Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Organic Feeding...When?

Q: When should I put down the first feeding, and what should I use?

A: Around here, no earlier than March first (or, about three weeks before you expect the lawn to start awakening). My first feeding is around 15 pounds of alfalfa (OK, gerbil food from the local pet supply house) meal per thousand square feet, for a minimal feeding. The gerbil food is around 2.5% nitrogen, 0.5% phosphorous, 1.5% potassium, so it's a fairly weak feeding. That's correct for March.

Adding too much nitrogen to a cool-season lawn early in the season is a very bad idea (I covered that in the crabgrass post just below). This is a gentle boost to carry me over until I feed more heavily later on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Question on Pre-Emergents for Crabgrass

Spring is only four weeks away--you can tell because the grass questions are starting. Here's one I'll blog about. If I actually ever get another visitor, please feel free to post questions in the comments. I'll answer what I can.

Q: When should I apply crabgrass pre-emergent to my lawn? (courtesy of a lawn junkie at work)

A: In the northeast, apply it when the forsythia bloom or when the ground temperature passes 50° and rising. This soil map will give you a more exact answer, but following the bloom is close enough.

Grass doesn't want to eat breakfast quite that early, so a crabgrass pre-emergent without a feeding is best. Feed your lawn in mid-May (for Scott's-type fast release fertilizers) for better results. Delaying the feeding encourages the roots to grow and minimizes top growth. Feeding it grows the top (green) part of the lawn at the expense of the roots.

You can use any pre-emergent you want, or none at all. I tend to find them not very effective, but other people have reported that they do help.

A Visitor!

Ok, the first seven on the counter below were me, I admit it. #8 is not. Thanks for stopping by! Your contribution has taken me from an F-list blogger to...well, an F+ list blogger.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Warmer Spell

The temperatures are holding in the fifties, even at 7 PM. The grass is greening up a bit, although at least the garden refuse is rotting in faster than expected. The projected low on Sunday night is now 13°.

You just have to love irregular climates.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Taking Down the Gardens

Yes, most people do it in November but I tend to leave at least some of the more elegant plants up until February or so. I used the string trimmer today to cut them down.

Over the next six weeks, the bits and pieces should decay away nicely, enriching the soil and preparing the gardens for spring.

January Overseeding

I dormant seeded on January 12 when our warmer period ended. I've included a reference photo from October here--the best of the best, but can you blame me?

For this seeding, I couldn't get my standard mix (Midnight II, Bedazzled, and Moonlight), so I used a different blend (Midnight II, Moonlight, and Prosperity). It should be a hair darker, but not noticeable.

I hope this fills in the area on the western face where the fall seeding didn't take. I was careful to spread some across the entire lawn as well, so any color difference should be minimal.