We all want that perfect lawn! A lawn that is free of weeds, soft to the touch, and the envy of the neighborhood. We draw up big plans, gather up all the necessary supplies, and march outside. But by this time of year, we are left standing, scratching our heads over the dandelion patch the weed killer won’t kill.
This year, it’s going to be different. With the use of appropriate control sprays, reseeding with a blended fescue grass seed, and a deep fall feeding at the appropriate time, your yards are going to make the neighbors think you hired professionals.
One of the keys to having a happy and healthy lawn is keeping the weeds at bay. Common broadleaf weeds are not only unsightly but they are also detrimental to the overall health of your lawn. Weeds become direct competition, absorbing much needed moisture and nutrients the lawn depends on.
The easiest and most efficient way to control this problem is by using foliage sprays. Weed killers containing the chemical 2-4-D seem to work the best on a large variety of broadleaf weeds. If stubborn crabgrass is the problem, look for products containing Quinquarlac. This has been tested and proven to be one of the best controls of active crabgrass.
As always make sure to use lawn products as labeled. Different brands may have different ratios or instructions.
Remember that you don’t have to spray the entire lawn; you may only need to spray the sections that have active weeds. This will cut down on the cost and the amount of chemicals used.
Once the weeds are under control, selecting the appropriate grass seed for Kentucky lawns is the next step. The old saying “you get what you pay for” comes into effect: if you go straight for the cheap stuff, then expect cheap results. In Kentucky, you want a blended fescue grass mix. Fescue is a durable drought tolerant grass that can stand up to hot summers and unpredictable winters. Going with a blend of between 3 and 4 types of fescue will create a lawn that is healthy and able to withstand what Mother Nature throws at it. Hold off planting your grass seed until between mid-August to mid-September: this is the golden window of opportunity! Planting then will give the newly planted grass time to establish deep; healthy roots before winter.
When it comes to the overall health of your lawn, the most important piece of the puzzle is the use of the appropriate fertilizer at the appropriate time. Central Kentucky lawns need a fertilizer high in Nitrogen but containing NO Phosphates. Fertilizers made of a 27-0-3 ratio make for great Kentucky lawns. The trick is spacing out the application of fertilizer over 3 months during the fall, once a month; this safely raises the level of available nitrogen in the soil going into winter without burning the lawn. Follow the instructions on the product.
We all want a weed-free, dark green, thick, lush lawn. We want to be proud and enjoy what a little work and effort can do. It seems that the lawn is the one area where we tend to struggle. It doesn’t have to be that way. It may take a season–or maybe two–but don’t give up! A heathy lawn is something that may take time, but it will be worth your while.