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    LAWN MAINTENANCE

     

              Building a thick and healthy lawn is easy when you follow a few simple steps from time to time and give the lawn adequate time to benefit from periodic applications of quality lawn products.

     

    Seeding

              Although seeding can be done at any time of the year, the ideal time to seed the lawn is during the fall between September and October or in the spring during March and April.  These times typically provide cooler temperatures and more reliable moisture, which makes for idea growing conditions.  Dormant seeding can also be done in the late fall and winter, but the seed will not germinate until the spring.

                Choose a seed mix that is suitable for your location.  A mix with bluegrass, fescues and ryegrass is good for sun.  Part sun to shady areas should have a mix of fescues and ryegrass.

                It is always a good idea to use a starter fertilizer when you are seeding.  A high phosphate slow release fertilizer will help the seedlings become established without burning them.

     

    Fertilizing and Lime

              The single most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy, high quality lawn is to feed it well, paying particular attention to nitrogen.  Nitrogen helps promote green color and a thick, dense lawn.  Dense turf is one of the best ways to fight weeds.  You should also maintain the proper pH levels (most grasses grow well in neutral (7.0) to slightly acid (6.2) pH conditions.

      Lawns should be fed at least three times per year with good quality lawn fertilizers.  Timing of lawn fertilization depends upon whether you have cool season turf or warm season turf.  Cool season turf consists of bluegrasses, fescues and ryegrasses, which maintain their green throughout the year.  The ideal time to feed these lawns is 1 application in the early fall (early September) and 1 application in the late fall (November or December), then 1 application in the spring (March-May). Warm season turf such as zoysia, which goes dormant and turns brown over the winter months, should be fed twice between the months of May, June, July and August when it is actively growing. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    For fertilizer to work efficiently your lawn needs to be at the proper pH.  You can test your pH with an inexpensive soil test kit available at our garden center, or with litmus paper sold at drugstores.  To adjust or maintain pH lime should be applied to the lawn.  This can be done at anytime of the year.

     

     

     

     

    Crabgrass

              For crabgrass to germinate soil temperatures need to be 56 degrees for three straight mornings measured at 10 a.m.  In our area that means crabgrass preventers should be applied between mid March and April.  If possible, do this before a good soaking rain.  Otherwise, be sure to apply about 1 of water to the lawn.

     

    Watering

              Water thoroughly only when needed.  Excessive watering increases the number of weeds, and frequent light watering brings roots to the surface and makes the lawn less drought-resistant.  Water your lawn only when necessary; and when you do water, soak the soil to a depth of at least 2 inches and preferably 4 inches.  Light, sandy soils will need less water than heavy soils.  Soils rich in organic humus will hold more water longer and be more drought-resistant.  The best time to water is early morning, so less water is lost by evaporation.  The worst time to water is in the evening because the lawn stays wet all night, which encourages disease development.

     

    Helpful Hints

              Lime, fertilizer and seed can all be applied on the same day.  Just water it in when you are finished.

                You can not apply seed and a weed killer together. You must either kill weeds first and then wait 3 - 4 weeks to seed, or seed first and then wait until the new seed has germinated and been mowed at least twice (about  six weeks) before applying a broadleaf weed killer.

     


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