Fertilizing/Weed Control

  • How Long Should You Wait to Use Herbicides on Fresh Sod?

    How Long Should You Wait to Use Herbicides on Fresh Sod?Sod is transplanted mature turf that is grown on a farm, and then rolled out like a rug on your property. Sod provides an easy option for instantly cultivating a lush, green yard. But to ensure the health and longevity of the grass, sod needs time to take root after being laid in your lawn.  

    Premium, high-quality sod is typically weed-free when you receive it. However, weeds may appear when you lay new sod over soil that already contains live weeds. If weeds appear in your new sod, you need to exercise caution before using herbicides to control them.  

     

    Timing is Important 

     

    Fresh sod needs time for its roots to anchor into the soil and spread out and grow. Sod is vulnerable when you first roll it out, and thus must be protected damage due to mishaps. Before applying herbicides to sod, then, give it at least three weeks to establish itself in your lawn. If possible, pull up weeds manually rather than using herbicides during this critical period of growth. However be careful not walk on newly planted sod if to wet, it could disturb your finial grade.  

     

    What Kind of Weed Killer Should I Use?  

     

    Make sure the weed killer you pick is labeled for use on the turf species in your lawn. Consider a selective post-emergent herbicide in a spray bottle or tank sprayer  with a controllable stream; this way, you can easily spot-treat the weeds in your new sod. 

     

    Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weeds from growing, but if you lay sod in spring or fall it may be too late to use this kind of herbicide. You could use it the next year if needed, but once your sod is down, focus on post-emergent herbicides instead. Just take care to focus on the isolated weeds to avoid causing collateral damage to the surrounding turf.  

     

    For more helpful advice on how to care for your new sod, check out our complete care guidelines here. 

  • Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives to Chemical Herbicides

    Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives to Chemical HerbicidesYou’ve made an investment in your new yard, and we are just as invested in helping you maintain a healthy yard that you and your whole family can enjoy for many years. Chemical herbicides might work well in many cases, but inappropriate use can harm beneficial plants, leech into the groundwater, and can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem as a whole. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to chemical herbicides that are both effective and safe. Please be cautious in using some of these methods as they are not selective in what they kill.

    Boiling Water

    As simple as it sounds, pouring boiling water over their stems and leaves is a great way to get rid of unwanted weeds, especially in tight spots like the cracks of a driveway. Boiling water will destroy the root systems of weeds, preventing them from coming back in the future. Just be sure not to pour any onto your other plants, or they could get taken down with the weeds.

    Borax

    Also known as sodium borate, borax is a naturally-occurring compound that can be easily dissolved in water to create an effective herbicidal treatment. It’s also found in a variety of other household products such as laundry detergents and cleaning solutions. To make a borax-based herbicide, just mix 10 ounces of powdered borax in 2.5 gallons of water. After the borax has been thoroughly dissolved, apply it to weeds in a spray bottle, and be careful to avoid overspray on other plants and grasses.

    Salt

    Salt is a natural herbicide. It is important, however, to only salt the leaves of the weeds directly, and not to cover the soil around the weeds. When salt gets into the soil, it can kill desirable plants as well. Dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts hot water, add a squirt of dish soap, and pour into a spray bottle. Apply your solution directly to the leaves of the weeds and take care to avoid nearby plants you want to preserve.

    Vinegar

    Spraying a little white vinegar onto the leaves of weeds can keep them under control as well. Grocery store vinegar will do, but more acidic vinegar is also available at your local home and garden store. You can also combine a little rock salt with the white vinegar for added weed-killing power.

    And remember, if all else fails you can always remove weeds the old fashioned way and pull them right out by their roots! Just be sure to wear a pair of sturdy gloves to protect your hands from thorns and thistles.

    Stay tuned for more lawn care tips from Southern California’s premier source for healthy, locally grown sod – Sodlawn.

  • Getting Rid of Crabgrass in Your Los Angeles Lawn

    Getting Rid of Crabgrass in Your Los Angeles LawnCrabgrass is a coarse, low-growing weed that is prevalent in many regions of North America. Here in Southern California, smooth crabgrass is the most common variety. Crabgrass thrives in adverse conditions, particularly intense heat and drought. If left unchecked the plant can spread quickly, leaving unsightly patches of weeds growing in your lawn.

    Because crabgrass grows fastest in unfavorable conditions, the best defense against the weed is a strong, vigorous lawn. By promoting healthy grass growth, you can give your lawn a leg-up on crabgrass and eliminate this troublesome weed.

    Mow Higher

    You can start by raising your mower deck so that the grass in your lawn is able to grow to about 3-4 inches high. This will allow your lawn’s roots to grow deeper and starve budding crabgrass plants of the sunlight they need to grow.

    Water Wisely

    Once again, the goal here is to promote healthy grass growth to combat the spread of crabgrass. To achieve this goal, apply about ½ an inch of water to your lawn twice a week in the cool early morning hours. Watering deeply and infrequently allows water to penetrate the soil more thoroughly, giving your lawn’s root systems the extra boost they need to combat weed invasions.

    Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicide

    If crabgrass has already taken hold in your lawn, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to eliminate it before it spreads in the summer. Just be careful not to apply herbicide to fresh sod, as this can do more harm than good.

    Interested in revitalizing your lawn this season? Contact us online or give us a call today to find the perfect sod for your property.

  • Pet-Friendly Weed Control Options

    Pet-Friendly Weed Control OptionsCommercial herbicides might do a pretty good job of killing weeds, but unfortunately their toxic ingredients can be harmful to other organisms as well. Likewise, if you have pets or small children around the house, these chemical weed killers might not be your best option. Fortunately, we have plenty of other pet-safe methods of weed control at our disposal as well.

    Manual Removal

    Pulling weeds out of the ground by their roots might not be the most glamorous option, but it’s effective and entirely safe for your both pets and the surrounding vegetation. It can also be a pretty satisfying method of stress relief. It might not be ideal for widespread weed invasions, but manual removal works just fine for isolated weed growth.

    Boiling Water

    This is a great option for getting rid of those pesky weeds that crop up between the cracks in walkways and along the edge of your driveway. Just heat up a pot of water on the stove, wait for it to boil, and pour it on the weeds. Take care not to pour it on nearby grass or plants, however, as the boiling water will kill the root systems of whatever it touches.

    A Propane Torch

    Using a small flamethrower to kill weeds might make some homeowners a little uneasy, but it’s actually a safe, effective and precise way to control weed growth in your lawn. The flame can be carefully regulated so that it’s just large enough to kill vegetation in a small area. You can buy propane torches designed specifically for weed control applications online or at your local garden supply store.

    Homemade Spray-On Formula

    You can also make a simple solution of natural, pet-safe ingredients to kill the weeds around your home. Start by mixing two cups of water with one cup of vinegar in a plastic spray bottle. Next add about a teaspoon of lemon juice and a few drops of dish soap to help the solution stick to weeds. Spray it on weeds during peak hours of sunshine. Check back in a day or two and the weeds should have wilted away.

  • Your Grass Clippings; to Bag or Mulch?

    Most lawnmowers when you purchase them come complete with a clippings bagger. So naturally you will feel inclined to affix the bag to the mower with every use. But there are a few things you may not realize when you clip the bagger to the mower.
    Bagging Deprives Nutrients
    When you regularly cut your lawn, and the clippings aren’t over an inch long, it is wise to leave your bag off the lawnmower. That’s because these clippings return certain nutrients to your lawn that can be achieved with somewhat unnatural fertilizing, regardless of how organic the fertilizer may be.

     

    In fact, grass clippings can provide your lawn 25% of its total nutritional needs for the year, consisted of 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium and 1% phosphorus. But if you don’t cut your lawn as frequently, and your clipping are subsequently larger, they could actually deprive your grass of sunlight, crucial to the fertilizing process.

     

    Clumps are Bad

    Not only do clumps of clippings deprive your lawn of sunlight, as they rot they also actually kill the live grass underneath it. If the grass is growing quickly- as it often does in the summer- it is a little more difficult to stay on top keeping your lawn trimmed. To address the issue, evenly raking your clippings across your lawn easily addresses the issue. If you effectively break down the clumps by spreading the clippings across the grass, you balance the requirements of nutrients and sunlight.

     

    There are few exceptions to implementing the mulching process when cutting your lawn. And if you want smaller glass clippings, which will subsequently break down and release nutrients more quickly, you can actually install a mulching blade. This ensures you never have clumping, no matter how high you let your grass grow.

  • Springtime Lawn Mowing Tips

    There are few better ways to express pride in your home than with a well-manicured, great looking lawn, no matter what time of year it is. This is why American homeowners take a great deal of pride in their yards. Lawn watering, fertilizing and mowing are labors of love homeowners from coast to coast painstakingly put forth season after season, year after year.

     
    Many don’t’ realize, however, there are certain requirements that change with the season when it comes to lawn care. There's more to grass cutting than starting a lawnmower and pushing it across your lawn. Mowing height and frequency are crucial components to a healthy lawn.

     
    For example, cutting your grass short is harmful to your lawn in the long run. This removes nutrients stored in grass and exposes the soil to sunlight. This is where weeds can start to overtake your lawn. This is because taller grass is better able to compete with weeds with a larger root system, higher tolerance for heat and acts to shield the soil from transient weed pollen carried by the wind.

     
    Higher grass is also effective in shading the ground and subsequently retaining water more effectively. Determine what kind of grass you have and seek professional advice on what level is best suited for optimum health. These heights could range anywhere from 1-4 inches, so it’s quite the range.

     
    Moreover, you are going to want to mow your lawn often enough to remove no more than the top one-third of the blades- regardless of the type of grass- and use a mulching mower. This prevents stress on the grass and brown patches, as smaller clippings are able to decompose more quickly without killing any grass underneath. And the best food for your grass is grass clippings so avoid bagging.

  • Over Seeding Warm Season Turf

    Most bermuda grasses will go dormant (turn brown) during winter months. The most common seed variety used to over seed bermuda, a warm season grass, is ryegrass, which is a cool season grass. Perennial ryegrass is dark green, does excellent in full sun, tolerates high traffic well, is stress and pest tolerant, and germinates quickly. October is a great month to over seed as the bermuda is slowing it's growth rate but the weather is typically still warm enough for the ryegrass seed to germinate. Daytime temperatures should not be above 70 degrees and nighttime temperatures should not reach above 50 degrees. This usually falls two to four weeks before the first frost of winter. You can also tell it may be time to over seed when your lawn is starting to thin but is still in good condition.

     

     

    When preparing to over seed you will want to mow your lawn at a very low setting, helping to create a loose surface for seeding. Remove all clippings which can easily be done by raking. Next you will want to dethatch your lawn, making sure to remove any and all debris, and then aerate the soil which will allow moisture and oxygen to move through the soil. Next you will spread the seed throughout the lawn using a hand spreader, making sure you apply it evenly and thoroughly. If there are bare areas in your sod you can spread the seed again in that area. Rake and lightly roll the soil in order to cover the seed up to 1/8". Fertilize when over seeding and water well until the over seeded grass is well established, while also being sure not to leave any standing water. Continue to maintain your sod lawn throughout the winter with proper water, mowing and fertilization.

     

     

    It is important to correctly manage your lawn in the spring when the bermuda (warm season) grass is coming out of dormancy. The ryegrass (cool season grass) can compete for moisture, sunlight and nutrients. It is important to stop fertilizing in early spring, but to continue once the bermuda has established itself again. Maintaining a proper low mowing height as the bermuda grass re-establishes will stress the ryegrass, or cool-season turf, aiding in the bermuda grass growth.

     

     

    Maintaining your sod lawn throughout the year, especially during over seeding in the fall and the establishment of your warm season grass in the spring, is vital to the overall health of your lawn. Disease and inability of the bermuda grass to establish without struggle will be more likely if there is not proper maintenance year round. With a little time and effort it is possible to transition smoothly from warm season bermuda grasses to cool season ryegrasses and have a green lawn year round.

  • Employing Pre-Emergent Herbicides

    A pre-emergent is an herbicide that works to eliminate weeds before they emerge into your lawn. When a pre-emergent is used correctly, they will get rid of weeds before you even see them pop up through your grass. It is important to remember that you cannot simply rely on only a pre-emergent to control any weed problems you may have. Maintaining your lawn will not only help a pre-emergent to work better, but you will also have to use less of it. Establishing a healthy lawn from the start is the first step. Before laying your sod, be sure to eliminate any weeds that are in your soil. Starting with a clean lawn will help minimize any weed problems you may have down the road. Additionally, you will want to keep up on all other lawn care maintenance practices like fertilizing, watering, and keeping your grass at a proper height. All these practices create a strong and healthy turf that is able to combat the weeds that attempt to become established.

    Timing is important when applying your pre-emergent. It needs to be applied just before the seeds of the weed germinate, which is usually in the spring time, but the soil can't be too cold. It is best to test the soil temperature, keeping in mind that most weed seeds don't germinate until the soil temperature is close to 50 degrees. It is important to get your pre-emergent down at the right time, before the seed germinates, because of how the pre-emergent works. It works by forming a carpet like barrier under the soil that the weed is unable to penetrate once it has germinated. While it is important to apply pre-emergent before the seed germinates, you actually want the seed to germinate so that it can be exposed to the herbicide and be killed. If it does not germinate it will wait for another chance to germinate when your pre-emergent has worn off. After you apply your pre-emergent, applying the right amount of moisture is crucial. Water is needed to activate the herbicide, but too much water will water down the pre-emergent and it will lose its activity.

    When using a pre-emergent year after year, it is important to remember that using one type will not kill all of your weeds. There is not one specific herbicide that will destroy every type of weed and the labels on your pre-emergent will list the weeds it kills. If you have spent several years using the same pre-emergent, you will most likely have a weed or two that continue to return because your specific herbicide does not contain the chemical needed to kill it. You may want to use a few different pre-emergents in order to solve this problem, but using them at the same time may be too much for your lawn to handle. Additionally, weeds can easily develop a resistance to herbicides, so the same herbicide year after year may eventually prove to be ineffective. To solve these problems, you want to first continue to maintain your healthy lawn (mowing at a proper height, fertilizing, irrigating, etc.), along with changing up the type of herbicide you use. Changing the types of herbicide you use so that you are using different chemicals to combat different weeds is important. Different pre-emergents also work to kill weeds in different ways, such as by interfering with the metabolism of the weed's cells or inhibiting a weed's growth by blocking the division of the weed's cells. So you not only want to pick a new pre-emergent with a different chemical makeup, but you also want to choose one that has a different "mode of action", or way in which the chemical actually kills the weeds.

    Starting with a clean and prepared ground, combined with proper maintenance of your grass and applying the right type of pre-emergent, you will be left with a strong and healthy weed free lawn.

  • Biostimulants: A New Wave for Fertilizers

    As I was browsing through a green industry magazine, I stumbled on this article from IRRIGATION & GREEN INDUSTRY, with no author credited. This article appealed to my sense of frugality when it comes applying nitrogen based fertilizers on our precious loam that produces food for our state and nation.
    To make a long story short, the theory behind this application produces healthier plants, (namely your lawn) with less fertilizer. And also increases carbon in the soil to fight global warming. Sounds like a win-win for everyone! A better planet through better chemistry, gee these guys are smart.
    Give the article a read, and be on the lookout for up and coming trend in fertilizers.
    Biostimulants: A New Wave for Fertilizers

  • Weeds in Spring

    Weeds always seem to get an early jump on you in the spring. Before you know it, they're competing with your lawn, robbing them of light, water and nutrients. The time you invest in spraying for and pulling weeds right now is time well spent. As summer approaches, you won’t have to be out in the heat doing the weed control. If you are like me, a fair weather gardener, this is great news.

    Find selective herbicides to help you with the weed control. Many chemical companies provide excellent products to help you. Select one and give it a whirl. I choose a liquid concentrate put on with a hose end sprayer; you may choose a powder that is dropped with a spreader.

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