Time to get ready to fix those lawns

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2014

ugust is the time to prepare for fall fescue lawn renovation. Weather over the past few weeks has been very conducive to turf growth and also excessive weed growth.
Early September, usually after Labor Day, is an ideal time of year to fertilize and reseed fescue or cool season lawns. Homeowners need to make preparations now to make the renovation process a success.
Now is an opportune time to have your soil tested. Weak or thin lawns may indicate a nutritional problem. Soil sample boxes, forms and instructions are available at the Cooperative Extension Office on Old Concord Road in Salisbury.
Summer weeds are a major problem in fescue lawns. Many of the cooler season weeds have emerged with the recent rainfalls and cooler temperatures. When the majority of a lawn is entirely weeds, the most logical solution is to kill the entire lawn and start with a new lawn. Herbicides containing glyphosate (Roundup) and other herbicides are necessary to kill unwanted grasses and weeds to the root and prevent reemergence.
Bermuda grass, crabgrass and other weeds should be sprayed now. Bermuda grass is a major problem perennial grass that is difficult to control. Bermuda grass should be sprayed as soon as possible, since this weed grows best at high temperatures. Glyphosate translocates into the plant through the foliage to the root system, killing the plant. Often, more than one application may be needed to control the weed. Early August applications allow the homeowner another opportunity to reapply weed killers to areas that may have been missed with a previous spray. As the weather begins to cool in late September, glyphosate will loses its effectiveness.
Lawns or weed-infested areas in lawns that are completely killed are much easier to till, or, when using a pull behind or power core-aerator. Areas to be seeded that are completely bare provide an optimum seedbed for grass seed and fertilizers and emerging grass seed. Blocking off rectangular sections works best for renovation projects because it helps facilitate correct measurement.
Lawn renovation time is just a few weeks away, in early September. The seeding window for fescue and other cool season grasses is fairly narrow, so those who plan to renovate this fall need to be prepared this month. More articles will follow later this month on seeding and fertilization. N.C. State University has developed a lawn care app that keeps homeowners current with lawn care information. Go to http://www.lawncare.ncsu.edu/ for more detailed and current lawn care information for both warm and cool season lawns.

Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.