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Who is Ashton Ritchie?

As the resident lawn and garden expert at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company for over 40 years, Ashton has extensive experience helping folks across the U.S. improve their green thumbs.  Ashton co-authored the best-selling book on lawn care Scotts Lawns:  Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard.  He has been a speaker at many events including the Philadelphia Flower Show, Chicago Flower Show and the Florida and Texas Master Gardener Conferences.  Ashton graduated from Virginia Tech with a major in Agronomy.  He was a County Extension Agent in Virginia prior to his career at Scotts.  He and his wife live in a sustainable community near Atlanta called Serenbe.  Rita and Ashton are avid gardeners as they spend most of their free time either working in their gardens or swapping lawn and garden care advice with friends and neighbors.

Why I Recommend Scotts (in Ashton’s own words)

I sold my first bag of Scotts Turf Builder in 1965 when I was a sophomore in high school.  I was working after school and on Saturdays in a feed & seed store in Virginia.  I learned how to sell the more expensive Scotts from two men in the store who had attended a Scotts training meeting.  When someone said that they thought they needed some fertilizer for their lawn, these guys explained how the Turf Builder was designed specifically for grass and how it gave a complete, longer lasting feeding than the cheaper stuff.  The sales clincher happened when they told them that once someone tried Scotts, they always came back into the store bragging about how great their lawn looked.

Scotts lawn on concrete

For over 15 years there were several lawns growing on concrete around Scotts headquarters in Marysville, Ohio just to prove that you can have a decent lawn in spite of your soil as long as you feed with Turf Builder. Note: Before you make fun of my hair or tie, show me a picture of you in the 70’s.

I continued to run into very happy Scotts lawn owners in my first job after college as a County Extension Agent in Northern Virginia.  Because of seeing this customer loyalty firsthand, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Scotts in 1973 as an instructor in the Scotts Training Institute in the western U.S.  This Scotts school for retailers gave me the opportunity to pass along the knowledge I learned during my part-time job in high school, my agronomic training at Virginia Tech, and my extension agent experience helping folks with their lawn and garden questions.

Even today as a Scotts retiree and part-time blogger I get a kick out of folks telling me that they don’t mind paying the few extra bucks for Scotts because they like the way their lawn looks.  Scotts gives them “bragging rights” now just like it did back in the 60’s.  Why?  Because no other company makes a lawn food the same way that Scotts makes their Turf Builder products.

  1. DOM MONACO permalink


    • Hi Domm
      Let me know where you are located and I can help narrow down why your grass seed did not germinate yet. Spring planted grass seed can take 2 weeks or so to germinate once the soil begins to warm. Depending on where you are located, you may still see germination yet this spring. Sometimes folks put down grass seed after they have put down a crabgrass preventer that not only prevents crabgrass from germinating but also the good grass you are trying to get started. One time I raked the seed too much and it got buried too deep so it never started growing. I am going to do a blog posting soon on other reasons grass seed may not come up. You may want to contact the Scotts Help Center using the phone number on the grass seed package or on this website to talk about your situtation. Good Luck.

  2. Keith permalink

    I have a home in Hemet, Ca. with old grass and recently planted fescue sod. The past 2 months saw the old grass fine but the sod was destroyed by brown patch and worms. I now have bare soil having removed all the sod. My question is what do I do next? Lay down fungus control and worm inhibitors or do I put sod down first and then add the above mentioned items. Thank you.

    • Hi Keith
      Sometimes it is hard to get new fescue sod to take if the temps are extrememly high. I do not think you need to treat your soil for fungus or for insects(worms) before sodding. Sodding should be easier as the weather cools, especially night temps. Suggest you put down Starter Fertilizer using the recommended spreader setting, then lay your sod, roll lightly to make sure all air pockets are eliminated and then water. Do not allow the new sod to dry out until it becomes well rooted ( 2 to 4 weeks). Then feed again with Turf Builder about 6 weeks after sodding. If you start to see circular brown patches showing up in your sod, then you could put down a lawn fungus control, however I think you should be ok with the recommendations I have outlined.

  3. Themi permalink

    Hi, my neighbors creeping charlie is invading my lawn. I just purchased Scotts® Turf Builder WinterGuard With Plus 2 Weed Control that I was planning to put down now, and spot treat with Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer.

    Can I still overseed my lawn this fall after I do all this?

    • Hi Themi
      Your plan to get rid of your weeds will work great, however you will not be a be able to seed for a month after treating your lawn. This would put you too late for this fall. You could seed bare spots with EZ Seed and skip those areas when you put down weed controls.

  4. Tony Scott permalink

    I had my lawn over seeded about 4 weeks ago using Scotts seed. The grass is starting to come up. Can I still fertilize my lawn with Winter Turf Builder, regular or with weed plus 2?

    • Hi Tony
      You can feed with Turf Builder WinterGuard, however I would not use the WinterGuard Plus 2 since your grass has likely not old enough (it must be mowed 4 times before using weed controls).

      • Tony Scott permalink

        Ok. So does that also mean you would not Turf Builder with Halts in the spring?

      • Hi Tony Turf Builder with Halts in spring will be fine. Good luck with your lawn.

    • Jay permalink

      Have a new house that has a lot of weeds in the lawni n Northern Maryland

      Should I seed now then o weed and feed next month or do weed and feed now?

      i prefer to seed in March and September but whats the best to do right now?

      • Hi Jay Since you would be better off doing a major seeding job in Early Sept, you can concentrate on your weeds now. (Weed controls can not go down until new grass has been mowed 4 times. Grass Seed can not go down until a month after weed and feed.) If weeds are on your entire lawn, put down Turf Builder Weed & Feed on moist foliage when rain is not expected for 24 hours. If weeds are only in some areas, feed with Turf Builder and then spray weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. If you just wanted to seed a few bare spots, you can do that now with Scotts EZ Seed (as it is easier to keep small areas watered), just do not put weed controls in those areas.

  5. Shawn permalink

    I’m thinking about doing some winter dormant seeding in January. I plan on renting a slice seeder and thoroughly sowing Scott’s Sun & Shade mix. Can you provide any thoughts or suggestions for this practice?

    • Hi Shawn:
      Here is a link to a good article that describes this practice.

      If you decide to do this, remember to not use a regular crabgrass preventer in late winter, use one that will not prevent your new grass seed from germinating.

      • Shawn permalink

        Thank you for the advice. I found a preventer that has 12-24-12 with Siduron. It claims to be safe on newly seeded lawns and aggressively controls the germination of crabgrass.

      • Hi Shawn You found the right kind of product. Wait to apply it closer to the time the crabgrass seeds (and your grass seed) will be germinating rather than during the time you do the dormant seeding. Good Luck!

  6. I have a question! I just put Scott’s Super Turf Builder w/ Winterguard and Weed Controller on my lawn…and it is Spring! Will it be ok?? Someone please let me know! Much Thanks!

    • Hi Marissa
      The feeding will work fine on your lawn. The weed control will work also as long as the weeds are actively growing and you applied to moist foliage. You can tell if the weeds are actively growing if you had to mow your lawn yet this year.

  7. Greg permalink

    1 week old new sod. When can i mow and apply fertilizer? 3-4 weeks? What do you recommend. Been watering it quite often. 73170.

    • Hi Greg
      I would feed with Scotts Starter Lawn Food. This is good for new seed and sod. Mow when it is tall enough to cut. Not sure what kind of sod, so check with the installer for the recommended mowing height. If it is Bermuda sod (I am guessing based on where you live), a good mowing height after the cut is 1-1/2 inches (some of the hybrid Bermuda varieties can be mowed as low as a half inch). Then feed at 6 to 8 week intervals with Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts GreenMAX.

  8. Bill D permalink

    I am located in the St Louis area. I applied the Scotts Crabgrass Preventer on April 7th. How would you recommend scheduling the grub-ex and scotts turf builder weed and feed?

    • Hi Bill D
      Allow 6 weeks between feedings. Be sure to apply your weed & feed to moist foliage when rain is not expected for 24 hours. GrubEx can go down anytime this month. I like to allow a week between any applications to my lawn. Do not apply GrubEx to soils that are super saturated with lots of water from heavy rains. It is good to water after application.

  9. Dianne Nemitz permalink

    Two years ago, we had a large red maple tree removed & the stump ground down. I have planted grass seed in the circular area each spring since the tree was cut down , but only a few sprigs of grass grow & are very short & yellow and then it dies out. Is there something wrong with the soil where the tree was & is there anything that we need to do to get the soil to grow thick green grass?

    • Hi Dianne
      When they grind the stump they generally leave the wood chips in the hole. As these chips are breaking down, the microorganisms that help with this process rob all available nitrogen and some other nutrients in your soil. Plant growth in that area suffers. After two years, these chips should be mostly decomposed. If the area has sunk some, you could mix in Scotts Lawn Soil with your existing soil to raise the area back up to the level you want. When you seed, be sure to put down Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass to make sure your new grass has enough nutrition to grow. (The yellow grass is an indication that there is not enough nutrition available to your new grass plants.)

  10. Are the Turf Builder products (with Halts, Winterguard, etc…) considered pre-emergents? I have caught up with reading all of your previous posts in preparation of improving my yard in southwest Pennsylvania. I plan to start your recommended treatment plan of 5 times a year. I would like to get a jump start on avoiding weeds next Spring by applying a pre-emergent this Fall, but I’m not sure if that is part of the Turf Builder products. When is the best time to apply a pre-emergent? Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Devin
      Turf Builder WinterGuard is a fall lawn feeding. Turf Builder WinterGuard Weed & Feed is a lawn food plus control for weeds like dandelion and clover that are already in your lawn. Turf Builder with Halts and Halts (without Turf Builder) are products that prevent weeds by killing them as they germinate. When applied in early September, you prevent Annual Bluegrass (Poa Annua) and a few others. When applied in late March/early April, you prevent crabgrass and a few others. You will get the best results on spring weeds like crabgrass by waiting to apply next spring around the time of your first mowing. The good thing about applying the WinterGuard Weed & Feed as one of your two fall feedings is that you kill a broad range of weeds, including baby dandelions that germinate now from the puff balls this past spring. You are right on target: feeding 4 or 5 times a year is really the key to developing a thick, green lawn.

  11. Chris permalink

    Hello, it seems chinch bugs are back at it on my lawn. can I combine Ortho® Bug-B-Gon MAX and Scotts® Turf Builder in one application? Or one then the other next weekend? I am losing my green grass and fast.

    • Hi Chris
      You can apply both the same day (not mixed together in the same spreader… you will need to make two trips across the lawn). I would apply the Turf Builder first and the Bug B Gon second and then water. The reason I suggest doing in that sequence is just in case you get your spreader wheel tracks confused between the two applications, you would have put your lawn food down first so your chances of getting it on evenly is better. If you were putting down two control type products, it is generally a good idea to allow a week between applications.

  12. Chris permalink

    Well, I can wait a week. I plan on doing one tonight before my sprinklers go on. Which should I do first and then follow it up with which other?

  13. Don permalink

    Hi Ashton

    I live in Northern Virginia and have been fighting with my lawn now for a couple of years. It looks terible and seems I can only get weeds to grow, and they grow quite nicely. Now it’s September 1st and wonder what I can try to rid the weeds and get some grass. Maybe I am applying in the wrong order. What schedule do you suggest and in what order should I apply weed, feed, & seed this time of year for a happy lawn next year.


    • Hi Don
      Most folks in Northern Virginia have a lawn primarily of various varieties of Tall Fescue. If that is your case, the key is to feed your lawn two or three times in fall. (The schedule that Va Tech Extension recommends is 4 feedings a year: Three in fall and one in spring. The feeding schedule this fall would be: Early Sept, Mid Oct, Late Nov. If you need to seed, the best time is Early Sept. For your area the Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue grass seed blend is a good choice. You would feed the same time you seed with Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass. Your next feeding would be Turf Builder followed by Turf Builder WinterGuard. You would hold off on any weed controls until your new grass has been mowed 4 times. If you have lots of weeds, you could use WinterGuard with Plus 2 weed control instead of just the feeding once your new grass has been mowed 4 times. Or, if you have weeds only in certain areas, you could spray them with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX after your new grass has been mowed 4 times. In spring, you would put down a crabgrass preventer by April 1: Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer.

  14. Kurt permalink

    I put Scotts Winterizer on my St Augestine yard front and back. It rained a soft rain an hour later. The next day the dogs were diging like crazy when we walked them in the yard. They kept comming up with dead worms. 2 days later and until now 5 days later the yard stinks like dead worms. It stinks bad. Is this common and do I just have to wait for the smell go away or can I do something?

    • Hi Kurt
      I am puzzled by your comment. I assume you mean Turf Builder WinterGuard when you said “winterizer”… if that is the case the rain would be ideal. In my 40 years of doing this I have never seen what you described. I know of nothing in this lawn food that would irritate worms. Entomologists have used the technique of drenching a 1 sq. yd. area of turf with a mixture of two gallons of tap water with two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent to cause Sod Webworms and Cutworms to come to the surface so they can count them. Were these white grubs or some other kind of worms or slugs? Did you have a service recently apply an insecticide to your lawn or did you recently treat for fire ants? My only suggestion is to water your lawn. The food in the WinterGuard will continue to feed your lawn for about a 6 week period of time.

  15. Jim Casteel permalink

    I would like to send you a picture of my yard. In the summer, although not perfect, grass was not bad. With fall, every weed know to God and man seems to be growing. Is it best to do a coverage (if not to late) with
    Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® With Plus 2® Weed Control and/or spot spray with weed b gone and/or round up. Also, would it help to do a winter over seed and then another seed in the spring. HELP. Thank you.

    • Hi Jim Casteel… There is not a way for you to post a picture of your lawn here. I will contact you outside of this blog so you can send me a picture of your lawn. Also, tell me where you are located and I can give you some more specific advice for this fall.

  16. Dixie Coleman permalink

    I’m getting ready to do the Scott’s Weed & Feed on my lawn. Will it harm my flowers? I have gardenias, hydrangeas, lantana, and azaleas. Also, will it harm any shrubbery around the house.

    • Hi Dixie
      Do not apply Weed & Feed around the plants you have listed. It should just be applied to lawn areas using the spreader directions and setting listed on the package. Follow any directions on the package regarding watering. Good Luck with your lawn.

  17. Shannon permalink

    Just moved into a home that has 4 acres, we have clover and dandelions everywhere and we have to mow every other day just to keep it somewhat presentable. We want to treat with weed and feed but when talking to surrounding neighbors no one else will be treating “ever”. So is it even worth it for us to make such a large investment to treat our property or will we just get as many dandelions back because of the surrounding yards?

    • Hi Shannon
      Some folks with large acreage like you decide to really enhance a small area that is very visible, used a lot by the kids, near the backyard BBQ, etc. This could be 5,000 to 15,000 sq. Ft (15,000 is about a third of an acre). This area would get 4 feedings a year with weed control and some new grass seed. The rest they keep mowed with maybe a fall weed & feed which would really cut back the dandelion population. This way you could have a very nice lawn to enjoy without the extra work and expense of doing the entire 4 acres. Let me know where you are located and I will suggest an annual plan for the area you really want to be nice and one for the other area.

  18. Shannon permalink

    I am in zone 5a, but when you suggest a plant there are a few things my property has that is very hard to find hardy enough plants for, first I am on a hill just off a wind farm. Our wind speeds are generally 10mph daily and frequently have 40-50mph winds with storms. Second I have no shade, we have a small creek behind my property that has willows along it but aside from that we have no wind block or sun block. We also have lots of clay in our soil. This year I have planted 8 roses and lost them all due to wind shredding the leaves, tomatoes that I started as seeds were all lost during hardening because of wind shredding their leaves. I was so excited to have a large property to garden and have a small orchard of mixed fruit trees such as cherry, plum, hardy peach, and apples but I am afraid this may not be possible. Any help you can provide would be a blessing!

  19. Michael permalink

    Hello Ashton!

    I had some annual bluegrass this spring in Central Ohio which looked HORRIBLE in my lawn with the taller stem with multiple seed heads. I put down the Scotts Crabgrass preventer on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014) but it obviously did not take care of the annual bluegrass problem. I have read that I should apply the Crabgrass preventer again in mid-to-late August to stop the germination of those annual bluegrass seeds. Does that sound correct? I would then follow up in November with my winterizer then crabgrass preventer in the spring as well as a weed-and-feed in early June (a total of 4 treatments a year). What are your thoughts? Thank you for your time and help!

    • Hi Michael
      The best timing for your Turf Builder with Halts application to prevent Poa Annua (Annual Bluegrass) is late August prior to Labor Day. Your other three feedings that you plan are good. You may find that rather than weed & feed in late spring next year, you can put down Turf Builder and spot treat any weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX. Based on where you live you may also consider GrubEx around May or early June.

  20. Kevin Killinger permalink


    I would like to send a picture of a few blades of my grass. I think my yard might have a fungus issue.


    What is the best way to treat Past Pallium? I have been soaking the weed directly with Roundup. This has been the only successful process so far but it does a number on my grass.

    Indianapolis, IN

  21. Jeff permalink

    Hi. I live in Michigan and have noticed small patches of clover developing and some areas are spreading quickly. I have used 2 applications of Scotts Fertilizer this season. I am thinking about another application of Scotts Step 2 or spraying the effected areas with Ortho Weed B Gon. Perhaps both application? Any help is appreciated–Thanks!!

  22. Joe permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    I know people who swear by organics like Milorganite, and others like myself who have used Scotts for years with decent results. Do you recommend using all organic lawn fertilizers or non-organics such as Scotts, or a mixture of the two?



    • Hi Joe
      One reason folks have so much success with Scotts Lawn Foods is the slow-release feeding which is similar to the slow feeding you get with organic products. Scotts also sells a very good organic lawn food that I have used and like called Scotts Natural Lawn Food.

  23. Steve permalink

    I live in Omaha, Ne. and I am thinking of over seeding my lawn this fall to mix a better blend of grass with my 15 year old lawn. I have Kentucky blue grass.

    My lawn is in pretty good shape. The biggest problem I had this summer was
    crabgrass along the curbside.

    My question is, once I put the seed and fertilizer down how long should I wait before I apply Scotts wintergard with weed control?

    • Hi Steve
      You need to wait until new grass has been mowed 4 times before putting down a weed & feed. Note that the WinterGuard with Weed Control does not kill crabgrass. Your crabgrass will die with your first killing frost this fall. To prevent crabgrass next year you put down Turf Builder with Halts about the time you do your first mowing next spring.

  24. Good morning Ashton,

    So spring is here and all the snow is gone here in northern New Jersey, what do I do now? Last year its best to describe my lawn and back yard as below average. I have a few patches and areas where there are no or dead grass and I had to deal weeds like crabgrass and creeping charlie to name a few. What Scott products do I use and when so I can have a nicer and healthier lawn?

  25. Hi JP
    You will improve your lawn with 4 feedings a year. Since your lawn is likely to have some Bluegrass, feeding will help it fill in thin areas that are a few inches in diameter. If you need to seed larger areas you can use EZ Seed or one of the Turf Builder Grass Seed blends and you should put down Starter Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer. This will help hold back the crabgrass while your new grass is becoming established. This crabgrass preventer can be used when seeding while others can not. In the areas where you are not seeding your first feeding will be Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer. Your second feeding will be in May, third will be in late August and the fourth will be in mid October. The Creeping Charlie can be killed with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed and Clover Killer in late April/May. Be careful not to spray young grass seedlings until they have been mowed 4 times.

  26. Traci Dela Cruz permalink

    Hello Ashton,

    I live in Virginia Beach Virginia. Our yard is neglected and seems to have every weed known to man including lots of crabgrass. Appears we have moles as well. Our goal is take control and get some healthy grass. Please advise where to begin!!! Would love to see some healthy grass!!!

    Looking for hope,


    • Hi Traci Dela Cruz
      You live in an area that has Bermuda Grass and Zoysia lawns that are brown in winter when they are dormant and thrive during the hot weather you get in summer AND Fescue lawns that are green in winter and have a more difficult time during very hot, humid weather. The key to all of these kinds of grass are to feed them 4 times a year. Bermuda and Zoysia in spring when the grass is starting to green up (50% green) and then 2 month intervals through the late spring/summer with the last feeding in late September. For Fescue, feed once in spring and again in late August, Early October and finally in mid November. Turf Builder with Halts can be your feeding now on all these lawn types as this will prevent crabgrass while you feed. The moles are feeding on earthworms and grubs. They can be trapped or discouraged with one of the TomCat mole products. GrubEx applied in May will prevent future grub problems. Ortho Weed B Gon MAX applied in Late April/May will take care of most of your weeds.

  27. Andrea C. permalink

    Hi! We live in the suburbs of south Atlanta. We have been trying to tackle the weeds (clover, dandelions, crabgrass, little purple things, etc.) and grow grass for a couple of years with no success. We haven’t been that consistent either, plus we don’t have green thumbs. My yard has more weeds than grass at this point.we just want to get them under control first. We failed at re seeding last year and wasted a lot of money trying to do it ourselves. At this point, should we just use weed and feed, or use the ortho weed b gon hose attachment and follow up with turf builder? Please help. We can’t pay someone to do it for us.

    • Hi Andrea C
      I assume you have a Fescue lawn (does not turn brown in winter). Even though it is late to put down crabgrass preventer, I suggest you put down Turf Builder with Halts ASAP since this has been a cold Spring. Then in a week or two spray your lawn with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. Fescue lawns like 2 or 3 feelings in Fall.

  28. Patrick permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    It’s the end of March here in central Virginia (22401) and the grass is starting to get a brighter green color after a few warm days and the Turbuilder + Halts. Unfortunately I have some wiregrass in the yard from last year. What’s the best way to get rid of this? I’m planning on doing an application of Halts again about 6 weeks from my first application. I will probably also do a weed and feed application around the same time once the broadleafs are growing. But what to do for the wiregrass?


  29. Hi Patrick
    Sorry I do not have a way to selectively kill your wire grass (Bermuda grass) without hurting your fescue. Bermuda does not like shade or multiple fall/early winter feelings, so mowing your grass at 3 inches and feeding 2 or 3 times in fall with the last one around Thanksgiving will favor your fescue.

  30. griffin permalink

    I put down scotts turf builder 4 1/2 weeks ago and I just put down weed and feed, should I be worried I just ruined my lawn?

    • Hi griffin
      No need to worry. All Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Foods feed your lawn for about 6 to 8 weeks. This means you are going to get a couple of weeks of extra feeding as both lawn products release their nutrients to your grass. We typically like folks to allow at least a month between feedings and you did this. Good luck with your lawn.

  31. Kelly permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    I’ve been reading the comments on all of your pages for your answers to solve our situation. Your guidance would be appreciated! We live just north of Denver. We fed our lawn just 4 weeks ago with Turf Builder when we had our first stretch of warm weather. I realize now (we’ve had tons of rain and our dandelions are everywhere) that we should have waited until now to put down Weed & Feed. From my understanding, you would now suggest using Ortho Weed B Gon w/ Crabgrass Control. Are there any special instructions (wet lawn, no rain, etc.) or just follow the directions? Can we mow before or should we wait until after? I would also like to put down Bug B Gon. Shall I wait a week in between? I was planning on putting down the Weed B Gon first; is this correct?

    Correct my plan as necessary:
    1. Wait until around this time next year (when dandelions are crazy) to weed & feed.
    2. Continue feeding every 7 weeks.
    3. The 4th and last feed of the year, use Winterguard.

    When would we put down seed in dead areas?

    I’m grateful for your direction! Thank you!

    • Hi Kelly
      Your lawn should be dry when you spray Ortho Weed B Gon MAX for your dandelions and there should be no rain in the forecast for at least a few hours. You can spray a few days after your last mowing and you should hold off mowing for a few days afterwards. You have worked out a good plan for your lawn. Early fall would be a good time to put down grass seed. Good luck with your lawn.

  32. peggy Huggins permalink

    Hi I just put insects killer down can I put fertilizer down or do I have to wait

    • Hi Peggy Huggins
      Yes, you can feed your lawn now. Be sure to water after feeding because of the high temps this time of year and to help activate your insect control application.

  33. Bill permalink


    I found little round yellow balls (about 1/8″ in dia.) in the soil of one of my potted plants.
    What are they?

    • Hi Bill
      My guess is you are looking at a plant food called Osmocote. This is the primary slow release (timed release) plant food used by plant growers. Since it is slow to break down as it feeds the plant, these yellow spherical balls or pellets are visible in the soil for a long time after you buy the plant in the garden center.

  34. Jean Klein permalink

    Hello from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Most of our front yard is now in permanent shade, because of 2 Queen Ann maple trees and a 32′ tall pine tree. Our grass in the boulevard and entire front yard is very thin to non-existant. We would like to test the soil and reduce the acidity from the pine tree, then completely reseed both the boulevard and yard. Can we till the yard? And then plant new grass seed? I don’t really want to use Roundup on the entire yard, worrying it may affect the trees. What would be the best way to go about this? We want to do it soon (April 2016). Thanks for your help.
    Jean Klein

    • Hi Jean Klein
      You may not have enough time to get soil test results back from a lab in order to know how much lime you will need to adjust your soil pH before you seed. You can do the test and apply lime at a later time if needed. You can rototill the top few inches so the grass seed has an easier time becoming established. This could be a good time to shape mulched areas around your trees by laying out a garden hose to line the new lawn area (this way you can push the grass out to the more sunny areas and away from the competition of tree shade and tree roots. Put down Starter Lawn Food when you seed with Scotts Dense Shade Seed Blend. By the way, if you want to kill existing vegetation with “Regular” RoundUp it will not harm your trees as long as you do not spray the tree foliage and you will be able to rototill and seed as soon as a week after spraying.

  35. Trina Wiles permalink

    Hello Ashton,
    I live in North Central Texas and am about to apply Grubex to my lawn and want to know if I can also spread a fire ant killer on the same day and then water both in with a “hose to bottle” insect killer as I do not have an irrigation system. It is expected to rain a little bit later this evening and/or tomorrow. Another option would be to skip the “hose to bottle” insect killer and let the rain water in the Grubex and fire ant killer, but if the rain does not come for 24 hours is that too long to wait to water in the Grubex? Thank you!! Trina

    • Hi Trina Wiles
      You can apply the Fire Ant Granules and GrubEX the same day. 24 Hours is not too long to wait to water if you do not receive rain tonight. Check the label to see if you are getting other lawn insects with the Fire Ant Granules (I know you do if you are using the Ortho Fire Ant Killer Granules) and you may find you do not need to spray the “hose to bottle” insect killer.

  36. Mom of the Cutest Dog EVER! permalink

    Found your site today! Yay! I live in Columbia, SC (home of the hottest & most humid summers in the USA) and I have centipede grass. Weeds are the dominant greenery in my lawn. I would like to commit murder on those weeds, but keep the centipede intact. I think I set the record for having one billion types of weeds in my lawn! Any help you can give me would be weederful!!!

  37. Bill Bass permalink

    I seeded my back lawn and reseeded my front lawn with Rebels Fescue Blend. The heat seems to always kill the fine blades but only stresses the other blades. What are my options for a fescue lawn in Nashville tn?

    • Hi Bill Bass
      A Fescue blend is your best choice in Nashville if you want a lawn that stays green in winter and if you have some shade. If you have full sun with only a small amount of shade you can also grow a Bermuda or a Zoysia lawn, however you would have the dormant brown color in winter. Seeding a fescue lawn in early fall is typically more successful than an early spring seeding as you will be able to give it the extra feeding it likes in fall/early winter to develop stronger roots by the following summer. Scotts has a couple of seed blends that could work for you. Scotts Heat Tolerant Blend: Here is a link to product info: OR Scotts Southern Gold Mix:
      Try to feed two or three times in fall/early winter with one of the Turf Builder Lawn Foods or with Scotts Natural Lawn Food. Hope this helps.

  38. Bill Fleischman permalink

    Hi Ashton
    My issue has been with my lawn turning brown and laying over even before it gets hot. I am in Springfield MO and have attempted to renovate my lawn for the last three years; twice in the spring, and most recently in the fall. I have had soil tests done, amended, power raked, aerated, fertilized, and power seeded. Each time, I end up with the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood. Thick, green, and lush. Though I do not have an irrigation system, I am religious about watering, and have had a lawn care service feed the lawn as recommended (not this year though). I cut it long, and change directions with each mowing. For the most part, the grass seems to have no “spine”. Even the weight of the push mower bends it over and it won’t spring back up. Though I’ve tried two different blends of fescue grasses, it always seems to lay over, turn brown, and end up matted down, creating a thatch issue for what little grass survives. I’ve been told I’m doing everything right, but continue to get the same results, as far as the grass dying out before it even gets hot. Getting tired of doing all of the work, and spending all of the $$ every year, and not ending up with a lawn that will survive. My last, and most successful planting, was last fall with BWI five star seed mix. A blend of all fescue seeds, no rye. My yard is about half sun and half shade. Though the problem is everywhere, it seems to be more defined in the shaded areas. I’d say, it appears as if better than 65% of what germinated this spring, has died.

    • Hi Bill Fleischman
      Turf-type Tall Fescue blends seeded in fall will do better than those seeded in spring in your area as there is more time to develop a more robust root system prior to the summer weather you get. The BWI seed blend you used should be a good one from the info I could find on line. The key to this grass type is to do most of the feeding in fall. For example, if you were feeding four times a year, I would suggest this timing: Early Sept, Mid Oct, Late Nov, Early May. Using a lawn food that has slow-release nitrogen along with this timing will help to minimize the kind of fungus problems that like to attack during warm, humid weather. A good mowing height would be 2-1/2 to 4 inches after the cut. I tend to like a 3 inch cut on turf-type tall fescues. You may find that the grass will “reach for the sunlight” more in the more shaded areas causing it to stretch and sometimes lay over between cuts. When you start to see shaded areas that receive less than 3 or 4 hours of sunlight a day, grass can be challenged. This is especially the case if large trees are competing for the soil moisture with a more developed root system. Hope my long answer helps. Good luck with your lawn.

  39. Matthew Hackett permalink

    Is it harmful to aerate and not over seed or can that still be very beneficial?

  40. Allen permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    I just had my lawn renovated: Roundup, sprinklers installed, dethatched & core aeration, and then seeded. Do I still have to wait 4 mowings before I put down Turf Builder with Halt next spring or am I okay to use during the recommended window? Crab grass was a significant issue in my lawn before. I live in New Jersey and had just purchased the property and it appears there was no previous lawn matenance.
    I have a sod webworm problem as well and plan on using Grubex in May. Am I still good to use Scotts Turf Builder with Summerguard in June/July.

    • Hi Allen
      You only need to mow your new grass once before putting down Turf Builder with Halts (Turf Builder Weed & Feed has the 4 mowing waiting period recommendation for new grass). GrubEX in May will not only prevent grubs from doing damage late next summer, it will also provide some protection from the first generation of sod webworm that can show up in early summer. You can still use Turf Builder with SummerGuard in mid summer as this will provide extended protection from sod webworm and also kill fleas, ticks, ants and other lawn insect problems (except grubs).

  41. Kevin Hannum permalink

    Good morning….I have a question for you. I just seeded my lawn about 2 days ago. I just found out my wife just applied Scott’s Weed & Feed to our lawn. Did SHE 🙂 just ruin our lawn? Should I be worried? If it matters, I only lightly seeded the lawn. PLEASE HELP 🙏🙏🙏

    By the way, In case it matters, I live in New Jersey, outside of Philadelphia.

    • Hi Kevin Hannum
      Thanks for giving me your location. A weed & feed typically will impede new grass seed growth. New seedlings should be mowed 4 times before putting down a weed & feed. One can typically seed a month after putting down a weed & feed. Scotts does make a weed preventer that is compatible with grass seed: Scotts Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer. (I am not planning on getting into the middle of the discussion between you and your wife on who is to blame for what 🙂 .

  42. Angelo permalink

    Hi Ashton, I live in Myrtle Beach, SC. I inadvertently applied Grubex twice in one year (Apr & Sep). Not sure what I was thinking but I misinterpreted the label meaning it’ll only work for 4 months and I assumed to reapply. Nevertheless, I should’ve been more thorough when reading the application instructions. Is there anything I can do to rectify this problem? My grass appears to be losing its green color but I can’t determine if its from the lack of high temperatures at night and cooler days. Appreciate your assistance.

    • Hi Angelo
      I don’t think you need to be concerned about your second application of GrubEX as this will not cause your grass to lose it’s color. There are four primary grass types that are common in Myrtle Beach: Centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia. Centipede and St. Augustine have coarser blades and Bermuda and Zoysia have finer blades. Centipede does not like to be fed more than 2 or 3 times a year, while the other three can be fed up to 4 or 5 times a year. Typically, a light green color means the grass could use a feeding of Turf Builder or GreenMAX Lawn Food. If you are seeing a brown color and you know you have been getting good rainfall/irrigation, then you could be seeing an insect problem, especially if you have St. Augustine grass (chinch bugs love St. Augustine). If that is the case, you can put down Ortho Bug B Gon to control lawn damaging insects. Hope this helps.

  43. Bill Weir permalink

    Up north planted seed last fall. Have starter plus weed preventer. was going to overseed, but looks like chick weed is coming strong.grass cut twice. Do I skip overseed and treat the chick weed. Used Ortho weed b gone twice last year. Never got it under control.How long to wait to overseed after using weed killer?

    • Hi Bill Weir
      Thanks for giving me your location. Chickweed grows with a cycle that is opposite crabgrass. It germinates in fall, thrives in cool weather, seeds in spring and dies in summer. If you spray it now you would not be able to seed for a month, which would not be ideal. If you only have small areas you want to seed, you could rake out the chickweed fairly easily as the root system is not strong like you find with weeds that live year after year. You could then seed and use the Starter with Weed Preventer this spring. You can put down Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer around Sept 1 to help prevent the next crop of chickweed from germinating this coming fall. Hope this helps.

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