Q&A - Guaranteed Turf Care

Questions and Answers

1Q&A About Crabgrass & Quackgrass
Crabgrass is an annual grass type weed that appears above the soil in July and August. It is often confused with quackgrass which is a perennial grass type weed that appears in the lawn in April and May. Crabgrass is a very difficult weed to control. Crabgrass can be treated both pre-emergently, which are treatments applied before the weed appears above the surface, and post-emergently, or after the weed appears.

Guaranteed TurfCare has developed effective treatment schedules for Crabgrass that consists of multiple pre-emergent and post-emergent treatments. We call this service "Crabgrass Plus".

Common Consumer Questions About Crabgrass

Why is Crabgrass so difficult to control?

Crabgrass cannot be controlled as effectively after the plant has emerged like broadleaf weeds can. As a result, one needs to rely heavily on pre-emergent treatments for a control program. Unfortunately, a pre-emergent application does not offer complete control.

How does a pre-emergent application work?

The pre-emergent treatment, when watered into the soil, forms a partial barrier in the top 1/8" to 1/4" of the soil. If the sprout, from the newly germinated seed, makes contact with the herbicide in the soil, it will die before emerging above the ground.

Why are the results of a pre-emergent application somewhat unpredictable?

Some of the herbicide dissipates into the air before it is watered into the soil. The herbicide binds to the thatch and never reaches the soil Over a matter of weeks, the soil gradually reduces the herbicide to zero effectiveness.

What does Guaranteed TurfCare do to improve the results?

To improve the odds of germinated weed sprout making contact with the herbicide in the soil, you need to apply more than one application. Two pre-emergent applications spaced 4 weeks apart, prior to July 1, will improve control. Post-emergent treatments applied directly to the emerged crabgrass plants in July will also be necessary. Additional pre-emergent treatments in July will help reduce August infestation levels. All of these additional treatments are part of our "Crabgrass Plus" program.

Why do I have so many weeds along the edges of the street and driveway?

We call these heat-sink areas. The extra heat generated by the blacktop and concrete warm the soil, which germinates a higher percentage of weed seeds. The increased heat also stresses the turf, reducing turf density. Reduced turf density allows more sunlight to the soil, which also increases the weed seed germination rate.

The only solution is to re-establish a dense turf with a very aggressive watering program to keep the soil cooler.

Can I plant grass seed before or after a pre-emergent crabgrass treatment?

You should not seed before a pre-emergent treatment, however, you can do some spot seeding after a pre-emergent treatment if you use new topsoil and seed into it.

When can I water, mow, or rake after a pre-emergent treatment?

Wait 24 hours (to protect any broadleaf treatments), then water thoroughly before mowing or raking. Watering is necessary to improve the results of fertilizer and pre-emergent treatments.

2Q&A About Dandelions and Broadleaf Weeds

Broadleaf Weeds can be divided into two categories: Cool Season and Warm Season Broadleafs. Cool Season Broadleafs, like Dandelions, Clover, Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie), and Plantain emerge in the lawn and are actively growing in the cooler soil temperatures of the spring and again in the fall. Warm Season Broadleafs, like Black Medic, Spurge, Wood Sorrel, Purslane, and Oxalis emerge in the lawn during the warmer summer months.

Treatment Recommendations The most effective way to treat broadleaf weeds is with a liquid product that can be readily absorbed into the plant through its leaf surface. This means broadleaf weeds need to be treated "post emergently" or after they have become visible in the lawn. Since weeds continue to emerge throughout the growing season as soil temperatures change, a minimum of 4 weed control treatments need to be applied. Lawns experiencing special weed problems will require additional treatments.

Common Consumer Questions about Broadleaf Weeds

After I have eliminated all the weeds in the spring, why do weeds keep coming up in the summer and fall?

There are millions of weed seeds that survive in the soil for up to 8 years. A minute percentage of these weed seeds can germinate and sprout new weeds during the summer and fall. Various soil temperatures will germinate different varieties of weeds throughout the growing season.

What is that Ivy that grows in my lawn?

There are a variety of ground ivys that are quite common. Ground Ivys are very stubborn due to their small, wax-coated leaves. Control can be improved with a series of treatments 10-14 days apart.

Can I plant grass before or after a broadleaf treatment?

Yes, if there is not a pre-emergent in the weed control. The only time grass seed can be injured by a broadleaf treatment is if there are new, tender grass shoots above the soil. In this situation, we treat around the newly seeded areas.

When can I water, mow, or rake after a broadleaf treatment?

Wait 24 hours to water. Since most treatments are accompanied by fertilizer or pre-emergent, it is recommended to water thoroughly, (after 24 hours), before mowing or raking.

Why do I have too many weeds along the edges of the street and driveway?

We call these heat-sink areas. The extra heat generated by the blacktop and concrete warm the soil, which germinates a higher percentage of weed seeds. The increased heat also stresses the turf, reducing turf density. Reduced turf density allows more sunlight to the soil, which also increases the weed seed germination rate.

The only solution is to re-establish a dense turf with a very aggressive watering program to keep the soil cooler.

How can Guaranteed Turf Care improve my weed control?

Guaranteed Turf Care can improve your weed control by having certified technicians backed up by the best training programs in the industry, who are continuously on your lawn scouting weeds, applying the right products at the right time, and who are financially motivated to take the time to do the job right.

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

IPM is all about prevention, monitoring and limited use of control materials.

3Q&A About Mowing and Watering

Is watering the lawn important?

Your grass plant is composed of 90% water, therefore any minor change in water availability places the plant under stress. Proper watering means applying enough water to soak the soil several inches in depth. Soil that is moist to a depth of 6 inches will encourage deep root growth.

How much water should I apply?

Use a spade to check the water depth of the soil. Monitor the length of time it is necessary to run the sprinkler to soak the soil to a depth of 6 inches.

The frequency of watering must be determined by the weather. Generally, 3-4 days of temperature over 60º without a good rain will induce drought stress. The first sign of stress is a slight change in color of the plant from green to bluish-green. Both manual and automatic systems should be manually turned on at this time. Do not water again until these conditions become present again.

Do you water differently for sandy soils or slopes?

Because these conditions present poor water retention you may need to increase the frequency.

Should I water in the fall?

Most people inappropriately stop watering in the fall months. Since September and October are the most productive months for root development, continue with the proper watering procedures until the end of October.

Is there a right way to mow the lawn?

Improper mowing can create severe lawn problems. The most common mistakes are mowing too short or not mowing often enough. These errors create a weaker plant and root system.

How high should I mow the lawn?

Never mow shorter than 2.5 to 3 inches in height. Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This means scheduling your mowing based on the lawn's growth rate. For grass taller than 4 inches, reset your mower to it's highest setting and mow again in two days.

Is it important to sharpen your blades?

You should sharpen your mower blades often. Dull blades shred the grass tips, creating openings for disease organisms to enter. Watch for shredded, whitish grass tips as a sign of dull blades.

Should I catch the clippings?

Clippings should not be removed, but returned to the lawn to recycle nutrients. Clippings do not contribute to thatch buildup, as many people believe. However, clippings should be removed if they are excessive in length and smothering the lawn.

1Q&A About Fertilizing

The objective of any fertilizer program is to supply the grass plant with the appropriate nutrients throughout the growing season. To maximize results, one needs a knowledge of appropriate application rates and timing relative to seasonal growth rates.

Common Consumer Questions About Fertilizer:

How much fertilizer should be applied?

Fertilizer application rates are always calibrated in pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of grass. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient a grass plant utilizes. Bluegrass lawns in this area require 4 pounds of nitrogen per year. The maximum rate of any single application should never exceed 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Excessive application of nitrogen in a single application or lack of annual nitrogen requirements is detrimental to developing a healthy lawn. Application rates of nitrogen should be less than 1 pound per 1000 square feet during the spring growth surge.

Should fertilizers be applied in the summer?

The goal of an appropriate fertilizer program is not to stimulate shoot growth if the plant is under the heat stress of a July mid-summer. Appropriate fertilizers during this period would be sulfur coated to slow down release times. Application rates should be reduced.

What is the purpose of October "winterizer fertilizers"?

October is an ideal month to fertilize because there is very little shoot growth and the cooler temperatures stimulate root activity. The natural fall cycle of the grass plant is to send all of its nutrients down to the roots and store the balance for winter survival and spring shoot growth. Higher potash fertilizers would be more appropriate at this time of year.

What is the best time to apply fertilizer?

Two applications in the April-May-June time frame are necessary to replenish nutrients lost during the vigorous shoot growth of spring. A mid-summer application should be applied only if needed. Two applications in the late summer-fall period are necessary to replenish nutrients lost during the heat stress of summer and to prepare the plant for the winter.

Should a fertilizer contain phosphorous?

Phosphorous is not used in most fertilizers today and Guaranteed Turf Care does not use any phosphorous. Phosphorous is not used because it promotes algae growth in our streams and lakes. Phosphorous is also sufficient in most of our area soils.

What are the advantages of organic fertilizer?

,p>The advantage of organic fertilizer is its slower release methods of feeding the soils and roots naturally. Organic fertilizers feed through the activity of micro-organism activity, which is a very slow, natural process.

Will an organic program eliminate toxicity?

All fertilizers are non-toxic so toxicity is not a criteria for selecting a fertilizer. When caring for a lawn the toxicity is in the weed control. The usage of weed control products can be reduced when two step methods are utilized. The first step is the application of a dry fertilizer only. The second step is to treat the weeds only with a liquid formulation. It is not necessary to treat areas of the lawn absent of weeds.

When can I water, mow, or rake after a fertilizer treatment?

Watering improves the results of a fertilizing so you can water at any time. It is necessary to water before you mow or rake.

How can a Guaranteed Turf Care fertilizer program improve my lawn?

Fertilizer, like weed control, is a maintenance function that needs to be done several times during the growing season. Without continuous feeding programs the lawn will deteriorate and weed infestation will increase. You can be assured that our licensed professionals, with 35 years of local experience, will apply the appropriate blend of fertilizer at the right time and at the proper rates.

How can I improve turf density?

With adequate fertilizer treatments throughout the growing season, Lime or Gypsum treatments to supplement the soil, core aeration, overseeding, high mowing and plenty of water.

2Q&A About Aeration

Core aeration is a mechanical process that places approximately 7 finger size holes per square foot into the soil.

Common Consumer Questions About Aeration:

What is the benefit of these holes?

The holes immediately fill with oxygen which encourages the roots to rapidly expand and fill the oxygen rich holes. The second benefit is to increase the level of oxygen in the soil. The increased oxygen improves the mobility of nutrients, water, and air both within the plant and between the soil and roots.

Why is lawn aeration necessary?

Soils compact very readily from rainfall, watering, mowing, normal foot traffic, etc. Compacted soils do not contain sufficient amounts of oxygen to allow for healthy turf plant growth. Another common soil problem is called "soil layering". Soil layering develops when 1 inch or so of topsoil has been spread over the top of an existing subsoil. Most often the roots never penetrate the subsoil resulting in a very shallow root system. Core aeration will help develop these roots to grow into the subsoil.

How many times and when should I aerate?

Aeration should be done twice per year. Avoid aerating during the heat of the summer.

Does aeration help reduce thatch?

Core aeration helps control thatch build up. It accomplishes this by adding oxygen to the soil which increases the decomposition rate. Core aeration will not remove an existing 1 inch thatch layer, but it is very beneficial in containing the growth of thatch levels.

Should I seed in conjunction with a core aeration?

Seeding right after an aeration is an excellent idea. The aeration pulls soil up to the surface which increases seed-soil contact which increases germination rates.

What are other methods to improve the soil?

Adding Lime or Gypsum are also great amendments to build the soil naturally.

3Miscellaneous Lawn Questions

What can I do about moles?

Guaranteed Turf Care offers a 100% natural product that will repel moles from your lawn. It is completely safe around children or pets. Our standard program consists of four treatments. For lawns with persistent problems we recommend our treatments which utilize baits.

What can I do about mushrooms?

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a fungus feeding on decaying wood in the soil. The fungus becomes active whenever the environment is cool and moist. The fungus will remain active until the the decaying wood is removed from the soil.

What can I do about moss growing in the grass?

Moss grows in shaded areas that lack sufficient sunlight to grow grass. The choice is to either trim the shade trees to increase the amount of sunlight, or plant shade tolerant plantings.

What is the best time to seed?

Seeding between August 15 and mid September offers ideal conditions. Weed competition is lower, the temperatures are continually getting cooler and there is not any conflict with pre-emergent herbicides.

What is the best way to seed?

In order to achieve a high germination rate you must have seed soil contact (working the seed into the top 1/8-1/4 inch of soil) and you must keep the soil continually moist for 2 weeks. Seeding after a core aeration is ideal.

How can I improve the density of my grass in shaded areas?

The best solution is to get more sunlight to the grass plant by pruning shade trees. If there is adequate sunlight, another alternative is to plant shade tolerant grass seed. In many situations shade tolerant plants or ground covers are a better option than grass.

What can I do about ant hills?

Applying a granular insecticide to the lawn will give temporary control. This product helps control mosquitoes simultaneously.

What is thatch?

Thatch is make up of dying grass parts that have not decomposed. They accumulate on top of the soil and pose a health hazard to the lawn when the thatch becomes 1/2 inch or more thick.

How do I control or remove thatch from my lawn?

You can keep thatch from accumulating by increasing the decomposition rate. This is done by increasing the amount of oxygen in the soil with a core aeration. Removing a thatch layer that is 1/2 inch or more thick can be accomplished with several aerations.

Is the Ph of the soil important?

Kentucky bluegrass will not utilize the nutrients in the soil properly if the Ph is not balanced around 7.0. A low Ph reading means the soil is acidic and will need lime applications. A high Ph reading means the soil is alkaline. Most soils in the twin cities improve with either Lime or Gypsum treatments. Guaranteed Turf Care provides these applications.

What are the dead circles in my lawn?

Dead patches of grass can be symptoms from a variety of problems. Insect infestation and fungal diseases may be possible causes. Contact a lawn care specialist to inspect and diagnose the problem. Guaranteed Turf Care provides this service at no charge.

What is the white powder on my grass blades?

It is probably a disease called "Powdery Mildew." Powdery Mildew is common in shaded areas. The disease is cosmetic and will not kill the roots. Increasing the amount of sunlight by pruning shade trees will alleviate the problem.

Why do I have orange tinted, dying grass around the edge of my trees?

This is a symptom of an insect called Greenbug. Greenbugs are minute aphids that suck the juices out of the grass blade and inject a toxic saliva. Guaranteed Turf Care can apply insecticides to alleviate the problem.

Why do I have trouble growing grass on a hill?

All hills are difficult because the runoff of water does not allow for adequate water retention to develop a healthy root system. South and west facing hills absorb additional heat which compounds the heat/water stress to the grass plant. Hills need to be watered for shorter durations but more often to help alleviate the stress.

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