Renovation Revelations

Measure the size of your lawn. An accurate measurement is important for calculating the right amount of grass seed and Renovator fertilizer. Simple way to measure is to walk the perimeter counting your steps, an average pace is about 3 feet. Multiply length x width and write it down.

Choose the right seed for your conditions. Here are some questions that might help. What matters most to you about your lawn? What type of performance do you expect from your grass seed? Do you wan the heat and drought tolerance of Macho Mix or would you prefer the golf course look and wear tolerance of Estate Mix? Is your lawn shaded or full sun? Do you have play areas for kids or big dogs? Our turf experts can guide you to the right seed for the right place.

Watch the calendar! Timing is everything and the earlier the better for root development to ensure winter survival. Grass seed sown in September will germinate quicker than grass seed sown in April. Warm soils, short days, cool nights and the welcome rains of September promise lower water bills for fall renovation.

Mow or Let it Go? Six Tips on Mowing During the Rainy Season


The cool spring season with plenty of rain and Uncle's Idiot Proof Program have Blue Wave bluegrass and Heat Wave fescue lawns growing like crazy. It's easy to fall behind on mowing schedules when it's raining every day. When the grass is wet and the soil is saturated, should you mow or just let it go? 

1. Be Patient
Excess water in the soil essentially pushes oxygen out of the soil. Without oxygen plant growth will stop until oxygen can be replaced. Be patient with an extremely soggy lawn and give the wettest areas a little time to drain and grass blades time to dry before mowing. Use your best judgement, you know the spots that hold water and those that drain well. A sunny south or west facing yard may need only one good afternoon to dry out and an east or north protected area may take a few days. 
Wet soil is easily compacted. Mowing or even walking over saturated soil can cause compaction problems making it difficult for grass to grow.

2. Use a Sharp Blade
When it does dry out enough to mow, we cannot stress how important it is to use a sharp blade on your mower. Sharp mower blades make mowing so much easier. They give a better-looking finish cut and cause less stress on the grass plant.
Keep two and swap them out every 8 to 10 hours.

3. Don't Cut More Than 1/3
If you fall behind on mowing and the grass gets too tall, on your initial cut, raise the mower deck two notches, then wait a few days and cut it again at one notch lower. Wait a few more days, then cut at your original setting. Removing too much leaf can stress the plant and turn it yellow.
Once you're back to a regular schedule, set your height and leave it. Cutting at 3.5 - 4 inches will shade the soil keeping the roots cool in summer and help fight weed pressure.

4. Don't Leave Heavy Clippings
We all prefer to mulch mow. Mulch mowing is easier and beneficial, but at certain times bagging your grass clippings is a necessity. Cutting an overgrown lawn is one of those times. Heavy clippings left over the top will smother and yellow the grass plant. If you don't have a bagging mower, then do it the old fashion way and rake up the clippings.

5. Clean the Mower
Cleaning is a must if you want to keep Mama happy. Store a wet mower in the garage without cleaning the deck and in two days your garage will smell like a compost pile. Eventually, you will need to clean the deck, and it's a lot easier to clean before the grass mulch dries into a brick. Take the mower to an out of the way spot in the lawn, tilt it back and wash it out with the garden hose. Some of the new models have a hose attachment on the mower deck for clean out. Remember to remove the heavy clippings from the lawn to avoid smothering your grass.
Avoid washing it out on the driveway to keep grass clippings out of the storm drains.

6. PREVENT!  Booster Shot
Excessive rainfall will break down the weed barrier created by PREVENT! Step #1, leading to crabgrass breakthrough by fall. A second application of PREVENT!, crabgrass pre-emergence plus fertilizer, extends crabgrass control through the summer and gives a booster shot of nitrogen that has been leached from the soil by heavy rainfall.

What is that White Powder on the Grass?

Powedery Mildew in Turf


There has been an outbreak of powdery mildew this spring, and it seems to be all over town. All locations are fielding calls and concerns about the silvery colored grass. The last couple weeks of cooler weather has made the conditions ideal for powdery mildew.

Symptoms of Powdery Mildew

The fungus first appears as isolated patterns of fine, gray-white, powdery growth on the upper surface of the grass leaf. This growth rapidly becomes denser and may cover the entire leaf, giving the leaf a gray-white appearance. In severe outbreaks, entire portions of turf stand may be dull white, rather than green. Individual leaves look as though they are covered with flour or powder.

Disease Cycle

The fungus organism overwinters in dead grass and infected living grass plants. Spores of the fungus spread by the wind to leaves of other turf grass plants. Conditions favorable for powdery mildew development include poor air circulating, high atmospheric humidity, low light intensity or shade, and cold air temperatures. Kentucky bluegrass, when planted in shaded areas, is particularly susceptible to this disease.

Controlling the Powdery Mildew


  • Control is easy if you do not wait too long. An application of Fungus Fighter will slow the spread. Fungus Fighter is available in a spray form or a granular application.
  • Keep your mower blade sharp. Set your mower height down a little shorter if you are mowing over 3 inches tall. A shorter cut helps the dew to dry faster, and you should be able to mow off some of the white powder.
  • Powdery Mildew typically shows up in late April or May so watch these same areas over the next 30 days. Controls work for about 14 days. If the conditions return, you could see a second infection this year.

After Effects of Powdery Mildew

The disease is not typically mortal but this year, the timing of this event can thin turf stands to a point that allow weeds to sprout in those areas. Also, a thinned turf stand allows more UV rays to contact the soil. The increase in UV rays over time will break down the effectiveness of crabgrass pre-emergence in areas usually shaded by dense turf. Uncle's Idiot Proof Lawn Care Program Step #3 Prevent crabgrass control in late May will be critical to extend crabgrass control through the summer months.

Will Powdery Mildew Go Away by Itself?

Powdery mildew doesn't just go away, it will stop growing when conditions change. It's just the gamble you take on how long that will be and how much damage will be done while you wait on Mother Nature. In addition, if the conditions should return, so will the powdery mildew. Control applications of Fungus Fighter will knock it out and give protection against its return. 

Spring Flowering Lilacs

Idiot Proof Spring Beauty
Dwarf Korean Lilac

The most popular of the deciduous flowering shrubs, lilacs are highly valued for their appearance and fragrant flowers. The common lilac and its many cultivars come in a variety of colors purple, white, pink, blue and dark red are all favorites here at the Grass Pad.
French Hybrid Lilac

Vigorous growth habit of the lilacs make it ideal for tall screen plantings, hedges, borders, and in mass plantings for their tremendous display of flowers. Few shrubs can rival lilacs for bloom even under difficult conditions of the Mid-West. They are useful as accent or specimen plants at the corners or along houses and buildings. Most popular of the lilacs is the Dwarf Korean lilac which rarely grows larger than 4 feet. This plant makes an attractive hedge with its fragrant, purple-lilac flowers.

French Hybrid Lilac

Hardy in cold climates, a lilac requires full sun to flower well. Lilacs are easily grown and do well in either acid or alkaline soil but respond with improved growth to applications of lime every three or four years where soils are acidic.

Common Purple Lilac

Prune a lilac right after it flowers in the spring. Pruning consists of removing old flower clusters and thinning out the oldest branches at ground level to encourage new growth from the base of the plant. The strongest new shoots should be left to take the place of the older stems which will eventually be cut out.

Common White Lilac

Renew an older overgrown lilac by cutting the whole plant down to within six inches of the ground. It’s a drastic means of rejuvenation. But, don’t worry, the plant will survive. The best way to treat old plants is prune out one third of the older stems each year for three consecutive years. In this way the plant can maintain a reasonable height in the landscape and still flower from the remaining wood. By the time the last pruning is completed, replacement wood should be strong enough to support the plant and promote flowering


Spring Flowering Trees

Magnolias

Royal Star Magnolia
The early bloom on these favorites will pump up any yard or garden. Show off the plantation with the Royal Star or a Saucer Magnolia. 
Sauce Magnolia

The white flower of the Royal Star and the pink blossoms of the Saucer Magnolia are the first signs of spring here in the midwest.
Because the thrive in our area, they are at the top of Uncle’s list of Idiot Proof Plants. 



Jane Magnolia
Deep purple flower of the “Jane” magnolia has been around for a while and is a very under used variety. Scarlet paid a bundle to plant these at Tara. 


Sweet Bay Magnolia
The Sweet Bay magnolia, a magnificent glossy green leafed tree with a late blooming white flower, is a favorite with our customers. 


Brackens Brown Magnolia
 Also, the Brackens Brown Beauty magnolia is a cold hardy variety of the southern magnolia, with its large glossy evergreen leaf along with the citrus smell on the summertime blooms is soon to become a classic itself.

Redbuds

Eastern Redbud

Oklahoma Redbud

White Redbud
They’re not just redbuds anymore. Enjoy the beautiful pink buds of the traditional Eastern Redbud, or try some of the new varieties, the bright purple buds of the Oklahoma Redbud, the white flower of the White Bud, or the burgundy leaf of the Forest Pansy Redbud.

Crabapples

With spring flowers and winter color, crabapples have always been a springtime favorite at the Grass Pad. These are a few of our most popular. 

Royal Raindrop Crabapple
The Royal Raindrops and the Prairie Fire with excellent disease resistance and bright red flower is at the top of our most wanted list. 

Prairie Fire Crabapple

Sargenti Crabapple
Spring Snow, with its white flower and green leaf, is the only fruitless variety of crabapple. Sargenti crabapples are very small ornamentals that retain their fruit and are great for bird habitats.