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K-State Turfgrass

Tag: kentucky bluegrass

Spring cool-season turfgrass seedings – Why they fail

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

When we talk about cool-season turfgrass seeding timing I always think the fall.  Well all around town I keep seeing more and more people seeding their lawn this spring.  I don’t want to say you are wasting your time because there are a couple reasons that you might need or have to seed in the spring but most success is achieved if seeding cool-season turfgrass in the fall.

There are several reasons Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue lawns are better seeded in the fall than in the spring.

These include:

  • Some of the most serious lawn weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail emerge in the spring. Since they are warm-season weeds, they will compete and often crowd out young, tender cool-season grasses during the heat of summer.
  • The most stressful time of year for cool-season grasses is summer, not winter. Poorly established lawns may die out during the summer due to heat and drought stress.
  • A lawn often gets more use during the summer, leading to increased compaction and traffic stress. Young plants have a hard time surviving the high traffic during the summer.
Weed competition when establishing cool-season from seed in the spring.

If an area needs to be established in the spring, sodding is much more likely to be successful than seeding. Sodding provides stronger, more mature plants that are better able to withstand stress and prevent weed invasion.

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Where did winter go? Or was it even here?  Depending on where you lived in Kansas you could have had a cold winter, warm winter, or a mild winter… But now it is getting warm and quick.  So before we get left behind lets prepare your cool-season turf for the year.

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself 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.

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.

Apply crabgrass preventer (Or maybe even a little bit sooner this year) 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.

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.

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

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.***

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It’s Finally September – That Means Football and Fescue

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


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.