Paris and Henry County's Oldest Landscape Design/Build & Maintenance Company
Lawn grasses are divided into two general types, Warm Season and Cool Season grasses. Meaning they grow best in warmer climates or cooler climates. This is a broad generalization but you get the picture. Then there is the transition zone of the United States, where both types of grass will grow, although not as well as in other parts of the Country. Example: In Tennessee, we can have a good Fescue or Bermuda Lawn, but not an excellent either one. Too hot for Fescue in the Summer, and every now and then it gets too cold in the Winter and we have Bermuda Winter Kill, kills off as much as 50 % to 75% of the grass. We can't win!
Establishing a lawn begins with determining if you need to work up the whole lawn and start over or not. Is the grade smooth already? Or do you get a sore back from mowing it? If the lawn is rough, now is a good time to level it. You can till it up, rake it smooth and get a good grade, you'll never have a better chance to get it level than now so take your time and do it right. You can overseed your lawn with rented equipment and a lot of sweat, or just give us a call and let us take care of it for yo.
If your lawn is smooth, but just thin, we can overseed your lawn with a no till drill overseeder, or by aeration and overseeding. Both methods work very well. If you need more information than what this brief description can provide you, please give our office a call for a free estimate on doing this for you. 731.642.2876 888.664 LAWN
If you are a hard core do-it-yourselfer you may want to do your own weed control. Keep in mind that we can do it for you for about the same price you will pay for the products to do it yourself. But if you do want to do it yourself, there are a few basic principles to know and remember. Here is some basic information, if you need more detailed information including identification of the weeds you may have, click the link above and go to our weed control or Lawn Spraying page.
Two basic kinds of weeds are Broadleaf and Grassy weeds. Dandelions, Plantain, Chickweed, Henbit, Wild Garlic are all examples of broadleaf weeds. Crabgrass, Goosegrass, Barnyardgrass are examples of Grassy weeds. The Best Control of most weeds is Pre-emergent, that's before they ever even come up. Most people are familiar with the generic term "crabgrass preventer". This is pre-emergent weed control that will keep crabgrass and several other weed seeds from germinating. The lawn looks better if it doesn't have weeds in it, alive or dead and dieing. The Broadleaf weeds are easily controlled with broadleaf weed control products either in liquid form or granules. Depending on the grass type you have you will need from 4 to 6 applications to keep your lawn looking good and weed free throughout the year. The farther south you are the more applications it will take to keep your lawn in great shape, generally.
Above: Weeds Dying After Sprayed
If you are planning on re-seeding or establishing a new lawn, you will not be able to do weed control at the same time. In our area, (transition zone) Fall is the best time for seeding Fescue or other cool season grasses, so you can't seed and put down weed control products at the same time. You will need to seed the lawn, then let it get up and growing long enough for you to mow it twice, then you can apply a BROAD LEAF weed control to take out some of the broad leafed weeds that will have no doubt sprouted when you seeded. Then in spring you can start your Pre-emergent weed control. If you use Pre-emergent weed control when you seed, or immediately afterwards, you will prevent your seed from coming up, defeating the whole purpose of reseeding your lawn.
Weed control on Warm Season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia is a little easier.
Bermuda is very tough, as a matter of fact, you can't kill it once it gets established. I have tried to eliminate Bermuda from a Fescue lawn just to have it appear again the next year after spraying it repeatedly with Round up and other non-selective weed killers. If you have Bermuda grass growing in your lawn, and you have a full sun lawn, I would embrace the Bermuda and just enjoy it. Bermuda will develop a 5 foot deep root system. This is what makes it so hard to kill. Since it has a deep root system it is also hardier in
the dry periods, it can find water when other grasses will have long been dead.
A common inexpensive weed control for Bermuda is MSMA. Used properly, this will eliminate all of the undesirable weeds and grasses from your Bermuda lawn. It will wipe outeverythingexcept the Bermuda. Most of the time you will find it available in liquid
weed control formula and not in granules. Also as of this writing, 10-07, there is a lot of talk that MSMA will be taken off of the market shortly. Right now, it's the best thing we have going for the price to do weed control in Bermuda. You can always use the same weed control products on Bermuda as you would on Fescue grass. They just aren't as strong and won't eliminate Crabgrass that has already germinated. Scott's program of 4
step weed and feed program is used a lot by many people. What ever weed control product you decide to use,read and understand the label!I have seen many times a person will buy a bag of weed and feed at the local store, go home and apply the whole bag to the lawn using the setting the spreader was already set on, only to have the entire lawn die. The bag will tell you that you are to use X number of pounds of product for
each 1,000 square feet of lawn area. You need to measure the lawn to know exactly how large your lawn is, then you can make an educated decision on how much weed control product needs to be applied to your lawn. Most bags of product will tell you, "
This bag covers XXXX feet" Use that as a guideline but know how large your lawn is. If you have some weeds in your lawn that you do not know what they are, you can click on the link below to go to a website that has pictures of most weeds around the country. It will be helpful for you to know what kind of weed it is you have before you start trying to kill them.
Grass needs to eat too! What it eats is Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potash. Or N, P, & K.
These are represented by the 3 numbers you see on a bag of fertilizer like 15-15-15 this means the bag contains 15% of each nutrient of N P & K, in that order.
If you are establishing a lawn, you will need to apply a STARTER fertilizer. This will have an analysis of 6-12-12 or 8-24-24 or a similar analysis where the first number
(nitrogen) is lower than the middle (phosphate) and the last (potash). Usually you will need to apply 1 to 2 pounds of nutrient per thousand square feet of grass area. To
determine how much fertilizer to apply, multiply the number in the analysis you want to apply, (phosphate or 100 / 12 = 8 This is 8# of 6-12-12 to get 1# of phosphate.
Regardless of the type of fertilizer you are using, use this formula and you will get the desired results.
Fertilizing established grass is a little different. Depending on the type of grass you have, it will require somewhere around one pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet per
month. Some grasses a little less, some a little more. The warm season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia can handle more nitrogen and they are a little needier for N than other grasses. If you are just after Nitrogen, for fast green up and a burst of growth,
Ammonia Nitrate is a good choice. Be careful to not over apply it though. It is very strong and you can burn your grass if you over apply. The Nitrogen content will usually be 34%, so 3 #'s of it will produce 1 # of Nitrogen per thousand square feet. Using
Ammonia Nitrate in your lawn care program is acceptable, but your grass will also need the other two primary nutrients in fertilizer, Phosphate and Potash. I like to apply a 15-15-15 once a year to give a dose of the other nutrients. Again, using the formula
above, if I want 1 # of each nutrient, I multiply 15 by the number that will get me closest to 100, in the case of 15-15-15 that would be 6. So I need to put down 6#s of 15-15-15 per thousand square feet of lawn area to get 1# of each nutrient per thousand
Frequency of fertilizing will be determined partly by what type of grass you have and your climate. In the transition zone where we are, we fertlize 4 times per year for Cool
Season Grass, and as many as 6 to 8 times for Bermuda. Fall fertilizing changes a little. You mainly want to put down Potash. This encourages a
deep root system through the fall and winter, which in turn will allow the grass to do better next summer. The deeper the root system, the better the grass will do in warm weather since it can gather moisture easier. A good fertilizer analysis is something with
Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash like 8-24-24 or 6-12-12 something with a higher middle and last number than the first. Apply 4# of the 8-24-24 per thousand square feet of lawn area, or 8# per thousand square feet of lawn area if using 6-12-12. You are wanting to put down at least 1# of nutrients per thousand square feet of lawn area. If you are establishing a new lawn you will need to repeat this lawn application about thirty days
after the lawn is seeded or sodded. The lawn will use up all of the nutrients available in the first 30 days and the lawn will start to yellow off.
Fescue is a cool season grass will stay green for more of the year, mostly in Fall, Winter and Spring. But in the Summer it usually will fall off a bit in color, and may even go completely dormant and turn a yellowish to brown color until the temps get back in the prime range for Fescue grass. Bluegrass is a cool season variety also and will have a green color through more of the year than warm season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia. The challenge is finding the type of grass, and the variety that will do best in your area of the United States as well as in your lawn with the sun/shade mix that you have. Just because someone you know has a beautiful Bermuda lawn, doesn't mean you can have one too.
When cutting your lawn, try to not cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off. Cutting more than this is not healthy for the grass, and if cut too low, the grass will show "scalp" marks. These marks from the mower blade dipping to closely to the ground will most of the time fill in. But some may kill the grass. Mowing with a sharp blade is best, and alternating directions of mowing will help the lawn not get a pattern engraved in the lawn where your mower tires run each week. Bermuda grass can be cut very low, if your grade is very flat and flush, so no height is too low for it, just adjust to the best look for your lawn. Fescue grass should not be cut less than 3". It is a cool season grass that likes to be taller. Cutting fescue shorter will either stunt or kill it.