Quite often, during the radio program you will hear me ask "CAN I GET A WITNESS?" I have always felt supremely confident that my Lawn Fertilization Schedule works if you stick to it for at least one full year. If you're a subscriber to these email tips, I realize I might be preaching to the choir, but just in case you have never seen it:
However, one of the assumptions I have always tended to make is that the schedule will work if you have decent soil. Unfortunately, more and more people don't even know where to begin when they have some of the worst soil in the world after new construction.
What I've learned from that, courtesy of my neighbors' Kevin and Ronne, is that it can often take close to two years to see the schedule working in full glory, especially if you're soil is really bad. But thanks to Kevin's patience and a commitment to the schedule (only because he lives across the street from me), he is the ultimate witness to the benefit of the Lawn Fertilization Schedule. So much so, that his lawn may very well be the greenest on the block as of Sept. 2005.
Here's his story in his own words, or the ultimate BROTHER, CAN I GET A WITNESS story...
*** From Kevin Wentzel, September 19, 2005 ***
Our sod was laid in August 2003. We moved from California to Houston and were not able to keep track of the landscapers. Also, we were unfamiliar with soil conditions in Houston. Like most new construction, there was no soil preparation other than a poor attempt at leveling the lot and spreading lots of bank sand. Construction debris was buried during this process and continues to cause problem areas. The sod was planted on a surface of clay and bank sand with no rototilling or amendments.
We started having problems immediately, some areas grew ok, others, especially low spots stayed too wet and thinned out. The lawn didn't thrive anywhere. Our choices were to re-sod the lawn making sure it was done correctly or to try to help it recover by following Randy's advice and schedule.
Our first step was to use the schedule to indicate when to fertilize, apply fungicide, and apply pre-emergent weed controls. These practices got fungus and weeds under control but the grass still didn't grow. We could barely tell where we'd been when we cut the grass.
Our next attempted remedy was frequent aeration. Every time we aerated, we spread granular gypsum to loosen up the clay soil. We also treated the lawn with "Soil Activator" as another way to loosen the clay and improve the soil quality. Randy suggested a top dressing with compost so we bought about 8 cubic yards of compost and covered the entire lawn with a thin layer. This helped the lawn green up a little but it still didn't grow well.
As the temperatures dropped in the fall, we had a big brown patch outbreak. We used a combination of dry fungicide and liquid fungicide to get that under control. We spread winterizer fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide according to the schedule in the fall and continued the scheduled fertilization in the spring along with another aeration.
In spring of 2005 Randy seriously suggested that it might be time to give up and replace the lawn. We didn't want to take this drastic step yet so we continued to follow the schedule and hoped we'd see a change. When in May the grass didn't seem to be growing strongly enough we added one additional light fertilizer application. To our excitement, by July the lawn was growing so well that weekly mowing was barely enough.
This year we finally have a healthy green lawn that we can be proud of. It took two years of patience, consistent care, and scheduled treatments along with aeration and compost but we were finally successful. Thanks Randy!
In case you have not ordered your copy of it yet, here's the link for ordering my new book "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon."
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.