It’s that time of year again. Time to discuss your lawn and what this year could bring.
Many things happen to a lawn over the winter. Grass growth slows down as temperatures drop, the result of this is dormancy. The green blades turn brown and possibly die. The moisture from snow and ice can cause mold or disease. So what do you do at the end of winter to prepare your lawn for spring?
Pre-spring lawn maintenance will help your lawn as it comes out of dormancy.
- Cleaning the leaf litter, fallen twigs, and other lawn debris is a good start.
- Raking your lawn to dethatch will allow the matted grass to dry faster.
- Applying a pre-emergent will help any weed seeds in the soil from germinating in the upcoming season.
- If any part of your lawn experienced an unfortunate death over the winter, this is the time to reseed the thin or bare spots. This will also help to keep weeds from taking over the bare spots and possibly spreading throughout your lawn.
- Allow your grass to green up and grow some before mowing. Keeping your lawn at 3-3.5” in height will help choke out weeds and keep the soil cool for the grass roots.
- Fertilizing and watering go hand in hand. Fertilizer gives your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive and water keeps the roots hydrated.
Now that pre-spring maintenance is done, what’s next? Maintaining your lawn is a year-round chore. Mow. Fertilize. Water. Repeat. Sounds like instructions on a shampoo bottle. But there is still much more to be done in between to keep your lawn healthy and thriving.
Weeds and insects will most likely find their way into your lawn and wreak havoc on it. Weed seeds can fly in off the wind from miles away and you may not know it until it’s too late. As weeds pop up, it’s important to kill them with an herbicide treatment. Do not pull them! This will only weaken the area and allow more weeds to take its place. Routine herbicide treatments are recommended. This will help reduce and kill weeds before they take over your lawn.
Insects can also fly in off the wind but most are already living it up in your yard. There are many insects (both beneficial and harmful) that invade your property. Spiders, ants, earthworms, fall army worms, grub worms, and beetles just to name a few. Most lawn insects live beneath the soil. Laying eggs, eating the roots of your grass, creating tunnels, or hiding out where it’s safe from predators. Some benefits to underground insects, is they help aerate the soil as they move around. This loosens the soil so your lawn can absorb water and breathe easier. This will help in the summer months when things heat up.
Summertime in Texas can be brutal. The high temperatures and humidity can take a toll on anyone or anything. This includes your lawn.
Lawns can become stressed out when the weather gets too hot and drought conditions exist. Grass can go into a summer dormancy to slow down its growth. It’s still important to continue lawn maintenance during these times. If possible, water your lawn to keep the roots moist. Keep grass height higher. 3-3.5” is ideal. This will keep the ground shaded which helps the roots to stay cool and moist longer. Keep fertilizing. This will feed your lawn the nutrients it needs to survive. Summer dormancy periods can weaken the lawn so continue herbicide treatments to keep weeds from taking over.
Grub worms and fall army worms are lawn killers, if left untreated. They can devour a lawn in days. A grub worm is the larva of the May beetle/June bug. Eggs hatch under the soil mid-summer and the larvae eat on the roots of your grass. In a matter of days brown patches will appear in your lawn where they have eaten and killed the area. A grub worm treatment in July or August will help save your lawn until fall arrives and the fall army worms make their debut.
In early fall as temperatures begin to be tolerable again, fall army worms begin emerging from the soil to feast on the blades of your grass. Most active in evening and early morning hours, these destructive worms can destroy your lawn in days if the infestation is large enough. Early detection and treatment can have your lawn bouncing back in no time. If left untreated, reseeding may be necessary.
Like grub worm damage, your lawn will show visible signs of damage. Flattened areas of grass and brown patches or yellow stripes are the most common signs. These signs resemble a drought or heat stressed lawn.
It’s recommended to treat fall army worms at first sight. Check the lawn regularly for insects, grub worms, and all types of army worms. Timing the treatment is essential, especially for lawn damaging insects and pests.
Now you’ve made it through the lawn season. Time to plan for winter. Your final mow of the year should be right before temperatures drop and the first frost arrives. A pre-emergent should be applied in October for winter and spring weed seeds. This will help weed seeds from germinating. Drop down your watering schedule to once a week or once every other week. Let your lawn go into its winter dormancy.
Keeping your lawn’s maintenance on a 6-week schedule will help your lawn grow healthy and green and thrive all year long.
Here at Safe Earth Pest Control, we have a lawn weed and feed program to fit all your lawn and pest control needs. Contact us today. 214-321-2847