Pleasant Landscapes Newsletter - April 2009
Spring is Here!
With the oncoming spring weather you will begin to see a change in our Charleston landscapes. Azaleas and Indian Hawthorne's will start blooming, the grasses will begin to green up, our native Carolina Jasmine will have fragrant flowers in the trees, and our flowering trees will be bursting with new color. What a great time it is to be in Charleston! This year we have had a cooler than normal spring time. All of the grasses in the Charleston area are warm season grasses. Each with their own specific needs, One of the first things that we need to get our grasses growing is warm days and warm nights. Southern grasses do not start growing until the ground temperature gets to be around 70. With the warmer temps coming on -now is the time to be applying fertilizer. St. Augustine, Zoysia, & Bermuda require a high nitrogen fertilizer (like a 25/4/11) while Centipede is best suited for a 15/0/15 fertilizer. We often combine a pre emergent in with our fertilizer to help control our summer weeds (which will also be sprouting as the warmer temps are here). In addition, at the time of writing this article, it has been a very dry month so far. Therefore, we plan to be increasing our water supply for our lawn & shrubs. The temperatures do not dictate daily watering yet, so between 1-3 days per week should be sufficient- depending on your soil type. With heavy clay soils requiring less water & sandier soils requiring more.
The 2nd spring task is to keep an eye out for turf damage. We will see three distinct types of surf damage this spring. The first one is grub which surface during the spring and feed on the roots of newly sprouting grass. We applied an insecticide last month to help control grubs and other surface feeding insects, Such as over wintering mole crickets. If you think you may have grub damage dig up a 12"x12" area on the boarder of the affected area and look for white c- shaped worms in the top couple of inches of the soil. Usually if you find one or two there are more within the yard and a treatment should be applied. The 2nd type of turf damage that may be present would be brown patch and is sometimes left over from the previous year. We wrote about brown patch in the fall and you may access that article on our website at www.pleasantlandscapes.com, but the main concept with brown patch is to look for ever growing circles with a distinct brown ring in over fertilized and overwatered lawn areas.
When it comes to fertilizer more is not always better. The 3rd type of turf damage that will be present in the spring is dead patch. These are areas of dead lawn that did not come back from the previous year. The causes for this can be many, but some are brown patch from last fall (that was not caught), fertilizing too early with an early freeze- killing back tender new growth, and also high traffic areas or too much shade. As you will see, growing nice lawns is more of an art than a science. As always, if you have any questions about your turf feel free to email us pictures or questions as we always enjoy offering free advise to help our neighbors have quality lawns & shrubs. Spring should be a time to enjoy our ever blooming surroundings. If you have not been to some of the local plantations it's a great time to go and see the blooms; I would highly recommend it. Happy gardening.
If you have any questions, as always, feel free to send me an email - I usually respond pretty quickly.
James Parker - Pleasant Landscapes