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April Grub Questions

When is the best time to put down GrubEx?

The number 1 question I get in spring is when is the best time to apply GrubEx since the package says to apply spring to late summer? You will also note a direction on the package to not apply to waterlogged soils and to water after application. Since the soils tend to be very wet in early spring and since the grubs will not be laying their eggs until summer, I asked our researchers when they apply GrubEx to their lawns. Their answer: Early May. (If you are reading this and May is in your rearview mirror and you have not put your GrubEx down yet this year, apply as soon as you can up until late summer.) A single application of GrubEx in spring prevents the next generation of grubs that will hatch this summer from attacking your lawn. (Click here to learn more about GrubEx.)

When do grubs do the most lawn damage?

Most grub damage is done in Late Summer to Early Fall, however some folks do not notice they have a problem until sections of their lawn look dead in late fall or early spring because the roots are gone. Sometimes the lawn can be peeled back like a carpet. In extreme cases you may see raccoons or crows tear up the lawn looking for grubs to eat.

Grub Damage

Protect your turf by applying Scotts GrubEX in Late Spring to protect your lawn

Here is the grub life cycle:

grubcycle

In early spring mature grubs awaken from hibernation and begin to work their way up from deep in the soil to just below the grass surface. In late spring, these grubs change into a pupae stage before turning into beetles that later feed on roses and other shrubs and trees in your landscape. In summer, beetles burrow into the lawn and lay eggs that will hatch into grubs. In late summer and early fall, newly hatched grubs feed heavily on your grass roots before hibernating for winter. It is during this time that young grubs do the most lawn damage as they gorge themselves prior to hibernation.

I treated for grubs, why do I still have moles?

GrubEx doesn’t harm earthworms, which are so beneficial to your soil. Even though you rid your lawn of grubs, you may still get the occasional mole in your lawn feasting on your earthworms. Click here to get info about products from Tomcat to kill or repel moles.

Should spring grubs be treated?

If you find grubs when digging in your soil during spring the first thought is to rush to get a treatment on your lawn. There are two reasons that you may not need to worry about spring grubs. First, they do not feed in late spring when they are making the shift from the grub stage to the pupae stage prior to becoming beetles. And second, if your lawn looks healthy in spring it can tolerate a few grubs without sustaining damage, especially if there are less than five grubs present per square foot.

One Step Solution For a Thicker Lawn

Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn has everything you need to help turn weak, thin grass into a thick, green lawn. With this 3-in-1 solution, get up to a 50% thicker lawn with just one application, guaranteed! Thick’R Lawn contains soil improver for enhanced root development, seed to fill gaps with new grass, and fertilizer to feed new grass and thicken and green existing turf. This product is intended for use on an entire lawn and can be applied easily with a Scotts spreader.

There are two versions of this product depending on where you live. Click here for info on Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun and Shade OR click here for info on Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Tall Fescue Mix.

First mow the lawn to a height of 2 inches or less. After mowing, rake or de-thatch to loosen the top layer of soil and remove any dead grass or debris. Then use a Scotts spreader to apply Thick ‘R Lawn to the entire lawn. And finally, water daily or as needed to keep the lawn surface moist for the first 2 weeks.

Do not use a regular crabgrass preventer as it will prevent this new grass from sprouting. If your lawn had a crabgrass problem last year consider using Scotts Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer instead.

 

My Six Vegetable Planting Tips

bonnie plants

Garden Centers are loaded with great looking vegetable and herb plants that are itching to be planted.

  1. If you started your seeds inside and are ready to transplant, allow your tender plants to acclimate to the sun, wind and outdoor temperatures by placing them outside for increasing periods of time for several days prior to planting (start with an hour or so the first day).
  2. If you buy plants at your local garden center they are likely already acclimated to outdoor conditions. If you can’t plant right away, keep your plants watered while they wait to be planted and do not leave them sitting on a hot driveway where roots can get over heated.
  3. Improve your soil by mixing in an inch or two of organic matter every time you plant. Adding fresh organic matter every year really makes a difference in how your plants grow. When planting in your native soil I like Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Garden Soil with Water Conserve. When planting my veggies in containers I like Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic and Natural Potting Mix. (Note “garden soil” is for planting in ground and “potting mix” is for planting in containers or hanging baskets.)
  4. For plants that are in peat-type pots, cut the shrink-wrap label from the rim of the pot and tear away the bottom of the pot (can leave the sides). You do not want the edge of the peat pot to extend above the soil line as this tends to “wick” the soil moisture out causing roots to dry.
  5. Most plants like to be planted deep enough so they are still growing at the same soil level as the pot they were growing in. The exception is tomato plants. Tomato plants can be planted deeper than they grew in the pot as new roots will form along the stem.
  6. Firm the soil around the plant to avoid air pockets. Feed your plants. My favorite plant food for in ground planting is Miracle Gro Nature’s Care Organic Vegetable Food. For container gardening, I like Osmocote Flower and Vegetable Plant Food. After feeding water your plants thoroughly.
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We get more salad than you can “shake a stick at” from various kinds of lettuce, kale and spinach

Pictures of Our Landscape (And Our Secret to Success)

Actually we have several secrets to a great looking landscape.  The right plant in the right place is a big part of it.  Your garden center can help you make good choices for your sunny and shady areas.  Adding organic matter to our Georgia clay when we plant helps give our plants the best chance at surviving (we like Miracle-Gro Garden Soil).  Watering during dry periods is important (but don’t overdo it), especially during the first year of establishment.  However our biggest secret… I won’t keep you in suspense:  We give all our landscape plantings a feeding of Osmocote Outdoor & Indoor Plant Food every spring. We like this plant food because it feeds for up to 4 months. I think our plants love it too!

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Our Hellebores, also known as Lenten Rose, bloom during late winter and are totally deer resistant.

Edgeworthia blooms

Our Edgeworthia’s gardenia-like fragrance really knocks you out during late winter before the leaves appear.

Our Sedums make a great ground cover in sunny areas

Our Japanese Maple spills over rocks on a hill

Our Rhododendrons are thriving.

 

April Options for Your Lawn

For southern Lawns your option is to feed with Scotts Turf Builder OR apply a Weed & Feed designed for your type of lawn:
Scotts Bonus S Southern Weed & Feed – use on St. Augustinegrass (including Floratam). Apply to a dry lawn and water after spreading. If you also want to kill and prevent fire ants use Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action instead.
Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed – use on all Southern Lawns except St. Augustinegrass. Apply to a moist lawn and do not water for 24 hours after spreading.

For northern lawns your option is to feed your lawn with Turf Builder OR apply a lawn food plus crabgrass preventer:
Scotts Turf Builder Halts Crabgrass Preventer does two jobs at one time: feeding and preventing new weeds from seed. Be sure to water your lawn after you spread this product. If you are starting to see blooming dandelions, then use Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action instead. If you use Triple Action, apply to a moist lawn when rain is not expected and then water your lawn one day later.
If you are planning to seed this spring, you can not use regular crabgrass preventer, instead you should use Scotts Turf Builder Starter Lawn Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer to stop crabgrass without stopping your new grass seed from growing.

If you have lawn questions, leave them in the comment space below.  Give me your location so I can give you specific suggestions.

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Apply crabgrass prevention before yellow blossoms fall from forsythia bushes

Grass Seed OR Kill Weeds?

This is a big question in early spring: “My lawn needs everything what should I do first, put down seed or kill my weeds? The reason why this question is tricky is because many of the weed controls will harm new grass seedlings.

Grass seed that lies on dead thatch in a lawn will likely not reach the soil and will likely not begin to grow. It is best to rake prior to seeding so you can see soil

Here are your best two options:
Do you have less than 75% good grass with bare spots larger than a few inches in diameter?
Answer: If lots of larger spots, then seed this spring. Scotts Thick ‘R Lawn contains grass seed, lawn food and soil improver.  It is best to rough up the soil surface to help make sure the grass seed comes in contact with the soil. A garden rake can work for small areas or for large areas a machine called a de-thatcher can be rented. If you had lots of crabgrass in your lawn last year, spread Scotts Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer several weeks after you put down the seed (this crabgrass preventer is compatible with grass seed, where as the regular crabgrass preventers will keep grass seed from growing).  The reason I am recommending waiting several weeks to put down your Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer is so you allow some time to pass between the two feedings.  Once your new grass has germinated and has been mowed 4 times, you can kill existing weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns.

Do you have more than 75% good grass however your lawn is thin and weedy without widespread bare spots?
Answer: If you have more than 75% grass, you may be surprised how your good grass will fill in with four feedings a year at 6 to 8-week intervals. With this option you skip spring seeding (you can always seed in fall if your lawn does not fill in enough). Once your daytime temps are consistently between 60 and 80 and dandelions are beginning to bloom, feed your lawn with Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action to prevent and control weeds while feeding. Then feed your lawn three more times this year with one of the Turf Builder products at 6 to 8 week intervals after your first feeding.

If you have questions, leave me a comment here and I will respond.

New Way to Feed Your Lawn

Do you like the idea of feeding your lawn less times each year?  There is a new lawn food that will help you do just that!

New Scotts Turf Builder ULTRAFEED is a fast acting, long lasting way to feed your yard. By utilizing Scotts Secure Nutrients, a patented particle, nutrients are released when your lawn needs them which helps one feeding last for 6 months. It feeds for up to 3X longer than Scotts Turf Builder. Turf Builder ULTRAFEED can be applied to all grass types and then lightly water in for best results. It’s an easy way to a great, green lawn.

Bluegrass Fescue lawn

Regular feeding creates a healthy lawn with fewer problems and weeds.