The seed heads are scattered throughout the lawn.

A close-up picture of the seed heads.

Spring brings flowers, fresh leaves, and beauty to the landscape. But it also brings weeds. There are dandelions, white clover, and crabgrass that we are familiar with. However, many times the plants pictured with this post are considered weeds.

Do not be alarmed! These are not weeds, they are actually seed heads, or inflorescence, of grass plants. If you track the stalk back to the base, you can see that they are a natural part of the plant. The grass plant is trying to spread and create the next generation of grass plants.

As they do disrupt the uniformity of a turf stand, there is nothing that needs to be done. When the weather becomes less favorable, the grass will stop trying to seed and the stalks will disappear.

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Within the past couple of weeks the grass has been growing like crazy. A lawn will be mowed, and within two days, it looks like it needs another mowing. But why is it growing so quickly? Here are a few reasons to explain the fast growing grass.

First is the temperature. We have had perfect weather for grass growing. We have low temperatures in the low to mid 50’s, and high temperatures in the low to mid 70’s. That temperature range is ideal for grass growth.

Second, fertilizer has been recently applied. The nitrogen is being released into the soil allowing plants to have plenty of nutrients. This creates a lot of growth in the grass plants.

Lastly, we have had ample moisture within the past month. Many lawns are still moist. This available moisture is taken up by the grass plants.

Even though we have really fast growing grass, it is nice to see the lawns green, and our landscapes coming alive. And if you are too frustrated by the fast growing grass, summer will help to slow it down.

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“I have a crabgrass control product on my yard, isn’t that enough?” We wish that it was, but it is not. Here are a couple of tips to help to prevent crabgrass in your lawn even though you have a pre-emergent crabgrass control product on your lawn.

Once your crabgrass control product is applied to your lawn, you will have to water it in to activate it. After it is activated, a barrier is created on the top of the soil which will prevent crabgrass plants from growing. However, if your turf grass plants start to dry out, the crabgrass control product will start to breakdown faster than if the lawn was watered regularly.

Now that the crabgrass control is watered in, and you are maintaining the health of your lawn through watering, it is best not to disturb the soil under the grass. The barrier sits on the soil in the thatch layer. If the barrier is broken or disturbed, then there will be an opening for crabgrass to start to grow.

Crabgrass needs warm weather and an opportunity (or thin turf) in a turf stand. But the more care taken to control crabgrass, the higher the potential of success. A simple take-away is to maintain a healthy lawn. Make sure that throughout the year, your lawn is watered, fertilized, mowed properly, and cared for. Pests, including crabgrass, are a result of a weak lawn, not a cause of it.

You have to remember though, even if all these measures are followed, you can only do so much to prevent crabgrass from appearing in your lawn. There are many factors that go into crabgrass germination, and crabgrass is a feisty plant that wants to grow. So even with the utmost care, crabgrass may still germinate in your lawn.

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There are many different options of mulch that you can choose from to use as ground cover in your landscape. But how do you choose what is best for your landscape? Here are a few things to consider when choosing a mulch that will be best for you.

  • There are many colors of mulch to choose from. Natural mulch is the color of the wood that it is made from. Color-enhanced has an environmentally-friendly dye added to change its color. Common colors are red, dark brown, light brown, black, and gold. When choosing a color, look at your house, choose a color that compliments it. Also, look at your plants, you don’t want your plants to be drowned out by your mulch color. For example, if you have many red plants, red mulch may not be the best option. There are many color options, since no two landscapes are alike, choose one that fits your specific landscape. And if you are still unsure, just ask, we can help you out.
  • Mulch can be fine all the way to coarse in texture. It is best to choose a texture that is best suited to your plants. Generally, a medium texture is good; most mulches come in this texture. However, there are fine mulches that are nice around more elegant plants. A fine mulch creates a more even look compared to a medium texture.
  • Stone is another option to choose from. Stone comes in many different sizes, colors, and textures. It stays in place fairly well, and it lasts a long time. Note that it is not forever. The stone itself may last for a long time, but after a few years, it will need to be refreshed or cleaned up to have a neat appearance again. A few drawbacks to stone is that it is expensive, as compared to wood based mulches, and it can be a nuisance when it is in a lawn or on the concrete.

There is more than just color and texture when it comes to mulch. These next few are benefits, mulch does help more than the looks of your landscape.

  • Mulch helps your landscape keep moisture near the ground by slowing evaporation.
  • It also helps to suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight from reaching weed seeds.
  • It helps to regulate the soil temperature in your landscape beds.
  • Wood based mulches will eventually breakdown and become organic matter for your soil.
  • Mulch is aesthetically appealing. It freshens up a landscape.

Mulch does a lot to enhance your landscape both aesthetically and culturally. And the good thing about choosing a mulch, if you end up not liking it, just put another layer on top to change it.

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Rainfall can be a good thing for a landscape. It is water, and plants need water. However, heavy rain can start to be a nuisance to the landscape after a while.

Heavy rains can erode loose soil. This can create ruts in a lawn or landscape. When the ruts are small, they will fill back in over time, but this may take some time to happen. If the ruts are large enough, they will need to be filled back in, and a solution needs to be created so that they do not happen again. This could be adding gutters to redirect the water, more plants to hold the soil in place better, or barriers or keep materials where they are wanted.

Heavy rains can also cause flooding. If the soil becomes saturated, the roots of your plants, including grass plants, will not be getting the air that they need. After a while, this can cause a decline in the health of the grass or landscape. This is the same reason why over-watering your lawn and landscape with your sprinkler system is not good. If your lawn or landscape is experiencing constant flooding, a drain may need to be installed to route the water somewhere else or a low spot may need to be raised.

Heavy traffic, most likely from a vehicle, compacted the soil creating poor drainage.

Compacted soils and soils with large amounts of clay in them have a harder time draining water from their surface. When the soil is compacted, from heavy traffic for example, the soil structure is damaged. This makes it harder for water to drain from it. Clay is similar. The individual clay particles are so small that water has a hard time traveling around the individual particles, thus creating poor drainage. If your soil is compacted or clay, aerating will help to loosen the soil so the water can move into the soil.

With all of this being said, there is generally little reason for concern for your lawn and landscape unless you are having constant problems with rain, and your landscape is damaged every time that it rains. If this is the case, something needs to be done to correct the problems that you are having. Finding out where the water becomes a problem is the first step, and then deciding what steps need to be taken to stop it from happening again.

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