Watering Tips for Summer

summer lawn care

The Texas heat can be brutal on your lawn.  Here’s few tips to help your lawn stay green and beautiful throughout the summer months.

1. Water in the morning when it does the most good. This can help to reduce evaporation and help to prevent the growth of fungus on your lawn.
2. Your lawn requires at least 1 inch of water a week and even more when the temps go higher.
3. To develop drought tolerant roots water deeply and less frequently.
4. Water deeply and on a regular basis. If you can’t and your lawn goes dormant, just let it be until fall. It should recover on it’s own when the weather changes.

 

Spring Lawn Fertilizer

Spring lawn fertilizer is crucial for a lush lawn year-round

The start of spring brings a sense of renewal. Light jackets replace heavy coats; people enjoy outdoor activities, and flowers begin to bloom. And, just as homeowners embark on spring cleaning inside their homes, the outside is calling for equal care and attention. Dry leaves need raking, and the lawn needs your loving care to maintain luster and health throughout the season. A spring lawn fertilizer will become a vital part of spring cleaning your lawn; however, you must pay attention to the type of fertilizer you use and how much you apply.

Knowing when, and how, to apply fertilizer will be the difference between a vibrant lawn and one that lacks luster.

Remember, just as spring brings new life, the dehydrating months of summer can be hard for plants to withstand. Since many grass types need to establish a strong and sturdy root system in the spring to endure the harsh conditions of summer, fertilization should be done during the early beginnings of spring, and be a primary focus of homeowners.

Your lawn will definitely yield great results if a spring lawn fertilizer is applied in the right amounts, and at the right times. Bear in mind, however, achieving a healthy lawn requires ongoing maintenance which begins before spring. While spring lawn fertilizer and maintenance is an important step in obtaining a beautiful lawn, a lawn must always be nurtured throughout the year.

Too Much Spring Lawn Fertilizer Is Not a Good Thing

We’ve all, at some point, gotten ‘fertilizer happy’ when it came to feeding our lawns. Though efforts were undoubtedly well-intentioned, too much fertilizer isn’t always a good thing, especially in the spring. While fertilization is important for the lawn, applying an excessive amount of spring lawn fertilizer can cause weed growth and disease. So, in addition to limiting the amount of spring lawn fertilizer, it’s also important to not apply it at the very start of spring.

 

Although your lawn will boast a beautiful green luster after application, fertilizing it too early encourages top growth, which damages the root system. Furthermore, if the roots of a lawn are fragile and weak, they’re less likely to withstand the dry and hot conditions of summer. The after effects of early spring fertilization can actually defeat the purpose of feeding your lawn.

 

So, how do you give your lawn just the right amount of spring cleaning? By waiting until mid to late April to feed the lawn, grass plants will have had time to grow their new longer roots and be ready to get on with vigorous blade growth. When summer heat and drought hit, the lawn will be strong enough to go dormant and wait for eventual rain.  I suggest, you don’t over-fertilize, and make sure the spring lawn fertilizer you choose include less nitrogen and more phosphorous, to promote strong and healthy roots. I personally use Lesco Brand fertilizers. The first treatment will be the 24/5/11 plus Pre-Emergent. This formula contains the essential phosphorous which promotes root growth early.

Lesco Lawn Fertilizer

Lesco is a John Deere brand of lawn fertilizers that provide only the highest quality ingredients for slow-release fertilization. Lesco brand fertilizers are granular based and developed to release Lesco-turf-fertilizernutrients slowly and evenly. The granules in the fertilizer blends have a coat which dissolves slowly in the soil. As the coat dissolves over time, nutrients are released giving the lawn a continuous but steady supply needed to maintain the health and beauty of your lawn. Visit the John Deere website to learn more about the Lesco Fertilizers that we use.

Why do we Use Lesco Fertilizers?

lush-green-lawnOne simple reason…they are the best. Not all fertilizers are created equal and Lesco provides more active ingredients and healthy nutrients for your lawn. Lesco fertilizers also lack harsh chemicals which makes them safe for people and pets. In addition, they are organic-based and made from animal sources such as compost, blood meal, bone meal, seaweed extracts, and humic and amino acids that help activate existing nutrients in the soil. Another major benefit of Lesco granular fertilizers is that they do not require a drying time so your lawn will be safe and ready for foot traffic and use by pets shortly after the application.

What does that mean for you?

Every application is used with the highest quality products for the most consistent, well-balanced results throughout your entire lawn care schedule. Lawn Ranger lawn care is dedicated to achieving the best possible results for your lawn which is why we only use the highest quality products. Lesco products are well recognized in the lawn care industry, and it is only with these top quality products that we can deliver a level of service and the desired result that meets are high standards of excellent lawn care.

See how affordable lawn fertilization can be!

FREE ESTIMATE

Gardeners To-Do List for March

Average Date of Last Freeze in Tarrant
County: March 4 – 12

Planting

  • Plant ornamental trees and shrubs while the weather is still cool.
  • Divide and replant fall flowering plants such as asters and mums.
  • Complete transplanting of established woody plants before bud break.
  • Plant cool season flowers such as alyssum, daisies, dianthus, and geraniums (mid to late March).
  • Plant spinach, radishes, lettuce, through mid-April. Also plant snap beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, lima beans, mustard, tomatoes, and squash late March when soil temperatures are warm enough for each variety.
  • Begin to plant warm season flowers as temperatures increase towards the end of the month and as they become available in nurseries.

    Planting small tree

Pruning

  • Prune back overgrown ground cover such as English ivy and Asian jasmine to maintain the height you prefer. Do so before new growth begins.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses before new growth appears.
  • Remove winter-damage from shrubs and other ornamentals.
  • Do not prune spring flowering shrubs and vines, until after blooming such as forsythia, quince, azaleas, spirea, etc.
  • Allow foliage on spring bulbs such as daffodils to die back and dry before removing, to create food for next year’s plants.

Plant Care

  • Based on a soil test fertilize established shade trees, ornamental trees, and shrubs as spring growth begins.
  • Based on a soil test fertilize pecan and fruit trees before bud break. (See plantanswers.com)
  • Check new growth on ornamental plants weekly for aphids and scale insects and treat if necessary.
  • Mow fescue/ryegrass lawns, now growing vigorously, at five day intervals, or as needed.
  • Fertilize fescue lawns in early March as per soil test results.
  • Continue to feed pansies and other cool season annuals to extend their bloom season.
  • Continue to protect tender plants from late freezes.

Composting: Turning Garbage Into Garden Gold!

If you are looking for more ways to live “green,” then consider learning how to make your own compost. A number of benefits come with creating a space where you can compost your biodegradable waste. In addition to the fact that it is environmentally friendly, learning to make your own compost can also be an activity that your family will enjoy. Develop your own environmentally responsible habits in order to teach your kids about the importance of finding a use for everything; even if it comes from what most people would consider trash. According to a recent study done by ecokids.ca, the average North American produces almost 5 1/2 lbs of garbage every day. With this knowledge in hand, it is easy to see how learning to make your own compost can make a big difference in the long-term health of our planet.

If you have decided to pursue an organic lifestyle, then the ability to make your own compost allows you to fertilize your own garden without spending money on organic fertilizers. You can even customize the nutritional constitution of your fertilizer by making several different compost bins and controlling what goes in each one. With a little research about the nutritional needs of certain plants, you will have the ability to control essential elements of your soil. Things like acidity and nitrogen content can easily be changed by adding compost. You can become a master organic gardener simply because you stop throwing away old food and other bi-degradable waste.

10 Tips for Making Better Compost

Here are the top 10 ways we know of for making compost in less time and of better quality than ever before.

  1. Get the Optimal Balance of Compost Materials balance of compost materials
    It’s important to get the right mixture of ingredients in your compost to ensure that it heats up nicely and breaks down effectively.
    Here’s how:

    Getting the right mixture of brown (carbon) materials, to green (nitrogeneous) materials will make a huge difference. Adding too much brown material will result in a compost pile that takes a long time to break down. Adding too much green material will result in a compost pile that is slimy and smelly that doesn’t break down well. In order for your compost pile to break down quickly and efficiently you should feed it just the right balance of brown and green materials.

    The microorganisms in our compost bins need both carbon and nitrogen to thrive; carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein synthesis. For every one unit of nitrogen used by the bacteria they also consume about 30 units of carbon. So in order to keep the bacteria working efficiently we need to supply them with a mixture that is about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Needless to say, most materials don’t have a ratio of 30:1. However, if we know the approximate C:N ratio of the materials we use in our compost, we can combine them so that the total mix will be close to 30:1. It’s really not that complicated…

  2. Turn the Compost More Often
    Adding fresh oxygen into your compost pile by turning it more frequently will help your compost break down faster. Here’s why:

    Many of the bacteria that break down your compost need air to survive. A week or two after the pile is made these bacteria will start to die off as they start to use up the available air in the pile. This drop in the amount of bacteria will result in the compost pile cooling off a bit from it’s peak temperature. When this happens it’s time to turn the pile to get more air into it.

    When turning your compost pile, move the drier material from the outer edges of the pile into the center and break up any clumps to get as much air into the mixture as you can. Moisten any of the materials as you go if they seem dry.

    If you have the time, we suggest turning the pile every 14 days or so, or when you see the temperature fall from the next peak in temperature of about 110° – 120° F. That’s more often than most of us have time for, but, in general, the more you turn the pile the faster you will have finished compost. If you’re using a plastic compost bin, an aerator tool will make the job of turning much easier. A garden fork is often the best tool for turning compost in an open style bin.

    Another way to get more air into your compost is to stick a stake or metal rod into the pile and wiggle it around to create an air pocket. Some people even drill holes along the length of PVC pipes and the pipes horizontally as they build their compost pile.

  3. Check the Moisture Level of your Compost
    moisture level of compost

    Achieving the correct moisture content is an important factor in keeping a compost pile working efficiently.

    The key to getting the correct moisture in your compost is to moisten the pile without making it too wet and soggy. Many people recommend adding moisture until the material is as moist as a wrung out sponge. This is far too wet. If you can squeeze water out of it, it’s definitely too wet. If your pile is too wet adding some dry brown materials such as chopped leaves or hay should help dry it out.

    If you live in a very dry climate, make an indentation in the top of the pile to collect rainwater and help keep the pile moist. If you’re in a rainy area cover the top of the pile with a tarp or other covering to keep it from becoming too wet.

    A moisture content of between 50-60% is desirable in an active compost pile but how many of us know how to measure moisture?

  4. Use the Berkeley Method of “fast composting”
    fast composting

    A really fast method of composting known as the “Berkeley method” or “fast composting” produces finished compost in as little as 14 to 21 days.

    Fast composting produces a higher quality compost in less time than traditional methods. The finished product contains a higher nutrient value because nutrients are not lost to leaching from rainfall and long-term exposure to the elements. The original Berkeley method involved the layering of carbon and nitrogen materials but today, many composters mix all the materials together into one large fast compost pile.

    The jury is out on which of these options helps the pile to heat up faster. Choose whichever option you feel most comfortable with. For the purposes of this article we will mix all of the material together.

  5. Shred Some of the Ingredients – Especially the Brown Material
    shred some ingredients

    If there is one secret to making compost faster, it is finely shredding the carbon rich ingredients such as leaves, hay, straw, paper and cardboard.

    Shredding increases the surface area that the compost microbes have to work on and provides a more even distribution of air and moisture among the materials. Since it’s the brown materials that take the longest amount of time to break down, shredding them significantly reduces the finishing time of compost.

    The type of chipper or shredder used is not important, provided it can handle the materials. Rotary lawn mowers can also be used for dry leaves by running the mower back and forth over a pile a few times although this method is not as effective as using a commercial shredder. Some readers have recommended shredding dry leaves in the bottom of a plastic garbage bin with a rotary grass trimmer – we do not recommended this method due to the risk of injury. If you insist on giving it a try, be sure to wear both gloves and goggles!

    Nitrogen rich materials such as manure, vegetable wastes and green prunings can also be shredded. Soft succulent materials do not need to be shredded because they break down very quickly in the compost pile.

    If you don’t have a chipper or shredder you can chop your materials into smaller pieces with pruning shears or strong scissors. We often do this with our tomato vines at the end of the season. It takes a fair amount of effort but the results are worth it.

  6. Use a Compost Tumbler

    Using a compost tumbler is one way to get finished compost in a short amount of time with minimal effort. Although most of us will not be able to make finished compost in two to three weeks as some manufacturers claim, there are significant advantages to using a tumbler.

    The most significant benefit is the ease and convenience of turning the pile. Turning an established compost pile can be a lot of work, so much so that most people simply don’t do it often enough. Compost tumblers do produce finished compost in a much shorter amount of time than most other methods. Compost tumblers tend to be more expensive than other bins and their capacity may be limiting to those with huge amounts of material but for most people it’s the quickest and most effective method there is.

    There are now a wide variety of quality compost tumblers available including:

    The Original Compost Tumbler

    This tumbler has a large 18 bushel capacity and a gear driven drum for easy turning even when full. Internal mixing pins help push freshly added materials to the core where temperatures can reach 150+ degrees. Aerator/drainage devices on the door provide air intake without loss of compost (also prevents leaching of nutrients into ground below). Screened vents on end caps help to ensure a constant flow of fresh air into the bin (helping to prevent odors).
    original compost tumbler

    Roto-Composter Compost Tumbler

    This tumbler has one large capacity compost drum that rotates on a stable base for quick and easy mixing. It comes fully assembled so there are no worries about putting it together. It’s made from recycled plastic and holds 12 cubic feet of material. It has a 16 inch wide twist-on vented lid.

    Roto-Composter

    Mantis ComposT-Twin Composting Bin

    This 2-chamber rotating composter lets you “cook” one batch while you add new material to another. It’s built with a sturdy tubular frame and has aerator vents. The easy-to-turn handle and gear system makes for easy mixing. This tumbler is a bit pricey but it’s a solid work horse with a capacity of 10-bushels.
    Mantis ComposT-Twin Composting Bin

  7. The Secret Compost Ingredient: Alfalfa Meal
    Alfalfa Meal - secret Ingredient
    Adding an activator such as alfalfa meal to your compost provides the much needed nitrogen and protein that really speed up the process.

    Activators are a source of both nitrogen and protein, ingredients that assist the organisms to break down the organic material. There are many commercially made activators that are worth a try. We have tried a few but nothing has come close to the results we have seen with what we call “our secret compost ingredient.”

    The activator that we call “our secret ingredient” is Alfalfa meal! In some areas you will find Alfalfa Meal  in garden centers and it is also available from online retailers. Wait until you see what it does for your compost. The results are remarkable!

    You can also use fresh manure, bone meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, comfrey, or even high-protein dry dog food (yes, that’s right, dog food!) as a compost activator.

  8. Use More Than One Pile
    If you have a lot of material to compost it’s a good idea to start a new pile rather than adding to an existing pile.

    Once the composting process begins and the material in the pile starts to break down it is advisable to avoid adding new material unless there is an imbalance of greens to browns that should be corrected. Adding new material to an existing pile will usually prolong the wait for finished compost and, in an open pile, the longer the process takes the greater the risk that nutrients will be lost to leaching.

    A better idea is to start a brand new pile with the fresh material. Both piles will be break down more efficiently and will be ready sooner!

  9. Start a Worm Compost Bin for Food Scraps
    Worm Composting, also known as vermiculture is an often overlooked composting method. It’s not just for city folks anymore!

    One advantage of worm composting is that it can be done indoors and outdoors, allowing for year round composting. It also provides those living in apartments with a means of composting. Worm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding (often shredded newspaper, or shredded fall leaves and a handful of sand or soil) and red wrigglers (also known as branding or manure worms).

    You add your food waste and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost. Worm compost bins are also a fun and educational project for children!

  10. Grow your own super-charged organic fertilizer
    comfrey

    If you have a spare garden bed, consider growing a patch of comfrey. Comfrey has deep roots that absorb nutrients from the subsoil, which are then stored in the leaves. Comfrey leaves have a high level of nitrogen making them a great activator for compost piles but their real value is in making comfrey fertilizer for your plants. When you compare the nutrient levels of compost with comfrey fertilizer at the end of this article you’ll see why we use the term “super-charged.”

    Growing Comfrey
    Comfrey is a hardy plant that will regrow from small pieces of root so it is important to choose the site with care. Comfrey rarely sets seeds so it won’t infest your garden. The plants will do well in full sun to near full shade in an area that gets lots of moisture. Space the plants 2 to 3 feet apart and stand back and watch it grow. In the first year cut the flower stalks and add them to the compost heap. In the second year you should be able to get 3-4 cuts from a single comfrey patch. Just take a pair of shears and cut them back to about six inches from ground level. Wear gloves because the leaves can irritate skin.

     

    Making Comfrey Fertilizer

    1. Fill a barrel or plastic garbage can 1/4 full with comfrey leaves
    2. Weigh the leaves down with a stone or a brick
    3. Fill the container with water
    4. Put a lid on the container
    5. Let stand for 4 to 6 weeks. The mixture is ready when the leaves have rotted and are no longer visible.
    6. Your liquid feed is ready to use in your garden!
    7. If your comfrey plants have grown enough you can start a new batch
    8. Another method is to use comfrey leaves as above but without the addition of water. The result is a thick, black concentrate. This should be diluted at 15:1 before use.

      Comparative Nutritional Analysis of comfrey, compost and manure

      MATERIAL Water % Nitrogen % Phosphorus % Potash % C:N Ratio
      Farm Yard Manure 76.00 0.64 0.23 0.32 14:1
      Wilted Russian Comfrey 75.00 0.74 0.24 1.19 9.8:1
      Indore Compost 76.00 0.50 0.27 0.81 10:1

      Source: “Comfrey, Past Present and Future”, by L D Hills

     

How to Prune a Crape Myrtle Tree

TOOLS I USE FOR PRUNING CRAPE MYRTLE

  • Bypass Pruners for up to 5/8″ branch diameter
    bypass-pruners

 

  • Lopper Pruners for up to 1-1/2″ branch diameter
    lopper-pruners
  • Gardening Gloves recommended

Pruning a Crape Myrtle Tree

When it comes to pruning crape myrtles, it would be better to leave them alone than to prune them improperly. We’ve all seen over-pruning, when each and every year people chop crape myrtles back too far, and what we call “knuckles” begin to form. These knuckles, or what I think actually look more like clenched fists, grow larger every year when folks cut last year’s knew growth back all the way to the knuckles. If you would like to create beautiful crape myrtle trees continue reading this article to find out the proper way to prune them so your trees don’t end up with these ugly, deformities we call knuckles.

Crepe Myrtle KnucklesCrape Myrtle “Knuckles”

 

 

When a crape myrtle is pruned back too far it has two effects:

  1. Reduces the number of blooms that will be produced during summer.
  2. New branches will grow far too long and therefore not be able to support the weight of heavy blooms – particularly when wet. These long branches weep over and often break off during heavy rains.

 

When a crape myrtle is pruned properly:

  1. It will produce twice the number of branches and therefore twice the number blooms as it did during the previous year.
  2. The new branches will be strong enough to support blooms.

NOTE: When a crape myrtle has reached 5 to 8 years in age and/or has developed a nice, full canopy, I usually discontinue pruning them.

The Right Time to Prune a Crape Myrtle

Wrong-season pruning would mean November and December. Don’t let “peer pressure” by neighbors and commercial gardening crews get to you. If you trim the crapes in the last two months of the year, and we get a warming trend in January or February, the trees might actually start putting on new growth. That new growth will be highly susceptible to freezing weather should it come on the heels of a warm spell. New growth will also tend to draw the cold right into the plant, causing needless damage to a tree that should be resting in dormancy

So, the best time to trim crapes is in late winter or early spring – just prior to new growth emerging. For years, we’ve suggested this as a great time to trim them, because at that time we’re also trimming back our roses and many other plants and trees. . I do all my Crape Myrtle and Rose trimming in February right before the warm up in March.

Pruning Instructions for Crape Myrtle TreeFigure A unpruned
To the right is a drawing (Figure A) of a 4-year old crape myrtle tree as it may appear in late winter, when still in dormancy, and before new growth has begun to emerge. This tree has been properly pruned for 3 years and is ready to be pruned for the coming year. At the top of the branches you will notice seed pods that formed after last season’s blooms. In studying the diagram more closely you might notice where pruning cuts were made in previous years, and that wherever cuts were made two new branches emerged from beneath the cuts.
Figure BFigure B, to the right, indicates where to make cuts when pruning your crape myrtle tree. The rule of thumb is to trace down from the top of a stem (from the seedpods if the tree bloomed), to where that stem meets a branch. Using a pair of sharp bypass or lopper pruners make a cut about 6 to 12 inches or so above the intersection – never below the intersection. Alternatively, you can grab the tip of stem and bend it over, making your cut right at the point where the stem starts to bend. Either way, the stub that is left should be strong enough to support the new branches that emerge just below your cut. Repeat this process until all stems have been cut as is shown in Figure C below.
Figure CFigure C, to the right, shows a crape myrtle that has been properly pruned. All top stems have been pruned to 6 inches or so above the intersection where the stem meets a branch. Two new stems will emerge from beneath your cuts. By using this method of pruning you will be promoting twice as many branches every season – which means a fuller canopy and twice as many blooms. To further “clean up” your crape myrtle tree, you can prune suckers that grew from the trunk base, and twiggy growth that emerged up and along the main trunk(s).

­­­­­­­­­­­­

 

January Pre-Emergent

Q: When the weather is unseasonably warm (60’s and 70’s) in January, should I put out a pre-emergent to prevent spring and summer weeds?

“Yes it has been warm, but for homeowners there is no need to rush the PRE-EMERGENT (0/0/7) application. I think over the next week we are forecast to have close to freezing night temperatures. So, I am not overly concerned about any super early germination of crabgrass or other summer annual weeds.

“PRE herbicides are routinely applied in mid-Jan by many lawn care companies with a high number of accounts. These mid-January applications are always followed by an additional application approximately 60 to 90 days later. Early applications are primarily done so the lawn care company can get all lawns treated in case there is a early spring with significant warm-up in early March, or it rained the whole month of Feb.

“This program works because PRE herbicides undergo very little degradation, or breakdown, at cool soil temps (< 50-55 F). Crabgrass can initiate germination at around 53 to 58 F soil temps (average across several days). But in many instances the very early flush of crabgrass is suicidal, in that a hard frost will kill seedlings.

“Bottom line is: Yes, you can apply early in mid-Jan. if needed. But if one is self-treating home lawn I would wait about another month and apply around Feb. 15. Also, if a fertilizer/PRE herbicide product is selected make sure it is time to fertilize the turfgrass. IF not, then select a PRE herbicide that is not formulated on dry fertilizer carrier, or if it is, select a combo product that has a lot of slow release

 

Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn?

A thick layer of fallen leaves can impede the growth of these grasses. Why? Because they can deprive the grass of one of the key elements I mentioned: sunlight. If not raked up in time, a thick and/or matted layer of fallen leaves casts excessive shade over the grass below. You don’t have to rake up every last leaf; a shortcut is to mow, so as to shred left-over leaves.

Yes! Mulch your leaves into your lawn. Mulching leaves is leaf clean up made easy. No raking, bagging and hauling away.

Since burning leaves is not legal in many cities, and hauling yard waste to landfills has been banned by many states, disposal of your leaves can be a hassle. Nowadays, most cities do have compost sites nearby. You can usually haul your yard waste to them and dump for free.

mulching leaves with lawn mower
Mulching leaves with a lawn mower

But why go to all that trouble? Just mulch your leaves with a lawn mower. You’ll be finished in the same amount of time it takes to mow your lawn – well…you might have to mow a couple of times if you have a lot of leaves.

Research has been conducted by Michigan State and Purdue University. In both studies, lawn quality was improved by mulching leaves into the grass and the following conclusions were also made…

Saves time and money, returns nutrients and organic matter to the turf, environmentally beneficial due to less landfill waste from bag use and emissions from transport. 

 Is there such a thing as too much mulch in a lawn?

Mulching at such excessive rates resulted in visible leaf liter still being present in the spring. As anticipated, as the rate of leaves mulched increased, the percentage of visible leaf litter increased. However, at the higher mower-deck leaf-mulching height of 3 inches, there was reduced visibility of leaf litter the following spring. This is most apparent at the dry leaf rate of 300 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. It is noteworthy that all visible leaf litter soon dissipated as the grass growth increased in the spring, and these plots also tended to green-up quicker. Research clearly indicates that the practice of mulching leaf litter into existing turfgrass canopies provides benefits for the soil and the turfgrass plant.

Tips For Winterizing Your Lawn

fall- time-to-winterize -lawn

Winter is approaching and it’s time to do some winterizing on your law,

Fertilize – this is the time when your grass begins storing nutrients to take it through the winter months.

Nitrogen and Potassium are essential parts of this process.

Once the summer’s rations are used up, the grass needs another for another feeding in the fall to increase root growth and fill them with food. These nutrients will also increase the plant’s resistance to damaging diseases, which will often attack when the plant is in a weakened state.

Aeration – Fall Aeration provides great benefits to your lawn. It reduces soil compaction, excessive thatch and also provides a top dressing. When the compaction and excessive thatch is broken up it provides for greater infiltration of fertilizer nutrients, air and sunlight into the soil which stimulates root growth. When root growth is improved the grass can reach and store more nutrients and water. This helps to keep it healthy, improve the grass stress tolerance which will help increase your lawn’s quality next summer.

Cleanup – It is important to remove all debris, leaves, toys, etc. . . If left sitting out on your lawn during the winter months these things can smother the grass, and is an open invitation, to insets, mice and other pests that can cause damage to your lawn.

Mowing – In Autumn, raise your mowing height to one half inch above the recommended height for the summer months. This will stimulate stunted roots. For the final mowing of the year, lower your mowing height to one half inch below the standard summer mowing height. This will help the foliage prepare for winter and avoid damage from disease. Also the clippings from the final mowing should be left on the lawn as mulch only if a mulching mower can be used. This will protect grass plants, and provide valuable nutrients for the lawn.

St. Augustine Fungus (Brownpatch)

st-augustine-fungus

Brownpatch in St. Augustine grass appears as unhealthy brownish patches of grass in your yard.

Fungus in grass are usually caused by overwatering and/or poor soil drainage. Your lawn can become susceptible to fungus when rainy humid conditions last for more than two days. When temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees with moist conditions is when Brownpatch tends to spread the fastest.

Proper watering techniques are essential to help prevent fungus in St. Augustine grass. Water in the morning. This way the grass has time to dry before evening. A wet lawn in the evening is an open invitation to fungus.

St Augustine should be mowed to no more than 1/3 of its height & you should keep an overall height of one to three inches.. When wet conditions are unavoidable, use a fungicide to keep fungal infections from spreading.

Fungus in your lawn can cause discoloration and dead grass.  And it creates an open invitation to insects and weeds.

brownpatch-fungus