Soil Service Garden Center News: Fall Seeding, Japanese beetle grubs, Emerald Ash Borer and more!
This is prime time for grass seeding in Kansas City, and especially for shady areas that ideally are seeded by mid-September at the latest. This is when we go all out for a great lawn next year.
Before you buy grass seed this fall, we urge you to learn why choosing seed from Soil Service Garden Center can make a big difference.
START WITH THE RIGHT SEED
BEWARE OF BIG BOX STORE LOW FESCUE PRICES!!
Please take a good look at this unretouched photo. The lighter green grass on the left is Kentucky-31 (K-31) fescue and the grass behind and to the right of it is turf-type tall fescue. The only difference is the type of grass- not a water or fertility issue. Big box stores and garden centers advertising K-31 and low fescue prices are not doing you, or your lawn any favors. K-31 is a pasture grass grown in Missouri. Turf-types are grown in Oregon just for lawns and athletic fields. K-31 is an open, coarse textured and light green grass that can’t match the turf-types for color, density and overall attractiveness. No amount of lawn management will change that comparison and just one of the reasons why Soil Service Garden Center does not sell K-31.
WHO PLANTED THE “ORCHARD” IN THE LAWN?
As if all the above isn’t enough, we see a common theme from homeowners who bought the “cheap” K-31. Orchardgrass is also grown in Missouri and sold as a pasture grass. It’s a perennial that almost always contaminates K-31 and why this weedy grass comes along for the ride with K-31. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of it is to kill it with Roundup or pull it out. Not much fun!
We won’t discuss all the behind the scenes details about Soil Services’ KC Endurance (turf-type tall fescue blend) or KC Marathon (bluegrass/fescue mix) but here are the bullet points:
Based on multi-year university trials across the grass transition zone (where we live) we give our seed supplier a list of fescue varieties for our blends/mixes that we think have the best overall performance in KC.
Grass seed is, by federal law, tested for purity, germination, crop seed and weed seed. KC Endurance and KC Marathon are 0.00% crop and 0.00% weed seed, the cleanest you can buy. Now that you know the rest of the story we suggest our seed is an excellent value!!!!
And don’t forget to use Ferti-lome Seed Starter fertilizer the same day you seed to help it get off to a faster, healthier start! Then follow up with higher nitrogen Ferti-lome Lawn Food Plus Iron mid-late September and Ferti-lome Winterizer in late Oct/November.
Establishing grass on slopes can be frustrating if untimely rains wash seed away before it establishes. Here are some ways to increase your odds for success.
If the area is somewhat large, core aerate and then seed. The seed washes into the holes and germinates like little plugs. The more holes the better so making 2-4 passes works just fine and grass fills in more quickly than if a single pass is made.
If the area is small try a wood tomato stake to punch holes with the stake and hammer to simulate an aerator. Punch holes about 2 inches deep. Again, the more the better.
Use Seed Aide pelletized mulch widely used in the professional turf industry. Seed Aide has a tackifier (think glue) that holds the mulch and seed in place to minimize seed washing. Best of all it doesn’t cost any more than other seed mulches. Seed Aide bags cover app. 1000 sq.ft.
You can use erosion control blankets that are rolled out like a carpet over the seed. Quick Grass Pro covers 140 sq. ft. and the larger version of this, Curlex, covers 450 sq. ft.
Since most herbicides can hurt seed germination, we urge you to check with the lawn care company to see if they recently applied or will soon apply weed control. This means they need to know your seeding plans. Since 1990 Soil Service Garden Center has had lawn programs for the do-it-yourselfer that take the guesswork out of seeding issues. They are simple and highly cost effective. You can sign up now for this fall and next year, save $$$, have fun and take pride in a beautiful lawn that YOU grow! Come by the Garden Center to discuss how we can help meet your goals for a beautiful lawn.
We have had some crazy spring weather and above average temps this spring. But don’t give up quite yet here is some news about this September’s outlook and what it mean for your yard, thanks to the University of Missouri Plant Sciences.
“Like July, August will turn out mild compared to the scorching May and June that preceded it. Several welcome dips over the last 10 days have brought 2018 August temperatures just about on par thus far. These last few scorching days should bring the month to above average again, however. Since January 2017, this will astoundingly make 16 of the last 20 months with temps above the 1895-2010 long-term average. A short-lived dip is expected mid-week with a cold front hopefully bringing some rain. Unfortunately, the break will be short-lived as above normal temperatures are expected into the first portion of September.”
“The heat and drought have been a historic one-two punch, with the lack of a spring being a haymaker. State Climatologist Dr. Pat Guinan recently summarized the past 12 months in Missouri, which also drastically impacted our forage producing brethren who too depend on a crop that doesn’t get the break of a complete harvest. The driest September 2018 – January 2019 period in over 40 years. An extreme flip in April to May spring temperature that is unprecedented in 124 years of climate observations. The hottest May – June period on record, and a drought in the state of nearly 5 inches below average from April – July (a mere 133,870 gallon shortage per acre). Woo.”
“Two bright points. September is coming. The precipitation forecast is promising, with above normal precipitation expected through the first portion of the month. As shown by the words above and the graphic below, the rain and its enhancement of our seeding and recovery efforts is needed. Second, day length is decreasing. The region has just over 13 hours of day light, whereas in June and early July nearly 2 extra hours of extra sun and heat occur per day. The decrease brings cooler temperatures and the opportunity for recovery. Unfortunately in this late August timeframe though, the darkness also provides extra time for leaf wetness and potential for foliar disease activity on tired plants.”
University of Missouri
SOIL SERVICE GARDEN CENTER LANDSCAPE CREWS AERATE, VERTICUT AND SEED – The fall schedule fills quickly so we urge you to call ASAP.
September and October are excellent months to plant most trees and shrubs. Our landscape consultants can help you select the best plants AND we can plant them for you! If you would like this service please call us soon to get on the schedule. Seeding and planting reservations are first come/first served and quickly fill up. Please stop by the Garden Center or call 816/ 444-3403 if you need this service.
By now, just about everyone knows about the Japanese Beetle problem this year. But we’re not out of the woods yet because they lay eggs in lawns where the newly hatched grubs start feeding on roots. This leads to grass that suddenly dies in August and September. We suggest you keep a close eye on your lawn and if you see dying grass, your Soil Service Garden Center has Dylox granules for a rescue treatment.
We usually think of spring to control the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) but if you missed the spring window you can also treat from late August thru September with Ferti-lome Tree & Shrub Insect Control. This is an easy to use product that is simply mixed with water in a watering can or bucket and applied to the base of the tree.
If you have a fall crop of cabbage, kale or collards, expect to have worms gleefully chomping away on the leaves; and these guys can destroy your tender greens within a few days! The 3 most common vandals are imported cabbage worm (adult is a white butterfly), cabbage looper and cross striped worm (moths). The larvae can be hard to find because they blend in with the leaves. You will see them on the tops of leaves but they also really like the undersides, so look closely! Fortunately you can get the upper hand with Natural Guard Organic Spinosad that is simply sprayed on the leaves. It works great!
Thank you for your business and
Let’s keep growing!!
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