Lawns in Late August

Crabgrass, Japanese Stiltgrass, and Yellow Nutsedge – As mentioned above, because of the excessive summer rainfall, we’ve noticed a lot of breakthrough in late July and August of annual grassy weeds such as crabgrass and Japanese stiltgrass, even on lawns that were treated pre-emergently in April and/or May.  The control products simply ran out of gas with the relentless rains, and the annual weeds continued to germinate well beyond when they normally stop.  Similarly, yellow nutsedge, which is a perennial grass-like weed (actually, a sedge grass) has been incredibly pervasive because it thrives in warm, moist soils.  Conditions we’ve had all summer.  We’ve got several excellent herbicide products in the store that will control all 3 actively growing grassy weeds.  However, you must understand that by treating these pests now, you will not be preventing their return next year.  We want you all to continue to control these pesky weeds pre-emergently (crabgrass, Japanese stiltgrass) or as soon as they appear (yellow nutsedge).  Keep in mind that in years of unusually wet summers there may be need to also treat them post-emergently too.  If you have questions about whether or not you need to do something now, please either call or stop in at the store to discuss it with us.

Broadleaf Perennial Weeds in Early Fall – Perennial broadleaf weeds (dandelions, clover, plantain, many more) live from year to year; they are not killed by freezing weather.  In order to eliminate them, you MUST TREAT THEM WHILE THEY ARE ACTIVELY GROWING.  This is in the spring and in the fall.  Because of the overly abundant rainfall throughout the spring and summer, everyone has weeds in their lawns this fall.  If you don’t want to be bothered by dandelions and other broadleaf weeds next spring, you must treat your lawns this fall with TRIMEC liquid herbicide.  Apply to the entire lawn or just sunny areas of the lawn (where weeds thrive), but treat the weeds this fall.  TRIMEC is broad-spectrum; it kills virtually all weeds without harming the lawn if applied when rain is not in the forecast when the air temperature at time of application is not above 85 degrees, and when mowing the lawn is not done for 24 hours afterwards. Use a hose-end applicator, a tank sprayer, or rent one of our Lawn Depot liquid applicators.  Kill the lawn weeds this fall, the sooner, the better, and you’ll enjoy a weed-free lawn next spring.  And if you plan to seed this fall (most of us should, to some degree), apply your TRIMEC, then wait 2 weeks before seeding.

Grub Control in August and September – Fortunately, most of us in Bucks and Montgomery Counties have not been plagued by hoards of Japanese beetles in June and July over the last couple of years.  Grubs are the larval stage of beetles; they live in the soil beneath turf, and feed on the roots of grass plants in the spring and fall.  Grubs can devastate otherwise healthy lawns by severing the roots, necessitating massive renovation in many cases.  If you saw lots of beetles this summer, if you’ve had a problem with grubs in the past, or if you notice sections of your lawn that are off-color and the turf peels back easily (because the roots have been eaten), and you find more than 8-10 grubs per square foot, you must IMMEDIATELY apply DYLOX granular grub killer and water it in thoroughly.  You can begin repair work as soon as the next day, by hard raking or mechanically dethatching or core aerating areas before reseeding.  Our recommendation is that it’s better to be safe than sorry: be sure to apply preventative grub control every spring.

Seeding in the Fall – I overseed sections of my lawn every fall; Lawn Depot overseeds parts of its lawn every fall.  Both lawns are thick and basically healthy, but we follow the protocol that regular overseeding keeps the lawn vigorous and thriving.  Lawn Depot seed mixes (blends) are top performers brought indirectly from the West coast.  We recommend that the best way to keep lawns healthy and tight, to help overcome damage from the weather (drought, heat) and insects is to regularly add fresh seed to lawns every fall.  Certainly, we don’t advocate whole lawn overseeding every fall (unless your lawn is less than 2-3 years old or if you haven’t seeded for several years), but some seeding in weak areas really helps keep the lawns vigorous.

Fertilizing Lawns in the Fall – Lawns should all be fed twice every fall.  The first feeding, in September, is with our organic-based, slow-release Lawn Depot 19-2-6.  This application will renew a lawn that’s exhausted from growing all summer long.  The value of the September feeding is to bring color back into the lawn, to help generate thicker turf, to stimulate new root growth, and to help new seedlings establish.  The second fall feeding, and most important fertilization of the year, is applied at the end of the grass growing season, in November, or early December.  This high nutrient turf food, LAWN DEPOT WINTERFEAST, will promote root growth at a time when the soil is warmer down deeper than at the surface.  This, particularly when combined with fall seeding and/or aerating really helps build bottom-heavy plants that will thicken the lawn next spring. 

Liming and Core Aerating in the Fall – Lime sweetens our naturally acidic soils, which enables fertilizers to release their nutrients more effectively and quickly.   Either conventional dolomitic lime or “high efficiency” lime can be applied now. Conventional lime is slow to release but can be applied any time there is no snow on the ground. For faster results, we recommend “high efficiency” lime (Turf Turbo).  This type of lime shows results in approximately six weeks, compared to 10-12 months for conventional lime.  It also goes further when your goal is to raise the pH of the lawn.  Where you would normally need 10 bags of conventional lime to raise the pH for a 10,000 square foot area, you only need 4 bags of fast-acting (Turf Turbo) lime.  Fall applications of fast-acting lime (Turf Turbo) are most effective when applied before November.   Core aeration (the mechanical removal of soil plugs from the turf) reduces soil compaction, allowing air, water, and fertilizer to enter deeper into the root zones of the lawn, which, in turn, encourages deeper, denser root growth.  Core aerating prior to overseeding is the best way to loosen soils for better turfgrass establishment.  Core aeration can be done at any time during the growing season when the soil is soft enough to pull 2”-3” plugs, usually in early-mid spring or mid-fall, (or both). 

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