My Gardening Facts

How important is pH in the soil?

VERY important! pH is more important than fertilizer and here is why. Some soils are more fertile than others. To make my garden more productive I increase the amount of available nutrients by adding fertilizer. When the pH is not at the right level the fertilizer does not work as well. Why? How does pH affect the availability of nutrients? It is scientific. The nutrients of a soil are bound up against the individual soil particles. The more acidic the soil the tighter they are bound and hence the less available they are to the plants. That is why pH is so important. Therefore I test the pH level and then apply the appropriate amount of Lime to the lawn and garden in early spring and late fall.

Core Aeration

What is Lawn Core Aeration?

Lawn Core Aeration is a simple process of removing small cores of soil and grass to allow air, water and nutrients into the root zone. The best time to do this is in mid summer or when you want to over seed the lawn in early fall.

What are the Benefits of Aerating the Lawn?

The biggest benefit to aeration is to allow sufficient oxygen to reach the grass roots. Heavy soil compaction severely reduces the pore space around grass roots which limits the amount of oxygen in that region. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb water and nutrients. Core aeration benefits lawns by increasing the activity of soil microorganisms that decompose thatch, enhancing water infiltration from rainfall and irrigation, improving root growth, increasing water, oxygen and nutrient movement in the root zone, and helping to prevent run off of fertilizers and pesticides.

Lawn Fertilization Schedule

March 15th Scotts Lawn Pro Step 1 Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer

May 1st Scotts Lawn Pro Step 2 Weed Control Plus Fertilizer

May 15th Scotts Grubex

June 15th Scotts Lawn Pro Step 3 Insect Control With Fertilizer

August 1st Scotts Lawn Pro Summer Guard With Fertilizer

September 15th Scotts Lawn Pro Step 4 Lawn Fertilizer

October 31st Scotts Super Turf Builder WinterGuard Lawn Fertilizer

Watering My Lawn

How Much Water Does a Lawn Need?

In general, a lawn needs about 3/4" - 1" of water per week to maintain green color and active growth.

When is it Time to Water?

The first few warm days of summer does not automatically mean to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to go under mild drought stress actually increases rooting. Watch for foot printing, or footprints remaining on the lawn after walking across it (instead of leaf blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress.

Water as Infrequently as Possible

Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil, or when summer patch disease is a problem. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds like crabgrass.

Water Early in the Day if Possible

Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday watering due to excessive evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases gaining a foothold.

Avoid Overwatering

Use a rain gauge to measure how much water you're applying. Overwatering does more than deplete the water supply; it also makes plants prone to pests.

Monitor Rainfall

Don't water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall for the week. Don't apply more water to the lawn than what is absolutely necessary. The guide of about 1" of water per week is only a guide. If the lawn doesn't get that 1" of water, it's not going to die. You can track how much rain fall we received on my homepage.

Kill Clover in the Lawn

If you see little white flowers in your yard with bees active around them, chances are you have clover. I Spot-Treat Clover with Ortho Weed–B–Gon MAX Weed Killer for Lawns.

Got Bentgrass? - I did

This weed changes the look of the lawn. Unless you practice golf in your yard, bentgrass isn't something you want around. Kept very short, it looks neat and uniform. Allowed to grow, it forms dense, scraggly mats. Bentgrass is very invasive and crowds out desirable lawn grasses. Treat it with a product such as Round Up Weed & Grass Killer. Otherwise you will need to pull it out and re-seed the area and that is not fun!

Got Spider Web Looking Patches on the Lawn? - That is Mold or Lawn Disease

To control brown patch, dollar spot, stripe smut, pink patch, red thread, copper spot, anthracnose. and other common lawn diseases I use Scotts Lawn Fungus Control. But you need to use it before these diseases get out of control in early spring as a preventive measure when moisture is present.

Seeding the Lawn

I overseed my lawn in the fall or after a core aeration (but never when crabgrass preventive is used) to help increase turf density. Overseeding the lawn is a great way to revitalize the lawn with some of the newest grass varieties that have been developed by professional grass breeders. Not all brands contain improved grass seed varieties however so I use Scotts seed blends for improved color, drought resistance, and disease resistance.

I sharpen or replace my lawn mower blade every month or two. The reason for sharpening lawn mower blades is that dull blades have a tendency to rip grass blades instead of cutting cleanly, leaving grass susceptible to diseases.

How do you know if the blade needs sharpening or replacing? Just look at the lawn and if the grass blade tops are jagged and brown then the mower is ripping the grass and not cutting it clean.