Weed control and fertilizer are usually what people think when they think about ‘lawn care.’ But, that’s pretty vague! Let’s share some lawn care industry secrets. Yes, weed control and fertilizer are important parts of any lawn care program.
At Premier Lawn Services we like making our lawns really stand out from neighboring lawns by creating a thick, deep green, weed-free golf-course-like lawn for our clients to enjoy and their neighbors to envy!
All weed control and fertilizer products are not the same!
You’ve probably realized this by quickly glancing at lawn care products on the shelf at your local big-box store. The bags of fertilizer have different numbers on them and some of the weed control products say pre-emergent and some say selective or non-selective.
What’s the difference and why does it matter?
Turfgrass and weeds alike have growth patterns that coordinate with the season. In the Syracuse area, our turf goes dormant over the winter months. In the springtime, the foliage of the turfgrass is experiencing rapid growth rates and in the fall, below the soil, the root system of the turf is growing at its faster rate throughout the season.
Knowing this we want to apply an appropriate fertilizer for the time of year based on what’s contained in that specific bag of fertilizer. This all comes down to the numbers on the bag of fertilizer, the ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, or N-P-K. Our 5 step-program lawn care program uses fertilizer with less Nitrogen in the spring because Nitrogren encourages top growth, but we go with a fertilizer heavy in Nitrogen in the fall because this is when the roots are most actively soaking up and storing nutrients to prepare for winter dormancy.
Lawn Weed Control Products Explained
Let’s go over the difference between pre-emergent herbicide or weed control products compared to post-emergent weed control products. Pre-emergent weed control products are a proactive way to stop weeds from entering your lawn by creating a barrier on the lawn’s soil surface. It isn’t effective against all weeds but does work well to reduce the amount of crabgrass and some other problematic weeds that can ruin the appearance of a lawn. Pre-emergent weed control obviously needs to be applied before the weeds begin to grow and that is why it is applied early in the growing season.
Post-emergent weed control will kill weeds after they have entered the lawn. Some post-emergent weed control products enter the weed through the foliage, and others enter the plant through the root system. Weeds need to be actively growing for a post-emergent weed control application to be effective. Not every weed control product will kill every weed.
3 common types of weed control include products that are effective against grassy weeds, sedges like nutsedge, and broadleaf weed control for everything from clover and dandelions to ground ivy and wild violets. Weeds that have a waxy coating on their leaves are often much harder to eliminate from a lawn because the herbicide product has a hard time penetrating the waxy barrier. Additives can be mixed with some weed control products to aid in their penetration into the plant.
And, maybe most importantly, there are selective and non-selective weed control products! It is imperative that a selective weed control product is used when treating weeds surrounded by turfgrass. The difference between these 2 broad types of weed control is easy to remember because of their names. Selective weed control will select which plants they will harm, while non-selective weed control products will attempt to kill any plant they come in contact with.
The Role Micronutrients & Organic Matter Play In Lawn Care
Weed control and fertilizer are not all it takes to create a beautiful lawn though! Lawn care professionals like us at Premier Lawn Services know micronutrients and organic matter also play an important role in a professional lawn treatment regiment.
Micronutrients such as Iron can noticeably darken the green color of the lawn. For this reason, it is very important a lawn treatment containing Iron is applied evenly as it is very easy to create streaks in the lawn if some areas are missed while areas of turf that butt up to these areas get a double-dose.
Micronutrients and organic matter are secret weapons working undercover, in this case, under the ground! Micronutrients and organic matter will improve the chemistry of the soil and allow the grassroots to more efficiently uptake nutrients. All of the fertilizer in the world applied to your lawn will not be effective if the grass plants cannot retrieve the nutrients contained within!
At Premier Lawn Services, we include a proprietary blend of soil amendments in our lawn care program. This proprietary blend adds carbon while allowing oxygen and natural earth-friendly biostimulants to benefit the soil structure to sustain healthier turfgrass.
Lawn Aeration Is Required For A Golf Course Like Lawn
Applying products, whether made-man or natural, to your lawn is only half the battle!
We cannot stress enough how important a yearly lawn aeration is when your goal is to have the best-looking lawn in your neighborhood. The fall is the most ideal time of year to perform a core lawn aeration. The reason being, as previously mentioned, the fall is when the roots of the grass plants are growing most actively.
Aerating your lawn allows water and nutrients to travel deeper into the soil which encourages the roots to dig deep to retrieve the water and nutrients it needs to survive and thrive. The appearance of your lawn on top is a direct reflection of the chemistry of the soil and the health of its root system.
Proper Lawn Maintenance Is Also Critical If You Want A Perfect Lawn
There are only a couple more keys to having a dream lawn; mowing and watering properly.
Lawn mowing needs to be performed frequently enough that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is removed. It is also very important to sharpen your lawn mower blades whenever they begin to dull. We recommend returning the clippings to your lawn instead of bagging them. The grass clippings will break down over time and provide a nice supplement of natural fertilizer.
Watering is needed when mother nature is not providing enough water through rainfall. Over the summer months, it is most important to supplement rainfall with water from your hose and sprinkler or irrigation system as the grass can get stressed out with the higher summer temperatures and the limited amount of rain. Remember, “water deep, not often.” It’s best to water each area of your lawn for an extended period of time and then wait several days to water that area again. If you water for 5 minutes every day this would just encourage the root system to remain shallow and cause more damage than good in the lawn run.
The timing of weed control and fertilizer applications are important as to how effective they will be and so are the products used. Lawn care may seem simple at face value, but there is really a lot that goes into it.
If you want a beautiful lawn without having to do the work yourself and learn more about all of the ins and outs we discussed in this article, hire us to perform your lawn care!