PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Weeds"

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 with roots

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.

What to do instead? The best way to get rid of crabgrass organically is to crowd it out with healthy turf. Crabgrass is an annual that takes advantage of bare spots on your lawn in warm weather. The best time to establish a thick, lush lawn is in fall, but you can also overseed bare spots now so that new crabgrass does not have a sunny spot to sprout in summer.

Before you tackle your crabgrass issue, take a look at where the crabgrass is growing—you might learn something about your soil that will help you prevent it from coming back again.

Photo credit: mphillips007 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Leaves on lawn

Give Your Rake a Break

October 21, 2016

Got leaves on your lawn? This time of year, who doesn't?

We've got good news: Instead of spending your weekend raking and bagging, you can run your mower right over those leaves instead. Mulched leaves not only protect and feed the plants you love, they also help control plants you don't love. Next spring, those chopped up leaf bits can block sunlight from germinating dandelion seeds and other sun-loving weeds.

Need a special mower? Not necessarily. Mulching mowers are most effective, but regular mowers mulch leaves, too. Run your mower over the leaves a couple times and be sure to bag your mower bag.

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.

Miscanthus

Miscanthus or Mis-CAN'T-thus?

September 16, 2016

Miscanthus sinensis (Japanese or Chinese Silver Grass) used to be the ornamental grass of choice for landscape designers. Showy, low-maintenance, year-round beauty... What's not to love?

Plenty. Those pretty flowers? Full of seeds that quickly disperse in the wind. As a result, this drought-tolerant, sun-loving grass is taking over meadows, roadsides, and forest edges across the country. In fact, Miscanthus is so invasive that it is now banned for sale on Long Island.

What to do if it's already in your garden? Prevent seeds from spreading by cutting off the flowers when they start to resemble a dandelion puff. If you see any baby Miscanthus sprouting, pull them up right away. Baby Miscanthus are easy to remove—mature Miscanthus not so much.

Looking for alternatives? Try native grasses like Little Bluestem, Switchgrass, or Indian Grass.

Photo credit: Ian Alexander Martin on Flickr

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