Snow Mold when the snow is “Lawn” gone

By on Mar 17, 2015 in Early Spring |

So why all the problems with snow mold this spring? The answer lies in my opinion with the weather last November. Even though you possibly did everything right, weather conditions set up for the perfect storm, especially if your lawn is clay soil based or you haven’t core aerated in a few years. The lawn was still growing when the early snows hit last year….followed by a long winter of snow cover. The lawn is the host and the disease we call snow mold was present waiting for conditions to be ripe. You see even though we as people are dealing in winter with frigid winds and cold….under the snow which serves as insulation the turf is in a wet humid dark environment with temperatures around or just above freezing….ideal conditions for snow mold. I went back to look and the first 10 to 15 days of November we had some days in the 50’s and 60’s. Mid...


By on Mar 13, 2014 in Grass |

So what IS under all that snow and ice that has covered your lawn for months? Beer cans? Mole damage? Vole damage? Snow mold? Interesting alert yesterday from my friend Kevin Frank at Michigan State University. He was looking at the potential damage to the Poa annua on putting greens but is it possible some of that damage could carry over to our lawns? His point was the ice storm of December 21-22 coating everything including any exposed turf in ice followed by the polar vortex and snow event after snow event to follow. This has created a continuous layered cover of snow and ice for months. Could some death of turfgrass occur due to oxygen depletion and toxic gas accumulation from soil microbial respiration? What about the layer of leaves you never removed from the lawn because winter started so early and you never got around to it? As they say in the industry “stay tuned”...

“Plant” ahead

By on Aug 25, 2012 in Fall |

Looking to create some new planting beds or landscape area in your yard? To avoid the back breaking work of digging up sod, or having to spray weeds, or having to rent a sod cutter, try this….. The black plastic is pinned down with landscape fabric pins and the heat of the sun “solarizes” or cooks the vegetation growing below it. Leave the black plastic on for about a month. When the leaves start falling off the trees in October pull up the plastic. The turf and weeds below will be dead. Cover the area in leaves and till the soil. You now have a new landscape bed ready for landscaping. October and November are a great time to plant and come next spring you’ll be glad you’re so smart.

Arid on the side of caution

By on Jun 19, 2012 in Summer |

Not even the official first day of summer yet and we’ve already experienced summer in West Michigan…….twice! In March unusually warm weather got everyone thinking shorts and tank tops. Then hot dry weather the first half of June has toasted lawns and made it feel like it has been summer for months. The process has been tough on plants and lawns. Some trees and shrubs are still trying to play catch up and rebound from hard April frosts. Minimizing stress with some deep watering as they attempt to bounce back will be essential.  One to two inch deep mulch at the base and some deep soakings will help, especially for plants put in the ground last year or this spring. Remember sprinklers are for turf and hoses are for landscape plants. Morning is the best and most efficient time to water. For lawns don’t worry about weed control during hot dry periods. Save the weed...

Are you “Shear”-ious?

By on Apr 19, 2012 in Grass |

I love ornamental grasses because they come in a great variety, are easy to grow, drought tolerant and give 3 to 4 seasons of interest. By sometime in April you should have your ornamental grasses cut back. You can divide them too if you haven’t done so for a few years and if you have the energy. With some homeowners I have noticed a problem the past few years which falls under the are you “shear”-ious category when it crops up. I have had samples of turf brought to me the past few years like the one pictured here:               When we have a mild fall and winter season here in Michigan we will get turf samples where Pennisetum ornamental grasses like Hameln or Moundry will seed in the turf. This causes panic for the home owner in spring as it begins to outgrow the desirable turf. Maintain your “composture” if this happens. Repeated mowings of the lawn...