Time to Prep for Fall!

Fall is the time of year that lawns really love! Temps in the 60’s and 70’s, plentiful sunshine, and adequate rainfall. We won’t get these conditions for another 2-3 weeks, but it’s time to get our lawns ready to thrive. It’s been a long, hot summer that has taken a toll on many of our neighborhood lawns. But the fall offers cooler, wet conditions that are ideal for lawn growth. Your main objectives for this fall should be to:

  1. Get rid of the weeds
  2. Seed the bare spots
  3. Fertilize for growth

Before we can seed and fertilize, we must get rid of the weeds and see what challenges that creates. We will look at the most common weed issues and what is required to correct them.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass Makes its Appearance in August

Crabgrass Gone!

Crabgrass Gone!

1) CRABGRASS

This is probably the most prevalent weed in our neighborhood lawns, mostly due to lack of, or incomplete coverage of the crabgrass preventative in the spring. Sometimes you can’t get the Scotts “Halts” on every area of your lawn. Those areas you miss mean openings for the crabgrass!

Solution: Ortho Weed-B-Gone, SpeedZone (@Southern States)

Be careful how and when you spray. Don’t spray while the temps are above 85 degrees or you may end up killing the lawn also. And make sure you have 6-12 hours of rain-free weather to allow it to work (no watering).

Depending on the severity/amount of crabgrass in your lawn, you may be left with bare spots. That is where the re-seeding comes in. If the crabgrass is minimal, proper fertilizing will encourage the lawn to grow into the vacant areas. If you have a lot of dead crabgrass, you will need to dig/pull it up and back-fill with seed and topsoil. The key is to get started early so that you have excellent growing conditions to get the new patches established before the cold weather arrives.

 

 

Nutsedge in the Lawn

Nutsedge in the Lawn

 

 

2) NUTSEDGE

This is the second most prevalent lawn problem I’ve seen. Nutsedge is difficult to totally eliminate from your lawn. I’m on my 4th application of “Dismiss” and am still getting a few stragglers coming up through my lawn. The solution for Nutsedge is Dismiss. “Dismiss” is available at Southern States (maybe Home Depot & Lowe’s). You can get it in 6 oz. and 16 oz. size concentrates, depending on how big of a problem you have. Dismiss also controls or suppresses more than 50 broad leaf weeds including wild violets, clover, dandelions, chickweed and spurge. Mix the concentrate in a sprayer with water and spray the affected area. Since it needs to soak into the leaf, you should spray it after it rains or after you have watered the lawn. Results can usually be seen after 24-48 hours.

 

 

Bermuda Grass Sprouting Seeds to Spread

Bermuda Grass Sprouting Seeds to Spread

 

3) BERMUDAGRASS

This is the grandaddy of all weeds (or grass look-a-likes). Unfortunately there are a number of lawns in the neighborhood that contain this weed-grass. And unfortunately, if they don’t take care of their problem, it will become their neighbor’s problem soon. This is a fast growing weed if left alone. It doesn’t even require a lot of water! Bermudagrass grows above, below, and through your lawn. You may only see the seeds that sprout above the lawn like tiny fingers (picture shown). But be assured, the ‘runners’ are growing in and below your lawn. These ‘ runners’ travel through the lawn, sending roots down every 3-4 inches. They are extremely difficult to pull up because of this. These runners can even travel under driveways to a neighboring lawn! That is why is so important to aggressively attack this weed now.

I’d love to say that there is an easy way to eliminate Bermudagrass from your lawn. Unfortunately since it is so hardy and aggressive, you may need multiple applications to totally wipe it out. It is important to attack the weed when it is growing well and before it goes dormant in the colder fall temps (Bermudagrass loves heat!). Timing is the key! You will need to apply one of several sprays over the next month and a half so it soaks deep into the roots while it is actively growing. Here are the sprays that I recommend:

  • Bayer Advanced Bermuda Grass Control
  • Ornamec
  • Turon Ester
  • Poast
Bermuda Grass 'Runners'

Bermuda Grass ‘Runners’

You may find them locally or you might have to order them online. If you don’t care whether you kill your surrounding fescue grass, you can use “Round-Up” several times to kill everything. I recommend trying one of the other sprays first. Mowing Warning! With all of these weeds, if they are allowed to go to seed (you will see little ‘fingers’ of seeds growing up from the main weed), then do NOT blow the grass clippings back onto your lawn! You will be spreading seeds all over your (and your neighbors’) lawn. Use your mower bagger to pick up the clippings and dispose of them properly.

Help out your neighborhood…

One last thing to do this week that will help improve the curb appeal of the neighborhood- kill those weeds growing in the street. They are hardy and may require several follow-up applications. But please help us all out by spraying them with Round Up or Round Up Quik Pro (Southern States). Your home will look better and you will help out the neighborhood!

Weeds in the Street

Weeds in the Street

Don’t delay! Start this weekend to get your lawn in shape for the fall!

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