March 28, 2012
This past week has been an interesting week. Record high temperatures then back to normal temperatures and possibly a frost thrown in for good measure. This is the type of week where the phrase” If you don’t like New England weather just wait a minute “ is really appropriate.
There have been quite a few lawn questions that came up in the store in the past week. Let me go over the questions and answers.
Many of you who read this column each week know that I have said that you put down your crabgrass control when the forsythia is in bloom. The reason for this is that the crabgrass seeds sprout at about the same soil temperature that makes the forsythia bushes go by flower. As many of you know, the forsythia bushes burst into bloom in a very short period of time. This got quite a few people panicky because they thought they had run out of time to apply the product. If you look at the thermometer on those days the temperature reached the upper 70’s and low 80’s. The air temperature was enough to cause the forsythia to open their flowers. Fast-forward to this week and the temperatures are cool, if not cold. These temperatures will cause the forsythia flowers to last a long time. Since there is always a catch in life, we have relatively dry soil conditions. If the forsythia needs to take up water to make the flowers last, the flowers may drop prematurely. Totally confused? Just think how the plants feel in this kind of weather! The ultimate answer is that if you have the lawn raked up, you can and should be applying the crabgrass control. Do you have more time to do this application of crabgrass control? With the arrival of cool weather it would appear that you have more time. The extended forecast is for normal temperatures this week and into the weekend. This should allow you to get the product down on your lawn.
The next question is about moss on the lawn. Many of you will look at your lawn and see moss growing in the lawn. Many of you have never had moss in your lawn. Why now, you may ask. Moss need two out of three conditions to grow. Moist soil, acid soil and shade. The moist soil usually refers to lawns that have clay type of soil that drains poorly. If you think back to this winter, we had enough cool weather and enough rain or light snow to keep the soil surface relatively wet for most of the winter. This makes for almost perfect growing conditions for moss to grow. If your lawn had acid soil and there was some shade, the moss had all winter to grow under the best of conditions.
Most people want to rake out the moss and re-seed the area. Yes you can rake out the moss, but it will come right back. You need to apply a moss killer to those areas. Once the moss is dead, you can rake it out and it should not come back if the conditions don’t remain favorable for moss growth. This means you should apply lime to the soil to prevent acid soil and you may want to amend the soil to increase the drainage. Once you make it hard for the moss to grow, you should be able to get the grass to grow again.
Putting down grass seed was another question of the week. Even though the air temperatures were warm, the soil temperatures were not warm enough for grass seed to sprout. Once you see the grass actively growing, you can put down your grass seed.
The final question of the week concerned the application of grub control. People asked if it was too early to apply the grub control. The grubs are feeding as evidenced by the skunks digging up lawns to feed on the grubs. So the answer to the question is, yes you should be putting down your grub control now.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.