Now that winter is a distant memory and spring is in full swing, although it seemed to take forever to get here, I would like to reflect on the past and look into the future a bit.
First, winter held on longer than most would have liked and due to the snow, wind and bitter cold in March including 4 Nor’easters, lawn applications were delayed by as much as 3 weeks. Fortunately temperatures stayed on the cool side, but it also kept the lawns dormant for a longer time. The upside was that crabgrass sprouted later than normal, which is usually around mid April. I saw crabgrass for the first time this year in early May.
Now that we are a little over a month into spring, we are seeing an abundance of rain…dare I say too much. Along with the high humidity and warm temperatures we are now seeing an outbreak of Red Thread disease and to a lesser extent Dollar Spot disease, although this disease will begin to show up shortly. Fortunately both of these diseases are cosmetic and not damaging and only affect the blades of grass causing reddish/pinkish and eventually brown circular patches throughout the lawn. Fungus controls are normally not needed as they will run their course over a few weeks. If the lawn has a history of disease, a preventative disease program may be needed if cultural practices fail to improve the condition.
It looks as if this weather pattern will continue for the foreseeable future based on the current data. If this holds true, expect the lawns to continue to have disease pressure. If the weather turns a little drier, disease pressure will be reduced. If you irrigate, make sure to water less frequently but for longer periods to allow the water to penetrate deep into the soil. Water early morning to avoid evaporation and to allow the grass to dry before going into the night. This will help reduce the possibility of disease breaking out.
By now, you should be cutting your grass no shorter the 4”. This will help hide any disease that may be present, but also help reduce the outbreak of both broadleaf and grassy weeds, not to mention appearance will be enhanced.
Surface insects such as Chinch Bug and Sod Webworm will begin to show up now and through the summer. If the lawns are receiving adequate rainfall and are growing, then these insects will have a tough time doing damage. If needed, controls can and will be applied. Again, cutting tall will also help as this shade’s the soil…these guys love full sun.
Grubs will not begin to show up until August or September. If you are seeing grubs now, they are from last year and will emerge as beetles shortly if they haven’t already. They will do very little damage if any at this time. As part of your program, a grub control is being applied at this time to help reduce and prevent grubs from damaging your lawn later in the season.
We will wait and see what the weather holds in store for the summer. Hopefully there will be enough but not too much rain. And, if temperatures are not too hot for extended periods, then the lawns should do well this summer, provided that they are cut properly.
And speaking of rain, if you have an irrigation system, do not over water the beds. Established plants do not need as much water, and can even die from over-watering. If possible, make sure the shrub beds have their own separate zone and only water when absolutely necessary.
Should you have any questions, concerns, or if you just need help regarding your lawn and landscape, please contact me. If it is something that I don’t do, I can recommend a contractor that can do the work for you.