As the holiday season ramps up, don’t let your lawn lose out on what it needs. End the year strong with the help of our lawn tips and tricks.
This time of year, it’s common to deal with naturally occurring on-lawn debris. While there’s always the option of simply throwing it out, your lawn can potentially benefit from it. Here’s our breakdown of how you should be managing natural debris on your turf.
Germination and development will be slow for fescue, ryegrass and more due to the shorter days (less than ideal for photosynthesis) and cooler ground temperatures (less than ideal for germination and plant activity) we’re experiencing. As of this writing, nighttime air temperatures have also been below normal, causing even cooler ground temperatures than are normal for this time of year.
If you still have thin areas and seed on the ground, be patient. Adding more seed to these areas will not produce a different outcome and will just waste seed. It is actually not uncommon to have seed germinate and develop throughout the winter and very early spring. Even in these cases, turf will still usually develop enough to use pre-emergence safely in late February and early March.
Generally, we will receive enough rainfall to maintain good soil moisture this time of year for seedling development. However, if we go through a warm dry period, it may be necessary to water between natural rainfalls. This can be challenging if you have in-ground irrigation that has been winterized.
It is not uncommon to see different parts of cool-season turf developing faster than others after seeding. This can be due to different parts of your lawn having different:
Rarely does turf germinate, develop and mature at the same rate throughout a lawn, so rest assured that this is very normal.
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) is a common winter annual grassy weed in all turf types—it’s also one of the more frustrating ones to deal with from November to May.
Poa annua is easily seen in warm-season turf grasses like bermuda and zoysia during the winter because it will be green and actively growing (contrasting with dormant grass). Control is completed from October to December, so if you’ve not yet started on treatments, it will be harder to deal with.
As part of our weed control services, we use a special warm-season turf product, via 30-day application cycles, that provides 75% to 80% control.
It’s hard to recognize Poa annua in cold-season turf like fescue until late spring, when it produces tan colored seed heads and the leaf blades turn an off-green. Control is generally extremely difficult. It requires two applications of a special product in November, then again in December. Both must be completed roughly 30 days apart, and this will only control 70% to 75% of potential germination.
Please note: Neither application process will eliminate or control 100% of Poa annua (it is simply not possible to do this). Due to excessive product cost, applications are an addition to regular service at the same application price per application.
Applications of dormant oil, otherwise known as horticulture insecticide oil, can help control insects by suffocation and tissue absorption. It can generally be applied safely to ornamental trees and shrubs from now until around March, and it can work especially well for some difficult-to-control scale insects and mites. However, it won’t help control all of them and can potentially cause plant injury if used incorrectly. As such, be sure to follow labels carefully and try to know what insects you’re dealing with and what the best timings are for control.
For further help identifying and controlling insects on your ornamentals, just turn to Fairway Green.
Pre-emergent weed control applications from the past winter and spring have broken down by now, which allows broadleaf weeds to germinate and develop. While your first instinct may be to return to pre-emergent weed control applications, these will prevent seed germination and development.
Additionally, broadleaf weeds will never stop developing in a lawn, no matter how many years they have been managed. This is because most weed seeds stay viable in a soil’s profile for many years , which is why we try to do post-emergent broadleaf weed control on fescue lawns every year.
Large patch fungus is a harmful disease for zoysia, bermuda, centipede and st. augustine turfs in the fall. It’s similar to brown patch fungus on fescue, and Fairway Green is seeing more cases of it every year in our area. Damage occurs before you can even be aware of it and will not be visible until green-up in the spring. Controlling large patch fungus requires two applications of preventative fungicide in the spring and fall, or when ground temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees.