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MAY 2012
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 March was like May, April was like March, what is in store for us for May and early June?  Not quite sure what to say.  I knew that the early drought would end up catching up to us. It certainly has with two weeks in May being mostly wet!  We did need the water, and the slow and steady rain was certainly beneficial for all of our lawns and landscape plantings.  Because of the extended dry spring, lawns took their time greening up and filling in. Our mind and senses thought it was May, when in fact it was too early for lawns to become lush like they usually are in May.  There was some damage to flowering shrubs and trees that bloomed early.  The buds and some foliage was damaged due to a couple of hard freezes in April.  Most plants should recover.  Now is the time to plant your summer annuals.  Be careful of cold nights with tender plants.
Red Thread Disease
Red Thread Disease

The warmer, humid, wet weather will not only get things growing, but are setting lawns up for spring disease problems. As usual, the change of seasons brings on new problems.  Some common lawn diseases to watch for...
appears as circular reddish looking spots.  This disease is common in the spring, when weather is cool and wet, and is easily controlled. Some simple approaches to help control are to raise cutting height, reduce watering, especially at night, keep mower blade sharp and mow often. In addition, a balanced fertilizer program is helpful. If the disease is severe enough, treatment might be necessary.
"LEAF SPOT" is another common springtime disease. Usually a result of humid, wet weather. It will encouraged by watering at night or over fertilizing. When this disease becomes severe, it will begin "melting out" the grass plant, leaving a bare area.  Treatments should be considered if severe, and conditions favor further development.
"ANNUAL BLUEGRASS"  is considered a perennial grassy weed. Although it is in the grass family, the unsightly brownish colored seed heads produced in May make this one stand out.  At first glance, you would think the lawn is stressed and dry, but it is the  color produced by the seeds of the plant.  The seed heads can be mowed off, and will
Annual Bluegrass
Annual Bluegrass
stop production in early June.  Some approaches for control are avoiding compaction by aerating every fall. Compaction can be avoided by re-routing your mowing patterns, and avoiding contant foot travel over the same area(s).  Unlike crabgrass, annual bluegrass is a perennial.  The only way to remove it is to eradicate the existing populations and reseed.  Follow up pre-emergent controls applied in the fall will also control future seed germination.  The good news is that it will blend with your turf later in June.


A balanced fertilizer program, combined with lime and aeration, will provide mostly everything your lawn needs.  However, some other issues can arise, warranting other "curative" treatments.  Keeping your lawn healthy and strong will allow it to fight back when threatened by diseases and other stress related issues in the months to come!

* Check the smoothness after mowing.  If the edge or top of the grass blade looks ragged, that's a good indication your blade is dull and needs to be sharpened.  Mowing with a dull blade will also give the appearance that the lawn is browing. When in fact, it is the uneven cut of the grass tissue.
* Avoid unnessary use of pest controls on the lawn.  Studies have shown that excessive use can eliminate beneficial insects and earthworms in turf.  Consequently, pest outbreaks can actually accelerate following the overuse of controls!
* Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds around the edges of your yard to help deter ticks.  Treatments are available for safe, effective tick control.
* Seeding can be done now to fill voids in your lawn.  However, avoid crabgrass and weed controls, and expect weeds to develop while waiting for the seed to fill in.  You will need to keep the seed bed moist, usually requiring multiple light waterings during the day.  Unless you are watering a new seeding, avoid watering during the day and evening!
* Mowing height should be gradually raised from 2 1/2 to 3" through June, and even higher in the summer.  This will provide more plant to shade itself and hold on to critical moisture within blades.  Mowing higher will also your lawn to maintain a greener color.
* Weed seeds have been waiting both in your lawn, and in your landscape beds for a little water. Now that it's here, expect weeds to emerge as the temperatures increase. Don't  panic, we will be able to control them during our routine lawn and shrub bed weed control applications in the weeks to come. 
* Early morning watering is recommended.  The watering cycle should end by 7 a.m.  This end time is very easy to calculate.  Simply add up your total run times and then subtract from 7 a.m.  This will give you the actual time to start watering.  However, this may not be practical to do if you do not have an automatic sprinkler system.
* The best recommendation for watering is to be sure to water deeply and infrequently as allowable.  Poor watering habits will produce a shallow rooted, weak lawn!
* Be sure to make seasonal adjustments on your sprinkler run times. It is always recommended to be sure your sprinkler system is fully inspected in the spring, and again in mid-summer, to assure reliable, efficient operation.
* Early morning watering will provide the most efficient watering, preventing high evaporation and off target spray due to windy conditions.
If we can help with any of your lawn or landscape needs, do not hesitate to call on us!  Our office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. 
Phone - (413) 532-4888 or email.  For your convenience we accept major credit cards.


Gary Courchesne
G & H Landscaping, Inc.
Copyright 2012. G & H Landscaping, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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