Yard defense and other stuff

So if you have been following my posts I gave you an overview of what you needed to do to fix your lawn and I have been giving you a deep dive on each part along the way. Now that you have killed all the weeds in your lawn and mowed the lawn at the proper height you might now want to add things to promote growth.

Pre-Emergent and Fertilizer

Stop! The first thing we want to do is set up the defense against weeds in your lawn. This is more important than anything else you might add to the lawn and will prevent more work later. This is done with a pre-emergent herbicide. A pre-emergent herbicide normally comes in a granular form and is placed in your lawn using a spreader. What a pre-emergent does is stop seeds from germinating and suppresses new plant growth. So this stops weeds spreading via their seeds and halts new weed growth. The most common pre-emergent herbicide product is “Weed and Feed”. Weed and Feed products combine a pre-emergent herbicide with a fertilizer. This will simultaneously prevent weed growth and feed your laws. So the plus side of weed and feed is the convenience and the down side is the fertilizer that you might not want to put down at certain times of the year. Such as winter when the lawn is dormant or summer (above 85) when it can burn the grass if it isn’t watered in well. For myself I prefer a dedicated pre-emergent product like Scotts HALTS. I place that down every other month to best control weeds and I have no worries about feeding my lawn when I don’t want to. The down side of that is needing to buy a separate fertilizer product for the times of the year I want to do that but that is the trade off I make. Either way you want to spread pre-emergent at least four times a year. Also as an FYI don’t spread a pre-emergent on freshly seeded grass or somewhere where you want to place grass seed in the near future as a pre-emergent will stop all seed growth.

Some important notes when spreading any granular on your lawn is first don’t spread it right before you mow. The mower will either pick it up and spread it in more concentrated paths or pick it up in your bag, if your bagging the clippings. Either way you don’t want that, so spread it after you mow or several days in advance so it has a chance to settle into the lawn. Once it is spread the granular is just going to sit there and do nothing until it gets water on it. So if rain isn’t in the forecast you will need to water it to get it helping your lawn and that is my second important note about using granular products on your lawn.

So far we have covered just chemicals you might want to put into your lawn here. I think in the next post I will talk about other things you might add to top dress or improve the soil in your lawn and if you should place grass seed or not. Spoiler warning: in most cases spreading grass seed isn’t the best idea.


Who is Paul Darr?

Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Systems Administrator and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.

Let’s mow the lawn!

So if you followed my last post you have treated your lawn with an herbicide and now you have a lawn full of dead weeds with some grass underneath. Wait at least three days for the weeds to die and then it’s time to pull out your lawn mower.

If it’s your first time mowing for the year it’s a good time to get your lawn mower blade sharpened. I just take mine off and use a file but there are people out there that will professionally sharpen it for a small fee. Do whichever works for you. Next adjust the height of your mower deck. The rule of thumb is to not mow more than 30% of your lawn at once. So if you haven’t mowed in a while you might take a few different mowings to get to your desired height. Right now my lawn is looking healthy at 2 inches and in the summer I let it grow a bit longer to 2.5 inches. I find that helps my lawn retain the moisture in the soil better in our hot summer months. Experts in our area recommend as long as three inches for Bermuda. It will take you a little experimentation to see what works best for your lawn along those lengths. One small note: I don’t recommend 1.5 inches or shorter past spring. It’s very hard to keep that from burning up at that length. With this mowing I recommend bagging the clippings as it will have seeds from the weeds that you don’t want to put back in your lawn. On a regular basis I use the mulching function on my mower and I credit that as part of what helps keep my lawn and soil healthy.

Another thing worth mentioning is how often to mow. In spring it starts growing pretty quick so you normally can’t go more than two weeks without needing to mow or else ending up mowing too much off at once. This is one of the more common mistakes I see in our area when someone mows every other month and their lawn struggles because every time it gets cut it loses more than half of the blade. Cutting on a more regular basis is much healthier for your lawn. If you can’t meet that schedule, get a lawn service or neighborhood kid to mow it for you. As another alternative SAWS offers coupons for removing parts of your lawn to replace with native plants, pavers, and other durable coverage. Check the SAWS website for details on that.

As a note at the bottom here, you might have heard of somethings called scalping before. With Bermuda it goes dormant in the winter and becomes a nice gold/brown. In the spring that dead grass just gets in the way. I normally scalp my lawn at the end of February to the beginning of March. I normally do the mowing in two runs to get it all. I bring it down to 1.5 inches on the first run and then 1 inch on my follow up mowing as the shortest my mower can safely mow the lawn. I bag all the clippings from scalping as the clippings would be too thick and have little value back in my lawn as such dead grass. If you missed scalping earlier I would try mowing half an inch lower than normal this cutting which will get you some of the same benefits but won’t be as tough on your lawn as things seem to already be heating up quickly.


Who is Paul Darr?

Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Systems Administrator and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.

Killing weeds and mosquitoes

So people on my street might have seen me spraying a few things on my lawn yesterday. In my side yard the grass is a bit weak and had some weeds so I sprayed Spectracide Weed Stop on it and in my back yard where I haven’t treated yet. This helped me win in my front yard that is now virtually weed free. It only cost $5 at Lowes and gets the job done. Some of you really need to use it. Yes it will kill the half of your lawn that is weeds but Bermuda is tough and will come back. If you have St. Augustine use the stuff that’s marked for that.

The product everyone should use is some sort of insecticide. Mosquitoes and several other bugs can have a pretty short range so if everyone sprayed for them, we would put a huge dent in their population around here. I sprayed the Triazicide product yesterday and while walking in my yard this dusk/evening I had zero bugs flying around.

I just thought I would share here a couple of the things that have helped me get my yard in shape.


Who is Paul Darr?

Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Systems Administrator and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.