What’s up ya’ll - can you believe October is here?
Time to talk about Halloween Lawn Domination 2018 and then answer some frequent questions revolving around fall aeration and seeding now that your seed has begun to grow.
Our project lawn is also shown below so be sure to read all the way to the bottom then back up to the top again! I’ve got something here for everyone - fall is a wonderful time for lawn care, let’s get after it!
Cool Season Lawns
Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, Fescues
If you did NOT seed this fall season, you have lots of options! One thing people keep asking me is “Allyn, if I am not seeding, can or should I still aerate the lawn this fall?”
The answer is, yes, but not in the way you think. If you are not seeding, then there is no longer a need for you to mechanically aerate your soil. We have in our store, several options for you, the most obvious being “Compaction Cure Combo” which is 2 great N-Ext products from Greene County Fert combined to help drive air, water, and nutrients, straight down through the compacted clay in your lawn.
Here is how it works, right from the makers, Greene County Fertilizer Company:
Combined applications of N-Ext RGS and N-Ext Air-8 have proven to be a very effective way to relieve soil surface and root zone compaction in lawns. These products, when applied together will power your turf through both surface and subsurface compaction.
By stimulating root growth at the same time that the entire soil surface is opened up to allow for increased air and water penetration, we are attacking compaction at the soil’s surface as well in and below the root zone. As an additional benefit, this application leaves behind carbon particles that serve as both a food source to soil organisms and a block against the binding (re-compaction) of soil particles.
For those of you who really like to geek out on the science behind it, Matt Martin white boarded it earlier this year. He really gets going in this one!
Here’s an email I got last week from an LCN in South Carolina:
“I recently purchased the Compaction Cure Combo. I have a centipede lawn on SC hard clay soil. 6 days ago, I couldn’t get a screwdriver more than 1” into the soil. Now, I can effortlessly sink that sucker to the handle! I am one satisfied lawn care nut! Thanks!
—Terry F., South Carolina
The neat thing about this little combo pack is that it contains 2.5 gallons of the Air8 product and 2.5 gallons of RGS. It comes with full instructions on what to apply and when but if you want to SEE it done, I’ll be applying compaction cure using a Chameleon sprayer and Ortho Sprayer this weekend in a full video on my channel. My lawn isn’t compacted but can benefit in other ways… point being though, I’ll show you exactly how to mix and spray using 2 popular hose-end sprayers. If you are looking to help with compaction in your hard soil - NOW is the time to get the pack and get started. We are still well away from a freeze in most parts of the country and the roots are ready to dig deep before winter. Let’s give them some help!
But Wait… What About The Bio-Stimulant Pack?
If you have a smaller lawn, you can use the Air8 and RGS from the Bio-Stimulant pack and accomplish the same results, while also getting some nicely concentrated Humic12 and of course, our Halloween Domination secret weapon, 0-0-2 MicroGreene. I’ll also be talking about this over the weekend on the channel, but let me help clear up some questions you guys have about a “program” for these products.
Halloween Lawn Domination 2018
Some of you will remember that I sent out a “Bio-Stimulant Fall Plan” back in mid-August. That plan was to get you prepared for the upcoming Halloween rush where all your neighborhood competitors will come to your house to see if they can steal your secrets to having a dominant lawn! And because the majority of you demands it, I set up a “program” for you. If you started that program, then you are well on your way, don’t change it! You will be getting benefits very similar just over a longer period of time.
I’ve already explained and shown many times that the 0-0-2 MicroGreene is an incredible product that will show a real color change when sprayed. (it will also help correct micro-nutrient deficiencies in your soil) Only takes about 5 days when temps are over 80, maybe 7-9 days if closer to 50 or 60. Your timing will vary and that is why we talk about using MicroGreene your last app just before Halloween. Time it out for maximum green on the big day!
Humic acid has many benefits in the soil. It’s a major chelator and helps everything else work better. It kicks the microbes in gear, creating pathways for them to play happily with plant roots. It also helps your Milo work better. I call it the “fertilizer optimizer.”
There are many questions on humics, especially relating to Granular vs Liquid. John Perry, the George Clooney of Lawn Care, has done a video just today explaining some of those details.
So if you have a smaller lawn that is compacted, you may consider the Bio-Stimulant pack where you can have even more fun.
I know that most of you will consider the Compaction Cure Combo while comparing to the Bio-Stimulant Pack and it’s the Air8 and RGS (root growth stimulator) amounts that will dictate your decision. So let’s look at the higher rates that are recommended for the most severely compacted lawns so you can make a good choice. I don’t want you to purchase too much of one thing, while wishing you had another. When in doubt, look at our store to see the different combinations of products we have available for you. Either way, here is the math:
2.5 gallons = 320 oz
1 gallon = 128 oz
Compaction Cure rate:
6oz /1000 sq ft - RGS
9oz /1000 sq ft - Air8
4 applications total per year (at these heavy rates)
At this 6oz/1000 sq ft rate:
2.5 gallons will cover 53,300 sq ft
1 gallon will cover 21,300 sq ft
At this 6oz/1000 sq ft rate, if you have a 5,000 sq ft lawn, you will get:
2.5 gallons = 10.7 applications
1 gallon = 4.3 applications
At this 9oz/1000 sq ft rate:
2.5 gallons will cover 35,500 sq ft
1 gallon will cover 14,200 sq ft
At this 9oz/1000 sq ft rate, if you have a 5,000 sq ft lawn, you will get:
2.5 gallons = 7.1 applications
1 gallon = 2.84 applications
You should only need to perform the heavy apps for a single season, 3 applications. You could get one in now this fall for sure. You could also get a second application down as long as it’s 30 days before your average first frost. If it gets any later than that, just do two next spring and 1 this fall. All good.
After that, you should be able to keep your soil properly aerated with the lesser concentrated apps of Air8 down at 6oz/1000 and the RGS can even go down to 3 oz / 1000 in most cases as well. In other words, you shouldn’t have to use the Compaction Cure every single year, so only get what you need and just do maintenance doses from there on out.
N-Ext Products On A Schedule?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the products in the Bio-Stimulant Pack can be mixed and matched pretty much however you like. They all help the soil, just some are more “specialized” one way or the other. They are ALL good for your soil, so Throw’er Down!
Aeration and Seeding UPDATE
Next up is for all of you who seeded recently, now the questions are flooding in on what to do going forward. First off, go check out Jake’s most recent video on our project lawn. You will see that we are getting excellent results so far! He teases it and doesn’t show too much detail on the results as he is waiting for me to get there in the next few weeks… but still, you can def see we are getting some nice improvement although the lawn is NOT perfect (yet) and that is what I want to talk about today!
As you can see in the photo above, we have a dramatic improvement from our treatments. If you are wondering how we did this, make sure you check out the entire playlist to understand what we are working with.
Here is yet another photo that was taken 22 days after the seeding/aeration and a day after the first mowing.
And here is what that spot looked like BEFORE we started:
Again, go watch Jake’s video to see the progress, but just look at that photo! Look at that beautiful, thick, double dark green lawn!
“But Allyn, what about all those weeds?”
So this is one of the questions I get the most and it’s two-fold.
First being: “Allyn, how come you don’t spray the weeds ahead of time, or use Tenacity at the time of seeding to kill those, and prevent more?”
Tenacity is a great weed control and is very popular in our community when it comes to growing grass seed and weeds. I’ve actually talked about it in previous emails and posted about it on my blog here talking about why I do NOT use it as a pre-or-post-emergent in conjunction with overseeding.
In short, it’s just not my thing. I’d rather NOT use the chem and NOT add a degree of difficulty to an already lengthy, seemingly complicated process. (it’s not that hard but I try to keep things simple when I can). Additionally, in a thin, struggling lawn like the one we are working on, I want the weeds there because they hold the seed in place! If you remove all of them and have almost no turf there, your seed has a better chance of washing away, especially on a slope like we are working with.
My philosophy has always been to focus on the turf, both existing and the new stuff you are growing from seed, and then let the looming winter kill off the weeds, naturally. Focus on the lawn, save the chems for another time.
“Now what about the weeds that are there now, 3 weeks later? Didn’t more grow from all that fert you threw down? Are you planning to spray them?”
Yes, the weeds do indeed benefit from the fert, and more-so from the water. But I’m still not concerned and I doubt I will spray them at all this year. In this grow in NW Indiana, we are only about 4 weeks away from temps falling below 40 overnight and that is going to pretty much shut down the weeds about the same time the grass starts to slow. Again, my focus is on the turf and its health, not the weeds. They can rot in the cold, we will have a strong pre-emergent game next spring as well as a dense stand of turf that will fight them all on its own. The idea is to convert the soil over to loving and trusting the grass plant to hold it in place rather than a bunch of weeds. That takes time!
My Lawn Is Still Thin After Overseeding
This is another one I get quite often where people think their seed job failed because they don’t have a “sod-quality” lawn after 8-12 weeks. The truth is, above in my pics, you are only seeing one single photo from one single angle. I took the “after” screenshot from Jake’s video and man does it look good. But I can guarantee you, the lawn is far from perfect. You see, there is something about the world of social media now - we all have to show ourselves in the perfect light, every time, and we do that without even thinking!! I can 100% guarantee you that you have muscle memory on the exact position to put yourself in to get the best selfie on YOUR personal smartphone. You’ve trained yourself well.
That’s why I film with a selfie stick: so I can keep the camera pointed to my good side that doesn’t show my neck wrinkles. I also control my camera angles so as not to show my giant sidecar fat rolls. Most of you would never know it, but I’m short and shaped like a bowling pin. Go look at my Instagram and you’ll see a fit, tall dude who looks great with a perfect white beard. It’s only when I stand next to Connor Ward that you realize I’m short and not so good looking.
Same goes for lawns. How many of us are going to put in all the work to aerate (like 4x if you listen to me), overseed, starter fert, Milo, water… who is going to do all that and then post a pic 3 weeks later saying “I kind of succeeded?”
Only a few brave souls do that - the rest just don’t post, or they take a super low angled shot that shows only the perfect amount of growth. I’m guilty of this too, so don’t think I’m trying to front here. I know exactly where to go in my lawn to get that perfect shot, every time. I’m trained on it so it’s second nature now. A sign of a true LCN - know your lawn’s “$100 views” and use them wisely!
Point being - if you got enough of a lawn to grow (plus thickened up your existing turf) that you can “fake it” in an Instagram post, then you are just fine! Spring is almost here and that is actually the time when cool season turf puts in even more roots! When I head back up to the project lawn here in a few weeks, I’ll be sure to illustrate this concept and be totally transparent so you can see the real results we got. They are dramatic, but the lawn is far from perfect!
Next - this is another reason why I am not a huge fan of completely nuking your lawn and starting over. I know that tons and tons of you do that because you want the challenge - but it’s not the best course of action. I have always recommended working with your existing lawn in conjunction with aeration and seeding. Lots of reasons for that but the primary being that any grass that has grown and survived in your terrible lawn is the alpha male grass and we want to preserve that! Let’s improve upon it, rather than kill it and start over. Probably advice that is too late for most of you right now, but something to consider for the future.
When Can I Mow After Seeding?
That’s the other one that I get. I tell you guys to wait a good 3-4 weeks before mowing but I know you can’t wait that long, I know you can’t stand it no mo!!!!
So what I say is: when you can no longer stand to wait - go ahead and mow. Just get on and get off fast. Don't stop and pick weeds or light up your cigar. Just mow, fast and light!
If you have a good quality mower and the lawn is not too thickly overgrown, mulching is fine too. If you see ANY clumping though, best to bag it and not cover anything up too much. Either way, go #EnjoyTheMow!
Want to know what comes next in the fall renovation project? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow our updates. Get my cool season hybrid organic lawn plan to follow along with written instructions. Follow the full playlist here. Follow Jake on Instagram for more up-to-date progress on the project lawn.
That's all for today, I'll see YOU in the lawn!