Red Hen’s Grass Seeding Quiz

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Red Hen Turf Farm - Grass SeedHere’s a quick quiz to see if what you know about grass seeding is fact-based or maybe more based on old-wives-tales or just plain old bad habits. Simply Answer YES or NO …

Here we go:

  1. The more seed I put down, the better I will be.
  2. The best time to apply seed is whenever you have some on hand.
  3. The more expensive bags of seed are better.
  4. I only need to spread the seed around by hand or with a broadcast spreader and I will have grass in a week.
  5. You don’t need to use any fertilizer when you’re seeding.

HINT: If you have answered YES to any of these 5 questions, you might want to give us a call to find out why the answers are actually all NO. And, of course, you could always consult Purdue Extension to learn more.

P.S. Did you know that TYPICALLY in the Michiana region, August 15 – September 15 is the #1 best time to do a seeding?  BUT, every year can be a little bit different and this year, with the heat and droughty conditions, we’re thinking it will be more like September 1 – October 1.  (Source: Purdue Extension among others)

LEARN MORE:  CLICK HERE for Other Articles that Red Hen has written about grass seeding.

CLICK on this PICTURE for Tips for Improving Grass Seed Germination

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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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Introducing Red Hen’s NEWEST Team Member

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Image Source: Flickr User Waywardshinobi

Image Source: Flickr User Waywardshinobi

We are excited to spread the word that, as of December 1st, we have a new team member, Jennifer Quirk.

Jennifer’s primary role is as a Customer Service Specialist.

We joke that, “At some point, Jennifer will be our Jeremy when Jeremy’s not available.”

She has some BIG SHOES to fill, and it will certainly take some time for her to learn, but we’re confident we’ve made an excellent selection.

We asked Jennifer to share some information about her background, and to reflect on her first week at Red Hen … She’s actually in her 3rd week with us, but with all of the year-end flurry of activity going on here at the farm, we’ve been a bit behind on sharing, but HERE GOES…

JENNIFER’s BIO

I have spent the majority of my career building strong customer service skills and learning how to manage positive customer experiences both in a position at a small family owned granite product manufacturing shop, where I managed granite production jobs along side customers from order placement to final installation, and with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, where I held a variety of positions helping customers with unemployment insurance and finding new job placements after the loss of a job.

 

In my free time I enjoy reading, cooking and movies, especially horror flicks. I enjoy a challenging work environment and am looking forward to tackling a new role using my current skills in a new environment on the farm and getting to know all of my new Red Hen team members and customers.

JENNIFER’s REFLECTIONS ON HER FIRST WEEK AT RED HEN

My first week here at Red Hen Turf Farm has been great.  All of my new coworkers here have been doing a fantastic job of providing a solid foundation for what I need to know and do to be the best representative to all of our customers.  I have had a chance to get to know some of our customers, work on some special projects and have started learning a lot about how things run here at the sod farm.

 

One of the first things to have struck me is how appreciative Red Hen is for its customers.  They are committed to forming solid and meaningful business relationships and try to provide enjoyable and personalized interactions with each one. It is obvious already that so many of the customers I have spoken to over the last week enjoy working with Red Hen and I have even received some light-hearted hazing by a few!

 

I have also gotten a general overview of all of facets of the sod industry and I still have so much to learn, but am looking forward to the challenge of tackling it and becoming proficient so I am ready to hit the ground running as soon as we start back up in the spring.  Luckily I have some great teachers here to show me the ropes and they are working hard to make sure I have all the tools I need to provide everyone with the same standard of customer service they are used to receiving each time they place an order with us.

And last but not least, FROM EVERYONE HERE AT RED HEN —- WELCOME ABOARD JEN!!!

Have a great rest of the week!

– Lisa and the Red Hen Turf Farm Crew

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Jeremy’s Wintertime Reflection: It’s the Memories that Mean so MUCH!

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seuss memory quote

One of my favorite days of the week this time of year is Wednesday. Well it’s really Wednesday night. My youngest son and I have a deal made during every school week.  If his grades are up and he is well-behaved, we go bowling. We have a great bowling alley down the street from our house. Ed, the owner, knows us by name and what we like to drink. Last Wednesday it felt like we were part of Ed’s family. Fourteen lanes and we were the only one there. We ate dinner there, bowled both of our best games to date and had a great time. What Ed’s business does for us really, is it creates great memories.

Jeremy’s son’s FIRST STRIKE of the Night

Our goal at Red Hen is to provide great customer service. Maybe for some, that could mean that we will help your yard look better for a backyard wedding, party or to be put up for sale. But what REALLY is great customer service? I believe a large part of it is to create great memories. We are lucky to be able to do what we do. We get to be involved in so many different lives each year. Some our customers become great friends and mentors. Even when we are the customers to other companies, many become great friends and mentors.

While I was bowling I knew then what I needed to write about next. It is time for me to thank all the customers, family, friends and other small business that gave me great memories this year. For all the years I have been working I don’t think I have had more great memories than this year. It’s hard to count how many times I laughed this year. So it’s that time of year when we need to be thankful for all the Ed’s in our lives that work to create great memories.

alcott memories

 

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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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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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In the news … Red Hen-Red Gold Partnership Highlighted by Turfgrass Producers International

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As our regular readers might recall, our Summer 2015 Marketing Intern, Leslie, was very busy with all sorts of projects (CLICK TO READ MORE).

One of the articles that Leslie wrote was submitted to the Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) magazine and we are very happy to announce that it has made it to PRINT!  

The article is about Red Hen’s partnership with Red Gold tomatoes and our diversification into producing a range of commodity crops in addition to the 100% Kentucky bluegrass sod that we are known for in the Michiana region.

You can READ about it by CLICKING HERE (pdf download).

Red Hen-Red Gold Partnership - Turfgrass Producers International SeptOct 2015

CLICK on this Snapshot to access the full-sized PDF of this Article

Red Hen Turf Farm is a proud member of several industry and professional organizations, including TPI.  The TPI website is a great resource for anyone seeking more information on the sod industry, and includes a directory of TPI members for customers in search of sod growers in their area.

Turfgrass Producers International is the only international trade association dedicated to promoting the benefits of turfgrass sod worldwide.  Their mission is: “To represent and advance the turfgrass sod industry worldwide through the promotion of improved practices and the professional development of members and the enhancement of the environment.”

Thank you, TPI, for your ongoing support of Red Hen Turf Farm!  For anyone interested in following TPI via various social media outlets:

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Announcing Red Hen’s Lawn of the Month Photo Contest – SUBMIT PHOTOS, VOTE, and SHARE! (Deadline: 9/30/15 @ Midnight)

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photo contest

Red Hen Turf Farm’s September 2015 Fan of the Month FACEBOOK PHOTO Contest!

SUBMIT PHOTOS AND VOTE FOR WINNERS!

Show us how Red Hen’s sod, seed, fertilizer, technical advice, and other products have helped you create a lawn you can really be proud of and a great place to spend time with people you love!

Share your “Red Hen Lawn” Photos and You Can WIN a $50 Red Hen Turf Farm Gift Certificate & 2 Red Hen Turf Farm T-Shirts!

The Photos with most VOTES win.  Winners will be Announced on October 1st.

  • 1st Place will win a $50 Red Hen gift certificate & Two (2) Red Hen T-Shirts
  • 2nd place will win a $25 Red Hen gift certificate & Two (2) Red Hen T-Shirts
  • 3rd place will win Two (2) Red Hen T-Shirts

See RULES for more details, and to SUBMIT your PHOTOS and to VOTE!  Here’s the LINK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Red-Hen-Turf-Farm/110842822311246?sk=app_380581852029401

 

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