Daily Archives :

November 8, 2010

soil test

Work on the Down Low to Improve What’s on Top

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Horticulturists agree that time spent improving what is happening below the surface of a lawn greatly reduces the time needed to maintain what is on top of it.  The ideal soil for grass meets five requirements: 1) it is slightly acidic; 2) it contains an adequate supply of nutrients; 3) it allows for deep root growth; 4) it supports a thriving population of beneficial microbes, and 5) it retains adequate…

Planting a new lawn—step-by-step

How Much Seed to Use When Overseeding

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Seed Type Pounds* per 1,000-square feet Bluegrass 1 to 2 Tall fescue 4 Perennial ryegrass 4 Fine fescue 2 2 *Note: some experts recommend exceeding these amounts.

Applying Lime

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For acidic soils, use pelletized lime to minimize dust and ensure uniformity.  You can mix finely ground limestone with a water-soluble binder to form pellets.  Use a drop spreader to apply pelletized lime.  You can also apply with a rotary-type spreader.

What to Wear For Pest & Weed Control

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Whether you’re using insecticides and herbicides derived from botanical, biological, or synthetic materials, take all basic precautions, including the use of goggles, disposable dust masks (for pesticide dusts), and tight-fitting respirators when using liquid sprays.  Use National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators containing activated charcoal cartridges that filter pesticide vapors from the air. Read all product labels thoroughly, and apply the products with great care.  Completely…

Setting the Right Mowing Height

Setting the Right Mowing Height

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There are several reasons not to cut your grass too short. Grass grows from the crown, not the blade tips, a trait that makes grass ideal for lawns.  Grass keeps growing despite regularly cutting off the upper stem, leaf sheath, and blades. Keeping grass longer allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis,  which in turn results in healthier plants.  In addition, taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. …

Rules for Smart Mowing

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Cut no more than one-third the height of the grass in any single mowing.  By setting cutting heights correctly, you can greatly reduce weed growth and mowing frequency. Do: Mow only when the grass is dry. Mow with a sharp blade.  Re-sharpen after every 10 hours of mowing.  Bring the blade to a professional sharpening service once a year.  Replace the blade as necessary. Change mowing patterns frequently to prevent…

Thatching rake

Prevent Thatch Buildup

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The best way to control thatch is to avoid a buildup.  Here are some maintenance practices that will help: At regular intervals, cut grass to the recommended height for your turf.  This will help avoid depositing too many clippings on the lawn at one time. Fertilize only in the fall to reduce excessive growth.  Promote microbial life by maintaining a proper soil pH. Aerate your lawn once a year.  If…

Mower timesavers

Mower Timesavers

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It is easier to adjust the cutting blade height if you get the weight off the wheels by supporting one side of the mower at a time on a wood block. Cooking spray on the underside of the deck will make your new mower’s deck easier to clean. If you use your mower infrequently, or are storing away for the off-season, then fill the tank with fuel treated with a…

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle

Managing Lawn Pests

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Insect problems, like diseases, develop when conditions are favorable to them.  As the weather warms up in spring, insect populations and activity increase.  Your best line of defense against these pests is to provide optimal growing conditions for your lawn.  A thick, healthy turf is not attractive to pests as either habitat or food, and is better able to survive any foraging of insects.

Ratios for Smarter Fertilizing

Ratios for Smarter Fertilizing

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Fertilizer ratios and grades tell consumers how many pounds of nutrients are contained in 100 pounds of fertilizer and indicate the relative amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). To figure out home much fertilizer (or any other soil amendments) to buy, divide your lawn into simple geometric shapes, and then calculate the areas of the shapes using simple formulas. Formulas for Calculating Areas Rectangle or Square: Side…