2013 Spring Is Almost Here

Happy Spring!  Well, almost!

Winter wasn’t all that bad, was it?  March will soon be here, and we’ll be working in the yard, getting ready for another great new season of turf and ornamental gardening.  We’re way overdue for a “normal season,” aren’t we?  Wouldn’t it be great to have a spring and summer with average temperatures (highs and lows) and rainfall that patterns historical climatological records?  We’ve only had one cool and moist summer in the past 10 years–but your memories are probably tainted by the fact that three of the last four summers have been dreadful for growing turf!

Here’s what you need to worry about right now.

1) reseeding bad spots/thin areas

2) purchase your crabgrass product, and apply it on March 15th

3) control voles and moles now

4) go ahead and cut down your ornamental grasses

5) apply Dominion® (imidacloprid) soil drenches to protect large trees from boring insects

Details for the 5 topics follow below.

1)  SPRING RESEEDING:  most of you know that spring reseeding is considerably less successful compared to doing it in the fall.  But for many reasons (such as heavy rainfall right after your overseeding, not using enough seed, not aerating heavy enough, or simply doing it so late that your seed didn’t take) you’ve got spots or regions that don’t look very full.  Well, if this is the case, you need to jump all over it!  NOW, not later.  If the snow continues, it’ll delay this work.  Get that seed planted as soon as the soil surface allows you to scratch the surface (without making mud balls) so that it has a few months of decent weather to try to develop a root system, capable of enduring summer stress.  For small spots (>8 inches in diameter) you can spread our seed and then cover it with PennMulch® (recommended) or topsoil.  If you have large areas, go rent an aerator, and overseed as per our fall instructions.  Be sure to download the Fixing the Sward (Reseeding Bible) document for a good bedtime read (look for it on the top right side of our Homepage ).  Your crabgrass program will be affected if you do a spring reseed!  Be sure to talk us about this because you have to skip STEP 1 if you reseed!

2)  CRABGRASS CONTROL:  Step 1 for GOLD and PLATINUM Plans is scheduled for March 15th.   Step 1 for the WARM SEASON PLAN is delayed to April 15th to May 1st…read that again…April 15 to May 1st in warm zoysiagrass! This is because we need to wait for green sprigs before treating with herbicides).

A 50 lb bag of 10-0-5 with Dimension® crabgrass herbicide will cover 10,000 sq ft.  Prior to applying STEP 1 you must make sure that leaves are not matted down in the divots, thin turf, and low spots.  Application of granular crabgrass herbicides on top of leaves is a waste of product!  You should also mow before you apply STEP 1.  If you mowed low late fall, then your first mowing of 2013 should be at the same height.  If you didn’t mow low last fall, go ahead and get some low mowing in.  The picture below illustrates two points: 1) you’ll need to reseed this area, because the grass will be at least 75% dead; 2) don’t spread crabgrass preventer over leaves like this…it won’t work.

Grass Under Leaves


3)  CONTROL VOLES AND MOLES:  Many of youse guys haven’t been outside since late November, so we recommend you get out and start checking things.  Moles are always active, so look for raised tunnels.  If you see them, set your traps, or bait them with poison grubs.  Voles do the vast majority of their damage over the winter quarter, because they’ll focus almost exclusively on their favorite plants, especially hosta and daylily crowns.  Voles make “snake holes” in the garden, no bigger than the diameter of a quarter.  BTW, there’s no such thing as a “snake” hole!  They can’t dig, you big dope!  During the growing season, voles have numerous food sources, thus it’s harder to detect their presence.  If you see holes in the garden, you’ve got voles!  The Repellex product used for moles does a great job of repelling voles, too.  But, you’re better off eliminating these little bass turds!  We sell a great poison bait, for placement into their holes.  The picture below shows a dead vole.  Note the lack of “Mickey Mouse” ears, a short tail, and a powerful jaw.

Meadow Vole


4)  MOW DOWN ORNAMENTAL GRASSES:  If you haven’t already done it, it’s time to mow you ornamental grasses down to their base.  Mow as low as you can!  Mowing them too high hasten inner crown rot.  Perhaps more important, mowing high allows the clump to stay that ugly brown color a lot longer into the spring, because the new growth has to work too hard grow past the dead growth.  If you like your grasses, but find them getting too large, you can remove 50 to 75% of the existing clump.  Send it to the compost bin, or plant the clumps elsewhere in the garden.

Remove Dead Foliage


5)  DOMINION® ROOT DRENCHES PROTECT YOUR TREES AND SHRUBS:  this product is a concentrated version of imidacloprid, a great systemic insecticide that provides your deciduous and evergreen trees with “inside-out” protection.  If you have ash trees, you need this product.  If you have dogwoods, you need this product.  If you have lilacs and roses you need this product.  If you have tulip trees (aphids) or azaleas (thrips), hibiscus (white flies), or hostas (foliar nematodes) you need this product.  Virtually every tree and shrub in the garden will benefit from a root drench of this systemic insecticide.

Let’s get the season off on the right note!