It is that time of the year when homeowners should be thinking about either repairing the damage on their lawns, trees and shrubs from this very consistently warm summer.
We have set a record for the longest span of 80+ degree days with very little rainfall. Your trees and shrubs have a much deeper root system than your lawn, so watering your lawn was somewhat crucial this summer.
However, many Long Islanders love their lawn so much that they actually over water their properties.
The rule of thumb is to provide one to two inches of water per week.
If you take a straight sided cup and place it in the area that you are watering. When you observe one inch of water within the cup, that means you have watered your lawn three inches deep, which is more than sufficient.
You have to make sure all your zones or areas that you pull your hose to are religiously covered. The best time to water is between 6-10 a.m. and not in the middle of the night!
The reason is fungus diseases tend to proliferate in hot and humid conditions, which we have had many of this year.
Funguses, such as Fusarium Roseum, brown patch, frog eye, leaf spot, etc need a wet and moist environment, when the sun is not shining, so, like a baby, put your lawn to bed “dry.”
There are some excellent materials that I had used to apply as a certified applicator, 22 years ago, that were very effective, but that only a licensed individual could purchase, such as Cleary’s 3336F Fungicice Control, which you can now purchase over the counter.
I found it to have the longest residual control of all the materials had applied in the past and still works extremely well today.
Just follow the instructions, if it says one ounce per gallon, do not mix two ounces!
However, around 4-6 p.m. you can syringe your lawn with a 10 minute plus sprinkling, just to reduce the temperature and in this fashion, potentially you can minimize potential diseases from growing during the eves hours.
Heat is what reeks havoc on a lawn, not cold weather, when the grass tends to go slightly dormant.
Zoysia Grass goes to sleep in the colder months and turns white like straw, which is perfectly normal and nothing needs to be done, unless you want to spray it green with some material that is sold in stores).
This time of the year one must dethatch their lawn either with a thatching machine, which you can rent @ an A-Z Rental store.
It is extremely affective in removing the dead grass and thatch that has accumulated over the growing season.
You can also do this by hand and you will build some muscle doing it, as long as you are physically fit; otherwise I do not recommend doing this by hand.
Maybe hiring a professional or gardener to perform this service will be well worth the money and will eliminate your aching body the next day!
Once you have dethatched your lawn, hand seed the areas that need the seed, with a mixture of 30 percent blue grasses, 30 percent perennial ryes and 40 percent tall fescue (doesn’t need as much water as the other types of grasses) or use a broadcast spreader to over seed the entire lawn at two to three pounds per 1000 square feet, if you had a lot of damage, from Chinch Bugs (they suck the chlorophyll out of the grass plants during the summer months or grubs, which chew off the roots of the grass plant).
If you have white grubs, then I suggest trying Dylox 6.2 Granular control (at all times you must explicitly follow the directions on the package or call the toll free number of the company to get guidance).
This material will also control and eliminate chinch bugs too as well as, armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms.
The next thing to do is the application of a quality and balanced fertilizer higher in Nitrogen (32 percent), for greening the lawn back up, with phosphorous (5 percent) for strengthening the root system and minimizing of diseases and potash (7 percent), which can also help in disease control and keep the grass plant in a hardier condition and aid in healthy root growth.
One thing I forgot to mention, is that you should aerate or core aerate before and after seeding(a machine that pulls small cylindrical cores out of your lawn, allowing, water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the root system of your lawn) I remember, at the University of Buffalo, I watched them core aerate the campus with a very large John Deere tractor trailer with an extremely large drum which had the metal spoons as they call them, pull large plugs out of the lawn. Within five to 10 days, the campus lawns were a magnificent hue of green all over!
You can add some top soil to those areas that you want to slightly cover the new seed, so as to discourage the neighborhood birds and squirrels from pecking and eating your newly seeded lawn.
You should then water your lawn daily, just to keep the seed wet and as the grass comes up you can water less frequently, but at longer intervals, maybe 20 minutes per zone.
The warmth of the lawn, will help germinate and propagate the seedlings in three to five days.
As the grass grows, set your mower on no less than three inches (which usually is the top setting) and you may use a ruler to set the mower at that height.
Cutting your lawn too short, will remove a portion of the manufacturing part of the plant, reducing chlorophyll production and rhizomes and causing more stress to the plant and potentially more diseases if it continues to stay warm.
Let the grass grow and lastly keep your mower blades as sharp as possible, reducing the pulling affect of a dull blade and giving your lawn a whitish hue after cutting.
Next week I will discuss the proper way to handle your trees and shrubs and preparing for the fall and winter seasons!