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Time to fertilize cool-season turfgrass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

September is almost here and that means it is prime time for to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release. (We will talk about slow release in a later article.)

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

So total you only want to use up to 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet over September, October and November.

Here are some different ways you can apply the quick release nitrogen source;

Method 1 (Totaling 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • October – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Method 2 (Totaling 3 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1.5 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1.5 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Method 3 (Totaling 2 lbs of actually nitrogen per 1,000 square feet)

  • September – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet
  • November – 1 lbs of actual N/1,000 square feet

Click here for the Kansas Lawn Fertilizing Guide – https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=10639

Always make sure your pride your fertilizer evenly!!!!  You don’t want this to happen.

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar Reminders!

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Earlier this year I wrote two blog posts that listed out both a cool- and warm-season lawn calendar for homeowners.  If you are anything like me then I have already forgot what I was suppose to do so sometimes it is good to have a reminder.

Cool-season Lawn Calendar Reminder 

June through Mid-July
Apply second round of crabgrass preventer by June 15 – unless you have used Dimension (dithiopyr) or Barricade (prodiamine) for the April application. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in. If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid during the first half of July. This works to prevent grub damage. It must be watered in before it becomes active.

Warm-season Lawn Calendar Reminder

May – August 15
Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Follow the recommendations on the bag. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and may lead to thatch buildup with zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass can also have problems with thatch buildup but thatch is less likely with Bermuda than zoysia. Bermudagrass – Use two to four applications. Zoysiagrass – Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.

One Application: Apply in June.
Two Applications: Apply May and July.
Three Applications: Apply May, June, and early August.
Four Applications: Apply May, June, July, and early August.

Remember to look and see if you are using a quick release nitrogen source or a slow release nitrogen source.  If you use a quick release source then it is immediately available but only lasts a couple weeks.  Thats why you would have to make a couple of applications like it is listed above.  If you are going to use a slow release source it will tell you on the bag how long the product will last.  Therefore, you might not have to make as many applications.

So generally you want to use a total of 2 to 4lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for bermudagrass and 1 to 2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for zoysiagrass.

Buffalograss – Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during June. More applications will give a deeper green color. If it is felt that a second application is needed, apply in July. Do not exceed more than 2 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per YEAR for a home lawn.

June
If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active.

June is also a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.

For the full Do-It-yourself Lawn Calendars click the links below

Warm-Season – http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/homeowner-do-it-yourself-lawn-calendar-for-warm-season-grass/ 

Cool-Season – http://blogs.k-state.edu/turf/homeowner-do-it-yourself-lawn-calendar-for-cool-season-grasses/

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Warm-Season Grass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last week I got a lot of good feed back on the Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses so I decided that it would be good to go ahead and get the warm-season lawn calendar out there for everyone that is manageing zoysiagrass, bermudagrass or buffalograss.

The following is a lawn calendar for zoysiagrass and bermudagrass. Buffalograss, also a warm-season grass, but we will cover that separate because the management of buffalograss is a little different then zoysiagrass and bermudagrass.

Zoysiagrass and Bermduagrass Lawn Calendar

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

April
Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. This year we are getting a little warmer sooner but remember this cold snap that we just had would have killed any crabgrass if it had germinated. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier. Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will start to work.

May – August 15
Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Follow the recommendations on the bag. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and may lead to thatch buildup with zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass can also have problems with thatch buildup but thatch is less likely with Bermuda than zoysia. Bermudagrass – Use two to four applications. Zoysiagrass – Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.

One Application: Apply in June.
Two Applications: Apply May and July.
Three Applications: Apply May, June, and early August.
Four Applications: Apply May, June, July, and early August.

Remember to look and see if you are using a quick release nitrogen source or a slow release nitrogen source.  If you use a quick release source then it is immediately available but only lasts a couple weeks.  Thats why you would have to make a couple of applications like it is listed above.  If you are going to use a slow release source it will tell you on the bag how long the product will last.  Therefore, you might not have to make as many applications.

So generally you want to use a total of 2 to 4lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for bermudagrass and 1 to 2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for zoysiagrass.

June
If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active. June is a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.


Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If Imidacloprid has been applied, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October
Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.

 

Buffalograss Lawn Calendar

Buffalograss has become more popular in recent years due to its reputation as a low-maintenance grass. Buffalograss does require less water and fertilizer than our other turfgrasses but often has problems competing with weeds in eastern Kansas. Remember, buffalograss is a low-maintenance lawn and not a “No”-maintenance lawn.

Buffalograss is an open growing grass that will not shade the soil as well as most of our other turfgrasses. Weeds are often the result. A regular mowing schedule can reduce broadleaf weed problems as most broadleaves cannot survive consistent mowing. Those that do either have a rosette growing pattern (dandelions, shepherds purse) or are “creepers” (henbit, chickweed, spurge). Annual grasses such as crabgrass or foxtail can also be a problem. A good weed preventer (prodiamine, pendimethalin or dithiopyr) may be needed prevent problems.


March

Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. The most important treatment for broadleaf weeds should be in late October to early November well after the buffalograss is dormant. Treatments are much more effective then than in the spring as the weeds are smaller and the weeds are sending energy, as well as the herbicide, to the roots. Treatments in March are to take care of any “escapes” missed in the fall spraying. Spray early enough in March that the buffalograss is still dormant. Look at the base of the plants to make sure there is no green. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.  Use a combination product such as Trimec, Weed-B-Gon or Weed-Out. Weed Free Zone is also good and will give quicker results under cool conditions.

April

Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier.  Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will work. Avoid using broadleaf herbicides as the buffalograss is greening up as injury can result. The buffalograss will not be killed but growth will slow making the buffalograss less competitive with weeds.

June

Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during June. More applications will give a deeper green color, but can encourage weeds. If it is felt that a second application is needed, apply in July.

If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active. Again, I would only treat if grubs have been a problem in the past. Note that the whole area may not need to be treated. The beetles that lay the eggs for the grubs are attracted to lights and moist soil and those areas are most likely to be infested.

Late-July through August

If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If imidacloprid has been applied or if grubs have not been a problem in the past, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October to Early November

Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Look carefully as our winter annuals such as chickweed and henbit are small and easily overlooked. Use a product that contains 2,4-D as it increases effectiveness on dandelions. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.

It is as simple as that!  Enjoy!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Don’t get left behind with your fall lawn care!

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

All summer we have been trying to keep our cool-season turfgrass alive.  Now is the time if we had some die because of heat or drought to build a healthy turfgrass for the winter and next years hot summer.  There are many things to talk about so we will list them below.

IMG_0551

First all – FERTILITY.  I talked about this awhile ago in a previous blog post so I will just list that link and you can go back and ready it.

It’s Finally September – That Means Football and Fescue

Next – SEEDING. This is from Ward Upham’s (KSU Research and Extension) last news letter but wanted to make sure it was put in the fall lawn care blog.  He really explains the seeding process and information pertaining to seeding in this article.

“September is the best month to reseed cool-season lawns such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. However, you can get by with an early to mid-October planting for tall fescue. October 15 is generally considered the last day for safely planting or overseeding a tall fescue lawn in the fall. If you do attempt a late seeding, take special care not to allow plants to dry out. Anything that slows growth will make it less likely that plants will mature enough to survive the winter.
Seedings done after the cut-off date can be successful, but the success rate goes down the later the planting date. Late plantings that fail are usually not killed by cold temperatures but rather desiccation. The freezing and thawing of soils heave poorly rooted grass plants out of the ground, which then dry and die. Keeping plants watered will help maximize root growth before freezing weather arrives. (Ward Upham)”

img_0662

So what I am getting out of Ward’s article is that you are going to have a better success for seeding if you do it now and not wait until later.

There is lots more information in the Tall Fescue publication from the KSRE bookstore.

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=1460

Also, if you want to know what varieties work well in Kansas.  Check out the Tall Fescue Varieties for Kansas Publication. (New NTEP data has not be used to update the varieties.  – Coming soon!)

http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=545&pubId=19180

This will get everyone started.  There is lots more information out there about cool season turfgrass management at the KSU Turfgrass Website.  Check it out at  http://www.k-state.edu/turf/

 

 

 

 

It’s Finally September – That Means Football and Fescue

(By Ward Upham and Jared Hoyle, KSU Research and Extension)

IMG_0759

September is almost here and that means it is prime time for football and to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release.

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

IMG_0186

Spring Time Turf Tips for Homeowners

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

IMG_0586What a crazy Spring… It has been nice and mild with plenty of rainfall here in Manhattan.  But as soon as we start to complain about the rainfall we need to make sure that we are sticking to the basics when it comes to taking care of our home lawn.  In the recent Horticulture Newsletter, Ward Upham, talks about some of the issues that homeowners are facing with the cool and mild Spring including; how often to water the lawn, too wet to mow, Thatch control in warm season turfgrass, fertilizing warm season turfgrass, and more…

Check it out!

http://www.hfrr.ksu.edu/doc4307.ashx

 

It’s not too early to start your home lawn management plan!

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

DSCN0563“Spring is just right around the corner!”  Yeah, right… I think immediately right after I typed that a winter weather advisory went into effect for Manhattan.  It seems like spring will never make it but don’t let it catch you off guard.  Right now is a good time to start planning your lawn calendar for the year.

In one of the latest Horticulture Newsletters, KSU Horticulture Extension Associate, Ward Upham, outlined a calendar for cool-season grasses.  This is a good outline that you can modify to fit your home lawn.

Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses
The following suggestions are for cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue. Zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, and buffalograss are warm-season grasses and require a different maintenance regime.

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

DSCN0010April
Apply crabgrass preventer when redbud trees are in full bloom, usually in April. The preventer needs to be watered in before it will start to work. One-quarter inch of water will be enough to water in any of the products mentioned in this calendar.  Remember that a good, thick lawn is the best weed prevention and may be all that is needed.

May
Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer if you water your lawn or if you receive enough rainfall that your turf normally doesn’t go drought-dormant during the summer. If there are broadleaf weeds, spot treat with a spray or use a fertilizer that includes a weed killer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness of the weed killer, but the fertilizer needs to be watered in. If you are using a product that has both fertilizer and weed killer, wait 24 hours after application before watering in.

June through Mid-July
Apply second round of crabgrass preventer by June 15 – unless you have used Dimension (dithiopyr) or Barricade (prodiamine) for the April application. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in. If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid during the first half of July. This works to prevent grub damage. It must be watered in before it becomes active.

IMG_0563Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer that contains Dylox. Imidacloprid is effective against young grubs and may not be effective on late instar grubs. The grub killer containing Dylox must be watered in within 24 hours or effectiveness drops.

September
Fertilize around Labor Day. This is the most important fertilization of the year. Water in the fertilizer.

November
Fertilize. This fertilizer is taken up by the roots but is not used until the following spring. Water in fertilizer. Spray for broadleaf weeds even if they are small. Broadleaf weeds are much easier to control in the fall than in the spring. Spray on a day that is at least 50 degrees. Rain or irrigate within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use label rates for all products!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf