PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Aerating"

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The PRFCT time

September 30, 2017
Fall is the time for seeding, feeding, and aerating your lawn. Weeds grow in warm weather, grass prefers cool…that means the best time to fix the lawn is… fall, right now.
If there are bare areas in your lawn, reseed now, the grass can fill in and weeds will have no place to grow in the spring!
For areas that are always a problem, look for the cause.
If compacted: break up or aerate the soil.
Replace or amend poor soil with organic, weed free compost or new soil.
Too much shade? Try a shade tolerant grass or consider a Long Island native groundcover like Pennsylvania sedge and mow it just once a year.
Entomopathogenic nematodes nematodes under microscope

Maybe you've seen beneficial nematodes for sale at your local organic gardening center. Or heard about nematodes attacking the roots of your neighbor's tomatoes. What's the difference? And what are nematodes, anyway?

Nematodes are round, threadlike organisms that eat organic material—from bad bugs and bacteria to plant roots—in your soil. Like the bacteria in our bodies, soil nematodes can be helpful or harmful, depending on the type and number present. A healthy balance of nematodes is key to the health of your soil's ecosystem.

Good nematodes:
• Break down soil nutrients so that plants can easily absorb them
• Eat pests like grubs, bad bugs, and fungus
• Harmed by synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

Bad nematodes:
• Eat plant roots

Want to make your soil friendly for beneficial nematodes? Make sure it is well-aerated; nematodes need plenty of space to move around. Kicking the chemical habit and adding compost to increase organic matter will help balance your soil's biology. When your soil biology is healthy, the less-desirable nematodes—and other pests—will be kept in check naturally.

Photo credit: D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / Shutterstock

Lawn full of dandelions

Those dandelions in your lawn are little yellow flags letting you know that your soil is low in calcium and/or compacted. Start with a soil test and then amend as needed. Aerating and overseeding your lawn this fall will relieve compaction and promote healthy, thick turf, the best form of weed control. Keep your grass high (3.5-4") to shade out dandelion—and other weed—seeds.

If dandelions keep sprouting, the safest way to remove them is by hand. Water the area to loosen the soil and use a dandelion digger or flathead screwdriver to remove the plant’s long taproot. Pulling dandelions before they go to seed will help prevent them from spreading in your landscape.

Or...learn to love those little yellow flowers. They’re one of the few food sources available to pollinators in early spring. If bees and butterflies love them, why can’t we?

Crabgrass

Ever noticed that crabgrass pops up in the same spot in your yard every year? It's trying to tell you something about the state of your soil.

Crabgrass thrives in conditions that turf grass cannot tolerate—hot, compacted, or poor soil. It especially loves the warm edges of sidewalks and pavement, and will quickly take advantage of any bare patches in your lawn.

What to do? Feeding, overseeding, and aerating your lawn this fall is key to preventing crabgrass next summer. Crabgrass seeds require plenty of light to germinate and will not be able to compete with your well-established, healthy turf.

For those hot spots near pavement, try using a heat-tolerant ground cover or crushed stone.

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