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Most people might think of Spring as the best time to start a new lawn, but the truth is that late Summer and early Fall are far better for starting a new lawn from seed. Any time after August 15th is prime lawn time; the warm soil in combination with cooler air temperatures will encourage far better seed germination. Weeds are also typically not as aggressive late in the season, so grass seedlings don't have to compete for nutrients.
Early Spring is the second-best time to start a lawn from seed, but it has some drawbacks: the young grass has less time to become established before the hot weather of summer sets in, and the results can be generally unsatisfactory. You'll usually end up having to assess your lawn again anyway in the late Summer and Fall and then over-seed where it did not grow as well.
PREPARE YOUR SOIL
- If more than 70% of your area is weeds and bare spots you may want to apply a broad spectrum weed killer like Bonide Kleenup to kill what is there. Apply according to the directions, and be patient. In 7-10 days you should be able to install the lawn by seed safely.
If you prefer not to apply a weed killer, use a rototiller, spade, or rent a sod cutting machine to remove any of the living matter.
- Turn the soil to a minimum depth of 4".
- Remove sticks, stones, roots and other debris which could interfere with the establishment of the grass seedlings.
- Take a soil test sample to determine the soil pH. Having the correct pH allows fertilizers to be more effective and your lawn will look healthier longer. Once you know the pH you can amend the soil with lime using a spreader. The products which we recommend are Rapid Lime, MAG-I-CAL or Pelletized Lime.
- Incorporate organic material into the soil, such as compost, manures, peat moss, etc.
- Use a fertilizer spreader to apply Jonathan Green Love Your Lawn and New Seeding Fertilizer at the recommended rates.
- Grade the soil by raking and pitching the land so proper drainage will occur. Here's a good trick: lightly water the area in order to see where puddles tend to form. Lightly rake the high spots into the low spots. Roll or slightly compact the soil making sure air pockets are removed from the soil.
You are now ready to install your grass seed.
Select the appropriate grass seed based on the amount of sunlight in the area during the growing season. Jonathan Green has developed blends which can grow in sun or shade. A Sunny blend will need at least 6 hours of sun in order to thrive, while shady blends can live in sun or shade. We recommend Jonathan Green's Black Beauty seed blend for a lush green lawn with improved drought and disease resistance.
- Apply the seed with a spreader for best results. After seeding, use the backside of a spring rake to help to distribute the seed evenly and smooth off the surface.
- To help ensure the overall seed germination, apply Hydretain to the entire area. Hydretain will draw water molecules from the soil and bring it into the root zone.
- Next apply Straw, Jonathan Green Mulch, or seed blanket to the newly seeded area. This prevents the seeds from drying out as quickly.
- For the first two weeks, water the seed a at least once a day for 5 to 10 minutes, right up until germination begins. If the soil is moist you can hold off until it dries out slightly.
- Once the grass begins to germinate, you should switch to watering for 20-30 minutes every 2nd or 3rd day.
- Mow the lawn once it is 2-3” high and make sure your mower blades are clean and sharp.
- Once your new lawn is established you can maintain your lawn with the Jonathan Green New American Lawn Program.
Here's what's happening: The tree has a reduced root system from being recently dug out of the fields. With the weather being very hot and very windy the moisture from the leaf is being pulled out faster than the small root mass can replace it, and as a result the leaf margins dry out and become crispy, giving the appearance of being dead.
In most cases the buds for next year are fine and the tree will be okay. Just keep watering and the tree should be fine. It's not pretty, but given the dry summer we have had this is not an uncommon condition, and we are seeing the same condition in some well established trees at this point as well.
For more information, the University of Missouri Extension has an excellent in-depth guide on Leaf Scorch: CLICK HERE
Oh, so you thought you were going to sleep in Saturday morning and lay low in the blistering heat this weekend? NOPE!
As you can see from the pale blue swaths across the area on this NOAA precipitation report, we've had negligible rainfall over the past week and we're now entering a straight-up drought. With no relief for your thirsty plants in sight, it's now up to you, intrepid plant stewards, to get yourself up early in the morning and water your gardens.
It's not that terrible though: while the rest of the neighborhood sleeps, make the most of these rare and lovely summer mornings. Treat yourself an iced beverage, put on your flipflops and a floppy sun hat, fill up the watering cans and haul some hoses, wiggle your toes in the grass, and listen to the morning birdsong. Your plants will really appreciate the effort!
Hydrangea macrophylla, or Mophead Hydrangea, are the stalwart showstoppers of the summer garden. Nowadays you'll find them in pink, blue, white, lavender, and even lime green! One of our favorites is Endless Summer, which keeps popping out blooms all through the sultry days of July and August.
But what if your hydrangea is apparently a dud? There are a couple of possible reasons your macrophylla might be holding out on you.
One of the most common reasons we see mopheads refuse to bloom is because a well meaning gardener pruned them incorrectly. We know how it goes: you couldn't stand looking at those bare stalks this past winter and so you cut them sometime between November & June. The thing is, Macrophylla bud and bloom on that old growth, and if you snipped them off or damaged the ends of the stalks you may have also nixed all the flowers for the year. Just hold out til early summer next year and you'll see them come back.
Another reason for the lack of blooms is climate. Mother Nature decided to be a minx this year, and sent us a late Spring freeze that nipped all those emerging buds right back. Remember that bizarrely mild "Winter" we had? This was followed by a late freeze that hit just as all the buds were emerging. It was pretty devastating for most of the early Spring buds and bloomers (you may recall that the forsythia and cherry blossoms took a hit, too), and in the case of our dear Hydrangea the fragile new growth on those old stalks were zapped. You'll notice that new growth is coming in from the base of the plant. They'll be back to full glory in a year or so, with some kinder weather and TLC. In the meantime break the rule in #1 and go ahead and trim back any old stalks that haven't budded by now. Here's how.
Would you like to learn more about caring for your hydrangeas? Here's a fantastic resource from Proven Winners that covers all the basics.