The lawn care companies have been on the phone and calling all their old customers as well as new ones. Their advertisements are starting to come in the mail and be in all the newspapers. Also the garden centers, hardware stores, and box stores are all stocked up and ready to sell you a 4-step program, a 5-step program or even a 6 step program. Remember that these heavily advertised, 4-step, 5-step, and 6-step programs have been great marketing tools for the garden centers, hardware stores, box stores, lawn care companies and especially the fertilizer manufacturers but are not necessarily good for your lawn and the environment. Whether you do it yourself or have a lawn care service, do not contract for more chemicals and services than you really need. More is not better, and do not put the first step on too early.


           1. Arbor Day:         Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer with slow release fertilizer anytime after April 1st and before May 1st. Close to Arbor Day is the best. The fertilizer is not important if you put a winter fertilizer on last year in late October or in November. The following products do a good  job but the residual is longer is some:

          (a) Team or Pendimethalin is the active ingredient in Scotts, Ace, and many other brands. These products have a residual of about 60 days so a second application is required in early June to control late germinating Crabgrass and to control Spurge and Foxtail that does not germinate until June or early July.

          (b) Earl May, Ferti-lome, and some other brands use Barricade (prodiamine) that has a residual of about 90 days. Dimension (Orscheln and Hi-Yield) also has a residual of about 90 days.

          (c) Bonide now has a product called “Weedbeater Complete” that prevents the germination of Crabgrass seed in the spring and suppresses the germination of the Yellow Nutsedge nutlets. The active ingredients in “Weedbeater Complete” are prodiamine (found in Barricade), and sulfentrazone (found in Dismiss). Sulfentrazone is a pre-emergent that also has some post-emergent qualities. This has been used in agriculture and now is being used on turfgrass. As mentioned above, it will suppress the germination of the Yellow Nutsedge nutlets. Prodiamine is a very good pre-emergent product and has the longest residual (about 90 days) of any turfgrass pre-emergent. This product cost almost the same as the regular Barricade pre-emergent.

          When you put “Weedbeater Complete” on is important!!! Both Crabgrass and Yellow Nut Sedge starts to germinate when the soil temperature is 55 degrees F. for 4 or 5 consecutive days. This product, put on at the right time (anytime after April 1st and before May 1st), will also control or suppress the germination of Chickweed, Foxtail, Knotweed, numerous Sedges, Pigweed, Purslane, Speedwell, Prostrate Spurge, and Goosegrass. If you put it on before the first part of April, this product may leach into the soil or wash it away if we have heavy rains like in Spring of 2010, and/or will be weak in June when Foxtail, Spurge, late germinating Crabgrass, and late germinating Yellow Nut Sedge start to germinate like in the Spring of 2010.

          2. Memorial Day: Apply a second application of Crabgrass control about Memorial Day or the first week in June. If your first application had fertilizer, you don’t really need fertilizer in the second application. Remember, the more you fertilize, the more you have to water, and the more you have to mow.

          The Spring of 2010 was wet and cool. As a result most of the Crabgrass and Yellow Nutsedge germinated later than usual and the Crabgrass required a second application of pre-emergent. Last year I did not put on a Memorial Day application and by the first of July all of the first application of pre-emergent was too weak to do any good so I had a bumper crop of weeds the rest of the Summer. I have had many tell me they had more Crabgrass, Yellow Nutsedge, and other weeds in 2010 because of the cool spring and late germination. As a precaution, I am going to put on two applications of “Weedbeater Complete” this year. One application on Arbor Day and one around Memorial Day.

          3. July 4th:  Apply a preventative grub control containing Merit or Mach II but without fertilizer, between July 4th and August 1st. Most of the grubs we have are the Masked Chafer larvae from eggs laid by June Bugs earlier in the summer. The eggs start hatching in early August and any preventative grub control must be in the ground for a couple weeks before the eggs hatch for maximum effectiveness. After the eggs hatch and you see the damage in the lawn, a product called Dylox is the best control and begins working within 24 hours.

          4. LABOR DAY: Apply a regular, slow release fertilizer around Labor Day. Buy the best slow release fertilizer you can afford and make sure it is slow release so it lasts all fall.

          5. VETERAN’S DAY: Apply a winter blended fertilizer between Halloween and Thanksgiving. A winter fertilizer (or some call it a fall fertilizer) is usually lower in Nitrogen (first number on the bag) than the Labor Day application, and higher in Potash (third number on the bag. The middle number is phosphorus and most of our lawns have enough so anything below 4, even zero is ok.

          This same schedule will work with a turf type tall fescue lawn.

Copyright 2011