It’s June, and your gloriously green, spring lawn, may not be looking quite as vibrant right now. So let’s do something about it! It’s time to give your lawn a little boost. As the weather turns hot, the cool-season grasses in our lawns start to suffer and could use a little of your help to look and feel better. When working on your lawn, just a few things to keep in mind:
• Small patch seeding only! Don’t take on big seeding projects this time of the year. If you do, you’ll have to water so much you won’t have time to enjoy your super green lawn. Only do small, manageable, bare patches of seeding.
• Keep the lawn mowed as high as you can tolerate. Never let that mower dip below 3 inches. The higher the lawn is, the less chance of burnout in the summer heat.
• You are either all in or all out. Meaning if you’re going to water in the summer months, commit to it. No piddly amounts of water will do. If you are only going to give your lawn shot glasses full of water, then do not bother at all. Just let it go dormant and take a little summer rest.
If at least a month has passed, since your last lawn fertilization, it’s time to get out there and do it again. Here’s the good news, there are many choices to fit your lawn’s needs.
• If your lawn is just looking a little tired, not quite as green, and not overrun with weeds, you could stick to fertilizer. Not just any ordinary fertilizer, but one that contains iron. Iron is great when applied in the month of June. It adds strength, vigor, and deep green color to our lawns, making them look better through the hot summer months ahead. Grab yourself a bag of Summer Revitalizer by Espoma or Milorganite.
• If you recently fertilized your lawn within the last four weeks but you still want that nice green color that iron gives you, then you can apply Fast Acting Iron by Earth Sciences. Talk about green!
• If your lawn is crying out for the nice green color iron adds to it, but still has quite a few weeds popping up, then the perfect combination would be one of the above fertilizers with a bottle of liquid weed control. You can choose a synthetic, such as Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra plus Crabgrass and Broadleaf Weed Killer, or a natural, such as Weed Beater Fe. You’ll get a wider range of weed control with this synthetic choice but it is nice to know that a natural choice exists.
• Don’t forget the grub control this month. The new, hungry batch of grubs have not hatched yet but they will be soon and you want to be prepared. It is time to put down Grub Ex. Be sure to water it in or put it down before a rainfall to be most effective. If natural is the way for you, then you can put down Milky Spore to help keep those damaging critters at bay.
• If inevitably, each summer, your lawn is plagued with the summertime disease, now is the time to be proactive and put Bonide‘s Infuse Fungicide down. Be sure to water in and you may even consider a second application in 10 days.
Summer is on its way and this is the time we will want to enjoy our lawns the most. Give them a June boost now for the best summer lawn ahead! Happy Gardening!
The season for seeding is upon us!
If you’re ready to get to overseeding or spot seeding your lawn, the first thing you need to do is your yard clean-up. Use your heavy-duty rake and really go to town raking up the sticks, old weeds, and dead grass.
Your next step will be to decide how much time and effort you want to put into your over-seeding or spot seeding project so you can prep your supplies.
A more in-depth process includes aerating your lawn – a process that pulls dirt plugs out of the soil to alleviate compaction and helps water and oxygen flow through. You can rent an aerator if you don’t own one, or even use a hoe or aerating spike shoes if you’re just doing a small section of lawn.
You may opt not to aerate, but with or without that step you can use a product called Gypsum to continue to alleviate compaction – which is the kiss of death for any lawn. Gypsum is an all-natural, under-used product that helps improve soil conditions.
Another optional step is to put down topsoil. Your existing soil may be good enough, but if you decide to put down a thin layer of topsoil, I recommend a topsoil-to-compost 2 to 1 ratio to add much-needed nutrients that topsoil alone does not have. We offer topsoil in bags for spot seeding or bulk for over-seeding.
Once your topsoil is down, it’s time to choose your seed. It’s important to pick the right seed, which is based on how many hours of sunlight your lawn gets. We have custom-made, small-batch, locally sourced Van Wilgen’s grass seed available that is suited to fit all Connecticut environments. Options range from SeashoreMix seed for those whose lawns get salt spray to seed for deep Under Tree Shade mix.
Lay your seed down in a dense, single layer and at the same time put down a starter fertilizer. Both synthetic and organic starter fertilizer options are available.
Next, put down a cover, such as the weed-free straw we carry called Mainely Mulch or the GreenView product Seeding Success. This will hold the seed in place, hold the moisture in, stop the birds from eating it and help warm up the soil temperatures for quicker germination.
The most important part of the process is regular watering. All of your work will have been for nothing if you do not keep the seed damp daily – no puddles. As a general rule, you’ll want to water for a half-hour a day for 30 days, preferably before lunch. It may be necessary to water twice a day if the weather is particularly hot.
Now is the time to get this project underway. The soil still has a bit of warming up to do, but it’s best to get your over-seeding done before the summer sun comes blazing in and you’ll be on your way to the lawn you’ve spent your winter dreaming of!
The ground is starting to thaw, temperatures have started to rise just a bit, and that means it’s time to get outside and dust off your lawn and gardening tools.
It’s nice enough out now that we’re encouraging everyone to get outside and start your spring clean up. March might seem early, but I promise it isn’t. Getting a head start on clean up is a fantastic way to set yourself up for success in the season to come.
Here are my five top tips for planning ahead for the spring and summer season.
- Start with a clean slate. Get out in the yard and start cutting back plants, cutting out weeds and clearing all the sticks and debris left on the ground by the winter weather and recent wind. All the other prep work in the world will be less effective if you haven’t done the general spring cleaning your yard needs.
- Find out if you’re sweet or sour. One of the best things you can do for your lawn is have the pH tested right away. This can be done easily at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven. The sooner you find out if your soil is sweet or sour, the better, because it will determine your next steps to get a jump on your lawn’s health. Sweet soil has a basic pH while sour soil is acidic. You want to have sweet soil for a great lawn. A sour lawn will shut down and absorb no nutrients, so if you find your pH balance isn’t right, apply fast acting lime all over your lawn as soon as possible. Lime is an all-natural calcium and magnesium source so there are no concerns if you have kids or pets at home.
- Gain control. Moss can be a tricky intruder in your lawn, so if you want to tackle it, start now. This is the perfect time to apply a moss control product, like Moss Max, as moss is actively growing when it’s cold. Take this step now vs. trying to battle moss in the heat of the summer.
- Take on ticks. It was a warm winter, so ticks didn’t retreat into full dormancy, meaning you may already have active ticks in your yard. The sooner you work to combat them, the less problems you’ll have throughout the rest of the year. I recommend a hose-end liquid spray you can apply to the perimeter of your property where the manicured and un-manicured portions of your lawn meet. This treatment will reduce the number of ticks coming into your yard. If you’re looking for great control choices, synthetic or organic, we offer, Bonide Flea Beater Flea & Tick Control and Eco-Smart Mosquito & Tick Control.
- Freshen up. There is nothing like a pop of color to brighten your home after the long, winter months. Once you’ve put in the hard work to get ready for a beautiful spring, grab a pot of cold weather hardy pansies and put them on your front porch as a primer of things to come. Pansies are a great way to reward yourself with something pretty to look at that can handle the temperatures dropping down to as low as 28 degrees.
Trust me, the work will be worth it! Putting in a little time now will save a lot of headache later.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
- For the greenest lawn in the neighborhood, use Milorganite Espoma Summer Revitalizer or Fast Acting Iron. Love them all! All three products can be used even in the heat of summer without burning the lawn. The iron in these products gives amazing, deep green color to our summer lawns. Get your first application down in June to get a head start on the greening process. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell your neighbors about it!
- Small patch seeding only! Don’t take on big seeding projects this time of the year. If you do, you’ll have to water so much you won’t have time to enjoy your super green lawn. Only do small, manageable, bare patches of seeding.
- Keep the lawn mowed as high as you can tolerate. Never let that mower dip below 3 inches. The higher the lawn is, the less chance of burnout in the summer heat.
- You are either all in or all out. Meaning if you’re going to water in the summer months, commit to it. No piddly amounts of water will do. If you are only going to give your lawn shot glasses full of water, then do not bother at all. Just let it go dormant and take a little summer rest.
- Don’t forget those grubs. Consider a Grub Ex application in early July to take care of those new, hungry grubs that’ll try and damage dad’s summer lawn.