Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Lawn Care




Although we've had some cold weather lately, the signs of spring are all around us.  The Redbud trees and Forsythia bushes are in full bloom, bluebirds are beginning to make their nests, and Bermudagrass is beginning to wake up.  Once we get into March, I usually start getting a lot of questions about what people need to do to get their yards ready for the season.

In general, once you begin to see the Redbuds begin to bloom, it's time to put down a spring pre-emergent herbicide.  A healthy, dense stand of turf is the first line of defense against weeds, however, a consistent pre-emergent program is the foundation of any reliable control of annual weeds.  As the name implies, these herbicides only work by killing weeds as they emerge from seed.  They will not work on already established weeds.  

Pre-emergent herbicides can be found at any local home and garden center and are usually blended onto a fertilizer for ease of application and are most often labeled as crabgrass preventer.  This type of labeling can be misleading because these products don't just work on crabgrass.  They usually control a number of summer annual weeds besides crabgrass such as: foxtail, goosegrass, oxalis, spurge, and knotweed, just to name a few.  Whenever you are purchasing pre-emergent herbicides take a minute and look at the ingredients.  The most common pre-emergent herbicides for home lawns are prodiamine, pendimethalin, and dithiopyr.  The generally accepted cut off for applying pre-emergent herbicides in our area is April 20th.  There is a little variability in this date due to temperature fluctuations from year to year.

Besides applying weed control products, it's also time to trim any ornamental grasses that you may have around the landscape.  Similar to the Bermuda in your yard, these grasses are beginning to wake up from dormancy and need room to grow.  Cutting off the dead growth from the previous season will allow the new shoots access to the necessary sunlight they need.  Once you get them all cut, don't forget to apply a fresh layer of mulch to get your landscape areas looking their best for the upcoming growing season! 😀

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