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How to Kill Nutsedge (Nutgrass) and Other Tough Lawn Weeds

Ortho has a spray to kill tough lawn weeds like Nutsedge, Wild Onion, Wild Violet, Ground Ivy, and about 50 others including Dandelion and Clover without harming your good grass.  Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns can be used on most any kind of lawn.

Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns comes in two kinds of sprays.   If you only have a small patch of weeds you are trying to kill, there is a ready to spray squeeze trigger bottle (click here to check it out).  If you have a big area with lots of lawn weeds it comes in a spray bottle that attaches to the end of your hose (click here to check it out).

It is best to spray weeds when they are actively growing.  If your lawn is stressed from drought and weeds are not growing very much, wait to spray when your lawn is getting regular rain or irrigation.  Also, you do not need to drown your weeds with spray to kill them.  Just wet the leaves and they will eventually die.

You think you are getting rid of Nutsedge (also called Nutgrass) because it is easy to pull. However, it quickly grows back from the bulb-like roots that are left behind in your soil.

You think you are getting rid of Nutsedge (also called Nutgrass) because it is easy to pull. However, it quickly grows back from the bulb-like roots that are left behind in your soil.

How to Kill Poison Ivy, Kudzu, Wild Blackberry and Other Tough Brush

You can win the battle against Poison Ivy.  Here is a link that will help you identify Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac.

I have had great success killing Poison Ivy with Roundup Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer (click here for more info).

Just remember to read the directions and do not spray plants you wish to keep.

My Grandma always said:  "Leaves of three… leave them be!"

My Grandma always said: “Leaves of three… leave them be!”

You can almost watch Kudzu grow!

You can almost watch Kudzu grow!

Prevent Fleas and Ticks

We protect ourselves and our cat by spreading Ortho Bug-B-Gon MAX Insect Killer granules on our lawn to kill fleas and ticks hiding in the grass.  (This is in addition to the flea and tick treatment our cat gets.)  The extra bonus is that this single lawn treatment not only kills fleas and ticks for up to 3 months, but also knocks out ants, chiggers and 100 other insects, many of which can cause our lawn to thin and turn brown in summer.

When I have written about this in the past, there are two questions readers ask:

Will this flea and tick killer harm my pets or kids?

Answer:  We keep Dudley, our cat, inside while I spread the granules.  I then gave the lawn a good watering of ¼ to a half inch to activate the kill.  Once the lawn is dry we let Dudley back outside.

Will this flea and tick killer harm earthworms?

Answer:  According to my friend Walter Reeves “The Georgia Gardener” the ingredient in Ortho Bug B Gon MAX (bifenthrin) is classified as “low toxicity to earthworms with 0 to 25% reduction in population”. Here is a link to an article posted by Walter on the subject of pesticides and earthworms from a 3 year study at Univ of Kentucky.

As you can see, Dudley is not worried about fleas and ticks!

As you can see, our cat Dudley is not worried about fleas and ticks!

How to Protect Your Home from Roaches, Scorpions, Ants and Spiders

I know I tell you every year about putting a protective barrier around our home to keep all those creepy crawlers out.  So this is just a friendly reminder that this is a great time to protect your home as well.

Yesterday I sprayed a barrier around our outside house foundation.  It was easy, fast and saves lots of money compared to hiring someone to do this job I can do myself.  I put down Ortho Home Defense MAX Outdoor Perimeter Insect Killer.  I like this product not only because it works great, I also like that it does not stain and there is no bad odor.  You can put down your protective barrier as dry granules or as a spray.  Click here to get more info on the no-mixing sprayClick here to get more info on the granules.  There is also a concentrate available if you want to use your own sprayer (click here for more info).

 

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

I am not going to give you a bunch of sales hype.  I just want to pass along a Father’s Day gift idea that I am glad I discovered this spring.  If it is possible to love power tools, you can put Rita and I into this corner.  We bought the new Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion String Trimmer and Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion Blower this spring and both tools have exceeded our expectations!  They are very light weight and a perfect size for the jobs around our home.  It is very easy to recharge the lithium battery using the handy charging station we hung on our garage wall.  I love the fact that there is no electric cord or can of mixed gas.  And this new Lithium battery technology is far better than what I have experienced in the past.  You can check out the complete line of lithium-Ion tool by clicking here.

So you heard it here:  These tools will make a great Father’s Day gift for someone in your household or you will be glad you gifted them to yourself!

Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion Blower

Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion Blower

Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion String Trimmer

Scotts SYNC Lithium-Ion String Trimmer

Eight Reasons Grass Seed May Fail to Grow

Here are eight reasons I have seen that can cause spotty grass seed germination:

1. Grass seed needs to come in contact with soil to live after it germinates.  Grass seed that lies on dead thatch in a lawn will likely not reach the soil and will likely not begin to grow.  Break up the thatch and top inch or so of soil with a rake or use a special machine called a slit seeder to place the grass seed next to the soil.

Grass seed that lies on dead thatch in a lawn will likely not reach the soil and will likely not begin to grow.

Grass seed that lies on dead thatch in a lawn will likely not reach the soil and will likely not begin to grow.  click photo to enlarge

2. Sometimes grass seed is spread on a lawn in spring after a crabgrass preventer or other weed control has been put down by the lawn owner or lawn service.  The result is poor germination.  Be sure to check weed control labels to see what the waiting period is to put down grass seed.  When seeding in spring, a special crabgrass preventer should be used that is compatible with grass seed like Scotts Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer.

3. Personally, I’ve missed an area when I spread grass seed and did not realize it until after I saw no germination in that spot.  This can happen to the best of us.  It is that tell-tale strip or space where the spreader missed (or should I say where the spreader operator missed).

4. One time I covered the seed with too much soil in one spot.  The proper method is to spread the seed and then spread the Starter Lawn Food, and then make one pass across the newly seeded area with an upside down leaf rake (tines pointed up).  Note: this is a leaf rake, not a garden rake.  The idea is to make sure the seed is in good contact with soil and that it is no deeper than the top 1/8 inch.  It is ok to still see some seed on the soil surface.

5. Seed can dry out during the critical time when the grass is germinating.  When this happens, you will likely see little to no germination in the sunny areas and good germination where the soil is in partial shade (where the soil is slower to dry).  The Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Blends, with Water-Smart Formula, really give you an edge when you are trying to keep your new seed moist.  Scotts EZ Seed also helps to hold moisture next to your seed.  Keep your grass seed moist by watering lightly several times a day.

6. A heavy rain in a newly seeded area can move grass seed to the low spots leaving the high spots with little to no germination.

7. Old seed that has been stored in the garage will likely germinate very poorly.  When seed is stored where you find big temperature changes and excess humidity the seed will likely not sprout.  Buy fresh seed and use it all up that season.

8. Years ago when we lived in Ohio, the grass seed did not seem to want to come up next to a wooded area.  I seeded several times.  Then early one morning while using my flashlight to find the newspaper in the dark, I shined it on this area I had seeded to see if my grass seed was germinating and I saw hundreds of small slugs eating my grass seed sprouts.  These slugs crawled from the woods at night and were grazing on my new grass seedlings every time I planted.  They would then crawl back into the woods during the day.  I put down slug bait and finally I got new grass.

One more thing:  Spring seeding takes longer to germinate than fall planted grass because the soil is colder.  With colder soil you can sometimes count on 2 weeks or more before you see new grass spouts.  Also, you will generally see some of the grass seed come up a week or so before the rest germinates because of the different varieties in the seed blend.  So keep the area moist a week or so after you see the first germination.

A feeding of Scotts Turf Builder one month after seeding will also help your new grass fill-in thin areas.  If you need to reseed some spots, rough up your soil a little before you seed again.

My 8 Summer Lawn Tips

1. Some lawns need feeding. Southern lawns like (Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia) love to be fed at two month intervals from spring to fall for a total of about 4 feedings a year. Centipede only likes two or three feedings a year from late spring to late summer. If you have already fed your Northern lawn (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) twice this year you can skip feeding until later in summer. Scotts GreenMAX Lawn Food, Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts Natural Lawn Food are good choices for this time of year.

This lawn owner follows an annual lawn program feeding schedule of the right product at the right time.

This lawn owner feeds her lawn on a regular schedule.  Most lawns thrive with 4 or 5 feedings a year.

2. Prevent Grub problems. If you have put down GrubEx this spring, you are all set. If not, there is still time to prevent grubs from destroying your lawn this fall. A single application of GrubEx will prevent the next generation of grubs this summer from attacking your lawn. This application of GrubEx also protects against some lawn damaging insects like sod webworm.

3. Keep your lawn from thinning and turning brown. Tiny insects can attack your lawn during summer. One indication that they may show up is when you see moths fly from your lawn when you mow or walk on your grass during early evening hours. These moths do not damage your lawn, however they lay eggs for insects like sod webworms and cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown. Other insects, like chinch bugs can show up about the same time. You can protect your lawn while feeding it with a special summer lawn food called Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard. This product also takes care of other insects like fleas, ticks and ants. If your lawn does not need feeding, you can spread Ortho Bug B Gon MAX on your lawn to take care of any insect problems. Oh by the way, it is ok if you still see some moths after treating, since they do no damage. You have protected your lawn from the damage caused by their hatching eggs for about 6 weeks or so.

Lawn moths fly from the lawn during the evening or when mowing.  They lay eggs for sodweborms or cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown during summer.

Lawn moths fly from the lawn during the evening or when mowing. They lay eggs for sodweborms or cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown during summer.

4. Kill lawn weeds. June can be a good chance to eliminate weeds before they steal water from your grass and begin slower growth during hotter summer months. Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer takes care of most weeds. Do not use on Floratam (a variety of St. Augustinegrass), Centipede or Bahiagrass lawns.

5. Treat lawn fungus problems if needed. Circular patches of browning grass or individual grass blades with spots on them are an indication of lawn fungus problems. Some of these problems will go away with shifting weather, however if they persist or if you have certain areas of your lawn that are prone to fungus problems each summer, you can treat with Scotts Lawn Fungus Control.

Brown Patch on Tall Fescue - Circular patches of dead grass are a symptom of several lawn fungus problems such as Brown Patch and Summer Patch show up during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.

Brown Patch on Tall Fescue – Circular patches of dead grass are a symptom of several lawn fungus problems such as Brown Patch and Summer Patch show up during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity.

6. Seed bare spots. Even though it is summer, you can still seed bare spots because it is easier to keep small areas watered until the grass becomes established. Scotts EZ Seed is a good choice because the special mulch holds moisture next to the seed while it is germinating. Note that you will need to wait at least a month to seed after applying weed controls or four months after applying crabgrass preventer.

7. Mow your grass taller. Taller grass blades mean deeper roots to match the leaf growth. So adjust your mower to leave your grass height at around 2-1/2 inches for Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fine Fescue; at 3 inches for Tall Fescue and Buffalograss; at 3 to 4 inches for St. Augustinegrass; and at 1-1/2 to 2 inches for Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass and Zoysia.

8. Water Sensibly. If you are able to water without restrictions and you want to keep your grass from going dormant, a half inch twice a week is better than a small amount every day. This helps to encourage deeper roots. Place a tall straight sided/flat bottomed glass or a rain gauge on your lawn while your sprinklers are running then measure the depth of water that accumulates in the glass to help calculate how long to run your sprinklers to put down a half inch. You would only need to do this once to help figure out your sprinkler system. If you can, water in early morning when there is less wind and evaporation.

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