By Nicole Wise on Mar 26, 2013 4:57:00 PM
We want to make our customers as happy as possible and sometimes that entails spring seeding. However, by seeding a customer’s lawn you run the risk of battling crab grass during the spring and summer seasons. How do you balance both spring seeding and crab grass control?
The key to spring seeding is deep soil contact in order to have seeds germinating. There are three common methods to achieve soil contact: burying the seeds with a fresh layer of soil, slit seeding and aeration. My favorite is aeration because it not only is good for the seed but also benefits the entire turf system.
Be sure to start your seeding as soon as possible and to water regularly. Selecting a good starter fertilizer is also imperative in order to get new seed growing before crab grass starts to take over. After all, when it comes to the race against crab grass, every day is important.
Try a traditional synthetic fertilizer that is high in phosphorus or use a biological meta-catalyst like Holganix. Holganix not only releases natural phosphorus tied up in the soil but also contains plant hormones that help speed germination. Additionally, mycorrhizae assist in root development.
See this link for an independent test performed by Sam Whitehouse of Whitehouse Landscaping, where he compared several starter fertilizers with Holganix on seed germination.
Once the turf has been established and the fresh grass has been mowed twice, start applying your pre emergents. The trick is in the timing. By holding off on pre emergents, you ensure that new seed won’t be harmed from the use of pre emergents. However, if you wait too long, you run the risk of crab grass growth in the lawn.
How long can you hold off on pre emergents?
Our rule of thumb is based on soil temperatures. If the soil temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees, your window of time to apply a pre emergent is closing. Keep in mind that air temperature must be much higher in order to affect the soil temperature. However, no matter what you do, make sure you set customers’ expectations to be prepared for some crab grass this spring and summer.