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August Lawn Checklist

August 4, 2016

Some lawns need feeding.  Most 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. Scotts GreenMAX Lawn Food, Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts Natural Lawn Food are good choices for this time of year.   Northern lawns (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) appreciate two or three feedings from mid-August to Late November.  As the day and night time temps drop into the 80’s or below this month, you can give your lawn the first of these important fall feedings.

This Northern lawn is looking very good in August because it has received regular feedings.

This Northern lawn is looking very good in August because it has received regular feedings.

Problem lawns can be “killed and replaced”.  This “kill and replace” strategy is for lawns troubled by the kind of grassy weeds you can’t kill without killing your good grass and for lawns you are fighting a constant battle with lawn diseases. We are approaching the best time of year to renovate cool-season grass lawns (like Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fescue). Note: warm-season grass lawns (like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Centipede) are best started in late spring.  Click here to link to one of my blog postings that outlines how this is done.

Continue to protect your lawn from insects.  Tiny insects can attack your lawn during summer causing it to thin and turn brown.  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.

Kill lawn weeds if they are growing.  Weeds are harder to kill if they are not actively growing.  Most weed controls are designed to work if your temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees, so check the label for suggestions to get best results.  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.  Ortho Nutsedge Killer and Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed & Clover Killer are also options depending on where you live and your lawn type.  Note:  If you are planning to put down grass seed in the weeks ahead be sure to check weed control directions for waiting periods.  For example, some weed controls suggest you should wait a month after using before seeding.

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.

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 to 4 inches for Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fescue, 2 to 4 inches for St. Augustinegrass and Bahiagrass, 1 to 3 inches for Centipedegrass, 1/2 to 2 inches for Bermudagrass, 3 /4 to 2 inches for Zoysia

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.

A half inch of irrigation twice a week helps to create deeper roots.  Daily watering encourages shallow roots.

A half inch of irrigation twice a week helps to create deeper roots. Daily watering encourages shallow roots.

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6 Comments
  1. What’s purpose when people burn there dry lawn

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Hi lenleone1
      You do not see this practice much anymore because of local regulations against open burning. Burning a grass field helps to eliminate annual weeds and some insect problems. The perennial grasses then grow back from the root system since the below ground portion of the grass plant was not damaged by the fire. The other reason you do not see it is now there are better controls for weeds and insects so burning is not necessary.

  2. Joe permalink

    I live on Long Island is it too hot to fertilize with Scott’s turf builder? If not what time of the day is good ?

    • Hi Joe
      Thanks for giving me your location. The kinds of grasses you have on Long Island are generally blends of Ky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and/or Fescue. As temps drop going into fall these grasses love to be fed 2 or 3 times before Thanksgiving. You should wait until the daytime high temps start to stay in the 80’s or below. If you think you are bumping up against high temps that are in the mid to high 80’s it helps to water after feeding. You can feed anytime of day.

  3. Afi permalink

    I have a lot of Nutsedge. I am thinking of using roundup to kill the area and seed. I am in CT where the temps have been in the 90’s

    • Hi Afi
      You have two options. If you do not have very much good grass, the kill everything with Roundup approach could allow you to start over with new seed a week after your last treatment. You may find you will need a follow up application of Roundup if the weeds are especially tough. The other option if you have quite a bit of good grass is to spray your Nutsedge with Ortho Nutsedge Killer. Again you may need a couple of applications to do the job, however it will not kill your good grass. If you need to seed, you will need to wait 4 weeks after your last spray. I believe you will have the best results when your temps drop back down into the 80’s as the weeds will be more actively growing and easier to kill. There is also less chance of some temporary injury on your good grass.

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