1st Week in March: If you failed to overseed your lawn in the fall, now is the second-best time to do so. The soil will be puffy from freezing and thawing and you can simply broadcast about 100 lb of Tall Fescue per acre. If you have a shady lawn add about 25 lb per acre of Fine Fescue (Creeping Red, Hard, and/or Chewing Fescue) as they do well in the shade. Raking in the seed will help as well as aerating it in if the soil is not loose and puffy from winter. Covering the seed with Sides Black Wonder 5000 composted manure will make it super healthy and germinate the seeds. If you do or don’t need seed; put out about 65 lb of actual slow release nitrogen per acre mixed with pelletized lime to keep your soil from becoming too acidic. We use 27-4-7 slow release mixed with pelletized lime. Put 1 bag of 27-4-7 and 1 bag of pelletized lime in your spreader and use 240 lb per acre of each. If you use another analysis, just make sure it is slow release and high in nitrogen (the first number) and calculate to put out about 65 lb of actual Nitrogen per acre (1.5 lb N per 1000 square feet).
1st & 2nd Week in April: Apply a pre-emergence herbicide to your lawn to prevent crabgrass and other summer weeds from germinating when the soil warms up. Do EXACTLY what the label says. If the Forsythia (yellow bells) have bloomed, it is time to put it out. Baracide works well & always use the very lowest rates on the label to last all season. Buy Barricade that is mixed with a good slow release lawn fertilizer. Read the label and follow instructions. Mix some lime in the barricade and fertilizer. This will be your last fertilizer till fall. Never fertilize fescue in hot weather. It will get lush and create more fungus damage.
1st Week in May: Now is a good time to clean up your broadleaf weeds such as clover, dandelion, etc. Apply 2-4-D PER THE LABEL. You can use 2-4-D any time to kill broadleaf weeds (weeds that have a big broadleaf versus grassy type weeds that require other measures). If it’s hot, use a 1⁄2 rate or you will risk burning your fescue. Note: No herbicides work well in extremely cold weather. Be careful of damage to turf in hot weather. Read the label.
1st Week in June: Check your lawn for brown patch fungus all throughout June, July, and August. It will kill it. (Looks like brown patches dying out about the size of a volleyball.) Treat with Abound Systemic and Daconil Fungicide per the label. One treatment gives 4-5 weeks of protection. Heat, excess water, and humidity cause fungus to grow. Do not over water your yard.
2nd Week in September: Apply lime, fertilizer, and seed just like instructed for February. After you get the seed, fertilizer, and lime out; spike your lawn with as many holes as you can to work the material down into the soil. If you aerate or spike it once, it is good. If you do it seven times, it is much better. This is the very best time to overseed. Remember: seed, fertilize and lime first and then aerate or spike it until it looks like Swiss cheese. At the same time, check for white grubs (the #1 killer of turf) and apply Seven Insecticide or other approved insecticides, per the label, and water it in if needed. Now irrigate your yard EVERY DAY for ten days to wash the insecticide and nutrients into the soil and to germinate the seed. Do not let the seed dry out at all until you see the seed germinating. Tip: A coat of Sides Black Wonder 5000 over totally bare areas you have seeded will help hold moisture in your seed. Sides Black Wonder 5000 composted manure over your whole yard is good for it. Good natural fertilizer and topsoil builder.
3rd Week in November: Fertilize and lime just like you did in February and September.
Other Important Lawn Tips:
1. Never mow fescue lower than 4 1/2 inches. Grass cut at this height will look better, keep out weeds better, live better in drought and heat, and require LESS mowing.
2. Never mow your grass when it is wet (especially new grass). Wait till it dries out from dew or rain and scatters the clippings. If you are forced to mow wet grass, gather the clippings or mow it twice to disperse them. Clumped heavy clippings on top of grass will kill it (especially new grass).
3. Keep your grass mowed every 5-6 days. You should never be cutting more than about 1/3 of your grass length away as you mow. Also, keep your blades sharp so you cut the grass rather than tear it. (another reason to cut high; so, you don’t cut rocks and dull your blades.)
4. If your lawn mower is touching the Sides Black Wonder 5000 compost that means you are mowing to low. Do not ever remove the compost.
5. Keep your soil P.H. level as close to 6.5 on the scale as possible. Take a soil test every few years to determine if you need more lime.
If you have a problem not addressed here, call your Agricultural Extension Agent. Every county has one listed in the blue pages or call Johnny Sides, he will be glad to advise you.
Bermuda grass lawns and athletic fields require different measures. They like to be mowed extra low and fertilized during hot weather. They can only be seeded or plugged during hot weather. Other than that, they require all the treatments above, but with different timing. Call us for specifics if needed.
Topdressing Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede or St. Augustine lawns with Sides Black Wonder 5000 composted manure is highly beneficial. Do this one during the growing season.