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Lawn and Fertilizing Questions

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by theeplaymaker, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. theeplaymaker

    theeplaymaker LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 22

    Hello all, great forum here, I am learning a lot! I have a few questions that are sort of answered in other threads that I searched but not fully. I'll start with a brief description of my property and equipment and then I'll go into my questions about my lawn.

    I am located in Lancaster, PA and I bought the house Nov. 2012 so I have a summer under my belt, it's only about an acre. Mistakes I made last summer were: 1. I cut my grass way to low and it got burnt out over the summer 2. I didn't use any fertilizers at all.

    Last summer I used a Troy Bilt Pony 42" mower that wasn't the best but worked but I am stepping up my game this year and getting a Exmark Pioneer S-series 48" at the beginning of April. I used to work for a landscaper who has seen my yard and he suggested skipping aerating this year and I think I am fairly good with thatch issues. My main questions stem to clean up before fertilizing. I have Kentucky Coffee Trees that make a hell of a mess and I have a lot of pod cleaning up to do in my front yard and part of the side yard. Hopefully this goes faster this year since I got a Stihl BR600 mid summer last year before the fall, however am I able to put down fert with all the crap in my yard still and have it be affective? My buddy and I split a 50 lb Lesco spreader that I am itching to use to put down some Lesco brand Pre-emergent and Crabgass fert that you get at Home Depot but I am not sure if I have time within the next 1-2 weeks to get the yard cleaned up before putting it down.

    My main question which I just asked but want to emphasize is if I don't have time on Monday or Tuesday coming up to clean up the pods and sticks (I got most/all of the leaves last fall) will it be a waste to put down the fertilizer for crab grass on one of those days? I leave for Texas Wed-Sun and then I work Mon-Tue the following week when I get back. Is March 26-28 to late for a pre-emergent/crab grass fert in Southeastern PA. I don't want to be to late with the crab grass fertilizer so that is my main concern.

    Thanks for any and all help!
     
  2. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Crab grass germination starts to happen when the soil temps become consistently in the mid 50's or higher and the soil has a fair amount of moisture at the same time. One needs the other. If these two things will be happening. Yes you will miss the best opportunity window but all the seeds do not germinate at the same time and on the same day. The longer you wait if the two conditions are present. Your percentage of seeds controlled will lower with each passing day.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,226

    I'd wait until first week of may for your crab grass preventer. Crab grass preventer only works for 3 months unless something newer is out- doubtful. Also most crab grass preventer will actually kill very recently germinated crabgrass. Waiting a month will give you better protection in summer after the heat has taken hold and lawns have thinned out making it easier for crabgrass to take hold after the preventer is starting to fail. Big question is to see how long the prevent will continue to work and when crabgrass starts to germinate in your area. With that said if fertilize now with something with a low nitrogen.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. aaronmg

    aaronmg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 357

  5. theeplaymaker

    theeplaymaker LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 22

    Thanks for the help! Aaronmg that is exactly what I was looking for yesterday!!
     
  6. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    I wait until nearly the end of May for crabgrass preventer application. That being said, I am in Upstate, NY.

    I have used a fertilizer/crabgrass preventer that was combined in one application and it worked well. New grass grew and no crabgrass. I'm not sure if it is ideal and it was also crazy expensive.

    Regarding the stuff on the lawn I doubt it's a problem. Thick leaf cover would be a problem, but not the various things you mention.

    One final thought, aeration works great on my lawn. Seeds are more likely to sow and the plugs that are left on the lawn serve to dress it.

    Good luck,

    DC
     
  7. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,250

  8. arborist

    arborist LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    crab grass preventer should be applied when forsythia start to bloom that is an indicator on the soil temps being right
     
  9. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,711

    I really dig info like this, but have one quick question:
    I had heard that it is when Redbuds are blooming that pre-emergent should go down...is this at about the same time?

    I do not do apps, but like to keep my customers informed/armed with good intel.
     
  10. arborist

    arborist LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    no Red bud bloom around 190 growing degree days and forsythia bloom around 160 days. first gypsy moth instar hatch at red bud bloom. this is a good reference chart to use too http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/
     

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