What’s up ya’ll - welcome to April! Hope you had a wonderful Easter.
As I sit down to type this, I’m thinking this one will be short and sweet but I also know that’s nearly impossible for me to do, so as I always say “pack a lunch” and read on…
My video this week centered around how lawns look all across America here at the beginning of April. I am always looking for ways to drive home certain points to you, and showing you pics of actual lawns across America is a way to do that - mainly so you can see how you stack up on your own strategy and realize where you sit in the grand scheme of lawn domination.
I know that this time of year, ESPECIALLY in early APRIL… most of you are getting jerked around by the weather and your lawns are just not responding as quickly as you had hoped. I know the feeling, I’ve been there…
I’m also doing this to try and give you a better visual for the challenges that everyone faces, especially through the “transition zone.” There are some lawns in the transition zones that are looking perfectly double-dark and beautiful right now. But their time will come. For now, let’s see what everyone is doing.
The crazy thing about California is that there is no real “zone” out there. You can find coastally grown St Augustine as far north as Crescent City and all the way down to the Mexico border. You will also see Bermuda in much of coastal Cali and lots of KBG, Rye and Fescue. There are advantages and challenges with each. One thing’s for sure: the “cool season” grass types look great right now (KBG, Fescue) but will struggle when the California heat kicks in during summer - where St Aug and Bermuda will shine. Look at these: (remember: pics taken last couple days)
If you are in Cali and have a “cool season” turf type and have NOT started yet, you can plug right into step #1 on this program. Or plugin wherever makes sense for you - either way… this plan will work great for you and is centered around Milorganite: easily available at your local store.
The key with you SoCal guys like J HubCity above… is that the heat coming in summer is going to more-than-likely overwhelm your cool season turf. You can try and water your way through it (unlikely due to restrictions), or let it go dormant. If you do let it go into summer dormancy, just make sure it gets at least ½” water per month just to keep the crowns alive. If temps get over 95, you may want to consider planting a giant tree to shade it - but then again, maybe not. Looks like J has some good shade that probably helps his lawn through summer - let’s hope he shares an update in July because he is looking nice and thick right now!
If you are in NorCal like Bryan G above, then you are good to go! Follow along with the folks in the midwest and northeast. Only difference is, your “growing season” is just a little longer.
No one sent any Bermuda or St Aug pics from California, but my assumption is that most are still fairly dormant and just getting going. Check out the recent weather in San Diego (far SoCal):
That’s about as far South as you can get in California and outside air temps are still not quite warm enough to truly wake up St Augustine or Bermuda. We talk a lot about soil temps, but outside temps gotta help us get there and keep things moving! Temps in the 50s at night don’t help.
We really need some hot days and nights to continue heating up that soil so the Bermuda can do what it does best and crawl all over EVERYTHING!
If you have St Augustinegrass - I certainly hope you’ve gotten down your first pre-emergent and are thinking about the second that may be needed. You can get this book and plug right into step #2. You are on the edge of the growing season - Throw’er Down!
Overall, California is an interesting place to grow and love a lawn. We have not even mentioned the micro-climates that exist in the mountains, valleys and on coastal islands. I know I neglect you guys out there often and I’m sorry for that! I’ll be making a trip to Napa later this year and plan to take a lot of pictures while enjoying some fine wines.
Next, and very closely related to California are you transition zone folks. Depending how far north or south you are, you can also have varied grass types and levels of “woke” right now.
Cool season grasses like fescue are in their perfect habitat! Whereas Bermuda and St Augustine are just getting up from winter. Let’s check out the soil temps in Atlanta:
Only a hair behind San Diego in soil temps. You guys with Bermuda and St Augustine can start throwing down hard! Hopefully, you have my Pre-Emergent Guide already (it’s free) and have gotten down your first pre-emergent application a while ago so you are set there and are also ready for step #2 coming up anytime now.
My friend Dylan M from Durham, NC who has shown us his Bermuda above - he is actually pretty close to the coast yet much further north than Bobby R in “Hot”Lanta. Soil temps in Durham are actually a couple degrees higher than ATL at this time. Pretty interesting isn’t it? Something to think about if you are ever involved in a re-hab or completely starting over.
If you have fescue or bluegrass then the cool season guide is for you. Depending on how far south you actually are with your fescue or KBG just means your growing season is a little longer as well, but the plan still works just fine.
You really just need to decide just how hard you want to push things. When I had my fescue, I pushed it hard on a much shorter growing season. I applied Milo every 4-5 weeks at about ½ LB N. Want a leg up from there? You may also want to start playing around with the bio-stimulant pack and take your soil up a level along with your Milo apps.
Just be careful you fescue friends… summer is going to be hard on you. I love the turf-type-tall-fescue for sure, but too far down into Georgia or Texas and that heat is going to give you some literal hell this summer! Be ready, stand tall.
(Midwest, North, North-East)
I see and hear your grunts and groans my friends. I know that you have stuck in your brain that it’s supposed to be warm and sunny outside by now… but that’s only a tease. Many of you still have snow in your future. I’m so sorry.
I spoke to a friend up at the home office in Naperville, IL today. It’s 29 degrees there… but at least the sky is blue and the sun is shining!
However, if you head down just a little south of there, to Indianapolis, look at what you get:
Think about that! Indianapolis is only a couple hours south of Naperville and Jordan’s fescue is already waking up nicely whereas Naperville is deeply frozen and miserable. (but I do like the restaurants there)
It’s tough for you guys to the East as well…
Here’s what Mike from Toms River, NJ says about his lawn as of this week:
“Crappy weather in Toms River, NJ and we might get 1-3 more inches of snow tomorrow and it’s 65 right now. Can’t put my fert down until maybe Wednesday. Having an Easter egg hunt on the lawn today. Saw my first dandelion today. Grass type is TTTF”
But do you folks see what I see in this picture? Forsythia in bloom! (yellow bushes) Looks like they are just starting and I’m pretty sure that is why Mike is telling us he is ready to “Throw’er Down!” Let’s see how that compares to our soil temps from GreenCast:
No matter who you trust (I like the Mother Nature signals best), it’s still the first sign that it’s good to get down that first pre-emergent app and go ahead with some fert on the backside. Just work around the snow storms, you’ll be fine.
If you get down your pre-m and it snows on top - NO WORRIES. That will just water it in, no need to re-apply.
Either way, I know the weather is causing you and your lawn confusion and heartache... But this is pretty typical of this time of year. Fight through it and if you can, get out and do some light raking too. (rake before you throw down pre-m)
Of course, you are in perfect timing to go ahead and get the cool season lawn plan and read up and get started. I’d say a good majority of you should be able to get started within the next two weeks. Maybe 3 for you guys up in the UP and Wisconsin.
I didn’t forget about my bro’s here in paradise!
Finally, my St Augustine has started to come into its beauty and is beginning to flex a bit. I’m still only mowing 1 time per week and that isn’t truly needed. Every 9 days would be perfect right now just to give you an idea of how I sit compared to you. Here is my St Aug as of this morning. This is the first week it’s looked this good - prior, it was too cold at night and it was lagging big time.
And so just to bring things back around for my friends in Northern Florida and Texas/Louisiana/Alabama can get an idea.
You see that? I’m at 78 for my soil temp, and only JUST NOW and I getting the St Aug to really start moving like I want it too. Let’s look just a little north to Jacksonville.
I actually did some weed ID in my recent video that may be helpful to a majority of you guys.
There you go my friends, I hope this email has helped you in some way. Truth is, no matter what, all of us will be dominating come Summer and that’s the goal right now. Work hard now, so you can play in that lawn later.
I’ll see you in the lawn!