Labor Day is here. Let’s get out there and put a little bit of labor into our lawns. The summer heatwave has kept us sadly looking at our stressed-out lawns from the inside out. I know, it has been too darn hot to think about doing much in the yard, except for sitting under the shade of a tree with a cool drink in your hand. I myself have felt much less productive but I promise the cooler weather is on its way. Don’t delay.

September is the ideal month to care for and improve your lawn. You think you struggled in the heat and humidity!? Your poor lawn has taken a beating. It has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. There is so much you can do to help your lawn right now. Take a break from the AC and get out there.

Of course, I am always going to push you to throw a little grass seed at your lawn. There is nothing better than filling in thin or bare spots or starting fresh with new grass seed. A thick lawn is the best defense against weeds and crabgrass. If you are just not up to seeding this fall, at least put down some fertilizer. Give your lawn a good organic fertilizer like Espoma’s Summer Revitalizer or Milorganite. I also love Greenview’s Lawn Food. Apply either of these in the Month of September. You will see a big improvement. Note: You are not off the hook after this application. A Fall application should follow sometime in October/November.

Back to seeding. September is a beyond-perfect month to seed. The nights are getting cooler but the soil temperatures are so warm for quick germination. You do not need to water as often and weed competition is not as big of a deal. You could start small and do some simple patch seeding or take it to the next level and over-seed your entire lawn. Whatever your fancy, I encourage you to do a little seeding.

If seeding is going to be your focus, let’s get going. Get your supplies: Van Wilgen’s Grass Seed, Starter Fertilizer, Chopped Straw, and do not put away those sprinklers. If you want to rent a core aerator and aerate your lawn before seeding, I will go to sleep with a big smile on my face. You should core aerate your lawn every two years. It is the best at relieving compaction, letting water and oxygen flow through, and giving you a healthy lawn. If used right before over-seeding, your results will be so much better.

Time to do a little labor on your lawn. Your lawn is calling you outside.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


*Espoma’s Organic Summer Revitalizer (the yellow bag)


Just as you need the energy to get through your day, your plants do too. And of course, when it comes to family-friendly gardening, organic fertilizer is the way to go!

What is Organic Fertilizer?

Organic fertilizers contain only ingredients from plant, animal, or mineral sources. Examples of these kinds of ingredients are bone meal, kelp meal, and greensand.

Why Use Organic Fertilizers?

While it is true that all fertilizers ultimately feed nutrients to plants in the same form, it is the process by which they are delivered that makes organic fertilizers superior to others.

Three ways to think about organic fertilizers:

1. Gardening always starts with the soil. Organic fertilizer “feeds the soil that feeds the plants”. The process by which organic fertilizers deliver their nutrients enhances the fertility and structure of the soil.

Organic fertilizers are digested by soil microorganisms, which then release the nutrients in a form available to plants. This process produces humus, a spongy material that improves soil structure. When you improve soil structure, the soil is better able to hold the proper balance of water, air, and nutrients until they are required by plants.

Plants respond by developing larger root systems. Larger roots support more vigorous top growth and make plants less susceptible to drought. And by stimulating a healthy population of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, plants become more resistant to insects and diseases.

2. Organic fertilizers will provide slow, steady feeding, as the plants require it. The release process is slow and largely dependent upon three factors: the microbial population in the soil, moisture, and soil temperature.

A healthy population of microbes in the soil is necessary for the digestion process. Moisture is required to sustain microbial life as well as to keep nutrients flowing into the plant’s root zone. And soil temperature is critical because as it rises, plants require nutrients more rapidly.

Fortunately, microbial activity mimics these requirements and increases as soil temperature rises, so that organic fertilizers feed the needed nutrients as the plants require them.

3. Most of the time, the gardener isn’t the only one in the garden. Organic fertilizers are the safest choice for your plants and the environment. Unlike synthetic plant foods, organic fertilizers have an extremely low salt index, which means there is little to no risk of burning (dehydrating) plants in periods of extreme drought or when over-applying.

Organic fertilizers are generally very resistant to leaching out of the soil, so their nutrients stay in the root zone until the plants need them. And since most organic ingredients are byproducts from commercial farms and meat processing plants, the utilization of them for feeding plants is really a system of recycling much like composting.

So, when the debate of whether you should fertilize your plants pops in your head remember: organic fertilizer is the right choice for you and your family. Check out our fertilizers here.

Show your lawns some love this spring. Not only did trees & shrubs suffer from this snowy & windy winter, but our lawns also struggled quite a bit too. Snowplows scraped up edges of lawns along roads and driveways. Snow shovels scuffed up the lawns alongside walkways. Heavy, wet snow sat on our lawns causing bare patches and diseased areas. Salt dropped for melting ice burned out many lawn edges. Don’t forget about damaging tree limbs and branches fallen all over the ground. Now doesn’t all that make you want to show your lawn some love?!

The snow has melted (I hope). First things first…

  1. CLEAN SLATE: Take a good heavy-duty rake, get outside, get some exercise and clean up all the winter debris on your lawn. If some of the grass tears up easily, that is okay. It means it was not going to make it through the year anyway.
  2. SOIL TEST: Go to the CT Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven to get an initial reading of your soil. Knowing the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and pH levels of your lawn will get you off to a great start. Bring your tests to me at the Van Wilgen’s Solution Center!
  3. GYPSUM: If salt damage from the winter storms has affected your lawn health, apply Gypsum. This is a wonderful, underused product that greatly reduces saline in your soil, improves soil conditions, and loosens compact soil.
  4. FAST-ACTING LIME: If you got a soil test and checked your pH, we will know exactly how much lime you need to apply. If you just want to wing it, that’s okay because we always need at least a maintenance rate of lime every year to help our acidic CT soil.
  5. MOSS OUT: The absolute best time to get rid of moss is when the temperatures are cooler out. Moss grows most actively when it is chilly out. Eliminate the moss now and seed after.
  6. SEED: Do not leave bare patches on your lawn. If you do, beware! Weeds will take over big time and this is a battle you just don’t want. The best defense against weeds is a thick stand of turf, so seed, seed seed.

The attention you give your lawn now will pay off in spades later so show your lawn some spring lawn love.


*Encap’s Fast Acting Gypsum

*Encap’s Fast Acting Lime

*Lilly Miller’s Moss Out

*Van Wilgen’s Grass Seed

*Starter Fertilizer

*Greenview’s Grass Seed Accelerator or Seed Success

*Mainely Mulch