The Lawn Care Academy Blog

Looking for the latest lawn care tips and trends? You have come to the right place. You will find detailed information for everything from zoysia to fescue and organics to conventional fertilizers and much more.

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Talpirid Mole Bait kills Lawn Moles

Talpirid Mole Bait kills lawn moles by imitating their natural food - earthworms.

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Importance of Watering Lawns Properly

Did you know that properly watering a lawn is just as important as any other major grass maintenance program. Most inexperienced people actually know very little about it. Here are some highlights of what you should know.

For loamy clay soil, watering a lawn deeply down to 4 - 6 inches is standard. Then wait for the grass to start to show signs of moisture stress before watering that way again.

Why?? Because grass roots will learn to grow and reach deep for water. This will help keep grass green when dry, hot times arrive. This approach has been standard in the industry for years, but homeowners think they are hurting their grass and won't do it. Shallow rooting from frequent watering causes extreme stress on plants during high heat times where over-watering was the practice. Shallow, frequent over-watering promotes diseases that can destroy your lawn.

What about sandy soil? Using the above method for clay loam or loamy soil on very sandy soil is not recommended. Sand doesn't have the ability to hold water like loam does. The water will quickly run below the root zone, so watering more often for less amounts of time is recommended. The idea for sandy soil is to give the grass what it needs when it needs it.

On a soil test it will show your soil's composite as a number listed on the soil's CEC. Here are just a few:

Example of soil CEC numbers:

1 - 5 is sand. 8 - 12 Sandy Loam. 16 - 20 Silt Loam. 15 - 28 Clay Loam. 15 - 30 Sandy Clay. 22 - 32 Silty Clay. 30 - 40 Clay.

The more silt or clay the soil has, the better water holding ability it will have and the higher the number will be. Higher percentages of sand will result in lower numbers. The more sandy it is the less ability it will have to hold water.

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5 Star Extreme Shade Grass Seed

5 Star Extreme Shade Grass Seed

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Soil Lime and Turfgrass - What to Expect

If your soil pH is low, the most common recommendation is to apply lime. But what can you expect when you apply lime to your grass since you have no other choice but to spread it on top?

Lime is Calcium Carbonate. Its primary use is to raise the soil pH as the carbonate reacts to the acid in the soil.

Lime is very slow to dissolve. It can take two to three years to completely dissolve into you soil. But it doesn't work into the soil well and will likely remain in the top couple centimeters. As a result, the majority of you soil will remain unaffected. This is why it is recommended, when possible, to tototill it into the soil. This is not possible with turfgrass.

In addition, the calcium in lime, of which lime contains about 30% to 40% calcium, is very difficult to breakdown as well.

Soil pH can be high or low for many reasons. Everything you put down can have an affect on pH.

Alternatives to Lime

A better choice is to use liquid calcium. Super-Cal Calcium is 30,000 times more dissovable than calcium is lime and builds the calcium saturation in soil. It is immediately available from the moment you apply it and the organic acids in Super-Cal dissolve unavailable lime so it continues to deliver calcium for the next 90 day. Universtiy of Illinois Extension found that one gallon of Super-Cal was equivelent to 500 lbs of lime due to the organic acids.

Its Affect on Beneficial Soil Microbes

In soil tested before the addition of Super-Cal and Turf Formula, the soil microbes were at 2,500,000 CFU/Gram.

When Turf Formula or Bountiful Harvest Preboitic Biostimulant was applied, within 24 hours the soil microbes increased to 127,500,000 CFU/Gram.

When the Turf Formula was combined with Super-Cal the soil's natural microbial levels increased to 187,000,000 CFU/Gram. (Colony Forming Units). That is a huge increase over the control.

Check out our pages on Super-Cal Calcium and Turf Formula.

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Lawn Thatch Problems and Solutions

Lawn thatch problems and solutions for sports turf and home lawns.

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Watering a New Lawn the Right Way

The method we use for watering a new lawn is critical to its growth and survival. This page will give valuable tips to help ensure great results.

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Deep Watering Grass on Established Turf

The How's and Why's of deep watering grass on established turf.

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New Lightning Facts (It's Not What You Thought)

Everybody knows lightning is dangerous. We have all heard of someone who was hit by it.

Did you see the episode of "The Simpsons", where Honer Simpson was caught in a lightning storm and was describing what happened?

Homer said, "I picked up a piece of sheet metal to cover my head and ran for the tallest tree". On the cartoon, he was then struck by lightning. So, if this was real life, was it the tall tree that attracted the lightning or the sheet metal over his head. I bet most would say it was the sheet metal. The second most popular answer would be, both the tree and metal, right?

But John Jensenius, sometimes called Dr. Lightning, has been studying lightening and its effects for decades. Twenty years ago he realized that people just didn't understand why lightning would hit people.

Myths About Lightning

  • Lightning is attracted to you by something you have on, such as metal
  • Golfers are the most often hit because of a club they carry and metal spikes on their shoes
  • The Truth About Lightning

    Lightning is not actually attracted to anything you have on.

    Rather, it simply hits the tallest object around. The number one activity people are doing when hit is not golfing, but fishing. Fishermen are 4 times more likely to get hit by lightening than golfers. This is because they are often the tallest object on the water.

    Lightning can kill you. Just be sure to get off the water or off the golf course during a storm. Make sure you are not the tallest object around.

    Here is a link if you want to read more. Newest Research on Lightning Strikes

    Continue reading "New Lightning Facts (It's Not What You Thought)"

    Super-Cal vs Lime

    I get a lot of questions about how Super-Cal and Lime compare. These are great questions.

    It should be noted that the only reason lime is shown on soil tests is for the purpose of raising soil pH. But you should never apply lime based on pH alone.

    Lime is Calcium Carbonate. It contains between 30 - 40 percent calcium. However, most lime in the soil is not available to plants except under certain acidic conditions. Getting calcium from lime is not easy at .0005% solubility. It takes up to 2 years for lime to become available to plants after it is applied. In established turf, applied lime does not easily move down into the soil where it needs to go.

    The Advantages of Super-Cal/Agri-Cal

    Super-Cal and Agri-Cal are both derived from Calcium Chloride. It is safe to apply and is filed under the government's "GRAS" catagory (Generally Recognized as Safe). Everything you eat can be found under GRAS. Calcium Chloride is often used as a food grade additive.

    Calcium Chloride is 30000 times more soluble than the calcium in lime. It is immediately available to plants from the moment it is applied.

    In addition, Super-Cal and Agri-Cal both have proprietary ingredients that increase beneficial microbes that help solubilize unavailable calcium in the soil for plant use. University studies have shown that one gallon is the equivalent to 500 lbs of lime due to the microbial action.

    When raw calcium chloride is liquified, the calcium and chloride completely separate. In the liquid they are both free agents. When sprayed, the calcium binds with the CEC sites in the soil and the chloride (only 3% chloride) doesn't bind with anything in the soil. It remains a free agent and travels with water in the soil. The plants use what it needs and with the first hard rain it is gone.

  • So you get immediately available calcium your plants need.
  • You will build the soil's calcium saturation levels and maintain those levels.
  • You tremendously increase beneficial microbes that help deliver even more calcium to your plants.
  • Calcium Chloride cost less than lime and you simply can't afford not to use it. Many people have told me they will never go back to lime.

    Continue reading "Super-Cal vs Lime"

    The Myth of Soil Sterilization from Synthetic Fertilizers

    Is soil sterilization the result of using synthetic fertilizers on our lawns? This page offers a detailed and thought provoking look at this commonly repeated lawn care myth.

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    How Much Water Does it Take...

    Many people have high water bills. If you are concerned about how much water per week you are using, here is some help.

    How many gallon does it take to put 1" of water over a 1000 sq. ft.?

    Many grasses needs approx. 1" of water per week during summer. Therefore, to put that much water down here is what you are looking for:

  • It takes 604 gallons of water to apply 1" of water over 1000 sq. ft.
  • It takes 27154 gallons of water to cover 1" over 1 acre.
  • This will give you an idea of how much water you are using and what your bill may be each month. Contact your water company for more pricing information.

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    Dangers of Recycled Water and Salt Content

    Many areas use recycled water, especially in drier locations. Since sports fields and golf courses use so much water, recycled water is sometimes an option for them.

    Salt Content of Recycled Water

    Recycled water comes from many sources, including waste treatment facilities. If this is what you use for your outdoor water, keep in mind that it is processed with people in mind, not plants. They are concerned more about bacteria levels and not so much salt levels.

    Salt is not needed for plant growth. When it accumulates in soil, it binds in the CEC sites in soil and displaces other nutrients. Since Na (sodium) is twice as large as Ca or Mg, for example, the sodium ion will displace two Ca or Mg ions.

    Na ions in soil makes the soil impenetrable. Water will often stay on top of the soil. Roots will dry out by pulling moisture out of the roots, a process called physiological drought.

    How to Fix Sodium Problems in Soil

    What to do to correct salt in water? You first need to have a lab do a SAR test (Sodium Absorption Ratio test). It determines the amount of salt in your water.

    One solution may be acid injection into the water. Sulfuric acid causes the Na to break loose and is replaced by other nutrients. The soil becomes porous again and nutrients are again available to plants. It is considered a last resort when other options failed or is not available.

    There are other options available, but I won't go into them here. This is to let you know where to start if you suspect salt accumulation is happening from your water source.

    Continue reading "Dangers of Recycled Water and Salt Content"

    Turf Formula Unsolicited Testimony

    Unsolicited Customer Testimony from a Phone Call Asking About Using Turf Formula in Conjunction with Another Product:

    "I have been using the Turf Formula since May (2017). Russ, my lawn is phenomenal! It has never looked this good. It is thick, dark green and looks amazing. I now have grass growing where I could never grow grass before and it looks incredible!"

    William K., New Jersey

    We have received many testimonies similar to this. We don't sell a lot of products, but the products we do sell really do work. If they didn't we wouldn't sell them.

    Check out the page and get the product for yourself!

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    Nitrogen and Grass Clippings

    Do you collect your grass clippings or leave them on the lawn? What you do can affect your annual nitrogen applications.

    If you maintain your own lawn and are familiar with nitrogen amounts you need to apply each year, then you need to know that grass clippings add to that nitrogen.

    Grass clippings, as they breakdown and return nutrients to the soil, can add 1 to 2 lbs of nitrogen each year. If you fertilize, then the grass clippings can add more N back to your lawn than the same grass if you don't fertilize.

    Zoysia and Centipede grass, which require lower amounts of annual nitrogen, also puts back lower amounts of nitrogen from grass clippings. Therefore, there is a balance.

    If you are figuring your total amount of nitrogen per year, just remember that you can lower your annual nitrogen rate slightly if you leave your grass clippings on your lawn. If you bag them, you will need to add to the annual nitrogen applied to make up for the nitrogen loss of bagged clippings.

    This is especially important for sports fields or golf courses that are under pressure to lower nutrient inputs. It is also good for homeowners who are careful about their nutrient inputs as well.

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    Turf Disease Triangle

    Lawn and sports turf disease don't just happen. There are three primary conditions, known as the disease triangle, that must be present for a disease to take off.

    The three factors are:
    1: A Turf Grass Pathogen is Present (in sufficient numbers)
    2: A Susceptible Grass Species
    3: Right Environmental Conditions

    Each side of this triangle are equally important. If just one of the three above are missing the disease will not take off. If all three are present, then a turf disease can begin.

    A skilled turf manager will make it more difficult for a disease to take off.

    What It Means

    Turf Grass Pathogens: Pathogenic Microbes are everywhere. But there are also beneficial microbes that feed on pathogenic microbes. If the turf disease pathogens raise above the numbers that can be controlled by beneficial microbes, a disease can result.

    Susceptible Host: For the disease to take off, the grass type must be susceptible to the pathogen. For example, Brown Patch on Tall Fescue.

    Environmental Conditions: The right temperatures and humidity, moisture, etc must be present for a disease to take off. Each turf disease has its own conditions.

    Brown patch, for example, the disease thrives when the temperatures are 80 degrees or above. There must be high humidity and persistent soil moisture, especially overnight moisture.

    If you have a disease and the daytime temperature is in the sixties, suspect a different disease, not Brown Patch. In contrast, if you have brown patch disease and the temperature and humidity drop, the disease progression will usually stop.

    Each disease also produces specific symptoms on the plant blades, crown or roots. These also help to identify the disease.

    There are certain "Dos and Don'ts" when dealing with each type of disease. You need to become familiar with each of these or risk making the disease worse.

    Prevention is Best

    Using AgriGro's Turf Formula has been shown to reduce Brown Patch pathogens by 35% in as short as twenty four hours. It also increases beneficial microbes by 5000% in 72 hours. We have seen similar results with other disease pathogens.

    When using Turf Formula, turf disease pathogens are reduced while nutrient availability is increased, increased plant health, increased root growth and much more. (University of Missouri/Columbia research results. Turf Formula was mixed with Super-Cal during tests.)

    Let me know if you have any questions about Turf Formula.

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    Soil Test Facts You Never Knew

    Performing a soil test is an important element of proper fertilization and for developing good lawns and pastures.

    Most soil tests offer no help in explaining the meaning of the numbers or how to make calculated adjustments other than the lab notes.

    Here are Some Important Facts

    1. Know what test method was used. There may be more than one per lab results. For example, if Mehlich III extractant was used to extract Phosphorus, the number will be very different than if Bray-1 or other extractants were used. This is true even if the exact same amount was extracted from the sample. If no test method was given, it nullifies the results by rendering them totally meaningless.

    2. If your soil sample says you have very high levels of Phosphorus (P) and High levels of Calcium, via Gypsum for example, you should not apply any more P or CaSO4. If you continue to apply them every year you risk forming phosphate rock, which changes their chemistry and makes the elements unavailable to plants. You will have an abundance of nutrients, but the plants can't use them. However, you can't know how much P you have without a soil test.

    3. Plants can grow and mature with low soil P. This is because plants absorb the most P during the growth stage. Once the plant matures, P absorption slows considerably. New growth needs its own supply of Phosphorus. However, if you hay your fields three or four times a year or overseed for thick turf or pastures or wish to maintain optimum turf or pastures, you will need a higher amount of soil Phosphorus than what a low level can provide.

    4. Adding nutrients without a soil test is unwise. You simply don't know where the current levels actually are. I talk to many people who say they do 'such and such' every year (you fill in the blanks). Then call me wondering why their lawn or pastures are in trouble. It starts with a soil test.

    5. Soil pH can determine which nutrients will be available to plants. For example, low soil pH can make macro nutrients less available to plants. Low pH begins below 5. High soil pH can make micronutrients unavailable to plants. High pH begins at 7 and up. However, plants have a certain soil pH they prefer.

    Stay tuned for more soil test facts.

    Continue reading "Soil Test Facts You Never Knew"

    Tree of Heaven's Deadly Sap

    Contrary to the name, the Tree of Heaven is considered a nuisance in many states and killing the trees is considered a good thing.

    The Tree of Heaven is an attractive tree in a landscape environment. There is both a male and female tree. The female tree is what is most often bought and planted because the attractive seed pods hang down like grapes on a grape vine. After the seeds are gone, the tree resembles a dark walnut in some ways. It can grow to 80 ft tall.

    However, the tree easily escapes cultivation and becomes a problem along roadsides, fence lines, poorly managed fields, abandoned properties and more. The individual seeds are carried by the wind and each pod has a single seed. The pods are similar in appearance to maple seed pods.

    Tree of Heaven and Heart Problems

    But that is not the only problem. The sap in the tree of Heaven is said to cause heart problems. I have read where it has caused some to experience a heart attack.

    The tree sap is said to enter the body through breaks in the skin. Once it enters the blood stream the sap can then affect the heart function.

    A Deadly Sap Protein

    The sap contains a protein called quassinoids that can cause inflammation in the heart and disrupt the heart's electrical system. This inflammation is called Myocarditis. Avoiding the Tree of Heaven for this and other reason is a wise choice especially if you have had heart problems or a family history of heart problems.

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    Is Adding Soil Lime Always Necessary?

    Liming soil is always recommended in soil tests to neutralize acidity. It is the only reason it is included. Here is a basic view on low pH soils to help answer the questions of liming or using liquid calcium.

    First, I will tell you that soil pH is largely misunderstood. soil pH is only part of the acidity profile. People tell me that they add lime every year as a habit. They don't know if they need it or not, they just do it. You should never add lime unless it needs it because if you over lime you cannot remove it.

    Problems with low pH

    Low pH soils, below 4, restricts macro nutrients, such as calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, etc. But it increases micro nutrient availability. High pH does the opposite.

    Plus low pH soils build up Al and H ions. Al (aluminum) is toxic to plants, hinder nutrient availability and has an accumulative affect over time. It can restrict root growth among other things. You may have plenty of the nutrients mentioned above, but they are not getting to your plants. Soil lime neutralizes the affects of acidic soils allowing the nutrients to get to plants. Always apply soil lime on low pH sites.

    Super-Cal and Agri-Cal Products

    Super-Cal and Agri-Cal does two things when applied. It provides an immediately available source of calcium that can be foliar absorbed giving the plants an immediate boost. The organic acids in the product break down lime material faster than nature alone, reducing the affects of low pH more quickly.

    Lower CEC soils will have a greater reaction to change than higher CEC soils.

    Second, Super-Cal and Agri-Cal have organic acids that break down unavailable calcium in the soil that delivers calcium to your plants for another 90 days. The net affect can be 20 to 30 percent calcium.

    In soils with 5 pH or greater you don't usually need lime if you are using Agri-Cal or Super-Cal, depending on how much lime material is in the soil naturally. Many substances will create carbonate, such as natural limestone in soil that will reduce the affects of soil pH when Super-Cal or Agri-Cal is applied.

    In addition, the organic acids can help build up the calcium saturation and reduce acidity in the soils as it breaks down the limestone or applied lime.

    Note: Calcium Chloride (liquid calcium) provides calcium but, in itself, doesn't affect soil pH. The organic acids can.

    In very low pH soils, I always apply lime.

    In neutral pH soils both macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients are available and using Agri-Cal or Super-Cal there is little risk of getting the pH out of whack while delivering needed Calcium.

    High pH Soils

    High pH soils (>7.3) restrict micro-nutrients while allowing macro-nutrients to reach plants. Some plants thrive in alkaline soils. Usually no lime or liquid calcium is needed unless calcium levels are low. If it is too high, Sulfur may be needed to neutralize the alkalinity.

    Continue reading "Is Adding Soil Lime Always Necessary?"

    Little Known Soil pH Facts

    Soil pH is important. Most plants will do well within a certain pH level.

    What is pH anyway? First, when testing the soil pH, the "pH" stands for Potential Hydrogen. You are testing for "free hydrogen" in the soil. Soil acids contain hydrogen ions. Plant material, nitrites, even lime when it breaks down releases hydrogen ions. The more free hydrogen the more acidic the soil.

    Yet, what many don't know is that most things that are applied to soil will affect the pH.

    Example: One person in N.C. called and stated his soil test came back and it was low in many nutrients. His pH was around 4.5. He stated he applied way too much potassium and his pH shot up to 8.7. He didn't apply anything else.

    If you balance out your nutrients correctly, many tines the soil pH will also balance out. If you over-apply or under-apply nutrients it will affect the soil pH negatively.

    Did you know that the only reason a soil test may show how much lime to apply is to raise the soil pH. But it is based on the soil that was tested. If you correct all nutrient deficiencies and after time check your soil pH it will not be the same as it was when the test was taken. The stated amount of lime need is no longer accurate since the soil is not the same.

    One person called me and told me the soil test told him to apply 12 tons of lime per acre. This is a ridiculous amount. It would take years to apply that much lime and could actually ruin the fields. Lime recommendations are based on the soil sample and buffer pH that determines the amount of lime to apply. Again, if he corrected the other nutrient deficiencies the soil would most likely not need 12 tons.

    Conclusion

    So many things affect soil pH. People are under the false impression that only lime or sulfur corrects it. Don't start by changing the soil pH first. Focus on balancing out the nutrients, based on a soil test and later worry about the soil pH.

    We sell a product called "Super-Cal", a liquid calcium. It has both immediately available calcium and organic acids that work to break down unavailable calcium. It can build the calcium saturation levels in the soil without throwing soil pH out of whack. It is our number one selling product.

    Continue reading "Little Known Soil pH Facts"

    Why Fescue Shouldn't Be Planted in Late Spring or Summer

    Turf Type Tall Fescue is a very popular grass type. It is planted in the Mid-West, Northern states and even in Southern California where temps can get well over 100 in summer.

    Regardless of where you live, fescue may not survive if planted in late spring or summer. Why? Because it needs time to develop a good root system to endure summer temperatures. Planting in spring, especially late spring, will not give the plant time to develop the roots needed.

    The Best Time To Plant Fescue

    The best time to plant any Fescue type is in the fall. Here's Why. Being a cool season grass, Fescue will have time to grow and develop during temperatures that favor the grass when planted in late summer or early fall. The best time to plant is when the high temps are steadily in the mid 80's.

    It will germinate, grow and then over-winter before it continues to grow in the spring. By this time the root system will have had time to develop before hot summer temps set in.

    The second best time to plant fescue is in early spring. Just as the grass begins to show signs of emerging for dormancy, plant the seed. In southern California, this may be in February. Other areas will be in March or April. This will give it time to grow and develop a root system, that if the summer is mild, will give it the best shot. If you have an early, hot summer, it may still struggle to survive.

    For more information on the differences in growing habits and grass types, click on the link.

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    Growth Products Fertilizer

    Growth Products Fertilizer is now on our website. What is Growth Products?

    Growth Products is a top quality fertilizer and research company that produces the highest quality products for the Pro sports turf managers, sod growers and commercial lawn care companies. Now it is available to homeowners as well.

    You know when you are using Growth Products you are using the same products that the best golf courses use.

    Golf course managers often "spoon feed" greens feeding them once a week, just a few ounces per gallon, but for home lawns you can go much heavier. The 50% slow release will keep feeding the lawn for several weeks.

    Find out why Growth Products are the top fertilizer used by many of the pros. Click the link for more information.

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    Growth Products 18-3-6 Classic Fertilizer

    Growth Products 18-3-6 Classic Fertilizer

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    Tiger Bloom Fertilizer

    Tiger Bloom is a powerful fertilizer to maximize buds and blossoms for a better harvest.

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    Submitted Pricing Questions for Lawn Care

    Pricing a job can be tough. Here is help from submitted pricing questions

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    Fertilizer Companies Mindset VS Facts

    Most fertilizer companies understand that a green lawn is their primary selling point. Giving you green is their money in the bank.

    What is wrong with that? We all want a dark green lawn, right?

    They know most homeowners know nothing about what their grass needs or when it needs it or even the rate their spreader applies. For example, most homeowners, if they only fertilize once a year will fertilize in the spring. The fertilizer for cool season grasses often comes in formulations such as 32% nitrogen, etc. It is easy to over-fertilize and people often apply twice what is needed in spring. You get green grass that has to be mowed three times a week for a while. Too much nitrogen pushes growth at the expense of the grass. But the fertilizer company gave you a green lawn where people are often delivering 1 lb of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft.

    In reality, the spring fertilization only calls for about 1/2 a lb of nitrogen at most. The goal in spring is to replace the nitrogen used during the surge growth. 3/4 of the total nitrogen applications are applied in the fall for cool season grass, not spring.

    On our site, we give the mathematical formulas to make it simple. Regardless of what the nitrogen content of the bag says, you can put down the exact amount you need. Click on the link below for more information on fertilizer rates.

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    Did You Know this Important Fact About Grass?

    Did you know that for cool season grass, after you put the mower away for the year, the grass roots are still very active? Up until the soil temps dip into the 30's.

    In fact, up to one l lb of nitrogen per 1000 ft is applied now. 75% of the totoal nitrogen is applied in the fall for cool season grasses. The roots are taking in large amounts of nutrients so it will have enough energy to begin the surge growth that takes place in spring.

    Cool season grasses, like fescue, bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and others are going to start growing in early spring whether you want it to or not. It is part of the grass genetics. Putting down the highest single application of nitrogen now ensures it has all it needs to start the spring growth without sacrificing plant health to do it.

    On the contrary, most warm season grasses, like Bermudagrass, zoysia, etc go dormant in fall and they take on no nutrients after they have gone dormant. They won't start growing until the soil temps rise enough in spring. For warm season grasses, you don't start fertilization until they start to grow in spring.

    Just so you know.

    Continue reading "Did You Know this Important Fact About Grass?"

    'Tis The Season for Planting 5 Star Grass Seed

    We have just gotten in our last shipment of the year of 5 Star Turf Type Tall Fescue grass seed. It is mid-October and there is still time to plant cool season grass. It is a high quality professional grass seed that produces a dark green, low growing Turf-Type Tall Fescue turf. We have plenty but it is going fast.

    If you have any questions about our seed, please let me know. We will have more seed in early spring.

    There is no substitute for a beautiful looking lawn. It raises home values and looks incredible.

    The best time to plant 5 Star Tall Fescue is in the fall. The second best time is in the spring. Cool season grasses need the fall to start growing, over-winter and then finish growing in the spring so it develops deep roots to withstand the summer heat.

    If you plant in the spring, be sure not to use any pre-emergents or it won't germinate. Plant as soon as the soil temps reach 55 degrees.

    Continue reading "'Tis The Season for Planting 5 Star Grass Seed"

    Tip of the Week: GMOs Vs AgriGro

    Did you know that up to 80% of the grain and corn on the market is GMO (genetically modified organism) for increased crop size and bushels per acre, etc. Many countries have banned GMOs for health concerns and for good reason. Once a plant is genetically modified it cannot be unmodified.

    How AgriGro is Different

    All natural AgriGro provides many of the same results as GMO users, i.e. disease resistance, plant health, nutrient uptake, increased crop size and bushels per acre, but without the harmful side effects. This is scientifically tested and proven by several universities and by farmers around the world.

    Check it out yourself and see.

    Continue reading "Tip of the Week: GMOs Vs AgriGro"

    Compost Tea - The Good and The Bad

    More howeowners and even farmers are going organic. This is a good thing. Compost tea is one product I often hear people using.

    Compost tea makers and formulas are popular and compost tea use has a big following. But how good are they?

    While some people swear by them, others and even researches have mixed results.

    Through a specific process involving constant aeration, molasses, and other ingredients, compost teas develop an abundance of microorganisms that is poured onto the soil. The idea behind compost tea is these microbes multiply first in a bucket and even more in the soil. Then, this addition benefits plants and stimulates growth. But the benefit of the tea is that it contain live bacteria that usually has no shelf life, therefore, they must be made using specific equipment and must be used immediately once the aerator is turned off or the microbes will die, often within minutes, or it will have little effect.

    Important Bedrock Soil Microbiology Truth.

    The Environment Selects - This is something that is learned by first year biology students, but is not well-known by most people outside of that.

    Microbes that are in the compost tea will only survive if the soil chemistry is precisely what the bacteria need to survive, feed, multiply and grow. Even slight variations in soil chemistry are enough to select some while other bacteria die off.

    Is the idea of compost tea or soil microbes an interest to you? For detailed information on Microorganisms in Soil please Click Here.

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    Summer Heat and Applying Lawn Chemicals

    Did you know there is a rule for applying chemicals, fertilizer, etc on your lawn or pastures during times of summer heat stress?

    It is called the "150 Rule". The rule states that if the temperature and humidity added together is 150 or more do not apply anything to your lawn. The chances of burning the grass is multiplied significantly at this point.

    What if you have to add something during the hottest part of the year? Only do it if absolutely necessary. Do it in the morning when temperatures are coolest. Apply water afterwards if it calls for it or if product is not compromised by adding water to grass. Also, try watering in the middle of the day to cool turf and help lower stress levels in the grass.

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    Why Some Grass Can't Handle Summer Heat

    Ever wondered why some grasses die back or go dormant in summer while others thrive? It is part of the genetics of grass.

    Knowing what grasses can thrive and what types do not is important if you live in a hot dry climate. Building a great lawn is easy, but maintaining a beautiful lawn takes knowledge.

    Check out this link for a detailed look at what makes specific grass types more suitable for your area. Why Some Grass Thrive in Heat and Others Fail

    Spreading Grass Seed in a Rotary Spreader

    The grass seed of many warm season grasses are extremely small. You can easily fit hundreds of Bermuda or Zoysia seeds in a teaspoon. To pour the contents of a bag of grass seed into a spreader and hope to get an accurate spread is nearly impossible. So what do you do?

    One secret to getting a good spread us using sand. In a bucket pour some sand then add seed and mix thoroughly. Then spreading the right amount of seed per 1000 sq ft is easy.

    For this to work, it takes more than knowing how much grass seed you need per 1000 sq. ft, you also need to know or be able to adjust accurately the amount of material your spreader applies in a 1000 sq. ft. All this information is on this website.

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    Donate for a Cause

    If we have helped you, please donate any amount to help keep Lawn Care Academy online and reaching more people..

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    Pythium Blight Disease on the Rise

    Many places around the country are experiencing lots of rain. In addition, many of those I talk to have no idea that watering your grass every single night is a major reason for many soil born, root rotting grass diseases. Pythium is one of them. It is primarily a summer disease.

    Pythium Blight is one of the worst diseases because of how quickly it spreads. It is often said that it is the only disease that you can actually see spreading. It is a form of pathogenic mold.

    The spots that form are most obvious and are even worse in thick green lawns. They start at 1 to 4 inches in diameter and can follow the flow of water making long streaks.

    Too much moisture is a major cause. Follow good watering habits and do not over-fertilize your lawn.

    For more information, please read the email I sent to a customer below:
    Pythium Blight Disease

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    Answer to Pythium Blight Lawn Disease

    Pythium Blight is a disease of water-soaked lawn and too much fertilizer. See how to prevent it.

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    The Types of Microorganisms in Soil

    Beneficial microorganisms in soil are key to plant life. Find out what types of microorganisms are in soil and how to increase them.

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    All About Lawn Weeds

    Lawn weeds can spread quickly and can ruin the appearance of your lawn. Find out what it takes to control them.

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    Did You Know...?

    Did you know that in well aerated, oxygen rich soils certain aerobic bacteria will take atmospheric Nitrogen and convert it to Nitrogen plants can use.

    In compacted or wet and saturated soils where oxygen is low, anaerobic bacteria will reverse the process and take soil nitrogen and convert it to atmospheric nitrogen.

    It is important to maintain well-drained and aerated soils so nitrogen is naturally present in the soil.

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    Fun Fact: Honey Bees Do Not See Color Red

    Did you know honey bees do not see the color red. They do not have a photoreceptor for that color. If you are planting flowers to attract honey bees, remember they only see 6 colors - all within the ultraviolet range to include yellow (though not well) - blues - violets - and greens range. Most can also see white.

    So how do bees find nectar in red flowers. The flower itself often has a road map imprinted on the petals that is invisible to humans. This map can be seen in ultraviolet light that bees can see.

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    Fun Fact: Bentgrass and the South

    Fun Fact: Bentgrass is a wonderful grass, is cut extremely short, and is the one of the deciding factors between an average golf course and a fantastic one. Did you know that Bentgrass, used on golf greens, does not have the ability under normal conditions to endure high summer heat, especially in the south. Not without being micro-managed. Yet, it is used on golf greens. Why??

    Golf greens are high maintenance and receive attention on a daily basis. In summer they can get attention several times a day. This extreme attention to detail by experienced turf managers is why it is used on greens and why it can survive where it was never intended to be grown.

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    Myth #4: Grass Cutting Height - Mowing Low for a Golf Course Look

    A common myth is that you can lower your grass cutting height to look like a golf course. Find out why this can harm or even kill your grass.

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    Getting Rid of Fleas

    Getting rid of fleas can be a daunting task even when done properly. Success will always depend on your chosen methods and materials used.

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    Over Wintering Koi and Goldfish in Backyard Garden Ponds

    Over wintering koi properly can keep your fish healthy year after year. Learn important tips that will help make the transition easier.

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    Wild Onions and Wild Garlic Lawn Weeds

    Wild onions and wild garlic are cool season perennial grass-like weeds. They stand out in lawns, because they grow faster than the surrounding grass and are difficult to control.

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    Biology of Grass Seed Germination - Steps of Seed Germination

    Understanding the basic biology of grass seed germination will reinforce your knowledge of planting a lawn and help answer the “Why is it done this way?” line of questions.

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    Benefits of Humic Acid

    Humic acid is one of the most important components of organic matter. It is a bio-stimulant that benefits plants including stimulating root growth and increase photosynthesis.

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    Time to Begin Spraying Pastures and Orchards with Calcium

    An Orchard in Bloom

    Spring is on its way and it is time to start spraying Agri-Gro's Liquid Calcium.

    Agri-Gro's Liquid Calcium provides immediately available calcium that plants can absorb and use. It also contains organic acids that breaks down unavailable calcium in the soil so it too can be used by plants.

    University studies have shown that one gallon of liquid calcium was equivalent to 500 lbs of lime due to the organic acids that break down calcium in the soil.

    At only $4.95 a gallon for agricultural use, you can't beat agri-Gro's Liquid Calcium. (The $4.95 price is for 55 gallons or more.)

    So whether you are planting food plots for deer, growing hay or field crops, or orchards, you need to start planning now. For more information, please contact Lawn Care Academy. Our contact pages has all the information for reaching us.

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    Why is There Both Green Grass and Tan Grass in Winter Lawns

    Snow on Green Grass

    If it is in the dead of winter and you are looking out across lawns or fields and see both green and tan grass, most likely it is showing two different categories of grasses.

    Cool Season Grasses have the ability to stay green far into the winter. In mild winters, they may be green until spring. Why is this?

    It is the genetic make-up of the plant. Even during the winter the roots may still be taking on nutrients. While the green tops may not be growing, there is still a lot going on inside the plant.

    On the other hand, Warm Season Grasses will go dormant in the fall and turn brown. Very little is happening inside the plant. No amount of fertilizer will make dormant grass turn green in winter. The exception is St. Augustine Grass and others that grow so far south they never go dormant.

    Golf Course In Winter

    Where both Cool Season Grass and Warm Season Grasses are grown together you will see some green grass and some tan grass. On high quality sports fields and golf courses where two or more different species are grown, you can clearly see the different types.

    The picture on the left shows where the greens are a cool season grass and the rough is a warm season grass. This makes the greens more playable and the sharp distinction leaves no question about where to place the ball.

    Many southern home lawns will overseed warm season bermudagrass with cool season ryegrass so the lawn has some green color in winter.

    For more information about grass types, please Click Here.

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    Lawn Care Tip: Now's the Time to Check Your Mower and Equipment

    Now is the time to check your mower and equipment to make sure it is running well. Most people don't think about the mower until spring. If is doesn't start or needs repair they call the shop. The problem is they are behind by several weeks by then.

    To avoid the rush on getting it repaired, especially when grass is growing and needing cut, go out and check things over now.

    If your mower is sluggish to start try placing a "Battery Tender" on it. It looks like a small electric charger, but it works differently. The Battery Tender doesn't switch off when the battery is fully charged, but switches to "Float Mode". As the cold starts to consume the battery's power again, the battery tender switches back on. It can be left on all winter without harming the battery.

    Make sure your gas has a stabilizer in it. I know it is already February and it should have been added by now, but it may be another two months before you are ready to mow. It is better now than to wait until spring.

    Does your mower need new tires, belts or blades sharpened? Now is a good time to take care of it.

    If anything looks like it is going to be a problem, you can fix it or bring it in to your mechanic to be fixed. Don't wait until spring to find this out or you could have a long wait.

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