Turf redemption on the horizon

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

I’ve lost the battle. I can’t deny it anymore. My lawn has been overtaken by a bevy of weeds and diseases. I don’t know how we really got to this point. I can blame the weather that has been brutal with heat, humidity, soaking rains and bone dry stretches, but to be honest I’ve probably not fertilized quite enough and the broadleaf herbicide applications I preach about for the fall, well, let’s just say that last year football, golf and some weather seem to have derailed my best intentions for the fall herbicide application. I’ve thought about charging our turf students this fall to come out and collect weed samples for their weed ID collection. My latest walk through found: crabgrass, black medic, oxalis, dandelion, white clover, birdsfoot trefoil, yellow nutsedge, chicory, Canada thistle and perennial sowthistle. Add some typical hungry turf diseases such as red thread and rust, and I better get out the old tennis shoes to walk around the lawn this fall. The good news now is that the forecast is calling for cooler temperatures next week, and I’ve got a plan that is going to re-stake a claim for turfgrass in my lawn.

Step 1: Sharpen the mower blades. It’s been a long season of mowing. The rainfall throughout most of this summer has resulted in almost continual mowing and by now my mower blades are just sharp enough to cut butter.

Step 2: Labor Day fertilization. Anytime from now through the first couple weeks of September is a great time to fertilize the lawn. Temperatures should be cooling down, and the turfgrass will respond favorably to a fertilizer application with a moderate growth response.

Step 3: Broadleaf herbicide application. Target late September or early October for a broadleaf herbicide application to reset the clock on all of those broadleaf weeds you’ve been struggling with all summer.

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