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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

Recipe for a great lawn

Expectations on results vary from client to client in terms of what they are looking for when it comes to things such as color, density, and weeds. Results can be thought of as the end product of many things being done to a given lawn- like fresh ingredients going into a soup for example. Often these ingredients need to be put into the soup in specific amounts/quantities as well as timing- when to add them for the best tasting soup. Are your herbs or vegetables fresh?
Is your fertilizer blend correct for the time of year? Your lawn requires a similar mind set when it comes to the amount of fertilizer applied and the timing of weed control to achieve good or great results. Sometimes, one treatment can have a negative effect on another- such as a crabgrass barrier in the spring. Once this material is put down, you cannot seed for months.
As we can see, timing is very important and sometimes the window or time span a given treatment can be done is short- often placing so much planning on a homeowner that this opportunity is missed altogether. A few busy weekends or rain can turn what was planned into “it never happened”. This common pitfall effects results to varying degrees over the growing season be it a weed control application, seeding, or grub control. Like throwing in crushed garlic once the soup is done, the timing is off and the reduced results are tangible to your taste.
A lawns dark green color can be linked to a combination of efforts such as aeration, lime, compost tea, sea kelp, and of course fertilizer to name a few. As you may imagine, there is certainly a direct correlation with the expense put into a lawn as it relates to the number of treatments. Generally speaking, and I speak in a broad brush- the more lawn treatments you do- the faster the progress and results will occur with results improving on the whole- whatever they may be.
Results are impacted by application technique such as complete coverage to poor coverage causing the classic zebra stripes. Product rate is critical on any lawn treatment from putting down too little (very common) or too much such as to cause a salt burn. Worse yet, improper product rate when combined with an equally bad technique- wastes material, time, and can cause damage thereby effecting results! Throwing all kinds of herbs and spices into your soup at the same time may not be the best course of action- especially by the cup full!
Creating a good balance in your lawn is an important factor to consider when improving overall results. Improving the soil is an important goal in order to achieve a healthy green lawn. Although there may not be immediate visual results on products such as lime, sea kelp, compost tea, and topdressing- all help improve the soil environment in a supporting role to your grass. Depending upon the expected results, any given turf program must be customized or at least modified to achieve what is desired in a given year.
For example, broadleaf weed control must be used at selected times to reduce the competition which exists between them and your grass. It’s a battle for space, light, nutrients, and water on your front lawn. Weed control done improperly can do more harm than good, thus reducing results. As you might have guessed by now- results have a direct correlation to lots of other stuff being done right- not just once- but again and again- rinse, lather, and repeat.
If we close by looking at the soup analogy one last time, which is nice during cold winter weather, achieving the results you desire is important but the game plan to get there is equally important. Follow the recipe and you generally will get what is pictured or described as the soup you wanted. Deviate from the recipe or don’t follow the recipe and the waste will be not only be of your time-but of lost enjoyment and wasted money.
Regardless of how you plan to care for your lawn this year, or not- be aware that results flow from a well designed turf program using only the best ingredients and executed with the timing of a great orchestra. May this spring bring music to your outdoor living spaces as the conductor signals the concert to begin.