have some  in your lawn.  Some of you may have seen more crabgrass come up several weeks after your first application last year. To prevent that second flush, simply apply another crabgrass pre-emergent to your lawn 7 weeks after the first treatment.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent crabgrass: Apply a pre-emergent 2 weeks prior to crabgrass germination. Regular fertilization should help thicken turf along with proper watering and mowing.  Water deeply and infrequently. (Light and shallow watering will encourage crabgrass growth).  Do not mow more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at one time.  If you mow below 2.5-3 inches (depending on the turf species) it will increase crabgrass populations. 

IMPORTANT TO KNOW:  If you are planning on seeding or have completed a dormant winter seeding, do not use crabgrass pre-emergent.  It will likely end up killing any new grass seedling growth. There are a few options for crabgrass treatment if you have planted grass seed or plan on planting this spring.  Just give us a call and we can go over the products to use. Use caution when using post emergent herbicides and ALWAYS read the label. 574-232-6811 is the number to call.

Pick your battles.  You can’t plant grass seed AND apply crabgrass pre-emergent at the same time. If crabgrass was a problem for you last year and you want to treat it, apply the crabgrass pre-emergent and save your seeding for fall.  That is the best time to seed anyway.  (Typically around August 15-September 15 … again, every year is a bit different … Purdue explains more about seeding in their free publication – CLICK HERE).

Here’s more info from Purdue Science: Crabgrass Control

Know when to give up. If you wait until summer and you realize your crabgrass is out of control, you may as well let it go until it dies off with the first frost.   There are post emergent herbicides that you can use but they are more difficult to use than the pre-emergence products, they cannot be used in the heat of the summer, are expensive,  and are only effective on smaller crabgrass plants – which you probably don’t see anyway.

If you are looking for crabgrass pre-emergent + fertilizer, come see us!  We have quality fertilizer in stock at great prices AND you get expert advice (the advice is free) if needed!

The weather is getting warmer so why not take a leisurely drive out to New Carlisle to  pick up your sod, seed, herbicides and fertilizer.  Also, don’t forget to visit us on Facebook to see all of our updates including office hours and our first harvest of the season!

We have a ton of crabgrass topics!  Check out our previous blog posts that touch on the topic of CRABGRASS by CLICKING HERE.

Until next time!

The Red Hen Crew

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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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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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It’s getting to be the end … Jeremy Reflects

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Photo by: Leslie Lestinsky

Photo by: Leslie Lestinsky, Red Hen Summer 2015 Marketing Intern

It is getting to be the end…..

Well another season is about to be upon us and it’s not my favorite season. I am not much into the winter season. I am not really into the cold nor do I like driving in bad conditions. It was just 2 years ago that I put my truck into the ditch down by Peru. Luckily no one was hurt and a local sheriff pulled me out. I had a farmer with me and we were going to an Expo in Indianapolis. I remember him saying “There seems to be a lot of vehicles in the ditch down here.”  After the word “here,” we too were in the ditch.

So before the snow starts to fall, in my own yard I still have one application of Fertilizer to go down this week. I will not be over-seeding at this point; it’s just too late in the year.

I also need to start lowering my mowing height. The problem I have had lately is that we have been very busy and by the time I have time to mow, the grass is too tall to lower the mower blade.

While we’ll be harvesting (weather-permitting) up through Thanksgiving if not longer, it’s sad to think that another harvest season here at Red Hen Turf Farm is about to pass us by. But I do appreciate the time it affords me to be able to spend with my family and friends, and to reflect on what we were able to achieve as a team and what needs to be improved before our 2016 sod harvest season.

– Jeremy and the Red Hen Turf Farm Team

 

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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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Every year is different and every yard is different

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Sunrise on Turf

Photo by Leslie Lestinsky, Red Hen Summer Intern

How is the year going for you?

Well unless you have not been around the Michiana area for the summer, you know it has been a WET ONE!  At Red Hen, it has been very tough trying to harvest sod, and to plant our tomatoes, corn and soybeans.

On the sod-side of work, taking care of 200 acres of mowing and fertilizing grass has been interesting. We definitely have not had to turn on the irrigation much so far this year. There is nothing like a good rain, but when you get more than a few inches at a time, it can use up chemicals faster on turf grass.

In many lawns, as of now your second application of fertilizer is close or has been used by the plants. In terms of weed control, crabgrass preventer applied in the spring is becoming no longer effective. Granular broadleaf killer has been tough to apply on the right day due to the rains. Sedges have been popping up all over, since wetness and summertime heat is what they thrive in.

If there is a point to this, it is that every year is different and every yard is different. At Red Hen, we don’t believe that sticking to a strict “step program” does justice to the fact that a yard here in New Carlisle may have gotten a lot less rain than a yard in Wakarusa, and both yards have their own issues and conditions. When a customers asks us what fertilizer product someone should be applying, we like to ask, “Well, what’s going on in your yard?,” and we tailor our recommendations to your needs.  Theoretically, we might give your next-door neighbor a different recommendation than you because – like I said before – each yard is different.  Does this surprise you?

Taking it a bit further, we offer the service of designing customized fertilizer programs – based on your goals, the issues you are trying to solve, and a lab-based soil analysis through our soil test program (starting at $25 for one sample).

We’re here to help people fix problems in their yards – even if it’s not our sod.  This is my fifth year here at Red Hen, and this year’s unique weather conditions have been making things especially interesting and challenging, which I love!

Jeremy and the Red Hen Team

Give us a call today if you have questions or concerns about your lawn at 574-232-6811.  We’re here to help make Do-It-Yourself Lawncare Do-able.

 

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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 our FAQ VAULT … It’s Spring, but why is my Kentucky Bluegrass Sod not GREEN yet?

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vault-154685_640

Especially for people who sodded their lawns last year, it can be a surprise when the snow comes off and you see your sodded lawn looking very UNGREEN.

While it may be a bit annoying, this is extremely typical.

During the winter months, Kentucky bluegrass sod will go dormant, and needs time, warmth, sunlight, and nutrients to GREEN-UP. In fact, your neighbors’ grass may green up before yours simply as a result of the genetics of the Kentucky bluegrass sod.

The superior genetics of Red Hen’s Kentucky bluegrass sod gives it excellent tolerance of diseases like leaf spot and summer patch. And, as you know, it is a very attractive, dense, compact (low growing) turf with dark green color during the summer.

However, as is the case with certain elite varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, our sod can have a long winter dormancy and slow spring green-up. Cool dry weather can exacerbate this growth response. Full green-up typically occurs by mid- to late-May.

So what can you do besides wait?

An early spring application of fertilizer may very well help speed up the green-up of your Kentucky bluegrass sod. Please note that as of today (March 24th), it’s still a little early to apply fertilizer because the ground is still frozen, but we would expect that applying between April 1 and May 1 will help tremendously.

Another thing you might try is to mow the brown tips off of your grass.  This may help stimulate growth, but it will also make your lawn more aesthetically pleasing in the meantime.

I mentioned earlier that you might notice your neighbors’ lawns greening up quicker than your Kentucky bluegrass sod. This is because their lawns may be comprised of perennial ryegrass and/or some type of fescue, which often green-up several weeks earlier than the elite type of sod you have in your own lawn. Perennial ryegrass typically will have the earliest green-up.

More questions? Give us a call at 574-232-6811.
Thanks!

– Lisa, Red Hen Turf Farm

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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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Fertilizer – Getting the MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

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At Red Hen Turf Farm, we carry Spyker Spreaders, which are designed to outperform and built to outlast the competition.

At Red Hen Turf Farm, we carry Spyker Spreaders, which are designed to outperform and built to outlast the competition.

Over the years, it seems there is a trend from the very large fertilizer companies to push spring as the time to fertilize.

Spring is a great time to get out and start working on the yard. But is it really the best time to fertilize? 

If you only wanted to fertilize one time then September is the best.

The second best time is November.

What is the third best time? Well that would be spring.

When nitrogen is applied in the fall it will promote good root development. Most of the benefits will be seen next spring.  For instance, you can see earlier green-up, thicker lawn and better tolerance toward some diseases.

What does a thicker lawn bring you? Fewer weeds!

Until next time,

Jeremy and the Red Hen Turf Farm Crew


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