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Len S.

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Len S. last won the day on July 17 2012

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  1. I've been aerating in either late spring or early fall for many years with no difference in lawn appearance. Penetration is improved if the soil is moist (not very wet or too dry). Avoid the hot summer months when our cool season grasses are struggling with higher soil temperatures. No point in making the soil even warmer by poking holes in it and allowing moisture to escape more readily. Lawn aeration is the best way to keep excess thatch from developing, and restoring the channels that let air, water, and nutrients through to the grass roots. Leave the cores on the lawn even though it looks like a flock of geese have visited. After a few weeks cores will disappear. Aerating can not be overdone. It's absolutely one of the best things you can do to promote a healthy lawn.
  2. Unfortunately there is no magic elixir in Michigan for getting rid of quack grass that doesn't also kill other plants as well. To compound the problem, it's pesky rhizomes that develop after a couple of months make it even more difficult to eradicate. So what to do? Immature plants can be removed by simply pulling them out since they have not yet developed rhizomes. Once they get beyond that stage then the herbicide glyphosate found in Round Up and other products is needed. In a lawn, it's going to kill grass plants as well. However, if you mow then wait three or four days the quack grass which grows faster will stand out. Paint those plants with the herbicide and after several applications they should be gone without losing the lawn. This is tedious, but quack grass is adaptable and strong so it must be attacked repeatedly. As a last resort, apply nitrogen fertilizer to infested areas to "wake up" dormant rhizomes and allow them to be destroyed by the glyphosate when you next apply it. Don't try to rototill the area and reseed. It will be impossible to remove the quack grass rhizomes which will be in little pieces, each piece now the origin of a new quack grass plant. Good Luck!
  3. Len S.

    Nutsedge in lawn

    Trey Rogers, MSU professor of crop and soil sciences, in his book "Lawn Geek" suggests using halosulfuron sold as Sedgehammer as a control for nutsedge. It is available from internet sources. If you decide to try it, please post the results. Fortunately, I've never had to deal with nutsedge in my lawn. But it has been a problem in landscape beds when new soil was added.
  4. Len S.

    Overseeding a lawn

    In addition to reseeding, I would suggest that you try to determine why the lawn needs to be reseeded. My front lawn is 25 years old and has never been reseeded. Getting your soil tested by MSU would be a good first step. With that info, a fertilizer ratio of N-P-K can be determined. Maintenance practices like mowing at three inches, leaving clippings on the lawn, watering in 1/4 inch increments every other day when needed in the summer (total 1 inch/week), and core areation in the spring or fall will go a long way towards a healthy turf.
  5. Len S.


    The MSU turfgrass science link above contains an excellent compilation of grub control information. The only thing I would add is that if you follow the curative approach with Dylox or Sevin, it not only kills the grubs, it kills earthworms too. I've used the preventative approach for years with very good results. I do it every year. Grubs don't respect property lines, so you have to protect your lawn annually from invasion.
  6. The most effective herbicide a homeowner can use on creeping charlie now (just prior to and during flowering) contain the active ingredient triclopyr. Ortho Weed-B-Gon with a purple label can be found in most garden centers. When combined withe the active ingredient quinclorac it's even more effective. Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn and Weed Grass Killer has quinclorac. These products are safe for pets when used as directed. It's very important not to use higher concentrations. Most likely you will not completely eradicate this pesky weed with one try this spring. Go at it again in early fall (mid to late September) when it starts actively growing again and absorbs herbicides more readily. Repeat the application in two weeks. Next spring should show significant results. Thick and extensive growth can be tackled with a detaching rake. This will result in a loss of grass plants and require reseeding. I'm prejudiced against lawn care companies. They promote visits whether really needed or not and are way more expensive for many of the same treatments you can do yourself. Also they have a "one size fits all" approach to lawn care which does not necessarily fit your situation. The fertilizer recommendations are a good example. How can they recommend a fertilizer ratio without getting your soil test data? Fertilizer application rates are determined by the nitrogen component. No more than 1# of N per 1000 sq. ft. should be applied at any one time. In spring slow release organic fertilizers are best and should be applied at the end of May. Think Memorial Day. They will release N throughout the summer. The next time to fertilize will be early September. Applying N every 8 weeks as they recommend will eventually stimulate more growth than the soil bacteria can process resulting in a buildup of thatch.
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