The speaker at the May 14, 2019, Norfolk Rotary Club meeting was Stan Friesen, Forage and Turf Products Manager for Kaup Forage and Turf. He spoke about lawn care tips and compared those tips to a football team. You have to have a good offense and a good defense along with special teams to have a well-rounded football team. The same could be said for your lawn care.
A good lawn care offense includes the following:
1)      Fertilizer: Nitrogen, phosphorus (being banned in many states now) and potassium help to provide your lawn with a nice, green color. You need approximately 4 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year to provide the maximum benefit.
2)      Water: Bluegrass can stress quickly without proper watering. Bluegrass usually needs 1-2” of water per week for optimum health. Fescue has a better root system and is more drought tolerant. Fescue is dead once it turns brown. Don’t water during the evening as this can lead to the growth of fungi. It is better to water in the early morning hours.
3)      Seed: Grasses now come in newer and more disease-resistant varieties.
4)      Care: Mowing is important but never cut more than 1/3 of the height of your grass at any time. Mulching is good but do not windrow. Keeping a sharp mowing blade will give the best cut and look to your yard. Aeriation is recommended in the fall and power raking is recommended in the spring.
A good lawn care defense and special teams include the following:
1)      Weed Control: Crabgrass can be prevented by putting down a pre-emergent before the weeds grow. The pre-emergent acts as a barrier. You would normally apply this toward the end of April and perhaps a second application toward the end of June. Broadleaf (dandelions, clover, spurge) and Nutsedge can be treated with post-emergent. The post-emergent can be applied by spot application or by treating the whole yard with liquid or dry treatments. Weed and feed is one type of treatment.
2)      Insect Control: White grubs are the larva of the June bug, which has a 3-year life cycle. You can control white grubs by treating the affected areas with Merit in June. Dylox can also be used which does not leave residual. Insects usually do not pose a major threat to your yard from an economic perspective.
3)      Disease Control: It is important to identify fungus, rust and summer patch as soon as possible. These items are usually cheaper to prevent than they are to treat.
4)      Animal Control: Moles, voles, rabbits, ground squirrels, and neighborhood pets could be a threat to your yard. Your options are usually to either poison or repel the critters. Repelling the animals is recommended…probably not a great idea to poison your neighborhood pets!