Wow... your lawn needs a drink!

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Over the last two weeks, we have visited a lot of landscapes that are really needing moisture.

During a typical fall, Oklahoma City receives over 7” of rain between the beginning of September and the end of October.  But this year, we are lagging way behind.  Since the first of October, the metro area has received less than 1/10” and in the last 30 days just a little over 2”. 

If you have already stopped watering for the season, you stopped too soon this year.

If you have already cut back on your water, you may have cut back too much.  Usually, by this time of the season, we have received a few good rains allowing you to cut way back, but not this year. 

True - with the cooler and shorter days of October your landscape no longer needs 1.5” of water per week.  But, it does need at least 1” per week.  

 

This is especially true if you have a fescue lawn.

  • Fall is a critical time for fescue lawns.

  • Fall is the best time to establish fescue from seed.

  • Fall is the best time to fertilize fescue heavily.

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We have noticed many fescue lawns that are stressed at the exact time of the year they should be their strongest and looking their best.  If you have fescue, please make sure it is receiving moisture.  This goes for both mature fescue lawns and ones that have been seeded this fall.  Healthy fescue now will make a big difference next spring.

No matter the type of turf you have or the types of trees, shrubs and flowers in your landscape, here are a few watering tips to follow during the Fall and Winter:

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Water Based on Need – The perfect situation would be to inspect your lawn every few days and make watering decisions based on need. Don’t just leave the system on automatic and forget it.  And, don’t just turn it off for the season.  For fescue,  if the grass doesn’t spring back up after walking on it, it is time to water.  When shrub and flower leaves start showing signs of wilt, it is time to water.  Another easy test is to take a long screwdriver, if it slides easily into the soil you don’t need to water. 

Water Less Often – As the time of the year comes to water less, don’t reduce the length of time each zone runs.  Instead water less often.  Set your irrigation to run every 4 days instead of every other day during the fall.  When we get caught up on rainfall, extend watering out to every 6 days. 

Water Deep Not Shallow – Deep watering is important in every season.  Shallow, frequent watering promotes shallow roots, increases weed content, promotes diseases and reduces cold hardiness. If you can get a 1” of water on your lawn in a single watering without causes excessive runoff, water just one time per week.  But, for most of our soils you should plan on watering ½” twice per week.  It is best to saturate the soil each time you water and then allow it time to dry before watering again.

Fescue seeded 3 weeks ago that has been correctly watered. If you seeded this fall keep newly seeded areas tacky moist until the seed fully germinates, usually 14 days. The best technique is to water short cycles 3x per day: early morning, late morning , and late afternoon.

Water Based on Weather – It’s okay to turn your irrigation all the way off when we get into winter if you keep up with the weather.  December through February, water anytime we have not received a good rainfall within the last 7-14 days.  Dry plant roots during the cold of winter can be very damaging.  A good source for local weather data is the Mesonet: https://mesonet.org/

Add A Rain/Freeze Sensor – A sensor will interrupt a run cycle when it rains and when it is too cold.  If you have a rain/freeze system, set your controller to run one time per week during the winter. 

Add a Wi-Fi Link – Several of our customers have installed the Rainbird Wi-Fi Link and allow us the ability to monitor their irrigation systems. Daily we survey the Mesonet website for key weather data, make moisture need decisions and adjust systems.  A rain sensor will stop a cycle, but with the Wi-Fi Link we can remotely adjust a system based on weather data. 

Just because the growing season comes to an end, doesn’t mean your lawn and landscape don’t need moisture.

Protect your landscape investment…

Water based on need…

 year round.

 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

(405)367-3873

 

 

Plan now. Plant next month. Enjoy next spring!

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What requires planning now, planting next month, but you don’t get to enjoy until  next spring? 

Spring Flowering Bulbs!

Instant gratification is a part of our everyday world.  We live in the era of Amazon.  Order tonight, have it tomorrow. 

Does delayed gratification still exist?  Definitely yes!  There is not a better example than spring blooming bulbs. 

The wonderful blooms of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth cannot be added to the landscape in the spring on a whim. 

The most vibrant colors you will enjoy next spring require planning and action now, months before they add color to your world.

Let’s answer a few questions so you can have dynamic color next spring:

When to plant? Spring blooming bulbs need to be planted from late October through mid-December.  They are best planted after the first freeze, which in central Oklahoma is typically between October 28 and November 3.  And, because spring bulbs require winter chilling for successful blooming, it is best to plant them within the first 6 weeks after the first freeze.  Planting later will greatly diminish your success.

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Tulips at the Myriad Gardens in Spring 2019

Tulips at the Myriad Gardens in Spring 2019

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Where to plant? Bulbs require well drained, rich, organic soil.  They do not perform well in the native, tight clay soils that dominate central Oklahoma.  All the spring blooming bulbs prefer full sun, but because they grow and bloom while trees are mostly dormant, you can have success planting under trees.  Tulips perform best as far south as USDA Hardiness Zone 6.  If you live in southern Oklahoma, daffodils and hyacinths are a better choice for spring blooming bulbs.

How to plant? Bulbs should be planted at a depth of two to three times their height, or approximately 4-6”.  Shallow planting exposes cool season bulbs to summer heat.  Plant with the rounded end down and the pointed end up.  Bulbs do not need to be fertilized when they are planted.  But, if your soil is not rich in organic material, I recommend mixing in compost when planting.

Spring bulbs have a dynamic impact when planted in mass.

Spring bulbs have a dynamic impact when planted in mass.

Are spring blooming bulbs annuals or perennials?  Tulips in central Oklahoma are best used as an annual - meaning you will want to replant them every fall.  You will have some repeat blooming the first year or two, but they diminish in results each year.  If you don’t replant every fall, plan on replanting at least every two to three years.  Our tight soils and warm summer soils are not ideal for bulbs to act as perennials.  Daffodils and hyacinths are much more forgiving of our soils and can perform well as perennials.  One key to improving the perennial nature of bulbs is to never plant over the bulbs.  This creates problems for me as I typically use bulbs in my annual color areas.  So, for me, I have to treat bulbs as annuals and replant each year. 

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Can I dig and store bulbs over the summer?  Yes.  Lift the bulbs from the soil after the foliage has completely turned brown using a pitchfork. Dust off as much soil as possible.  Store in a cool, dry place for the summer.

When do they bloom?  Hyacinths will bloom first in late winter to early spring.  Daffodils bloom next in early spring.  Tulips come in three bloom periods – early, mid and late spring.  Early spring tulips bloom the same time as daffodils. The danger with early spring bloomers is the chance their delicate pedals will be short lived due to a late freeze.  Late blooming tulips also run the risk of a short bloom period because a few windy and warm days will put an early end to the show.  I try to use mid-spring blooming varieties as much as possible, or if the area I am planting is large, I will plant tulips from each bloom period to extend the color show.

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What colors are available?  Hyacinth come in bluish-purple, white, buttery-yellow, soft blue and fuchsia.  Daffodils are traditionally white and yellow, but you will find shades of orange, pink and cream.  For tulips, the varieties and colors are nearly endless with new kinds arriving every year.  I have tried many varieties and colors over the years, but I’m a traditionalist when it comes to tulips.  It is really hard to beat a Darwin Hybrid tulip.  Darwin Hybrids are mid-spring bloomers that come in many colors and are known for big blooms.  They also are one of the best at returning in year two and three if you want to use them as a perennial.     

A great site to view all the colors of hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips is www.colorblends.com.  They are strictly a wholesale supplier, but their website is an endless source for bulb information, planting tips and design ideas. 

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Start planning now.

Be ready to plant in November.

Enjoy next spring!

I have never regretted planning ahead and planting spring flowering bulbs.   

 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

405.367.3873

 

 

 

 

 

The World's Worst Weed... Poa Annua!

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Poa annua, commonly known as annual bluegrass, is the world’s most problematic weed and lays claim to the world’s most widespread weed. 

Poa annua is a winter annual that first germinates in the fall when night time temperatures drop into the 60s, daytime temperatures stay under 85 and there is an abundance of moisture.  Optimal germination occurs when soil temperatures dip below 70 degrees. 

Poa annua continues to germinate through the fall, winter and spring making it a several month-long battle.  A single plant can produce up to 2,000 seeds. 

If there is one good thing about having a warmer than normal September, germination of poa annua has been delayed this fall.  The lowest 3 day average soil temperature so far this fall in the Oklahoma City metro area has been 78 degrees.  Unlike last year, when an unusually early cool spell in late August resulted in early poa annua germination.

Poa annua is a low growing, lime green, clumping, grassy weed with small white flowers.  Everyone has experienced annual bluegrass.  It is most troublesome in short cut warm season turf, bermuda and zoyia, during the winter when it is growing and seeding heavily, and turf is dormant.  During the winter it does not have to compete with warm-season turf for light, water and nutrients which allows it to spread quickly when not treated.  In fescue it is not as prolific since the turf is growing and thick in the cool season, but when present and flowering, it will distract from a beautiful turf. 

Most concerning is poa annua has been developing an increasing tolerance for many pre and post emergent herbicides.  Tolerance is the plants ability to survive and reproduce even though it has been treated with a herbicide. 

 

Tolerance is scary when you are talking about weeds and herbicides!

Herbicide resistance in poa annua first developed in Japan in the 1980s with the first occurrence in the US in Mississippi and Tennessee in 2004.

Poa annua is a clumping grassy weed with small white flowers.

Poa annua is a clumping grassy weed with small white flowers.

Here are a few recommendations on how to best overcome herbicide resistance in annual bluegrass:

Problem - A single fall application of a herbicide is not enough for the prevention of poa annua because germination can occur from September to March.  Also, repeated use of the same herbicide will result in herbicide resistance.  

First Solution – Our application #7, in October and November, is critical in the control of poa annua.  This application contains a different fall pre-emergent herbicide than is applied in Application #6.  Additionally, we use a herbicide in Application #7 that has post-emergent abilities on poa annua.

Second Solution – Application #1 in January and February contains herbicides for control of poa annua that can only be used on dormant warm season turf grasses.  Once we reach March each year control of annual bluegrass is very difficult. 

Poa annua will thrive in thin dormant turf during January and February without effective fall prevention.

Poa annua will thrive in thin dormant turf during January and February without effective fall prevention.

 

Problem – Lawn care application effectiveness is reduced when the pre-emergent herbicide is not watered into the top 1” of the soil.

Solution – Always follow the watering instructions when we do your lawn care applications, but especially when the application includes a pre-emergent.  Pre-emergent herbicides are not effective at preventing germination when they remain on the soil surface. 

Problem – Unhealthy, thin turf is a breading ground for poa annua and many other weeds.  Therefore, annual bluegrass is more of a problem in dormant warm season turf than it is in cool season turf.  Annual bluegrass also prefers compacted soil.

First Solution – Applications #2-6 for warm season turf contain fertilizer that thickens the turf reducing area for poa annua seeds to germinate and develop in the fall.

Second Solution – Do not cut warm season turf short for the winter.  Maintaining a healthy amount of top growth will inhibit some seeds from reaching the soil surface.  Annual bluegrass is much more troublesome in short cut, warm season turf during dormancy.

Third Solution – Aeration in the early summer on warm season turf and in the fall on cool season turf will result in a thicker, healthier turf.  Aeration will reduce the compaction and strengthen the root system of your lawn by allowing air, nutrients and water to reach the root system.

 

Maintaining a thick, healthy, properly maintained turf is critical to the prevention of poa annua.

Heavy reliance on herbicides to control poa annua increases the likelihood that it will develop herbicide resistance particularly if you are relying on a single fall pre-emergent application of the same herbicide year after year. 

 
In the spring after lawns have greened up, controlling poa annua can be very difficult without damaging the turf.

In the spring after lawns have greened up, controlling poa annua can be very difficult without damaging the turf.

Without two fall pre-emergent herbicide applications, poa annua will be prolific the next spring when the turf is coming out of dormancy.

Without two fall pre-emergent herbicide applications, poa annua will be prolific the next spring when the turf is coming out of dormancy.

Effective prevention of poa annua is the result of two differing fall pre-emergent applications and a healthy turf.

Our goal is to do all we can to strengthen your lawn and prevent poa annua from littering your dormant lawn this winter. 

We are committed to taking steps to overcoming herbicide resistance of annual bluegrass. 

We need your help in following watering instructions, maintaining proper mowing heights, and adding aeration to your annual services in 2020.

If you have any questions about control of poa annua, please give us a call.

 

Lorne Hall

(405)367-3873

 

October Lawn & Landscape Tips

 
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Calling fall….

Where is fall….?

Has anyone seen fall….?

The normal nighttime low at the end of September is 60.  The normal daytime high is 78.  September is going out like summer, not like fall.     

I’m confident fall will arrive sooner or later.  Hopefully sooner!

Fall is an important time in the landscape.  Much of your lawn and landscape success next season is dependent on what you do in the fall.

Here are a few things to stay focused on during October:

 

Overseeding – October is the last month to establish Fescue from seed this year.  October seeded Fescue will have time to germinate and mature before we receive our first freeze in late November or early December.    Remember, the keys to successful seeding are good seed-soil contact and keeping the seed consistently moist until it germinates. Most disappointment with overseeding is due to not keeping the seed consistently moist for 10-14 days until it germinates.  The worse thing for new seed is for the seed to be moist, then dry out, then moist, and then dry out again.  Pay extra attention to lawn edges where the soil dries quicker and water coverage may not be adequate.

Fescue in October.

Fescue in October.

Bermuda Lawn Maintenance – As we start getting cooler nights, and because of the shorter days, warm season lawns will start to slow down.  Most Bermuda lawns will need to cut less often in October.  Avoid scalping the lawn short to finish off the season.  Anytime grass is scalped the plant uses stored nutrients in the roots to replace leave blades.  Scalping in the fall will result in a weaker root system going into winter.   

Japanese Maples return to bright red this month.

Japanese Maples return to bright red this month.

 

Fescue Lawn Maintenance – Cool season lawns have returned to their peak.  The beauty of fescue in the fall is unsurpassed by any other turf grass.  Mow regularly.  Avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the leaf blade off each time you mow.  One of the strongest landscape statements you can make is achieved with a well-maintained fescue lawn in the fall.

Lawn Fertilizer – Fertilize cool season lawns with a high nitrogen fertilizer this month.  Fall is the best time to feed fescue.  Warm season lawns need one last round of fertilizer in September through early October.  If your Bermuda hasn’t been fertilized yet this fall, you have a couple of weeks left to feed it one last time.  For warm season lawns’ root systems stay active long after the top growth slows.  Feeding the root system now will set your lawn up for success next spring.

 
Bald Cypress turn a beautiful rusty red in October.

Bald Cypress turn a beautiful rusty red in October.

 

Turf Weed Control – Lawns need a fall pre-emergent in September through early October.  So, if you have not taken the first and very important step in preventing fall and winter weeds, please do so as soon as possible.  In late October through early December, a second, winter pre-emergent needs to be applied to keep your lawn weed free until next spring.  Fall is also a great time to control many broadleaf weeds in warm season turf and established cool season turf.  If you seeded your fescue this fall, wait until the new grass is up, actively growing, and has been mowed a few times before you apply any pre-emergent herbicides. 

Tree and Shrub Fertilizer – Do not fertilize trees and shrubs in October.  Fertilizing now can encourage new growth that will not have an opportunity to harden off before the first freeze which may result in plant damage.    

Watering – Continue to water as needed making sure your landscape receives 1” of water every week in October.   With the shorter days and cooler nights, you can start watering less frequently.  The best practice is to continue with deep watering cycles about every 4 days.  It is important that you don’t allow your lawn and landscape to become dry.  Moisture is still needed even when temperatures are cooler.

 

Seasonal Color – Remove your summer annuals and replace with pansies, kale, and mums for great fall color.  Pansies love the cool weather.  Not only will they provide great color this fall, but if they are not allowed to dry out during the coldest periods of winter, they will offer a wonderful blast of color next March and April.  For more information on fall seasonal color revisit our article from two weeks ago, The Colors of Fall.

Nandina and many other shrubs add bright red berries to the landscape during the fall.

Nandina and many other shrubs add bright red berries to the landscape during the fall.

Fall seasonal color change.

Fall seasonal color change.

 

Landscape Plantings – Fall is the best time to plant most container grown trees and shrubs.  Because soil temperatures remain warm long after the days turn cooler, materials planted in the fall develop strong roots before the following summer heat arrives.  Often late spring and summer planted container materials don’t develop roots till the following summer.  Fall planted materials can gain an entire year of development over plants installed in the spring and summer.  Wait to plant ball and burlapped trees until after the first freeze if possible.  Check out last week’s article, Fall is for Planting

Get outside and soak in the October. 

It is one of my favorite months for being outdoors enjoying the landscape! 

If you have questions or need help with any lawn and landscape needs, give us call at (405) 367-3873. 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

Shillouette Sweetgum, a great tree for small spaces, will put on a great show late in October.

Shillouette Sweetgum, a great tree for small spaces, will put on a great show late in October.

 

Fall is for planting!

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Wait…. Really?  I thought spring was the season for planting new shrubs and trees? 

Actually, fall is by far best time to plant!

In the spring, everyone gets the planting bug. Garden centers are loaded with colorful plants that often unfairly entice you into taking them home.  Unfortunately, new plants struggle through the summer, often not living up to the way they looked in the garden center and leave us disappointed.

Maybe we need to change our thinking.  

Could it be spring isn’t the best time to add to your landscape, but rather fall is? 

Four reasons why fall is better for planting than spring

 

1.     Warm Soil Equals Root Growth

Soil temperatures remain warm well into the fall and early winter resulting in root development.  Shrubs and trees put their energy into growing roots more in the fall than any other time of the year.  Fall planted landscape materials have more time for the root system to become established before the onset of summer heat.  Plants installed in the spring don’t have the root system needed for growth and spend the first summer just trying to survive.     

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3.     Fall Weather Brings More Moisture

New shrubs and trees require supplemental watering.  During the fall and winter new plants need at least 1” of moisture per week, which is likely to occur from rainfall.   In the summer, new plants often need 2” or more of water to survive.  Chances are much greater you will be spending time hand watering your spring planted shrubs and trees than you will fall planted ones. 

Plant a Japanese Maple this fall and have more red in your landscape next spring when leaves emerge.

Plant a Japanese Maple this fall and have more red in your landscape next spring when leaves emerge.

4.     Head Start on Next Year  

Fall planted materials can gain an entire year of development over plants installed in the spring and summer.  Because fall plants will start developing roots now, they will be ready to grow next spring while spring plantings will grow little until they develop roots in the fall.  It has been my experience that a 3-gallon shrub planted in the fall will be the same size as a 5-gallon shrub planted in the spring after one season.  Save money.  Plant in the fall.  

Crape Myrtles planted in the fall will bloom more their first season than ones planted in the spring or summer.

Crape Myrtles planted in the fall will bloom more their first season than ones planted in the spring or summer.

Plant perennials in the fall for great early blooms next spring.

Plant perennials in the fall for great early blooms next spring.

2.     Cool Days Are Less Stressful

Warm days are hard on all plants and are particularly hard on the newly planted.  New plants without a developed root system are more susceptible to moisture loss resulting in desiccated leaves and roots.

 
When azalea are planted in the fall the establish roots and bloom well the next spring.

When azalea are planted in the fall the establish roots and bloom well the next spring.

Japanese Maple in the spring.

Japanese Maple in the spring.

Planting creeping phlox this fall will give you a carpet of color in the spring.

Planting creeping phlox this fall will give you a carpet of color in the spring.

 

Yes, most shrubs and trees can be planted year-round and because they can, we typically plant at any time.  But, the ideal time to add new plants to your landscape is September through December in Oklahoma.  For deciduous trees the best time to plant is during winter dormancy, December through March. 

Remember, your landscape has a big impact on home value and greatly impacts your curb appeal. 

Plant something new this fall. 

You won’t be disappointed.

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

(405)367-3873

 

 

 

The Colors of Fall

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With daily temperatures running above average, it is hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from removing your summer annual color and replacing it with the colors of fall.  But, September is the month that starts out as summer and ends as fall with an average high temperature of 90 at the beginning of the month and 78 at the end of the month. 

September is the transition month for much of your landscape.  Impatiens, begonias, penta, lantana, periwinkle, coleus, sunpatiens….well, all summer color…is often at its best in early September and starting to fade by the end of the month. 

Now is the time to start planning your seasonal color change for October.

Let’s look at the most common options:

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Pansies – Why is the only winter color planted in the fall, and almost without fail, will not only survive the winter cold, but put on an amazing bust of spring color called a Pansy?  That is the wrong name for an annual color that is really tough!  Planting pansies in early October will add vibrant yellows, blues, purples, oranges, whites and reds to your landscape for 7-8 months.  The key to pansies surviving the winter is keeping the plants from being bone dry when cold fronts arrive.  Pansies love fertile, well-drained soil.  For the best results add compost to the soil when planting.  For the best show, plant on 6” centers.  Pansies are available with a clear face or with a blotch.  I love both, but enjoy the added color contrast you get with the blotch. 

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Mums – They are actually a perennial, but can double as an annual for dramatic color during October and November.  They are traditionally used in pots and overlooked as a bedding plant.  Use mums in the landscape for bold, eye-catching color.  An added bonus – after the blooms fade, transfer the plants to a place where they will accent the landscape as a perennial in the coming springs and falls. 

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Kale riding out an ice storm.

Kale riding out an ice storm.

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Kale and Ornamental Cabbage – A leafy annual that adds texture along with hues of purples, pinks, and whites to the fall landscape.  Most winters kale and cabbage will add interest to the landscape through the holidays and occasionally into the spring.  Just like pansies, the most damaging thing you can do is allow the soil to be dry when cold spells sweep in. 

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Bulbs: Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths – Not fall color, but they must be planted in the fall for color next spring.  We will spend more time talking about spring flower bulbs in a few weeks, but now is the time to start making your plans.  Bulbs put on their best show in the spring when they are planted with several bulbs together in a group. 

For the best color show, limit mums and/or kale to 20% or less of your planting.  Because of the limited bloom time of mums and the chance kale will not last till spring, you will limit your spring color show if you have too much of them.  Or, plant your spring bulbs in the same area as your mums and kale.  The bulbs will fill the void with a burst of color next spring.

Start planning now.  Be ready to plant in October. 

You don’t want to be without color in your landscape for the next 7-8 months.

 

Lorne Hall

Hall|Stewart is a professional lawn and landscape company committed to improving your environment through responsible landscape services.

 

 

 

 

Fall... the absolute best time to establish fescue!

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In early August, we visited about The Reasons For A Fescue Lawn.

Last week, in our September Lawn & Landscape Tips we discussed Fescue Overseeding.

Why so much focus on establishing fescue?

Because,

  • if you have areas of your lawn where the bermuda has thinned because of shade…

  • Or, you already have fescue…

  • Or, you want to have a green lawn longer into the fall and earlier in the winter…

It is very important that you take advantage of the next few weeks and overseed with fescue!  Today through October is the absolute best window to establish fescue.   

If you wait until spring to seed fescue, you are doing it at the second-best time and there is an enormous chasm between the establishment of seeding now (the best time) and seeding in the spring (the second-best time).

Don’t settle for second best results.  Follow these four steps to have a great fescue lawn:

1.     Evaluate Your Turf.  Bermuda needs at least 8 hours of direct sunlight for best performance.  Less than 8 hours and it starts to thin.  Bermuda greens up very slow in the spring with the less direct sunlight it receives.    As your trees mature, and your neighbor’s trees, your turf is getting less and less direct light. 

Fescue will perform much better in dappled or partial shade than bermuda. 

Resist the belief that if you trim the limbs up higher and the bermuda will do better.  It won’t — thick bermuda requires direct sunlight. 

Also, don’t think of fescue as only a shade grass.  Fescue will grow in full sun.  Yes, in July and August, in full sun it will show some stress (fescue’s off season).  But, you will have a green lawn long after bermuda has gone dormant and you will have a green lawn earlier in the spring.  You can’t beat the appearance of fescue from March through June and again September through December.

If your lawn receives less than 8 hours of direct sun light every day, then fescue is your best choice for a great lawn.

If your lawn receives less than 8 hours of direct sun light every day, then fescue is your best choice for a great lawn.

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2.     Good Seed Source.  When selecting the type of grass, a blend is best.  Blends are a combination of two or more varieties within the same species, such as two or more fescues in one mix.  Blends are a combination of the best species, tested over time, for the best shade tolerance and disease resistance. The number one problem with fescue is brown patch disease.  The best blends use fescue varieties that show strong resistance to brown patch.  Also, some blends will contain bluegrass and, or rye for even more vibrant spring color. 

 Oklahoma State University conducts annual research on cool season turf.  It is always best to purchase a blend that contains varieties that have performed well in their trials.

Our primary seed this fall is Go Thunder Blend.  It is a mixture of Supersonic Tall Fescue, Titanium 2LS Tall Fescue, Firecracker SLS Tall Fescue, 4th Millennium SRP Tall Fescue, Fastball RGL Perennial Ryegrass, and Legend Kentucky Bluegrass.

3.     Good Seed to Soil Contact is Critical.  Start with cutting the existing turf short to remove excess grass, then loosen the soil to create good seed to soil contact.   

Aeration is the best method to gain good seed to soil contact.  Aerating also gives you the extra benefit of improving the soil structure, increasing water absorption, and developing deeper roots. 

If overseeding an existing fescue area with a good strand of grass, spread seed at a rate of 5-8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If establishing a new fescue lawn, spread seed at a rate of 10-12 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

A great way to have good seed to soil contact is through aeration. And you gain the benefits of an improved soil structure at the same time.

A great way to have good seed to soil contact is through aeration. And you gain the benefits of an improved soil structure at the same time.

Fescue lawn cut short before seeding.

Fescue lawn cut short before seeding.

Keeping the seed tacky moist until it germinates is critical to successful fescue seeding.

Keeping the seed tacky moist until it germinates is critical to successful fescue seeding.

4.     Keep the Area Tacky Moist Until Seed Germinates.   The first three steps are critical for success. But, you can get the first three correct and have complete failure if the seeded area is not kept moist until new grass is visible in the entire area.

For the best success, set your irrigation to run 3 short cycles per day.  Set spray type zones to run 5 minutes each time.  Set rotor type zones to run 10 minutes each time.  If possible, set the system to run before dawn (4:00 AM), late morning (10:00 AM), and mid-afternoon (4:00 PM). 

You don’t have to have an irrigation system to establish fescue.  You only need to be diligent at watering every morning and every evening.   

The most damaging thing you can do to germinating seed is to allow the seed to dry out between watering. 

Typically, you will see some grass coming up within 10 days and a good stand in 14.  Check the seeded area every few days to see how the seed is progressing.  Adjust water if you see areas getting too dry.  If you do not have a good start within 14 days, apply more seed. 

At 14 days, if you have a good stand of seed, resume normal mowing and watering habits. 

Fescue lawn 2-3 weeks after seeding.

Fescue lawn 2-3 weeks after seeding.

Don’t let the best time to seed fescue slip past you this fall!

If you need assistance in establishing a fescue lawn, have questions about fescue, or would like to get on our overseeding schedule, give us call – (405) 367-3873. 

 

Lorne Hall

Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape

 

 

 

 

September Lawn & Landscape Tips

 
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September – the Welcome to Fall Month

For lawn and landscape enthusiast, September is an exciting time.  Nighttime temperatures gradually become cooler. Daytime temperatures start becoming enjoyable again. Even an afternoon in the 90’s doesn’t feel near as warm as it did in August.  Your lawn loves it.  Your plants love it.  And…we love it!

September is an important month for the lawn and landscape.  The activities you perform this month will make a big difference in the success of your landscape next spring.  But sadly, September is too often the month your outdoor environment starts to feel neglected as attention turns toward football, school and fall activities.   

Don’t let your lawn and landscape feel neglected this September.  Finish 2019 strong and get a head start on 2020 by checking off these lawn and landscape activities this month:  

Fescue lawn 2-3 weeks after fall overseeding.

Fescue lawn 2-3 weeks after fall overseeding.

Overseed – If you have a cool season lawn (fescue), now through October is the time to add more seed (overseed).  Fall is by far the most successful time to establish cool season turf.  This summer the excessive moisture in May and June resulted in more than normal brown patch damage.  If that wasn’t enough, July and August brought heat and draught.  For established fescue lawns, some years you can skip seeding.  But, this is not one of the years to skip. 

Also, if you have areas that have become too shady for bermuda, fall (not spring) is the time to transition to fescue.  Bermuda needs 8 hours of direct sunlight for best performance.  Anything less and it will begin to thin.  Inspect areas of dappled sun and consider overseeding with fescue this year.   Sooner or later you will have to introduce fescue in your lawn if you have trees. 

Fall seeded fescue lawns result in the best cool season lawns next spring.

Fall seeded fescue lawns result in the best cool season lawns next spring.

Success is easier if you start the process before the bermuda has completely faded.  Fescue is also a good choice for the narrow side areas of houses where the turf only receives a few hours of direct sun each day.

What are the keys to successful seeding? Good seed soil contact, a quality fescue blend, and keeping the seeded area tacky moist until the seed germinates. 

Example of a shady lawn that is thing and desperately in need of fall overseeding.

Example of a shady lawn that is thing and desperately in need of fall overseeding.

Fall Pre-emergent & Post-Emergent – Winter annual weeds germinate as temperatures cool.  Poa annua, annual bluegrass, is the first to germinate, followed by henbit and chickweed.  These are the weeds that will keep you from having a clean landscape next January through April.  When you skip the fall pre-emergent, you will be forced to use harsher products next spring to clean up the turf when you should be focused on developing a lush green turf.  For the best results, a fall pre-emergent should be applied to your lawn this month.   Also, many bi-annual weeds, such as dandelions, are easier to control in the fall.

Note:  DO NOT use pre-emergent herbicides now in areas that are going to be

seeded this fall.

Lawn Fertilizer – Warm season lawns, bermuda and zoyia, need one more application of fertilizer this fall.  This application helps strengthen roots and prepare the turf for winter. 

Fall is the best time to apply higher nitrogen fertilizer to fescue lawns.  Plan on getting the first fall feeding on fescue this month.  Even if you will be overseeding your fescue this fall, it is important to get fertilizer on the existing fescue this month.   

Insect Problems – If you have grub problems, they are actively feeding now.  You won’t see much damage now, but next spring you will.  Because they are small and feeding just below the surface, September is a good month to make a treatment.  Once we have a frost, they will work deeper into the soil to overwinter.  Only make an application if you have a history of grub problems.  Overuse of insecticides will also kill beneficial insects. 

Watch for fall webworm in your trees. Webworm create webbing on the ends of tree branches as the worm devours the leaves. Webworm can have more than one generation per season.  The earlier generations do not cause lasting damage. But, the last generation can result in die back.  To treat with an insecticide, you must penetrate the webbing.  The most effective approach of control is to monitor trees and prune out the web areas while they are small.  Place webbing in a plastic bag and dispose of immediately. If you leave the branches on the ground, you will be amazed at how quick the worms will be back in the tree.

Mowing – Continue to mow often enough that you are removing no more than 1/3 of the blade of grass with each cutting.  For warm season turf, maintain the height at or near 2 – 2 1/2” going into the fall.  Avoid cutting short or scalping warm season lawns at this time.  Anytime you cut below the leaf space and into the stems of the plant, you are causing stress.  The plant will use nutrients stored in the root system to generate new leaves.  At this time of the season, you don’t want to cause any stress that would require the lawn to use nutrients stored for the winter. 

For cool season, it is best to cut the lawn shorter before seeding.  This will increase seed to soil contact.  After the new seed starts growing, gradually increase mowing height to 3”.

When you don’t mow your Bermuda too low in the fall it will develop a stronger root system for the winter months.

When you don’t mow your Bermuda too low in the fall it will develop a stronger root system for the winter months.

When you cut below the leaf blade into the stem your Bermuda lawn will have a scalped, brown appearance.

When you cut below the leaf blade into the stem your Bermuda lawn will have a scalped, brown appearance.

 

Watering – On the average, Central Oklahoma received 3.5” of rain in the last 7 days. Soil moisture readings are near 100%.  We recommend you put your irrigation on a 5-7 day rain delay for now.  Through the fall, monitor weather and then water as needed.  As nights and days cool, and day length shortens, your landscape will need less water.  Typically, during September, you can start reducing the number of days you water. It is always best to maintain deep soakings and reduce the frequency.  At some point this month, it may be best to water every 4 days rather than on the odd/even plan.   

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Fall Color – Summer color will start to fade this month. Toward the end of the month or early next month you will want to replace your summer annuals with cool season annuals.  Pansies, mums, and kale are the dominate players.  Use more pansies than mums and kale since pansies typically overwinter and flourish the following spring. 

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I love fall!   Cool season lawns return to their splendor. Seasonal color is refreshed and trees and shrubs burst with brilliant color. 

But, as a landscape professional, my favorite aspect about fall is taking the steps needed to have a great spring next year.

If you need assistance with any of the September lawn and landscape tasks, or have questions concerning your lawn and landscape, give us call – (405) 367-3873. 

 

Lorne Hall

Hall |Stewart Lawn + Landscape