Louisville Lawn Care Blog
With the heat of summer settling in, we begin spotting our lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems hard at work.
When is the best time to water my lawn?
MORNING!! (Approximately 5-9 a.m.) Morning is the best time to water for maximum benefit. The soil will become nicely saturated with morning watering, but the turf blade will be allowed to dry more quickly, helping prevent lawn disease. Evening watering will keep the grass blade wet overnight, which then becomes a major breeding ground for fungi.
How much water should I apply?
Water deeply and infrequently, usually 1-inch per watering session, 2-3 times/week, more if we are in drought conditions. Water pressure and irrigation heads may alter water output, so set out a shallow bucket while watering the first few times and allow an inch of water to collect. Note the time the sprinkler/irrigation was running in order to accumulate the inch of water and then you will know for a certainty how long to let your sprinklers/irrigation system run at each session.
What will happen if I decide not to water my lawn and my area is in a drought?
If we experience drought conditions and you choose not to irrigate, the turf will go dormant to protect the root system of the plant. The grass will green right back up with adequate water following mild to moderate drought conditions. If our area experiences an extended drought, some areas of the turf may be thinned or even completely die off. If this occurs, plan to seed (and water!) in the fall.
Generally, most insecticide applications applied to our lawns are geared toward limiting damage from turf-eating insects like grub worms, army worms, and sod webworms. However, protecting our families and our pets is becoming an ever-greater concern as diseases spread by flea and tick bites are becoming more and more prevalent.
Keeping your property properly maintained and clean will help to minimize flea and tick infestations. Properly EPA labelled and applied host-specific insecticides are also available, both in granular and liquid formulations. Whether you treat the problem yourself or hire a certified applicator to assist in this matter, know and follow the label directions.
Follow-up applications may be necessary. Your licensed lawn care operator can assist you with these services!!
Following a lush and verdant spring green-up, early summer now brings with it certain undesirable conditions that directly affect our turf. For the most part, lawns in our area fall under the category of "cool-season" turf. This includes tall fescue, bluegrass and rye grass varieties. These turf grasses tend to thrive in spring and fall. However, once 80-90 degree temperatures arrive, along with higher humidity levels and the occasional late-evening thunderstorm, our lawns and plantings become susceptible to diseases.
Lawns specifically see such problems as:
- Red thread
- Dollar spot
- Brown patch
- Necrotic ring spot
- Slime molds
- Fairy ring
To minimize disease outbreak, follow these guidelines:
- Mow at a 3"-4" cutting height
- Keep your blade sharp! A dull blade tears the grass and makes the plant more open to disease entry
- If you irrigate, water your lawn in the morning. Evening/nighttime watering keeps the leaf surface wet and more prone to the spread of disease during the active overnight hours.
- Consider a fungicide application. While the product can be costly and the control limited, it is an option and may be especially recommended for newer stands of turf that can suffer permanent damage from disease.
In most cases, the brown spots disease can cause are more of a visual nuisance that the lawn will grow out of as weather patterns change.
Have you had your pre-emergent lawn application and now think you can't seed until fall? Well, large seeding projects definitely need to wait until then, but small bare areas can be filled in with just a little work even after your pre-emergent has been applied.
Follow these instructions:
- After your 1st application of the year wait at least 7 to 10 days before doing any renovation of the lawn or seeding.
- Rake through those bare spots and turn over the dirt to break up the pre-emergent compounds. A garden weasel gardening tool works great for this!
- You can add some top soil to the bare spot to help enrich the soil, but not always required
- Add your seed, preferably turf-type tall fescue, to the top soil/bare spots
- Water your new seed each day until germination
- Baby your new seed throughout the summer with frequent watering, as it's root system is still quite shallow.
Remember, pre-emergent is critical to help control crabgrass, but it will also kill any seed that is applied without preparing the soil with the steps listed above. Be sure to always advise your lawn care company about any seeding you plan to do so your applications can be adjusted accordingly!
Springtime is here and time for a little yard work to be done. Here are some suggestions to help get your lawn ready for the growing season:
Spend some time removing leaves, tree limbs and other debris out of your lawn. Leaving these items to sit on the lawn can cause major problems with the turf later in the year.
If you have matted grass and/or dead crabgrass or weeds in your lawn, rake these areas well. Leaving the last year's dead crabgrass in place will only encourage new crabgrass later this summer.
Have your lawn mower serviced and the blade sharpened. Mowing of turf is generally best done at 3" (usually about 1-notch down from your highest mower setting). Taller grass will build a stronger root systems and help protect your lawn during heat stress periods. Be sure your mower is set on the mulching setting – do not bag the grass. Those grass clippings provide vital nutrients to your lawn.
Enjoy your time outdoors and our beautiful spring season!