Jeff’s Perfect Lawn Care Secrets – Week 12 of 2010
When you add new gas to the lawn mower, remember to include a gasoline preservative or stabilizer in the mixture to avoid any problems of the gas going bad.
Sharp Lawn Mower Blade
Get your lawn mower blade sharpened so you will be ready for the first mowing job in late April. As I have discussed in the past it is wise to replace your lawnmower blade every few years rather than trying to have it sharpened year after year. Usually the place where you buy the blade will install it.
Leave Crabgrass Preventer to Neighbors
While I may have ranted about crabgrass preventers many times, I will say again that I believe it is better to overseed in the spring and again in the fall as the best method for getting rid of crabgrass. If you use crabgrass preventer this spring, you cannot overseed until next fall, letting more weeds develop in the meantime. It does not make any sense. Thick turf mowed tall has no weeds, including crabgrass!
The Crabgrass Conundrum
Crabgrass is one of the many pesky “grass like” weeds found throughout the United States. Again, it is particularly bad in the east and southeast. Unlike dandelion, crabgrass is an annual plant, dying each year in the fall. However, before it dies it leaves tens of thousands of seeds to keep the family going next year. The common reaction to a crabgrass problem is to spread what is called a “pre-emergent” herbicide (Team, Betasan, or Dacthal) on the lawn in the spring to prevent the seeds from ever germinating. There is no question that such an herbicide will definitely work if properly applied, but there is a problem with this strategy. Unless you overseed that lawn, previously inhabited by lots of crabgrass plants, the grass is going to stay thin and there will be a need to protect yourself with pre-emergent herbicide every year. But you can’t plant grass seed because the crabgrass killer kills all seeds, including grass seeds. It is a classic Catch 22.
Crabgrass is probably the most common grassy weed found in the lawn. There are other grassy weeds, but the technique for dealing with them is about the same as for dealing with crabgrass described below.
The Crabgrass Strategy
So here is a strategy to rid your lawn of crabgrass and many other similar grassy weeds. In the spring, instead of using crabgrass killer, overseed your lawn to make it more dense. Then you raise your lawn mower to 2 or better 2 ½ inches for the whole season. You will still have some crabgrass, but not as much as last year. Then in the fall, overseed the lawn again. Keep that lawn mower high from then on and by the third year you will see very little crabgrass. You can be sure the crabgrass seeds will still be there, but there will be no room and no light available for germination.
In the next few weeks you should be seeing the honey bees emerging from their hive on warm sunny days. In addition the Queen bumblebee should begin appearing, perhaps in your flower bed. The dreaded woodchuck whether he saw his shadow or not is likely to call it a winter and begin eating everything in sight. Now is the time to look for that first Robin. Dandelion leaves should be emerging and while they are young they are quite edible.