Lawn Maintenance

  • After installation, when should the first mowing be done? How can I prevent ruts in the sod from the mower wheels?
    I would mow 2 weeks after installation. To minimize rutting, reduce/stop watering a day or two prior to mowing. This will allow the ground to dry out. You can resume your watering schedule between mowing. Another way to minimize rutting is to change directions for each mowing.

    Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass leaf. Maintain a 3.5" cut during the summer. This can be lower to 3" during the other seasons.

  • Is twice-per-week watering enough for newly installed sod?
    Yes, sod would die during that particular scenario you described. You must remember that sod is a living plant and a plant that just had 95% of its roots cut off. It needs to be watered thoroughly to survive.

    For the first two weeks after installation, sod needs to be watered every day for roughly an hour. If it's raining, you do not water, and on the other hand if it's hot, dry and windy, you may need to water more. After two weeks of watering, you can reduce this to every other day. After that, the watering can be reduced again.

  • When should I be fertilizing my sod in the second year?
    Fall is the best time to feed your lawn. Ideally you should take a soil test of your yard to see what fertilizer requirements are needed. Soil test kits are available at our farm locations. A soil test will also determine the pH on your lawn. Proper soil pH will help the fertilizer feed your lawn efficiently. Typically you need to apply one pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft; this first application should be around Labor Day weekend and the second application of nitrogen and phosphorous should be in the first week of November.
  • What is the best way to get rid of crabgrass without killing my good grass?
    Since crabgrass is an annual grass, it will die with the first killing frost, usually in late October. In midsummer, you should concentrate on improving the good grass. Feed your lawn ASAP with a quality fertilizer. You should fertilize again in the middle of November with a winter type fertilizer.

    Your well fed good grass will now grow and strengthen during the winter months. Next year, in the early Spring, you should apply a crabgrass pre-emergent product. There are many manufactures of this type of product. Read and follow all label instructions. The key to stop future crabgrass outbreaks is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. This will require appropriate fertilizer and annual crabgrass pre-emergent product applications.

  • How much preparation is necessary for overseeding? Should overseeding be done after aeration?
    Fall is a great time to over-seed your lawn. There is some preparation needed prior to over-seeding your lawn. Typically, you should mow your lawn short to exposed the thinned out areas. You should seed with a slit seeder. A slit seeder will create small slits into the soil and drop seed into the slits all in one pass. The main objective with any seeding is to maximize soil to seed contact.

    Seeding after aeration is a good idea. too. Make sure you have plenty of cores to expose the soil for seeding.

    After any type of seeding, it is important to feed the lawn with a balanced starter fertilizer. Read and follow label instructions.

  • How long should I wait to fertilize zoysia/bermudagrass once installed?
    Assuming you fertilized at the time of installation, you should fertilize again in 4 weeks after installation. If the grass goes dormant in those 4 weeks, do not fertilize. You should only fertilize when the grass is actively growing. Next year, you should fertilize at Spring green up.
  • My lawn has started dying off in patches. It was treated for Brown Patch with a fungicide, but now it's spread even further. It comes up in clumps and appears to be dead. Could this be grubs? How would I know/treat?
    This summer has been extremely harsh on Tall Fescue lawns. The excessive amount of rain coupled with the high night time temperatures exacerbated the lawn fungus outbreaks. Pythium and Brown Patch are your main concerns.

    Pythium kills the lawn in small 1 to 3" circular patches. Areas that are low and hold water are of special concern. Check for Pythium fungus mycelium early in the morning. It will look like grayish oily cotton tufts. If properly identified, treat immediately.

    Brown Patch, while unsightly, will not normally kill your lawn. Brown Patch will cause 1-2' irregularly shape circle on your lawn.

    Both diseases can be treated with disease specific fungicides. Check your local garden center for products. Read and follow all product label instructions. Grubs will typically start havoc on your lawn in late September and October. If you think grubs are becoming a problem (more than 10 grubs per square foot), an insecticide should be applied prior to egg hatching which occurs in early August.
  • How do I overseed an established lawn?
    We find it best to overseed on or near Labor Day Weekend. For best results, rent a slit seeder from your local hardware or rental store. This is a gas powered machine that cuts slits in the ground and will meter out grass seed as you push it along. The grass seed will drop into the slits. This action provides great soil to seed contact that is needed for germination.
  • What type of fertilizer should I use on an established lawn?
    Since you have an established lawn, you need to follow a grass maintenance schedule. The first thing you should do is take a soil test to determine the nutrient level in your soil. Most soil testing facilities will offer recommendations based on the test results. For cool season grasses like Tall Fescue, you should make fertilizer applications in Mid March, Mid September and Mid November. Warm season grasses would require applications during the summer months while the grass is actively growing. Assuming you have tested the soil, you should apply a fertilizer with a 30% slow release nitrogen component. Turf Trust is an excellent complete lawn fertilizer. Jonathan Green's Green Up is also an excellent product. Both products have the slow release N component.
  • How does zoysia sod hold up to dog urine?
    This is a great question. For success, you may have to change some of your current practices and break a few of your pet's daily habits. Zoysia grass is more tolerant to pet urine than other grasses we grow. With that being said, Zoysia grass will not survive prolonged or constant exposure to a pet's waste. The best thing to do for any grass would be to rotate the areas the pet uses. Also dilute the area with some water. This whole exercise is to minimize the concentration of the pet's wastes. To keep the soil in the proper pH, you should take a soil test and based on the results, apply the appropriate amount of lime. Most grasses will do well in a soil pH range of 6-7.