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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DISCONTINUED – Red Hen Jumbo Bags of Mulch and Top Soil

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5/02/17 UPDATE:  Red Hen Turf Farm has decided, effective 2017, to DISCONTINUE our JUMBO BAGS of Mulch and Top Soil.  We no longer carry these items, in bag or bulk.  If you need a referral, we recommend contacting your favorite local garden centers.  

A SINCERE THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE PURCHASED OUR JUMBO BAGS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS!  

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.  

It was a hard call, but ultimately, we felt that the Jumbo Bags were detracting from where our FOCUS needs to be, which is the production and harvest of Red Hen’s Turfgrass Sod.   CALL for a QUOTE TODAY: 574-232-6811

 

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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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Jeremy’s Book Corner – Reviewing Traction by Gino Wickman

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Here at Red Hen, over the past 3 years, we’ve been reading and re-reading the book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman … and it turns out that this book has been responsible for firing quite a few employees.  I came to this realization as I was recently having lunch with a salesman from our industry when it hit me. I was talking about the book and how an employee realized that if we did what was in that book they would need to leave.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman (Click on the pic to order this book from Amazon)

Basically, Traction has a lot of great ideas to take your business to the next level, and the chapter that has helped us the most is about holding employees accountable.
Over the past 4 years there is no book that I have given out more copies of, and here at Red Hen, we tend to read a LOT of business books.

I do believe that because every business is run differently everyone will get something different out of this book. I like the way it is presented by having actionable summaries at the end of each chapter. After you read the first chapter I believe you will start to see what you can do next in your own business.

I do not believe that we would be in the great place we are in without some of the insights we’ve gained from Traction. From holding different styles of meetings from the top management down, exploring ways to increase “employee engagement”, and various new processes that have made a world of difference, just to name a few.

If you do not get something out of this book, you must be reading this from a beach and just getting a check in the mail from your company.

When I talk about employees being fired or quitting and this being influenced by Traction, I’m not just referring to our business. There are a handful of business owners that we work with on a level that goes beyond merely providing and selling a product.  Time and again, they tell me that they how much we have helped them GROW their business.

For instance, I helped another sod farm in Minnesota where the owner was having major problems with an employee … and that employee was his brother. After spending a few hours with him talking about his business, he ordered Traction to read on his Kindle while flying. After his plane landed in Minnesota, he ordered 10 copies to give to all of his employees, brother included. The end result was that the brother ended up quitting within a 2 week period. I talked to him again more recently this past December and asked, “How was the 2016 season?” He replied, “It was the best we have had in a long time.”

Another great example comes from a local landscaper business owner that also has learned from the book. This landscaper states, “We realized that everyone (is now) happier and attitudes have improved.”

I have a goal of reading 10 to 15 business books every year. Some are of course, better than others. No single book can make all business problems go away, but we strongly believe that Traction will get you started in having a better and more productive year.

Until Next Time,

Jeremy and the Red Hen Crew

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Was it worth it? Recharging Our Batteries at the iLandscape Show in Shaumburg, IL

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Was it worth it?  

In one word …

YES!
Lisa and I attended the 4th annual iLandscape show in Schaumburg last week. If you are in the landscape business I would suggest you keep this on your radar for next year. It is a great show for estimators, supervisors, managers and owners. With it being located in our region I don’t know how you can pass this up.
If you have gone to Indiana Green convention in Indianapolis, it has a different format. Indy seems to me to be more education driven. Schaumburg seemed to offer bigger picture ideas along the line of — What does landscaping look like from 30,000 feet? Just a few themes that were explored by the excellent speakers at iLandscape:

  • How are questions from potential customers being asked and answered?
  • How do you move landscaping stone?
  • Is there a better way so you can do it without hurting your back?
  • Can you get your work done in 4 days instead of 5?
  • What is your most import asset? (It’s your employees by the way)

According to their Facebook post, iLandscape was named one of the 50 fastest growing tradeshows in the country according to Tradeshow Executive Magazine, ranked #21 by net square feet and #22 by number of exhibitors.

Sign up now so you can get the info for next year … Here’s the LINK – http://www.ilandscapeshow.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.contact/index.htm
Here’s a link that introduces all of the speakers at iLandscape 2017: http://www.ilandscapeshow.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/home.showpage/pageID/32/index.htm

A few more links related to the speakers from some of the sessions Lisa and I attended:

AND LASTLY, looking ahead to the future …

Jeremy’s 6 Tips for a Better Convention Show Experience:

  1. Check out the speakers ahead of time, and spend some time Googling them to find articles and videos that will help you decide which sessions to attend. Make sure your employees do the same.
  2. Book early. The convention hotel will book out earlier than you might think.
  3. Reflect on the 3 largest vendor driven purchases you make? See who their competition is, and whether they will be setting up booths at the show.
  4. Download the apps for Uber and/or Lyft. We found out that for iLandscape, if you don’t stay at the convention hotel, especially during the winter it’s likely too far to walk to dinner or get back to the hotel if you did not pay attention to number 2.
  5. Take notes while you are there, and share them with your team.
  6. Give me a call and let me know you’re attending.  If we’re also planning on being there, perhaps you’d like to meet up for dinner and do some networking — one of my favorite things about attending these shows.

Recharging your batteries during these winter months can go far in making the coming Year YOUR BEST SEASON YET!

If you want more in-depth info, you know where to find us … just give Red Hen Turf Farm a call at 574-232-6811.

Until next time! … Jeremy and the Red Hen Crew

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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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