You have to hand it to crabgrass. The pesky weed certainly knows how to take advantage of an opportunity. Healthy grass guards itself against weeds. But, when grass becomes distressed, take for instance by the summer heat, crabgrass wastes no time moving right in to bare spots.
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, over seeding, 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.
The PRFCT way to curb its spread is to take away its opportunity.
Start in the summer by getting rid of crabgrass before it goes to seed. Remove small patches with boiling water or by pulling it out at the root. Alternatively, there are toxin-free, vinegar-based products available in stores.
Corn gluten is often recommended as an organic crabgrass pre-emergent, but studies on its effectiveness have been mixed. Precise timing is key to its success. Since corn gluten is an expensive treatment that can be hard to get right, we generally do not recommend it.
These strategies will hold you over until the fall when it is time to take steps to prevent crabgrass from returning.
If you have ever had moles, you know they can make quite a mess.
Though they provide some benefits such as aerating compact soil and eating grubs; this year we have seen a population spike that has us saying enough with the moles already!
Fortunately, there are toxin-free methods that can help:
Break Out Your Stomping Shoes: Stepping on mole tunnels to collapse them may be the simplest way of solving the problem. After repeatedly having their tunnels flattened moles will move to a less frustrating place to live.
Go Shopping: Another toxin-free option to keep moles away is to use castor oil-based repellents are available in stores.
One hundred years ago, clover was considered a sign of a "healthy" lawn. Diversity was prized and the ideal lawn was sprinkled with flowers. Lawns fertilized themselves naturally with regular boosts of nitrogen from clover and mulched grass clippings.
What changed? Chemical companies found themselves with lots of extra product on their hands after the end of World War II. Some of those products could be turned into fertilizer, and some could be used as herbicides. Marketing teams turned clover into the new enemy, selling consumers herbicides to rid their yards of "weeds" and synthetic fertilizers to replace what those "weeds" supplied naturally. Before long, the uniform, military-style lawn became all the rage.
There are those who use a lot of energy and toxins to keep clover out of their lawns. What’s wrong with clover anyway?
Clover fixes nitrogen, providing important nutrients to keep your lawn healthy and reduce the need for fertilizer.
Clover adds green to those hot dry difficult spots that grass doesn’t like, helping your lawn to look lively and lush. Stop wasting time and money trying to kill clover….think different, embrace it for all the good it can do!
And look for the one with four leaves…..
Something slimy slithering through your garden? Slug and snail season is back. These pests can often wreak havoc on lawns and landscapes. While a nuisance, the good news is they can easily be controlled with safe, non-toxic methods:
- Watering: Snails and slugs thrive in high humidity, damp conditions. Frequent watering, and areas of standing water, creates an ideal environment for slugs and snails. Deeper, infrequent watering make your lawn less hospitable for these pests.
- Shade: Slugs and snails love shaded areas to hide during the heat of the day. Eliminating shady spots makes your landscape less welcoming.
- Traps: Trapping with natural methods such as melon rind, sugar water, or beer can be effective in small areas. However, please note these methods require constant upkeep and removal of dead pests.
- Baiting: Slug baits containing carbaryl or metaldehyde are highly toxic to children and pets! CHECK THE LABEL! Baits containing iron phosphate are safe to use around pets and children, pick them instead. Try baiting right after watering your garden, when snails and slugs are most active.
Achieving your PRFCT lawn can be as simple as changing the way you mow your grass.
By setting your mower to the high setting (between 3.5" and 4") you¹ll encourage grass to grow in thick and strong. That promotes a healthy root system that resists pests, weeds and drought conditions.
Also, leave grass clippings on lawn! Clippings are a natural source of nitrogen, which will promote healthy growth without the use of fast-acting fertilizer.
So, bag your lawnmower bag and let those clippings fly. Mulching mower? Not critical, but even better.
Grass clippings provide a natural—and free!—source of nitrogen that fertilizes your lawn every time you mow. Instead of dumping your clippings in the landfill and then dumping fertilizer on your lawn, use the clippings to gently feed your lawn all season long.