Best Kept Lawn Secrets of
Randy Lemmon teaches the basics...
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Most people are chompin' at the bit to get
busy in their gardens, especially with their lawns.
Those of you who are long-time subscribers to the email
tips and/or consistent listeners of the radio program know
the basics of the lawn fertilization schedule. But this
year to help my email friends -- like Ed down in League
City, who's just geekin' to get busy -- here's some
modifications to the basics of the Lawn Fertilization
Schedule so that you might achieve an earlier green-up
As a reminder, here are the fertilizer basics of
the lawn fertilization schedule that has worked well for
years via the GardenLine.
Click here to see the entire schedule in detail.
BASICS -Use slow release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers. Top 4
Gulf Coast Ė Nitro Phos Super Turf 19-4-10; Southwest
Fertilizer Premium Gold 15-5-10; Fertilome Green Maker
18-4-6; Easy Gro Premium 19-5-9.
End of March/First of April -
End of June/First of July -
Use Slow release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer.
(Any of those mentioned
October until first Frost/Freeze -
Use Winterizer Formula of previously mentioned
Now, what Iím about to tell you doesnít alter
the basic fertilization
schedule one iota. However, the end of February
through the first of
March is a great time for greening up the yard early,
weeds that have come up and ones yet to come.
EARLY GREEN UP TRICKS OF THE TRADE
The best kept secret in lawn fertilization,
one that was even kept from
me up until two years ago, is the use of a basic
3-1-2 ratio fertilizer in
late February/early March. You may recognize the
ratio from the
GardenLine fertilization schedule mentioned earlier.
Only this 3-1-2 is
a basic immediate release fertilization. And the
best fertilizer Iíve
found for this very purpose is a 15-5-10. But
remember it should not
have the words slow-release or controlled-release
on the bag.
The pratfall that most everyone encounters
after being lulled into a false sense of security
from the early green up, is forgetting to follow
the basic fertilization schedule at the first of
April. Another hurdle, as
mentioned earlier, is to make sure that there are
no freezes on the
horizon. But all is not lost even if you miss the
by 2-3 weeks. Just get busy, and try to get back
on schedule. All the
aforementioned companies have the general 3-1-2
fertilizers and even
Nitro Phos and Easy Gro have a specific 15-5-10.
WEED - AND - FEED
Touchy subject for me, but there is a
limited window of opportunity that I recommend
using a weed-and-feed. But be forewarned, Iíve
never been a big fan of weed-and-feeds because most
carry a very caustic chemical known as Atrizine.
And, if misused or over-applied, Atrizine is
notorious for moving very quickly through soil and
eventually contaminating ground water. Beyond
that, the other main reason I have trouble
recommending it is because of the way it burns
roots of trees and shrubs. Just read the bag...
even the weed and feeds warn against getting it
near the drip line of trees and shrubs.
But I do realize that many people need
to solve the problem of winter weeds before they
get busy with the basic fertilization schedule. So,
here is your one and only opportunity. But in order
to use a weed-and-feed, especially one with the
Atrizine herbicide, take this pledge with me:
I (INSERT NAME HERE) DO SOLEMLY PLEDGE TO USE A WEED-
AND-FEED FERTILIZER ONLY ONCE IN A YEAR AND I FURTHER
PLEDGE TO MAKE SURE THAT I FOLLOW APPLICATION
INSTRUCTIONS EXPLICITALLY, SO AS NOT TO OVER USE OR
APPLY BASED ON THE THREAT THAT SOME WEED-AND-FEEDS
POSE TO OUR GROUNDWATER SUPPLIES AND TENDER ROOTS
SHRUBS. WITH JUSTICE AND GARDENLINE FOR ALL!!!
Iím not sure whether to talk first about
ďweeds to comeĒ or the
weeds that may already be up in the lawn.
of the weeds that are up now will burn away
in the heat
of a Texas summer, lets focus first on keeping
spring and summer weeds from being a problem.
done during the end of February through the
March with Pre-
Emergent Herbicides. More specifically we are
for the pre-
emergent herbicides to control the grassy
are such a problem
from May through July. Weeds like Crabgrass,
The only truly effective way to
these weeds is to prevent them
from being that problem. Which, if you think
it, means that if you do the pre-emergent right,
you'll never need to use a weed-and-feed. And
that is the beauty of the pre-emergent herbicide.
But it is critical that these pre-emergent
applications are put out before the end of March.
The best pre-emergent herbicides for February
application are Barricade, Pendemethlin, Betasan,
Treflan, Surflan. Green Light makes three
pre-emergent herbicides for this purpose. One is
known as First Down and the other is Amaze.
The third bag from Green Light simply says
Betasan. One of the newest pre-emergent
herbicides comes in a fertilizer formulation from
Fertilome. It is called Fertilomeís All Seasons
with Barricade. Nitro Phos also has a "barricade
only" product this year. This actually kills the
proverbial two birds with one stone, in that the
Barricade fertilizerís carrier is a 3-1-2 fertilizer,
lumped in with the herbicide (refer to early green up
section). Finally, the Pendemethlin herbicide comes
marketed as Pendulum. In most cases, you will
probably need to put out one of these pre-emergent
herbicides once again in May, just to be on the safe
side and prevent any new weed seeds from germinating
June through August.
Usually, if you have a bunch of weeds already
they are what we
know as the winter germinating weeds and they could
prevented with the use of two pre-emergent
November. Nevertheless, if that didnít take
or if for any other
number of reasons you have clover and poa anna
chickweed, or henbit
and other groups of nefarious weeds out and
then letís knock them
back with a post-emergent herbicide. Most
post-emergent herbicides kill
only broadleaf weeds. So, if youíre problem is
most the thin seed-head
heavy poa anna (that often looks like rye grass
gone bad) donít worry
heat will take care of it. Most post-emergent
herbicides are also of the
liquid variety. You can either use a concentrate
in your own pump-up
sprayer or a dial-in hose-end sprayer. But the
best news in recent
years is the technological advancement in
herbicides, are the ready-to-use
sprays you simply attach to the end of a water
As of 1999 the best names for
herbicides were Green Light Wipe Out;
Ortho Weed-B-Gone; Fertilomeís Weed Out.
Light and Ortho products are two that I
in a ready-to-use form that attaches to
In all cases, these products must be used
to the instructions. And here's your final
kept secret" with regards to the broadleaf
killers... Use a surfactant! What's a
It helps the herbicide actually stick to
Hi Yield makes a bottle called Sticker
Monterry makes two called No Foam A and
No Foam B,
and for the do-it-yourselfer in all of us,
of liquid dish soap per gallons of water
of spray will
also help. My favorite, is the
Finally, I donít care how bad you
think the weed
problem is, if you try to double the dosage
of any of
the products I just recommended,
you will almost assuredly
kill your grass.
Until next week, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
| In The Next
Next week, More Gardening Tips!
Here's to great gardening!