Fall Wind Down: Leaves and Weeds

We know some of you got a later start…thus your second shot ought to be going down any day now.

Weeds, especially chickweed, are starting to germinate. You simply can’t ignore them…spray them with our broadleaf killer. Make sure that you’ve got it on hand. Spray on a sunny day when the temps are warm, and rain’s not in the forecast for the next 12 hours. The label says, “Rainfast in only 1 hour” or something like that, but in the fall, with cool temperatures, the weeds are tougher to control than in the spring and summer.

Chickweed is a bad weed in the early fall...don't let it smother your new turf

Chickweed is a bad weed in the early fall…don’t let it smother your new turf

Leaves are falling rapidly now, and you don’t want to let them accumulate on your sward, especially when rain is in the forecast.  Matted leaves won’t necessarily smother established turf but it can actually do great harm to yournew plantings.  Mow or blow the leaves, and understand that it is OK to grind them up and allow them to settle into the turf.  If you do it the old-fashioned way, raking, go easy, let you rip the new grass out by its roots.

Decaying leaves are mostly carbon…grinding them up and allowing them to decompose in turf is great, because decaying grass leaves are primarily nitrogen.  The addition of carbon to the soil surface will have a beneficial effect, helping to reduce thatch, and/or feeding the microbes.

Finally, we encourage you folks to try the slow release nitrogen as your third “shot” of fertilizer.  You’ll see the difference!  Lawns with a lot of trees are especially responsive to the slow release N in November.  Lawns with a lot of bluegrass also benefit immensely from this application.  Even sunny lawns comprised of turf-type fescue love this stuff!  One bag covers 20,000 sq ft.  This is the same product that we recommend for fertilizing your landscape beds in March to April, when you clean up in the spring.  Use 1 cup of fertilizer per 100 (not 1,000) sq ft of bed.  So, if you’ve got a smaller sward, you can put the product to use in the landscape, too.

And as a reminder, avoid fertilizing those areas with zoysiagrass!  You’ll weaken it if you fertilize it after September 1st.

Our fall colors have been fabulous so far, don’t you think?  It fooled a lot of us so-called experts, who thought we’d have poor coloration and early defoliation.  Mother Nature is a sneaky wench.  If you’re thinking about a new shade tree for the lawn, try to plant something with great fall color, deep roots, no fruits and excellent disease and insect resistance.

In case you were wondering what the brilliant purple trees were, that are now completely barren, those are white ashes.  The ashes currently are suffering from a bad ass borer (the emerald ash borer) and a general malaise, called “ash decline.”  But, if you keep this tree well watered, well fed, and use an imidacloprid root drench, you’ll enjoy a very nice shade tree.  The northern red oak is excellent in all regards, except it has akerns.  They’re not as abundant and troublesome as the pin oak acorns.  Another great shade tree is the seedless and thornless honeylocust.  This tree had a really nice yellow color this fall, and it has small leaves that are really easy to mulch into the lawn.  The ginkgo is a wonderful tree, as long as you purchase a male variety.  It’s slow growing, but well worth it.  If you’ve got a lot of room, go after the dawn redwood…a huge version of the bald cypress, but wit big, oak like branching.  Treat yourself to a great fall drive, by going up to Elsberry, MO, to Forrest Keeling Nursery.  Their trees are the best!

 That’s it for now!