Category Archives: Lawn

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON GARDENING

You probably know someone (maybe even yourself) who has said, “Gardening is too hard. There is so much to learn. I just know if I plant something, I’ll kill it.”

Well, of course you will. Everyone who has ever gardened since Adam and Eve has killed a plant. This is called learning. It’s how we figure out what works and what doesn’t.
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Caring for Your Lawn – Naturally Part III (Watering)

WATERING AND SOIL pH

lawn watering

As counter intuitive as it may seem, you should water your lawn LESS often for better results. Really? The answer is yes, BUT: when you do water, water DEEPLY. Making sure you water sufficiently helps to develop grass roots that go farther down into the soil. Grass watered frequently but shallowly develops shallow roots and the many horizontal ‘runners’ that make up a mat of thatch. Thatch is a loose, intermingled tangle of organic matter that will prevent air and water from reaching grass roots. The result is a lawn that doesn’t look its best and is not benefiting from the watering you are doing.

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So, how do you know if your lawn is getting enough water? Watering so that your grass receives at least 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches of water a week is important. Take a tuna fish can, or empty cat food can, and place it within the zone of the sprinkler and run the sprinkler until the can is full. Check the time it took, and use that as the basis for watering in the future.  If the soil has become quite dry, it may work better to give the grass only 1/2 inch, wait for about 90 minutes, then give it another 1/2 inch.

When to Water?

Avoid watering from 11AM to 3PM, the hottest part of the day. It is best to water between 6 and 10AM. There is less wind, less hot sun, and your lawn has a full day to dry. While you want the roots to be wet, it is important for the grass blades to dry off after watering. For this reason, watering at night invites mildew and fungus. If you cannot water in the morning, doing it between 4 and 7PM is your next best choice.

What About Soil pH?

The pH of the soil (the level of acidity vs. alkalinity) is also important to your lawn’s health. The ideal pH for grass is 6.5 to 7. Since most soil on Long Island is lower than that, we recommend spreading lime to bring the number up. While rare for most lawns, if the pH is too high, soil sulfur should be added. A higher number than 7.0 is more favorable to weeds.

When Should I Apply Lime?

Lime is ideally applied twice a year, once in the middle of the growing season, and again in the fall.

Caring for Your Lawn – Naturally- Part II (Mowing)

PROMOTING LUSH AND GREEN TURF

The way to a lush lawn begins with an understanding of how lawns grow, and the needs of grass plants in terms of mowing, watering, and fertilizing. Misunderstandings and mistakes are common.  Let’s start with what you may or may not mow about mowing.

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The Challenge of Controlling Weeds in April

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Dandelion, clover, plantain and other broadleaf weeds are among the most common and troublesome pest problems in lawns.

Even though most broadleaf weeds can be easily controlled with herbicides, a completely weed-free lawn is neither practical nor environmentally sensible. A safe and sound approach to lawn weed control is to grow healthy turf, spot-treat weeds with the correct weed control product as they appear, and avoid the temptation to guarantee (or attempt to achieve) 100% weed-free turf.

Controlling weeds in April is often more challenging than other times of the year due to the fact that most weed killers do not work in colder weather. But in fact, controlling them early is the best way to keep them from getting out of control later on in the year when sunlight is more abundant and temperatures are warmer.

An organic and natural product is Bonide’s Maize Weed Preventer. This can be used in and around flower and vegetable gardens, lawns, trees and ornamentals, and won’t harm desirable plants. A liquid form of corn gluten meal, it can be easily applied with a hose-end sprayer. Another product that controls weed growth for up to 4 months can be spread by shaking on the lawn or around ornamentals. This is Bonide’s Crabgrass and Weed Preventer.

If weeds insist on appearing despite your efforts at prevention, we recommend other Bonide products such as Weed Beater Ultra: Check out this great videoWeed beater Ultra is the ultimate systemic broadleaf weed killer for lawn and turf. It uses new chemistry that’s especially effective on over 200 hard-to-kill weeds, right to the roots. You will have visible results in just 24 hours, and once it dries, it is rain-proof, and you can reseed in just 2 weeks! Weeds are most susceptible in early spring and late fall, so this is the ideal product for cool weather down to 45°F.

The number of turfgrass herbicides is too numerous to mention here. It should be noted that combination (2 to 4 herbicides) products provide broader spectrum control of weeds than single herbicides.

Additionally, you can help discourage weed growth by not mowing the lawn too short or too often; not fertilizing too much, or at the wrong time of the year; and not over- or under-watering.

Caring for Your Lawn Naturally- Part I (Fertilizing)

In this first of a series on lawn care, learn how fertilizing properly can make the difference  in achieving a great lawn.

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Grass consumes high levels of nitrogen. While weeds like clover can draw nitrogen from the air, grass cannot. So the presence of those weeds could mean your soil needs more nitrogen. One very good fertilizer we recommend is Dr. Earth Organic Lawn Fertilizer. This will feed your grass and supply organic material to the soil for up to three months. Dr. Earth contains beneficial soil microbes which are living organisms that develop a symbiotic relationship with your lawn, helping it to better absorb nutrients from the soil.  They also aid in relieving drought stress by absorbing water from a much greater volume of soil.

The microbes not only help to digest the organic fertilizer, but also aid in the consumption of thatch. (Thatch buildup acts like a screen on the lawn, a mixture of organic and inorganic matter that prevents water and nutrients from being absorbed by the grass). Some of the microbes even produce antibiotic compounds that suppress disease-bearing fungal pathogens, preventing them from becoming established in your lawn.  The end result is a healthy, productive weed, drought and disease-resistant lawn that will give you years of enjoyment.

Timing

Do not do too much heavy yard work until your lawn has dried out somewhat from the melting snow and early spring rains. Doing so can damage your grass that has been dormant throughout the winter and doesn’t want a rude awakening. If you fertilize too early when the grass is dormant, you are throwing your money away. Fertilizing can take place at the end of April or beginning of May. Try to use a fertilizer that contains a pre-emergent weed control. These work best when the soil temperature is around 55 degrees.

Depending on which fertilizer you use and what type of grass you have, you may fertilize again in the summer and the fall, or just the fall. Ask Giordano’s knowledgeable staff for assistance with your lawn’s particular needs so they can be matched with products we carry. There

Whatever fertilizer you use, be sure to apply according to the directions. Too much fertilizer on Long Island lawns causes runoff to our harbors and rivers, which is the source of much of the pollution that exists in our waterways.

Wild Garlic or Wild Onion?

Which one do you have in your lawn or garden?

wild_garlic_plants          wild-onion

Wild Garlic                                         Wild Onion

Both are perennial, spread by seed, bulb, and bulblet. Wild garlic has 2–4 long narrow leaves that are round and hollow. The bulb has a yellowish-brown outer membrane with vertical fibers including several bulblets. Wild onion has more than 2 leaves, long and narrow but are flat, solid and slightly convex. The bulbs are brown with a pattern. There are 1–3 bulblets and the cut surface of the bulb will turn red when exposed to air.

The control is the same for both. For small patches pull or dig it out making sure you get all the bulbs and throw away in the trash. The bulbs can survive for several years so DO NOT COMPOST!

In the lawn you can slow the spread of both of these weeds by mowing regularly. It will help weaken the plant and decrease it’s seed production.

A post emergent herbicide can be applied when the weeds are actively growing in the fall, winter and spring. Treat plants when the greens are between 2 and 8 inches tall. In the garden make sure you protect nearby desirable plants when using an herbicide.

Mulching up to a depth of 4 inches has shown some success but that can create other problems in your garden.

Giordano’s can help you select the right Bonide treatment for your problem area!

 

 

Weed Control In April

Bonide Products & Weed Control in April

Controlling weeds in April is often more challenging than other times of the year due to the fact that most weed killers do not work in colder weather. But in fact, controlling weeds early is the best way to keep them from getting out of control later on in the year when sunlight is more abundant and temperatures are warmer. We recommend bonide products such as Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra: Check out this great video – we carry this product and other Bonide herbicides, come by today!
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Seeding Your Lawn The Right Way

Going for the Green? Here Are A Few Tips:

First, growing a beautiful lawn is NOT easy! It’s quite a process actually and requires patience, persistence and perseverance. Whether you are filling in a patchy lawn or growing grass from scratch in a section of bare earth, compost is key to your success and the success of your grass seedlings!

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Here are our recommendations in no particular order:

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Do you need to control weeds and reseed your lawn?

Crabgrass

August 20th is also usually a good time to apply crabgrass or weed control if necessary. Be sure daytime temperatures are no higher than the low 80s. 70s are more ideal. Look for a still day with no rain in the forecast for 24 hours. Wait 2 weeks to seed after applying weed or crabgrass control.

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The time to reseed your lawn is fast approaching. The ideal time to seed your lawn is usually between August 20th and September 20th. Look for the nighttime temperatures to be in the low to mid 60s.

 

Soil pH for Landscape Plants

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Come in and get a pH test kits or contact Cornell Cooperative Extension-Nassau  horticulture to determine your soil’s pH, then refer to this pH Chart to find the optimum pH for your plantings. A pH of 7 is neutral. To lower your pH (acid), add aluminum sulfate or to raise your pH (alkaline or basic), add lime.