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May Lawn Checklist

May 1, 2014

First, you want to make sure 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 times a year with one of the Scotts Lawn Foods will look darn good this summer on less water than a starving lawn with weak roots.

Our three year old Georgia lawn of Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue Grass Seed is thick, healthy and free of weeds because of regular feedings and a taller mowing height. (Click picture to enlarge)

Our three year old Georgia lawn of Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue Grass Seed is thick, healthy and free of weeds because of regular feedings and a taller mowing height. (Click picture to enlarge)

Second, 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.  (If you have St. Augustinegrass, use Scotts Bonus S Weed & Feed instead.)

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.

Third, now is your best opportunity to prevent grubs from destroying your lawn this fall.  A single application of GrubEx this month will prevent the next generation of grubs this summer from attacking your lawn.  (Click here to read my blog posting about grubs.)  This application of GrubEx also protects against other lawn damaging insects like sod webworm .

Fourth, protect your family and pets from fleas, ticks, ants spread some Ortho Bug B Gon on your lawn.

Fifth, 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.

For answers to your lawn questions, my friends at the Scotts Help Center can help.

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34 Comments
  1. On the package of Scotts Weed & Feed it recommends 4 applications a year, but under the list of restrictions it advises not to apply more than twice a year. I’m cofused on how often to apply, please advise.

    • Hi Ralph Hansen
      Sorry for any confusion. Four feedings a year are recommended with one of the Turf Builder Lawn Foods. For example a schedule that could be followed with someone who has lots of weed problems would be: 1) Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer in early spring; 2) Turf Builder Weed & Feed in late spring; 3) Turf Builder Lawn Food in Late Summer; 4) Turf Builder WinterGuard Lawn Food in Late Fall. There are various combos of Turf Builder you can use through the year depending on your lawn at the time. Depending on your location you may add GrubEx in May as an additional application. Hope this helps. If you ever have questions about what to put down you can contact the Scotts Help Center at 800 543 TURF.

  2. Cody permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    Can you apply GrubEx and Ortho Bug B Gon around the same time?

    • Hi Cody
      Yes. I would allow a week between applications. Both of these products should be watered after spreading.

      • Cody permalink

        Great! Thank you for the quick response here.

  3. How long must you wait to apply Bug B Gon after you’ve applied Weed N Feed?

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      Allow a week between applications. Weed & Feed should be applied to moist foliage when rain or watering is not expected for 24 hours. Bug B Gon should be watered after application.

  4. Awesome, I just moved into a home that’s been vacant and NEGLECTED for a long time, so now I am playing catch up on everything before spring time is over. I laid down Scott’s Weed N’ Feed last week, waited 48 hrs before water, now I am mowing today. Tonight I plan to apply Bug B Gon, then a water application following to soak and water remaining seed from ‘weed n feed’.

    Unfortunately by the time you respond to this question I’ll be done, but with my yard being so overwhelmed with weeds, I am going to mow with the bag and not leave any clippings. I know and have read that to leave it off to spread seed more, and add natural mulch, but I can’t see with the majority being weeds right now to be a good idea???? What do you think. Right now I am in the initial shock phase so to speak…

    Thank you for responding so promptly to my previous question Sir! I warn you my wife might be bombarding you with gardening questions next!

    Johnny DeMarco

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      Bagging will help some with the weed seeds. Many of the seeds on taller weeds do not get a chance to ripen between regular mowing so they are likely not to present a problem. If one waited along time between mowing and had lots of weeds with ripe seed heads, bagging would be a big help. Let me know where you are located and I can give you some specific product suggestion.

  5. All done, wheeew. Yes bagged it up. Hot day, and I am over here in Fresno, California. Temperatures are already presenting themselves above 85 + or – 10. Whilst only dropping around 60’s at night.

    So my yard has a wide mixture in the front all the while the side of my house is beautiful full grass. I’m not sure what type? Maybe a bent or a rye grass is what I have that is healthy.

    My question would be what type of regimen should I follow here in this climate as far as maintenance from now on Ashton? Can you give me a good schedule to follow each of the four seasons, which products to use, how and when? I’d really appreciate the intel. as I am an intermediate landscaper.

    And finally what’s best for my wife’s flower garden in the front? they each measure roughly 4′ x 20′ and the other side is 5′ x 12. It’s just dirt right now and all I’ve done is till it a bit with a garden claw. Seems like the dirt wouldn’t jive with plants as of now.

    I apologize for so many questions, but greatly appreciate your time.

    Johnny D.

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      My guess based on where you live is your primary grass is Bermuda. Some areas may have been overseeded with Ryegrass when your house was on the market to provide winter green color while the Bermuda grass was dormant (brown). Bermuda loves to be fed 4 times a year beginning when you are seeing at least 50% green in early spring and following up at 2 month intervals until fall. Scotts GreenMAX would be a good choice. Bermuda in your area is fairly free of insect or disease problems. Weeds are the biggest issue. Crabgrass preventer should go down in late Feb., which can be a combo feeding and crabgrass preventer like Turf Builder with Halts. Turf Builder Weed & Feed two months later. GreenMAX in summer and early fall. Ryegrass can be seeded in fall to provide winter green color. Ryegrass will die out during the hot summers of Fresno. For your wife: the soils in the San Joaquin benefit from 2 inches of Miracle Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil mixed into the top 4 inches of native soil.

  6. Thank you so much for the tips. That will help me a lot in the long run. My wife was happy to hear your recomendation for the Miracle Grow. She’s used it in the past in pottery, but her and I hadn’t imagined it being beneficial in the large flower beds we have. So pleased to hear that and we will try it tomorrow. We had been thinking we were going to have to purchase several bags of compost to get started; we like the Miracle Grow idea better. Thanks again Ashton for all your help and prompt responses. I’m sure I will be bothering you again soon with more questions, have a wonderful day and God Bless…

    Johnny DeMarco

  7. One more thing; with the Miracle Grow, and the dimensions I mentioned to you, any idea how much the wife will need?

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      Look on the back of the Miracle Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil and you should find a chart that provides suggestions of number of bags based on the size area and the amount you are mixing in. I suggested 2 inches mixed into 4 inches of native soil. You could go up to 3 inches mixed into 3 inches of native soil.

  8. Ok will do, thanks again and God bless…

  9. Ashton, I’m thinking of spot aerating my lawn manually. As I’ve laid down my Weed N’ Feed 4 to 5 days ago, could I use a turf builder any time soon, or must I wait the recommended 2 months?

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      It would be best to allow at least 4 weeks between feedings. The best timing is at 6 to 8 week intervals. If you put down a crabgrass preventer in late winter, you may want to hold off on aeration so you don’t encourage weed seed germination past the barrier on your soil. If you did not put down weed preventer, then no problem.

  10. Excellent, no crabgrass preventer was laid down on my part as I’ve just moved here in April. Thus the first thing I’ve put down was water a few mowings and the Scott’s Weed N’ Feed, and Bug B Gon. I’m so anxious to add fertilizer because today when I looked at my lawn, I see healthy green patches of grass all over and brown dead crabgrass and weeds everywhere!!! All the while the entire strip of grass leading to the side of my house is so green and healthy.

  11. Hello again, Ashton, if in fact my lawn is mainly Bermuda, and looking at it I believe it is; then isn’t it the ugliest grass you could ask for? I’ve been researching it online and found that it is also considered a weed and even closely resembles that of crab grass which has runners too. Should I choose to grow a different type, what’s my best course of action?

    • Hi Johnny DeMarco
      Based on your location in Fresno, Bermuda may be your best choice because of the extensive root system and tolerance to heat and drought and being relatively free from insect and disease problems. You can help it become thicker by feeding 4 times a year at two month intervals and mowing at a 1-1/2 to 2 inch height after the cut. It prefers sunny locations. There are improved varieties of Bermuda with a finer texture that you can seed into your existing lawn, however you would need to time seeding so your weed controls did not inhibit germination. Some folks overseed ryegrass in the fall to provide green color during winter. The ryegrass dies during the hot summer weather as the Bermuda is coming on strong. If you have shade, other grasses to consider are turf-type fescues, like the Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue mix. You may find some St. Augustinegrass in Fresno, however I suspect you would have more issues with this grass in the long run.

  12. I am haphazardly agreeing, I think it will be best to grow bermuda, it just looks like I may have two different kinds of bermuda, one with runners along the edges of my lawn, then there are pretty patches of green all over the middle. Along the side of the house there is a thick turf with lots of crab mixed. Ashton, is it possible to submit a few pictures of my lawn for you to take a look?

  13. Ok I’ll give that a shot.
    I’ve dethatched my lawn, pulled all kinds of dead weeds and what it seems like mostly sticker patches. Now I’m left with a lot of bare spots. There are a lot of weeds left over however. What do you recommend now? Should I lay weed killer down again and kill the rest off, OR, should I go ahead and seed the bare spots; let that grow, spread, and choke the weeds out? Again about three weeks ago I layed Scott’s Weed and Feed, followed by Bug B Gon a week later, then a week after that I aerated the lawn.

  14. Hello Ashton, it seems as if my bermuda is trying to grow, but the crabgrass has made it a point to stay, it grows so fast and spreads so quick. What am I to do now at this time of year? It’s mid July and I’m thinking I should kill off the whole section and lay seed down again? What is your advice now? I do have Bermuda on the sides of the lawn and brand new seedlings at 3 inches and growing in a corner. However this crabgrass is too mature and strong. I’m watering my seedlings all the time, fed them fertilizer, but it seems as if the crabgrass is so thick, it’s blocking the grass from entering the section it’s growing; as well as blocked fertilizer from entering the soil. I’ve even pulled up sections of it by hand just to see it grow back in a few weeks! Help, I have great bermuda on the side but crabgrass that I thought might have been St. Augustine’s, I was entirely wrong after taking a closer look. I take it the Scott’s Weed N Feed does not kill crabgrass. So I’m wondering where do I go from here. It’s July 14th in Fresno, Ca.

  15. Hi Johnny DeMarco
    In the long run Bermuda will win the growth battle with crabgrass provided you get your Turf Builder with Halts down by late February next year. This generation of crabgrass will die with the frost this fall. If you kill everything now you will then need to start over with your Bermuda seeding process. You are right, Weed and Feed only works on weeds like dandelion and not crabgrass. Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer can be effective on young crabgrass. In the areas where you have no Bermuda growing, you can kill everything with Roundup and then seed Bermuda a week later. Use the regular blue label Roundup and not the ones that give any extended weed control. In the areas where you have at least 50% Bermuda you could try the Ortho Weed B Gon MAX on the younger crabgrass, your challenge now is that the temps in Fresno are typically higher than the proper range for the Weed B Gon (should be below 90 the day you spray). Good Luck.

  16. Thank you Ashton for your advice. I’m just a little impatient I guess; and after doing all this work in my lawn for 3 months now, I didn’t know how much a lawn takes to get it back to normal. I guess when I finally get there, it won’t be this bad.

  17. Hi Johnny DeMarco
    As long as you are shifting to the kind of grass that enjoys the conditions you have in Fresno, you will be good long term. Bermuda likes sun to mostly sunny areas and thrives in the central valley heat.

  18. Yeap, I’ve been conditioning the backyard very well and I have beautiful full green Bermuda and looks great after a fresh mow at the right height. I suppose for the front I’m going to spray the Round-Up where the crabgrass is dominant, kill it off and pull it up along with any bermuda of course. and reseed in those big patches and cover with some manure/topsoil. Of course I’m going to have to wait till fall to do this. Besides I hear fall is actually the best time to seed anyhow. So my wife is of course complaining because for some reason she thinks the crabgrass looks so pretty, I’m like what??? Nooo no no. With the bermuda seed I laid on the side of the house where there was dirt for years, and even clay soil, it’s thriving now, I’ve already mowed those parts twice. So it’s a slow process but it’s working, only been three months and I’ve done a lot. Thanks to your advice as well Ashton. Thank you.

  19. Hi Johnny DeMarco
    You do not need to wait till fall to seed your Bermuda. If you were seeding one of the cool-season grasses, like fescue, ryegrass or bluegrass; it would be best to wait til fall.

  20. That’s good to hear! I will be starting on this project in the upcoming weekend. Thank you again.

  21. Gladys permalink

    My husband used a week ago bug to be gone for sod webworms but the are still some and seems to be multiplying again, should we wait for the product to kill all the larvae or should we apply again, how often?

    • Hi Gladys
      If you are seeing lawn moths, do not worry as they do not damage your lawn. Also, I should note the Ortho Bug B Gon does not kill these adult moths. If you got proper coverage using the spreader setting on the package and gave your lawn a light watering after spreading, you will get about 4 to 6 weeks protection from any existing sod webworms and new ones that come from the eggs laid by lawn moths. You can apply again if you still need protection, however if you believe you got the product down at the right rate, you can wait a month or so to treat again.

      • Gladys permalink

        Thank you so much, that really help us. Have a good week.

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