NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Lawns - June 2, 2016

County Agent Update

Danielle Steinhoff



Have a lush, weed free lawn is something that most people love to have. Many people are seeing an abundance of weeds in their yards, here are some ways to get rid of those weeds.


But before jumping into the arsenal of chemicals that are on the market for weed control in home lawns, try some of the practices that are in the mentioned in the NDSU Extension Service publication Home Lawn Problems and Solutions for North Dakota. Authors are Alan Zuk, Department of Plant Sciences, Janet Knodel, Extension Entomologist, and Ron Smith, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Plant Sciences Mow high- Set the mower height at 3 inches or more by measuring from the bottom edge of the mower deck to a flat, solid surface. Postpone dethatching and power raking until the grass is growing actively and weed seed germination would be at a minimum. The biggest mistake the homeowner makes is to try to get a jump on the season and employ these tactics to “clean up the yard” from winter debris while the grass still is dormant. This opens the crown canopy to sunlight, exposing otherwise dormant weed seed and creating a setting that results in unwanted weed seed germination. Avoid fertilization when the grass is dormant. Companies are anxious to move their product as early in the spring as possible, so retailers will have “spring fertilizer sales” in March. If the price is right, make the purchase, but hold onto it until you have mowed your lawn at least three times. Spring fertilization is most effective sometime in May, or around Memorial Day. Hold off irrigating the lawn as long as possible coming into the spring. As the grass comes out of dormancy, the root system becomes increasingly active and will develop in soil that is warm and moist and has good drainage. Watering too soon will encourage shallow root development. When the irrigation is turned on, water deeply and infrequently. Don’t follow municipality recommendations of EOD (every other day) watering. Water when the grass needs it, just before wilting.

Follow a rational fertilization program. Decide what you want your turfgrass to look like. High fertilization rates require greater irrigation frequency, predispose the turf grass to disease problems and will result in soft, succulent growth that could exhaust the turf grass from excessive top growth. This also would necessitate greater mowing frequency. If fertilization is going to be just once a year, then make it in the late summer-early fall, when it will do the most good. For a little better looking grass, follow up the fall application with one in the late spring. Most lawns will look very satisfactory with two timely applications of a complete turf grass fertilizer.



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