Lawns in March

4 Step Fertilizer Program – It’s time once again for our specially priced 4 step fertilizer program. This program offers you a savings of 10% over purchasing the bags individually through the year. There are 2 programs covering 10,000 sq. ft. and 2 programs covering 5,000 sq. ft. The first program offering includes 4 fertilizers, which will cover your lawn’s fertilizer needs for the year. The second program offering includes 3 fertilizers and 1 combination fertilizer with grub control. All bags are labeled with the application time, so you know when they should be applied.

Clean Up and Pre-Season Mowing – Before spring growth begins in earnest, if your lawns look shaggy, matted down, and/or off color (relative to other lawns in your neighborhood), you would do well to rake the lawn lightly to get the grass upright and remove twigs and debris, lower your mower deck 1 notch, and mow the entire lawn, preferably with bagger attached to your mower. Do this before the lawn begins to grow. The lawn will look better and will come back to life faster in late March/early April.

Dimension Pre-Emergent for Annual Pest Grasses – Last year’s wet weather promoted the rapid growth of poa annua/annual bluegrass and Japanese stilt grass. These annual pests germinate earlier than crabgrass and can be just as devastating to turf grasses. Elimination of these grasses is not easy, but reduction and/or management is possible.

Poa Annua A.K.A. annual bluegrass, is a very common weed on golf courses and home lawns. It’s a lighter green than turf grasses, and the plants form seed heads very readily on short stems, thus giving the appearance of whitish spots in otherwise deep green lawns. Normal pre-emergent crabgrass control practices won’t work because seeds begin to germinate well before crabgrass. Ignoring this weed will lead to ever increasing-sized patches of it, and seeds can be transported from one area to another by foot or machine.

Japanese Stilt Grass is a “weak-rooted and sprawling annual grass” that mostly grows along heavily treed lawn edges and other shady areas prone to damp conditions. In mown areas it is commonly mistaken for crabgrass, and like annual bluegrass, begins germinating in March or early April. Therefore it is not controlled by normal crabgrass control practices.

If you have either of these pests or think you may have experienced either or both of these grassy weeds, we have a solution that will reduce the problem. First, we’d recommend that you call or come into the Lawn Depot and discuss your situation. We’ve got pictures that will help you identify whether or not one of these is your culprit. Second, we suggest you apply DIMENSION as early as possible to catch the early germinating pests. DIMENSION in a normal crabgrass control application lasts for about 4 months. Because you’d be applying your DIMENSION earlier than we normally recommend, you can get the extended pre-emergent control by either applying your DIMENSION at a heavier rate, or by making a split-rate application, March and May. We do offer a DIMENSION product without fertilizer as well. So, if you’d like to do the split application, you can use the non-nitrogen product in March and the DIMENSION/fertilizer product anytime in May.

Spring Fertilizer with DIMENSION Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Control – Unless you are trying to control poa annua/annual bluegrass or Japanese stilt grass (see above), March is too early for pre-emergent crabgrass control for homeowners in southeastern PA. The best time for this application is mid-April, even with long-lasting DIMENSION. If you are only going to apply fertilizer/crabgrass control once this spring, wait until April to make your application. Crabgrass is an annual pest that begins to germinate in lawns when soil temperatures elevate to 55-57 degrees F. In SE PA, this won’t happen until mid-April at the earliest. If you apply your control too early you’ll risk losing control in late-June/early-July. Crabgrass seeds continue germinating through mid-July most summers.

Early Crabgrass Treatment by Lawn Depot Turf Management – Our Turf Management division utilizes a product in March and Early April that is soil-temperature sensitive, meaning that it only activates when soil temperature elevates to a specific temperature. This product is CAVALCADE and is only used until early April, when our guys switch over to DIMENSION. CAVALCADE is only available to turf professionals.

Early Season Broadleaf Weed Control with Liquid TRIMEC – Perennial weeds can ONLY be controlled while they’re actively growing. Dandelions, clover, plantains, and many of our most hated spring weeds won’t be actively growing until early-mid April. Do not try to get them now, before they bloom; it won’t work no matter what some name brand ads say. The weeds in our lawns that are actively growing now include onion grass, wild violets, ground ivy, and some chickweeds. These weeds will stand out at this time because they will be greener or taller than the lawn. They should be spot sprayed as they begin to grow; some should be re-sprayed in 10-14 days if the first treatment didn’t completely get them. Most of these cool weather weeds will cease growing for the year once the ground warms up and other plants start growing.

Early Spring Seeding – We HATE spring seeding. There, I’ve said it.   If you seed in the spring, you can’t apply crabgrass or any broadleaf weed control, you won’t get complete germination until mid-June or beyond, and your lawn will probably suffer significant summer thinning of the young seedlings because roots establish slowly before summer heat sets in. So, if you seed in the spring, you’ll probably have lots of crabgrass, lots of broadleaf weeds, not very good coverage of the desirable grass, and you’ll have to over-seed in the fall anyway.

Having said all that, if you have brand new areas or lawns that must be seeded due to new construction, damage repair, heavy shade that calls for seeding every spring, or any other reason that can’t wait until the fall, we strongly recommend that you seed with our EVERGREEN blend of 100% hybrid perennial rye grasses for most situations. This is the fastest-germinating mix we sell, is a fine-textured grass that blends in with all permanent grass seeds, and has the best chance of surviving the summer heat because it roots quickly. And we recommend that you still over-seed in the fall.

Liming and/or Core Aerating in the Spring – We strongly recommend that BOTH of these soil conditioning activities be performed with our acidic, heavy soils every year. Aerating clayey or heavy soil opens the soil up to allow moisture to penetrate deeper into root zones, thus giving us deeper, denser root systems. Liming acidic soils regularly keeps soil pH closer to neutral and thereby enhances the effect of fertilization by enabling the main fertilizer nutrients (N, P, K) to be utilized by grass plants. Many of you who agree with our recommendations but prefer not to do the work yourselves for whatever reason, are encouraged to give us a call and let us give you a quote on having the jobs done by our Turf management professionals.

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