Hey all, just want to jump up on my soapbox a minute. Fall is coming, most are eager to get lawns re-established, over seeded, or just plain fed. This is great, especially since the “organic” industry is actually realizing that a healthy lawn produces great riparian assets, as well as absorbs harmful things a-floatin’ around the air we breathe. But lets get a handle on some things. If you aren’t hungry, do you eat? If you are hungry, do you decide when and what to eat? And if you have a crazy craving for something, do you seek it out? OK, our lawns can’t just up and go to the store when it’s hungry, or turn on the spigot when it’s thirsty. So lets get some “Lawn Menu” of sorts in order, so I can eat my seafood in peace.
Lawns in Va. do best when they are actually hungry. You feed, they respond, and make us the envy of the neighborhood. But just how important is the extra “overage” of fertilizer? Lawns are getting ready to wake up again here in a couple of weeks. We have lost over an hour daylight so far, and by mid September, we will be minus two. Temps will still be warm in the day, but not as much direct sunlight, and the angle will be severely changed. Night time temps will be sometimes 20 degrees less than daytime. Your grass is hungry. So what have we done to prepare the “menu” for our beloved lawn?
The previous post we mentioned lime… Here in central Va. you more than likely have acidic soil, yeah I know, there are a few random pockets throughout the state that are alkaline, so there is the importance of getting your soil tested. But either way, rain is acidic, and we have had our share of toad chokers this Summer. Getting your soil pH close to neutral will help your lawn feed the nutrients it mostly deserves. A lot of folks think lime greens up a lawn. No, it doesn’t. There is always trace nutrients locked up in the soil, and when the pH is out of wack, the lawn does not feed. Apply some lime, and wow, greens up pretty good, especially if you have been recycling your clippings, full of Nitrogen. So, we can create a menu option for our lawn to get it ready for the next 3 months of feeding, and it will take everything we throw at it.
Now for the Bay part. If your pH is out of wack, and the media is telling you to feed, feed, feed, and, then feed some more, and you have not set the table (correct pH ), then you are killing my beloved crabs. It’s not the cows…. It’s us. There are several websites you can go to that monitor the NPK loads in streams, rivers, and our Bay. You should see the numbers climb in the fall, it’s astounding, but I guess cows only poop in the fall. Yeah, like its their fault. We can clean our watershed drastically, by just realizing how a lawn grows. Tall Fescue, cool season grass right? So, we would feed in the cool season. Bermuda’s and Zoysia, warm season grass, so feed in the warm months before it goes dormant for Winter. Wow, what was that? If I want Bermuda, I would feed in the Summer? Wait, If I want Tall fescue, feed in the Fall………. Wait, something’s ticking in the old bean here… If I feed my Fescue lawn in, I dunno, say July, when the Summer feed with the bug killer in it comes out, then, I might just promote that dreaded creeping brown in the Winter Bermuda in my TF lawn. Yeah, but they make that stuff to kill out the Bermuda, right? No, never look at the label, you know, the part that says you can’t apply if the temp will reach 85 degrees…. What the heck? Yeah, now there goes my oysters…
Come on. Ask any Extension Agent in your area. Do what they say, forget the guy next door. Soil prep, oxygen, watering properly, feeding at the right time, pH corrections, sharp mower blades, and patience… Nice green lawn. There, I said it. Feel much better now. Preaching this is sometimes hard, but I have a lot of Karma to burn off. Ma Nature is talking to us, and not everyone is listening.
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