Saw a dandelion in bloom today-
It was growing right up against a 3 storey building. That wall faces Southeast- so it would be fairly sunny there. Full morning sun. No trees to shade the lawn there.
I didn't expect to see weeds flowering this early- it is only March- but in the lawn care business - one has to be prepared for surprises- Mother Nature always throws you a curve- and I suppose it is spring and it is Easter weekend this year.
Turf King recommends that a full season program of regular high quality fertilizations along with regular treatments to manage the weeds will go far in helping you to have a lawn you can be proud of.
In Ontario, Fiesta is currently the only legal herbicide that show any significant results in getting rid of dandelions.
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5 THINGS TO DO FOR A HEALTHY LAWN
Fertilize Regularly as lawns require nourishment to survive. Use a fertilizer that slowly feeds the lawn with small amounts of nutrients over a long period of time. Too much fertilizer at one time can damage the lawn and lead to an increase in insects and disease. Organic fertilizers have an added bonus of enriching the soil and encouraging beneficial soil microbes.
Overseed your lawn in spring or the fall. Young seedlings are more vigorous and will thicken the lawn and fill in bare or thin spots. Use top quality seed and use shady grass seed for shaded areas. Water newly seeded areas lightly once or twice each day for 10-14 days.
Mow regularly with a sharp blade and at a height of 3 inches. Mowing high means more “blade shade”. More shade means less sunlight will hit the soil. This results in cooler soil temperatures and less moisture will be lost. Grass roots like cooler temperatures, crabgrass does not. The reduced sunlight will inhibit weeds from germinating. As well, chinch bugs prefer to feed on warmer lawns.
Water deeply and infrequently. Lawns need 1 - 1 1/2 inches of water per week. Put out a container under your sprinkler to learn whether an hour of watering will give you 1” of water or only half an inch, since different sprinklers will give different outputs of water.
Water once a week to let the lawn dry out in between. Don’t water in the evening as this promotes diseases. Avoid watering in the heat of the day to minimize evaporation loss.
WEEDS AND INSECTS
Weeds are almost always a problem, especially dandelions which can parachute in. Keep a close watch on your lawn, especially from July through October when insects can damage lawns. Use one of the new “organic” products to help reduce weeds and damage to your lawn
If looking after your lawn becomes too much work, consider hiring a professional who can offer lawn care programs. This will not only ensure a beautiful lawn that will make you proud, but will free up your time to concentrate on other areas of your home and garden.
- No Treatment recommended for in the Spring
- Feed lawn to help lawn recover from damage
- Add Grass Seed to fill in bare or damaged spots
- Consider applying Nematodes in Aug-Sept to work on this year's grubs
In the spring, many people will find grubs in their lawns (or the skunks and raccoons find them and leave a big mess.) The good thing is that the skunks are getting rid of the grubs. If you could just teach them to put the grass back after they have taken the grubs out, I’m sure we could hire them out as grub eradicators.
Generally speaking, we wouldn’t recommend trying to treat for grubs at this time of year. And why not? The majority of grubs here are the larvae of the European chafer. In some areas, they may be the larvae of Japanese beetle.
First of all, most of the damage grubs do to your lawn is done in the fall. By spring, they are not feeding very much. In a few weeks, the grubs will pupate, and then turn into adults. The adults then fly around, mate and the females lay eggs on lawns. The cycle then starts all over again.
Secondly, at this time of year a grub treatment is generally not worth the cost. The products available to control grubs do not work as well in the spring. The grubs are bigger and need more insecticide to control them.
Sometimes if the raccoons and skunks are a problem, people may think that a treatment is worthwhile. The problem with this is that even with a grub control in the spring, the grubs will continue to live for two to three weeks, and the animals may continue to come to rip up your lawn anyway. To keep the animals away, some people also use Critter Ridder, mothballs, black pepper, hot pepper and other products. Some work on some animals sometimes; some do not at all on certain animals. Some skunks may say "Thank you, I like my grubs spicy!" (Keeping animals away can be sometimes achieved by using a Scarecrow- motion activated sprinkler: Also one customer reported that the Bell & Howell Animal Repeller worked well for them.)
We have been testing a liquid spray product to repel the digging animals. Please call for pricing on this treatment.
Controlling the grubs in the spring is good for your neighbourhood, but not necessarily for your lawn. If there are fewer grubs in your lawn now, there will be fewer adults flying in the neighbourhood. But since the adults can fly, even if we were able to get rid of all the grubs in your lawn in the spring, it doesn’t mean that the adults from down the road or across the street won’t fly over this summer and decide to lay their eggs on your lawn.
Helping out the neighbourhood is great for everyone in the neighbourhood, but not necessarily for your lawn. And since you are the one paying for the treatment, we recommend doing what is best for your lawn.
The first task is to fix the grub damage. Feed the lawn to improve its health. Add seed to the areas that are damaged to fill in the bare spots.
Then we recommend that you consider an application of Grub treatment this summer to protect your lawn from the next generation. The eggs laid in the summer turn into “baby” grubs. Baby grubs are the dangerous ones. They have to get fat enough to survive the winter. So they feed on grass roots all fall. This is when the greatest damage is done to your lawn.
Currently in Ontario, the only option is to apply Nematodes to your lawn during August-September. Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack the grubs. When they enter the grubs, they give off a toxin that will kill the grubs. The nematodes multiply within the grub's body cavity and then go off searching for more grubs.
Nematodes, being living organisms, need to be handled with care. They also need lots of moisture so that they do not dry out and die.
There is a site listing several natural homemade options- click here to read more. Not all will be suitable for Ontario, Canada and the insect in the article references Japanese Beetle.