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Severe damage will occur if leaves stay on your turf for extended periods. Damage can be quick and severe for Fescue lawns that had fall seeding or sod. It is best to blow leaves off of immature turf rather than raking. It is important to keep leaves off your dormant warm season turf as well.
Fescue seed is still germinating slowly due to the lack of regular natural rainfall. Regularly irrigated lawns are faring better but still a little slow. If you are not willing to or unable to water, be patient. We are seeing many lawns that have germinated and stopped developing and actually died because of the dry periods this fall. The lack of natural rainfall has also made it difficult for the seedlings to tiller. Tiller is when the seedling (single leaf plant) adds additional stems and leaf blades. This is what produces a thicker stand of turf as time goes on and the plant matures. Conditions will be slow to improve right now because of shorter day light hours and cooler air and ground temperatures. The good news is it appears the dry weather pattern could be lifting providing good soil moisture.
The bad news is the ground temperatures are colder not allowing the seed to germinate and mature quickly. If ground temperatures are able to average 52 degrees, we will see additional germination and development. Fescue will continue to tiller through the winter and spring months. It is not uncommon, in most years, to see germination and development through winter into early spring. Most Fescue lawns will look nice and full by late February/early March.
For the third year in a row we have had extremely dry conditions in the fall making seed germination and development difficult. The current conditions on many Fescue lawns will create difficulties in sound broadleaf weed management this winter and early spring. Immature turf could be injured with post-emergent broadleaf weed control so applications of weed control will have to be modified. In addition, turf is thin in many areas and not offering any weed competition making control that much more difficult. Fairway Green is currently discussing application options with NCSU researchers in turf science for the best possible control methods.
We are completing the last application of pre-emergent on warm season turf to help control winter annual Poa annua. The split applications we provide will control roughly 75% of this problematic winter annual. The Round 2 application in 2018 will offer additional post-emergent control.
Mole and Vole signs tend to increase this time of year because the soil has better moisture and is easier for the moles and voles to move around. Think about how difficult it is to dig a hole on your property in July and August. Mole control can be frustrating and time consuming. Many people believe that a grub treatment will rid their lawn of moles. However, trying to control moles by controlling grubs is usually ineffective because moles feed heavily on earthworms and other insects when available. We now have product options to control Moles in North Carolina. Several products are now registered for use in our state. The two products that people have had success with are Tomcat Mole Killer and Motomoco Mole Killer. These products are available in home & garden centers like Home Depot and Lowes (don’t forget to patron local hardware or nursery stores). A very good website for additional information on Moles and Voles is The Mole Man. Fairway Green does not offer a mole control service at this time.
Dormant oil, otherwise known as Horticulture Insecticide Oils can generally be applied safely from now until around March. Horticultural Oils control insects by suffocation and tissue absorption. Horticulture Oils can be a good insecticide to control some of the difficult to control Scale insects. However, oils will not help control all Scale insects and eggs. It is important to both identify the type of insect and have knowledge of its life cycle to offer the best control.
Oils are an effective tool in controlling difficult mites and scale. However, dormant oils can cause plant injury so read and follow the label carefully.