Check for low spots and drainage problems. Remove all debris, wood, stones, leaves, etc. Kill weeds and unwanted grasses with Round-Up, Weed B Gone or similar products. Use Halosulfruon for elimination of nutsedge. Wait at least one week (or recommendation by manufacturer).
Add necessary soil amendments: Peat, sand, topsoil, gypsum, etc. as needed.
When soil is moderately dry, rototill, add Soil Perfector and rake level with small clods from grape to golf ball size. A “pebble” surface is the best.
Apply seed “starter” fertilizer (New Lawn Starter) at the recommended rate. Use lime or sulfur if needed. Water thoroughly. Check for low spots.
When dry, rake seed bed level to create a gradual slope away from the house to prevent drainage problems.
Apply seed with a “whirlwind” type seed spreader. Rake lightly to cover seed to a depth of 1/4 inch. Mulch with Penn Mulch or sphagnum peat, if necessary. It will help hold the moisture. NO STRAW, PLEASE! Straw carries weed seeds.
Water lightly to 1/4 inch. Water lightly every day, so soil surface remains damp.
After two weeks, reseed bare spots and wash outs.
When the seedlings reach the height of two to three inches, mow to a height of two inches with a sharp mower blade when the grass is dry.
To maintain a high quality turf, over seed the lawn at an appropriate rate in both spring and fall.
When less than 75% of a lawn is comprised of desirable turf, renovation procedures are recommended. First, check for insect, disease and soil problems, and correct as needed.
Apply Round-Up or similar products. Use Halosulfuron for elimination of nutsedge. Wait at least one week (or recommendation by manufacturer). Watch where you walk, as you may carry it on your shoes.
Mow the lawn to a height of about one inch.
Aerate the turf by slicing or coring. This will help relieve soil compaction and eliminates thatch. If coring, leave cores. This provides a perfect seed bed. The seed that germinates in the holes starts out with a 2—2-1/2 inch root system. The cores will help decompose the thatch.
Rake or vacuum the lawn to remove clippings or other debris if you used a de-thatcher or slicing machine.
Apply three to five pounds of a good starter fertilizer per 1000 square feet.
Rake or rough the soil, giving special attention to bare spots.
Apply seeds to a depth of 1/4 inch. Drag or rake the grass to be certain the seed comes in contact with the ground. You can drag a hose or use the flat side of a rake in a sweeping motion. On bare spots apply a light mulch of peat or Penn Mulch. Water the seedbed lightly so the soil surface is moist. continue watering lightly so the soil does not become hard or baked.
When the seedlings reach the height of two to three inches, mow to a height of two inches with a sharp mower blade when the grass is dry. Raise the mowing height to three inches over time.
Use Pam non-stick cooking spray to prevent grass build-up under lawn mower housing when cutting lush grass. Be sure to avoid spraying the belt or pulley.
Always use a sharp blade. You may want to purchase an extra blade when it is inconvenient to sharpen the current one. Use safety when dealing with any power mower. Don’t use hose to clean off mower, the water will turn the dust to mud or rust the unit. Use a power blower or broom.
After a heavy rain storm, use a broom or power blower to keep grass from lying down and generating a possibility for mold or other damage.
Remember, sand hold heat and dissipates water. If sand is mixed with a clay soil, it will turn into cement.
The types of growth from different grasses are tiller, stolen and rhizomes. Tiller grows vertical much like a tree and produces suckers to spread. Stolen spreads above ground and rhizomes spread under the soil.
Cutting the grass promotes growth. Never cut more than one-third of the leaf at one time. If the grass is three inches tall, cut only one inch.
Dew on the grass in the morning creates an environment for fungus. It contains a sweet or sugar type substance on the tips and the moisture actually comes from the plant and does not qualify as irrigation, another reason to irrigate in the morning.
Lawn chemicals can be systemic or contact. Systemic has a longer lasting effect and originates from the roots. Contact is short lived and works much quicker. Systemic will migrate into edible foods.
Sodding is sometimes the only solution for immediate results. Prepare the soil and keep the sod sopping wet to knit-down the new sod.
Make your efforts fun. Keep a diary and experiment.
Try to spot spray for weeds rather than using the shotgun approach. Stop the damage before it gets out of hand.
Water when it needs it. It is like having pot roast and mashed potatoes for breakfast. It is not ideal, but it is better than nothing.
Grubs and moles go hand in hand. Moles are territorial and one mole will dominate about 4,000 square feet. If you remove their food supply, they move on.
When applying any material with a spreader, be sure to “checkerboard” the area. Go north and south and then east and west to assure full coverage
Generally, seed will lose about 2% of its germination rate a year, however, the older the seed, the quicker it will germinate or sprout when sown.
Store seed in a cool, dry and dark environment if possible.
If you are infested with yellow nutsedge (which we are famous for), spray with Halosulfuron herbicide. Halosulfuron will not harm most grasses.
If you like to walk your lawn after work just to look for bad areas, take a pocket of golf tees. Just drop them in problem areas and you can locate these areas when you are ready. If you miss one or two of these, they will not harm the lawnmower blade.
When mowing your lawn, try to use a different pattern every once in a while. If you cut in even strips, it will also give the lawn a finished look.
Use a wetting agent to decrease the surface water friction. It will make the water wetter.
If you use a spreader sticker, it will make any liquid contact chemical more effective. When using herbicides, fungicides, etc. sticker will result in the ingredient staying in contact with plant much longer and being more effective. It is best to use during cooler weather.
These articles were written at G.R. Robinson Seed Company.