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Spread GrubEX On Your Lawn Now

A lot of people think that grubs are just about the worst thing that can happen to your lawn… and I agree. Even a carefully tended lawn can become a nightmare when you’ve got grubs.

Grubs are the white larva of common beetles, including those pesky Japanese Beetles, and let me tell you, grubs are nasty things. They feed on your lawn’s roots, eating away where you can’t see them – until one day your lawn turns brown and you can roll up sections of it like a carpet.

Grubs_In_Lawn

Grubs are the white larva of common beetles, including those pesky Japanese Beetles. They feed on your lawn’s roots, eating away where you can’t see them – until one day your lawn turns brown and you can roll up sections of it like a carpet.

Right now, is the best time to prevent hungry grubs from feasting on your lawn like an all-you-can-eat buffet later this summer. Fortunately, Scotts GrubEX will wipe them out first. GrubEX has a one-of-a-kind formula to kill grubs early on in their life cycle before they can destroy your lawn’s root system. If you do not take the step to stop them now they could leave you with brown patches of lawn that peel right up like a carpet. Just one application in late spring protects your lawn for the rest of the season.

Be sure to water your lawn good after spreading GrubEX.

Dandelions: Friend OR Enemy?

If you hate dandelions here are tips to get rid of them. If you love dandelions here are reasons to maybe love them a little bit more.

Why get rid of dandelions in the lawn?
Yellow dandelion blooms in spring are pretty. If it stopped there we would love them in our lawns. The trouble begins when their puffballs start blowing seeds into areas that we do not want them growing like in our landscape. But here is the real reason to put these lawn wreckers on your hit list: A foot-long taproot that steals water from your good grass all summer long and plants that thrive flat on the ground under your mower blade to restrict grass growth.

dandelion puffballs

Dandelions spread into ground cover beds via seeds from puffballs.

How do you kill dandelions without hurting your good grass?
If you have lots of them, put down Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed. The unique, small particles in this lawn food stick like glue to your dandelions. This is absolutely crucial for penetrating and killing them root and all. Plus your lawn gets a deep Turf Builder feeding to help it fill in where the dandelions once grew. For best results apply to a moist lawn when rain or watering is not expected for 24 hours. Do not use on St. Augustine grass, Floratam, Dichondra, Lippia, carpetgrass or bentgrass.

If you have only a few dandelions and other weeds, you can spot spray them with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns. (Be sure to check the label for any weed control to make sure your grass type is listed.)

If you planted new grass seed this spring, hold off treating those areas until your new grass has been mowed 4 times. And one more thing: Do not attempt to kill your dandelions with Roundup as you will likely kill some of your good grass by accident.
Why do I have dandelions even though I put down a weed & feed?

Some folks put the weed & feed down too early before the dandelions appear. Unlike the crabgrass preventer that goes down before you see the crabgrass, dandelions are perennials and can’t be prevented because they grow back from their root as well as from seed. So for dandelions and many of the weeds in your lawn you kill them after you see them.

The dandelions looked like they were starting to die after I treated them, but why did they grow back?
If the dandelions got an adequate dose of weed control, they will be dead root and all. What I have typically seen is a 90% plus kill after an application of a good weed & feed (like Turf Builder Weed & Feed) that went down at the correct rate. If the lawn is loaded with lots of mature dandelions, sometimes it takes the second application in fall to do a complete kill plus kill baby dandelions that grow from seed in the soil during late summer.

Also keep this in mind: getting rid of the weeds is only half the battle. Your lawn will be a stronger competitor against new weeds if you feed your lawn regularly (about 4 times a year) and mow your grass a little bit taller. Most lawns are healthier if the grass height is 2-1/2 to 3 inches tall after you mow.

Why is it hard to get rid of dandelions by digging them?
It’s tempting to pull the top off of dandelion weeds that pop up in your yard. If you miss getting the whole root it will easily come back. Dandelions grow like carrots and produce what is called a tap-root. If you plan on pulling weeds then try using a slim trowel or dandelion puller to get the whole root.

dandelion regrowth

This is the top of a dandelion root with a young dandelion beginning to grow. Notice that dandelion tops have been pulled off about 4 times leaving scars where it has grown back each time from the little bit of root left behind.

Why not learn to love dandelions?
I think it is OK to love dandelions. We all have fond memories of blowing dandelion puffballs in spring and have enjoyed watching our kids enjoy this too. Some folks look forward to making dandelion wine from the flowers (click here for several recipes). Other folks grow dandelion greens in their vegetable garden because they are good for you (click here to learn the health benefits and to get a few recipes). A dandelion is not a weed in these cases because folks want them to thrive. (One note, dandelion greens from your vegetable garden are better than ones growing in your lawn because they have the room to reach maximum leaf growth since there is no mowing and no competition from the grass. This is the same reason you would not want to grow your spinach or lettuce in your lawn. You also would not allow the dandelions in your vegetable garden to create puffballs unless you wanted nothing but dandelions in your garden. You also would not harvest dandelion flowers from an area where weed controls were used.)

Sure To Please Mother’s Day Idea

I pass this suggestion along just about every Mother’s Day because it is a great idea that is guaranteed to be remembered as an extra special surprise for Mom or Grandma. (I asked Rita if she could help me think of a better idea that did not involve expensive jewelry and she said this idea works for her.)

Here’s the plan: This Mother’s Day weekend your family makes a visit to the local garden center to pick up the components for an extra special Mother’s Day gift. And… the best part is Mom (or Grandma) is in on the “picking-out-part.” She selects a container, several herb or flowering plants and the secret ingredient to success: Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.

Then here is the cool part. When you get home, you teach your kids how to plant the container. Kids learn something cool, Mom is impressed that she has such a thoughtful family, and oh yes… you score some extra points that are sure to come in handy.

Note to Mom: Hint dropping is allowed in this instance!

This short video gives you some planting tips:

One year we planted a single Mexican Feather Grass in the center. We then surrounded it with 3 ‘Golden Ingot’ Ivy plants, 3 ‘Golden Globe’ Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) and 3 ‘Charmed Wine’ Oxalis plants.

Herb Containers

Select herbs that have different colors and textures. Pinch frequently to enjoy fresh herbs in the kitchen and to keep the container looking good.

How to Kill Dandelions and Other Weeds in Your Grass

I get asked this question a lot: “What kind of weed and feed should I put down to kill dandelions and other weeds without hurting my good grass?”

My answer: “The kind that actually sticks to the dandelion leaves and kills it root and all.”

Dandelions are pretty when they bloom, however they soon spread seeds by puffballs to take over your landscape and vegetable garden.

Don’t give ugly dandelions a chance to dig in and take root on your lawn. The small particles in Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed stick like glue to your dandelions and other weeds. This is absolutely crucial for penetrating and killing down to the root. That’s the rule of thumb: If it’s going to kill, it has to stick. You don’t want those big particles that don’t stick and don’t work. You find them in those weed & feeds that may cost a little less resulting in hit or miss weed control.

And a second bit of good news. Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed gives your lawn that deep Turf Builder feeding which helps to strengthen your good grass so it is a better competitor against new weeds that may try to take hold.

So, to keep it simple, stick with the weed & feed that sticks to the dandelions: Turf Builder Weed & Feed. And here is a helpful hint: apply Turf Builder Weed & Feed to a moist lawn on a day when rain is not expected. This short 44 second video shows you how it is done:

 

Kill Ticks and Fleas Now

I have seen reports that Entomologists across the country are predicting a big population of fleas and ticks this year.

We take the precaution of treating our pets for fleas and ticks. We wear protective clothing and repellents when hiking. Yet experts say we can take an extra step to help protect our family and pets from being attacked by fleas and ticks. The good news is this extra step is easy and does not cost much.

tick

Our neighbor took this picture last year of a dog tick that dropped off her dog after gorging itself with blood.

Since fleas and ticks hideout in your lawn, you can help protect your family and pets by taking a few minutes to spread Ortho Bug-B-Gon MAX Insect Killer granules on your lawn using your trusty Scotts lawn spreader. The good news is that this single 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 your lawn to thin and turn brown in summer. The final step is to water your lawn after spreading to put the kill in motion. Once your lawn is dry it is safe for your kids and pets to play on your lawn. (I 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.)

I treated my lawn last week and now I know fleas and ticks do not stand a chance around our home!

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

Protect Your Shrubs and Trees from Insect Attacks

A couple of years ago our Rhododendrons looked sick because of a Lace Bug attack. Lace Bugs also love to attack Azaleas. We also had scale insect problems on other shrubs.

Lacebug damage on Rhododendron

The upper leaves of plants infested with Lace Bugs appear to be speckled. Lace Bugs are a common pest of Azalea and Rhododendron that can cause the plant to decline with continued infestations.

I do not like the hassle of repeat sprays and trying to get the timing exactly right and the difficulty of having to spray the undersides of the leaves to stop Lace Bug damage. My solution: A good systemic insect control to protect the plant from the inside/out with just one treatment to the soil. (A systemic insect control is absorbed by the plant roots to get inside the plant to protect it.) I had great success with Ortho Tree & Shrub Insect Control Ready to Use Granules. One spring application did the trick for all the whole year.

I also feed our shrubs one time in spring with Osmocote Outdoor & Indoor Plant Food. One more thing, our soil is naturally on the acidic side so we do not need to do anything to help lower the soil pH like you need to do in some areas of the country to grow Rhododendron and Azaleas. If your acid-loving plants are not doing especially well in your location, test your soil to determine if you need to lower the pH by adding sulfur and begin feeding them with a special plant food for acid-loving plants like this one from Miracle-Gro (click here for more info).

Rhododendron

As you can see our Rhododendrons look great once we got Lace Bugs under control. Be sure to feed your Rhododendrons and Azaleas after they bloom.

May Lawn Tips and Product Advice

Mow your grass taller. Taller grass blades mean deeper roots to match the leaf growth. Adjust your mower so that after you cut 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.

Feed your lawn so your grass roots are not starving. It is best to give your lawn two spring feedings about 6 to 8 weeks apart. Feeding your lawn while we’re getting some late spring rain will strengthen your grass and help it grow new roots. Research has proven that the slow, steady feeding that is unique to Scotts helps your lawn develop a healthier root system that uses water more efficiently. A healthy lawn that’s been fed 4 or 5 times a year with one of the Scotts Lawn Foods will look good this summer on less water than a starving lawn with weak roots.

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

Get rid of dandelions and other aggressive weeds, otherwise they’ll steal what little water there may be from your good grass this summer. If you have just a few weeds, you can spot treat them without hurting your good grass by spraying Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns. If you have lots of dandelions, you can kill them the same time you feed your lawn with Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed or Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action.  (If you have St. Augustinegrass, use Scotts Bonus S Weed & Feed or Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action instead.)

Make sure you have crabgrass under control. If you had lots of crabgrass last year, and you have not gotten your crabgrass preventer down yet, you might still consider making the application as soon as possible even though you are past the ideal application time. That is because you can still prevent the later germinating crabgrass if you act fast. Then in summer, you can spray any crabgrass you missed with Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.

Prevent Grub Damage. Now is your best opportunity to prevent grubs from destroying your lawn this fall. A single application of Scotts GrubEx this month will prevent the next generation of grubs from attacking your lawn in late summer. This application of GrubEx also protects against other lawn damaging insects like sod webworm .

Protect your family and pets from fleas, ticks, ants by spreading some Ortho Bug B Gon on your lawn.