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February News From Fairway Green

Check out the latest news from Fairway Green below! Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Control   Crabgrass will usually start to germinate in late March or early April throughout the Transitional Zone. Germination will occur when soil temperatures are about 53 degrees and 3 to 4 inches deep. Crabgrass germination will be seen first in bare spots with… Read more »

Check out the latest news from Fairway Green below!

Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Control

 

Crabgrass Infestation

Crabgrass will usually start to germinate in late March or early April throughout the Transitional Zone. Germination will occur when soil temperatures are about 53 degrees and 3 to 4 inches deep. Crabgrass germination will be seen first in bare spots with little desirable turf and in full sun. The first application must be completed before Crabgrass starts to germinate. It is always best to control Crabgrass, when possible, before it germinates. Controlling it once it matures is often difficult. Fairway Green utilizes a three application pre-emergent process to offer the best summer Crabgrass control possible. This process is used based on local research from NC State University.

Pre-emergent starts to break down around mid-July. The pre-emergent breaks down so fescue seeding can start around the end of August. Early Crabgrass breakthrough, after proper pre-emergent applications, can be contributed to low mowing heights, thin areas in the lawn and aggressive edging along sidewalks and driveways.

Winter Annual Weeds

Winter annual weeds can be prolific this time of year. These weeds germinate in the fall, grow through the winter months, and reproduce in the spring. The most appropriate time to treat these weeds is when they are young and actively growing. They become difficult to control once they start to flower.

Close-up Mouse Ear Chickweed

Broadleaf weed control could be difficult this spring due to many Fescue lawns being thin and not completely tillered. Tiller simply means the fescue plant adds additional leaf blades thickening the plant and increasing the ability to compete against broadleaf weeds. In addition, sometimes less effective post-emergent weed controls need to be used to decrease the chance of injuring the immature grass. The more difficult weeds will be controlled once the turf matures enough to handle the more aggressive weed controls.

Research has proven that maintaining a mowing height of 3½” – 4” on fescue drastically reduces the amount of crabgrass in the lawn. Mowing at this height will also help promote healthy turf and help control broadleaf weeds.

Why is my Fescue Looking Tan or Yellow?

Fescue turf may have received desiccation of the leaf tissue during the winter months (a yellow or brownish color on the leaf blade). Frost damage causes the tips of the blade to turn yellow, giving the lawn an overall yellow color. This is caused when the moisture in the grass blades freezes and ruptures the cells at the tip of the blades. This will grow out and be cut off with mowing as spring arrives and temperatures become more favorable for Fescue growth. An increase in temperatures along with the early spring application will help the plant recover and flourish. However, there are a few turf diseases in the winter that could be the cause too.

Try to leave Fescue a little taller going in to winter. This will provide a slightly longer desiccated leaf tip to be cut off on your first cutting giving the lawn a greener start in the spring.

How Does the Winter/Cold Damage my Warm Season Turf?

Warm season turf like Bermuda, Zoysia and especially Centipede can sustain damage during the winter in the Transition Zone. This can occur from extended periods of very cold air and ground temperatures or one or a few very cold nights in the teens. These types of grasses are grown in warm often full sun areas of the country and world and do not have the ability to survive the conditions mentioned above. However, excellent breeding programs have given us varieties that are able to handle difficult climatic conditions much better. This does not mean they are immune to injury or damage.

Conditions that increase the possibility for winter injury/damage:

  • Hard soil compaction from heavy traffic or natural conditions.
  • Shaded areas from trees or houses.
  • Insufficient soil drainage (standing water).
  • North facing slopes.
  • Poor soil conditions creating insufficient root mass.
  • Incorrect variety selection.
  • Poor cultural practices throughout the year.

Deep Root Fertilization on Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Time is running out to take advantage of Deep Root Fertilization on ornamental trees and shrubs, which is a key horticultural practice for overall tree and shrub health. A probe is inserted into the feeder root zone and releases a slow releasing fertilizer with Iron. This is done in late winter or very early spring. Only one application, when utilizing the proper rate, is needed to feed the plant through the entire growing season. Many people feel if they feed their valuable ornamentals they will grow more vigorously. However, this is not the case with this type of fertilization. This long chain fertilizer acts more like a nutritional vitamin for your plant not a growth stimulator. This will help the plant recover from winter stress along with natural insect and disease resistance.

Crepe Myrtle Pruning

February and March are great times to prune your Crepe Myrtles. Avoid pruning much past March. Many people prune Crepe Myrtles incorrectly. The proper way is to trim only the branches that are rubbing or crossing other branches and to improve the natural form. Pruning a Crepe Myrtle is meant to enhance the natural appearance and growth of the individual tree, not to produce more flowers. Many people cut off the top of the branches leaving a stump appearance to the tree; known as topping. This creates several non-productive and supportive branches on the tree. These branches are weak, often producing late and or shorter bloom times and can weaken the overall health of the tree in time.

A few other ornamentals to prune now: Many varieties of Camelia, Rose of Sharron, Butterfly Bush and Nandina.

Properly Maintained/ Pruned Crepe Myrtle

Incorrect Crepe Myrtle Pruning (called Crepe Murder in the industry)