Tag Archive | grass

Yes, Virginia, You Can Mow Your Lawn Too Often!!

I have a neighbor that loves his yard work. He’s out cutting the grass, trimming around the sidewalks, and blowing away the debris at least 3 nights each week. I’m incredibly aware of this because of the noise that continues for about 2 hours. Despite all of this work, I’m sorry to say that his lawn is not the beautiful carpet that he wishes it to be. Like many homeowners, he makes the mistake of cutting his grass too short and too frequently. Coupled with the use of non-organic fertilizer (which creates very short roots in the grass, thereby drying out rapidly in between rains), mowing too often or putting your mower blades too low creates a lawn that struggles to survive when the sun gets hot and the rain clouds fail to appear.

The University of Illinois Extension has created a nice one-page guideline for mowing lawns properly. Click here to read it.


In the April edition of Fox Cities Magazine, author Sarah C. Spencer asks us to look at expanding our thoughts about a grass-filled yard to incorporate aspects of gardening. OCMGA President Steve Schultz was interviewed for the article which appears below:


Crabgrass Prevention

by Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator for Dane County

Forsythia is one of the harbingers of spring. The bright yellow blooms indicate that spring has finally sprung! Forsythia’s bloom coincides roughly with soil temperatures at 55F at 1/2 inch depth — the conditions crabgrass seeds need to germinate. So, when forsythia blooms, it is time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass products.

The key to a pre-emergent is to apply and water in before crabgrass seeds germinate, but not too far before, because many products available to homeowners have a limited window of efficacy, usually about 90 days.

Products available to professional lawn care companies have a longer period of efficacy, so you often see companies applying these products earlier than when the forsythia blooms.

Pre-emergents don’t actually kill the seed; they create a chemical barrier that doesn’t allow seeds to germinate. If the soil is disturbed and the barrier disrupted, germination may still occur.

One problem with pre-emergents is that they will also prevent desirable lawn grass seed from germinating, if it is sown while the herbicide is still active. So, be careful when and where you apply the pre-emergent and where you seed later.

If you have dead patches of lawn in spring and want to reseed there, avoid using a pre-emergent in that area. The best time to sow lawn grass seed is actually late August or early September, but if you need to seed in spring, just make sure to keep the seed watered, if it is a dry spring (the same, if it is a dry fall). Wait until the seed has germinated and is about 2 inches tall before fertilizing. The lawn, in general, should not be fertilized until Memorial Day.

by Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator for Dane County