What a year it’s been!
I cannot remember in my 35+ years in the green industry, a year of weather such as this one, wow! With all of the rain we had I also heard the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting severe winter weather, I hope not.
Like Julie Andrews says in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning…” the winter weather hung on much later than normal disrupting our early spring projects. This delayed flowers blooming, trees from budding and the grass from having any chance of greening up. So the spring weather messed up all plans for lawn care programs. Green-Up with Crabgrass Preventer and other fertilizer applications where constantly delayed due to rain resulting in erratic crabgrass control this summer. Green-Up Weed & Feed was also disrupted a lot. This resulted in poor timing of applications and a lot of complaints for lack of control.
Summer came and it was hot, cold and rainy again. Fungus came on strong and control was difficult due to the many environmental stresses on the grass. Insects arrived later than usual in the season with chinch bugs and grubs feasting on stressed lawns.
September arrives and again we have haphazard weather, more hot, cold and rainy weather than normal. This delayed a lot of summer damage repair re-seeding. Recently we have received many calls because grass seed planted in October and November is germinating very slowly or hardly at all. No, there is nothing wrong with the grass seed; cooler temperatures again delayed seed germination. Any seed that does not germinate now will in the spring. Planting grass seed is best in early fall, in September so remember that for next year providing it doesn’t rain so much. We did experience a few frosts in October so that killed off the crabgrass.
Be sure to keep mowing your lawn as long as it needs it making the last mowing a little shorter. Mulch with your lawn mower leaves into the soil or remove excessive amounts of leaves from lawn areas. Be sure to invite the kids to jump in the big pile of leaves before you dispose of them. Leaves are a great source of organic matter to compost and they are a great source of carbon for your soil. These steps help reduce the potential for snow mold disease to develop. Over the years leaves can somewhat reduce soil pH because they are acid, this can be kept in check with regular soil testing and applications of calcium carbonate to raise pH to desirable levels.
It is now too late the apply fertilizer in NJ due to their fertilizer laws. Look for lawns in your neighborhood which are still green up until Christmas, they fed their lawn in late fall. These lawns will also be the first ones to green up next spring before your first lawn food application. Remember this next year, feed in early fall and also in late fall for the best lawn in town.
Remember proper put-away maintenance for your mower and spreader before you store them in the shed for winter. Clean the mower housing, change the oil and spark plug now, not next spring. Clean and lubricate spreader parts, etc. but if you are not comfortable with these tasks, please use the services of a local lawn mower repair shop.
It should be noted that there was a great increase in ticks this year in NJ. Monmouth County alone reported over 500 cases of Lyme disease. Don’t let the tick make you sick! Keep a vigilant watch out for ticks and take preventative measures to reduce their presence in your yard. Ticks like taller grasses to live in so regular mowing helps keep them at bay and use insect controls labelled for ticks as needed. Check the dog each time after walks too.