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Lawn Pests & Desease
Number one, a “weed” is any plant growing where you don’t wish it to be. Example: a dandelion can be a great addition to a salad or can make a fantastic wine, BUT growing in your lawn area, those pretty yellow flowers are an amazing producer of pollen, which can cause those with allergies a great deal of discomfort. Clover, another easily found weed in our area, can make your thin/sparse lawn appear greener/fuller. You don’t have to water or mow as often either - BUT its flowers attract bees - so don’t walk thru a clover patch bare foot. Plus, the structure of the plant creates a great environment for an amazing variety of broadleaf weed growth.
Broadleaf weeds are dicot plants. There can be up to 70+ different kinds growing in this area. Soil temp controls which ones are growing (often referred to as spring/summer or fall weeds) and some have multiple cycles throughout the growing season. Some are annual growers (come from seed each year then die off), some bi-annual and some perennial. Many reproduce only through the production of seed, like dandelion; others, through plant parts and flower/seed, such as creeping charlie; and others, just vegetative growth. So, if you thought you were getting your weeds from your neighbor, you really were spreading your creeping charlie with your own lawn mower - with perhaps a little help from your neighbor!
Broadleaf weeds seem to be a simple problem to overcome according to their retail marketing. But keep in mind the general public can only use retail products; and the state of New York is the only state in the country that has not registered products that address seed build up in your soil after multiple years of seed production. If you can greatly reduce the new weed growth from starting in the first place, you greatly reduce the annual “spraying” of those weeds. Lastly, if you choose to use a retail weed/feed product, your wasting both time, money and getting reduced results.
During April and May, that large, course, bunch grass with blades so course you can cut your finger if you slide it along the blade edge, IS NOT CRABGRASS! (some call it quack grass - but that’s the grass blade you may have put to your mouth and made a whistle out of when you were a kid) and is really Course Kentucky Bluegrass, unlike the fine bladed Kentucky Blue we like around here. Look for KB31 on the seed label under “course kinds” BEFORE buying your bag of seed. Bottom line, it spreads by vegetative growth - not seed - and will not be affected by any kind of pre-emergent crabgrass controls.
Unlike when we started over 50 years ago, there are really some great pre and post emergent crabgrass controls in our tool box.
While the wholesale price can be quite high, the applications are extremely effective and do not need to be repeated as frequently as retail products. Remember, if applying yourself, crabgrass products can interfere with your seeding if your timing is off. The retail product label should be checked for both proper timing and number of applications, as well as watering requirements. Timing and weather conditions are critical, if you wish to get acceptable results.
Patches of off color grasses within the lawn are usually Bentgrass or Nimblewill patches that can easily be spread by improper mowing in May thru June or Core Aerating your lawn in either spring or fall - especially fall. Do NOT use round-up or only spot spray the obvious areas - you’ll end up having to re-establish your lawn and then repeat the entire process again possibly within only 3 seasons. Best results would be to use a professional with at least 3 years of local experience in control of these very upsetting grass types.
When our early “warm” spring rains start, this grubbing will start almost “over night!” The rains bring up an invasive critter we call an earthworm (baby earthworms that my Dad use to call “trout worms” - he lived to fish!) - that’s the main food source of “grubbing” that’s occurring. Spring is a poor time for results using retail products that should have been used last fall - save your money. Note: Grub Control products, when directions are followed - will NOT kill earthworms. Also, it is a violation of state guidelines to apply grub control - or any control product - unless there is a clear damaging population present, or the area has a history of such damage.