Don't Let Rain Cancel Your Outdoor Plans

Rain can make a mess of outdoor schedules. Planting the garden, seeding the lawn, sprucing up the patio, all get rained out, just like a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Wet mucky soils are hard to dig and form hard pan clods during planting. Major projects are delayed and routine chores are a mess.

Gardeners, homeowners and event planners can all take a tip from the baseball grounds keeper. Baseball infields are meant to be dry. Slippery footing is dangerous and the infield must be raked smooth. Baseball is an elegant game. It is not meant to be played in the mud.

Save the Game
On sports fields, the secret weapon in the battle against mud and rain outs is PrimeraFC field conditioner. The fine porous chips of PrimeraFC are used by professional baseball teams for infields and are tilled into the soil of grassed areas as well. Sports fields prepared with these porous ceramics will absorb moisture and be ready to play when other fields are closed for days.

On football and soccer fields, wet bare spots develop at midfield and around the goal lines. In such wear areas these field conditioners will reduce soil compaction, promote drainage and encourage root development. Parents and coaches trying to upgrade a tired public field or save a rain threatened game schedule can use the same versatile products.

Save the Picnic
Overnight rain can disrupt more than just a baseball game. Backyard tailgate parties, weddings, and receptions can all move outdoors. Even after the rain stops, muddy ground can put a damper on these events. To get rid of muddy spots and dry out walking paths, spread the PrimeraOne Sports Field Conditioner over soggy ground. It will absorb moisture, dry out the soil and give guests a clean firm footing to walk on. Best of all when the party is over just broom it into the turf with a leaf rake and you are done. It is a benefit to the grass, soil and any garden plant.

Save the Carpet
When used with new seeding, PrimeraFC will hold moisture and speed seed germination by seven to ten days. Unlike garden topsoil, the ceramic medium is weed free and will not contaminate new seed with soil born weeds. My favorite use is on high traffic play areas round the dog run, yard or patio. It provides a clean firm footing and will reduce muddy foot prints onto indoor carpet. On public lawns and muddy courtyards it reduces lawn wear and tracking into polished indoor surfaces. Moms and janitors come to love this stuff rain or no rain.

Save the Garden
Healthy roots for flowers and plants need a balance of air and water. In wet compacted soils plant roots drowned and rot from too much moisture. Water logged planting beds, large containers and low spots in the garden will all benefit from these same athletic field products. Porous well drained soil is the name of the game, whether at Kauffman Stadium or your own back yard.

Fall Seeding, Fall Weeding

"Uncle, I followed your Fall Renovation Program, I used your weed free grass seed. Why do I have weeds in my yard?" Uncle's Response: "Well, it really means you did it right!"

When properly preparing your lawn for fall overseeding, you create a pathway for grass seed to reach the soil. If grass seed doesn't reach the soil, it won't grow. Uncle recommends verticutting, dethatching, aerating, or raking for maximum seed to soil contact.

Disturbing the soil (verticutting, aerating, dethatching or raking) exposes soil and any pre-existing weed seeds that lay dormant in the soil. These weed seeds could be from last year or several years ago, suspended under the soil, too deep to germinate waiting for their opportunity to spring into life.

Most of these new weeds will be annual grassy weeds. Grassy weed seeds appreciate the same fertilizer and additional watering from your fall renovation program and flourish. Don't panic annual grassy weeds will be slow to germinate as soil temperatures cool in fall. Mother Nature will take care of these annual weeds at first frost. Using PREVENT, crabgrass preventer in mid-April will eliminate their return.

Dandelion, clover, spurge and numerous other broadleaf weeds are stimulated as well. Fall is an excellent time to control those broadleaf weeds. Perennial broadleaf weeds are busy sucking up much needed nutrients to store for overwintering. An application of Trimec or Speedzone can be applied 28 days after grass seed germination. A fall application of Trimec with Uncle's Stikit, spreader sticker or a granular application of Loveland Weed and Feed will be quickly absorbed by the broadleaf weeds and is sure to kill all the way to the roots.

Sensational Six Trees for Fall Foliage

Many people believe fall to be the most beautiful season, as leaves change from green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. Watching leaves turn color can be one of the highlights of the fall season.

Colorful fall leaves are almost magical and especially lovely when the most beautiful trees are in your own yard. Uncle created this list of our best landscape trees for Mid-West fall color. Uncle’s favorites are selected for hardiness in the mid-west and sure to perform beautifully in our area. Any of these beauties will add prominent color to your fall landscape.

Wildfire blackgum is a magnificent three season tree. New spring growth has a fiery red leaf turning green in summer and exploding into vivid flame-red again in fall. Outstanding as a specimen tree and breathtaking in rows along property lines or driveways. A very long-lived tree, the Wildfire blackgum will be enjoyed for many generations. Height: 50’ Spread: 30’ 

Red Rage blackgum with its deep dark green glossy leaves in summer has excellent resistance to leaf spot. Turning dazzling red with the arrival of fall weather, Red Rage Blackgum is native to Indiana. Height: 25’ Spread:20’ 

Red Pointe maple with its radiant red fall color and upright broadly pyramidal form make this improved red maple a stand out. A straight and dominant central leader result in strong branch angles makes Red Pointe one of the most desirable of all red maples. Height: 45' Spread: 30'

Sun Valley maple, a U.S. National Arboretum introduction, glows in the fall with reliable, bright red color. A hybrid between Red Sunset and Autumn Flame, it is seedless and features a very uniform, dense head. Height:40’ Spread:35’ 

Flashfire Sugar Maple was selected from Caddo Mountain sugar maple seedlings. This tree has the brightest red fall color we have seen from cultivars adapted to southern heat. It features dark green summer foliage with better mildew resistance that other Caddo selections. Strong growth, early fall color of intense red make Flashfire a very pleasing addition to the landscape. Height: 45’ Spread: 40’ 

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple One look is all you'll need to see that Fall Fiesta® is superior to the sort. The branching is full and symmetrical. Leathery, glossy, deep green leaves are resistant to leaf tatter and leafhopper damage. A rapid grower, easy to transplant and also resistant to sun scald and frost cracks. Outstanding fall color, shows far more oranges and reds than other sugar maples. Prefers a moist yet well-drained soil with a slight acidity for optimum growth.Height: 50-75' Spread: 50'

See Related: How to Plant a Tree

Come on down to the Grass Pad. Let our Green Team help you find the perfect tree for any location and any budget. Instructions on care and planting are always available from our nursery experts. At Grass Pad we have everything for homeowners and professionals to be successful when planting trees and shrubs.

Ahhh....The Smell of Fresh Cut Grass in the Morning!

It’s October, and the lawn is looking fantastic. The neighbors are impressed, flashing the big thumbs up as they drive by. Standing on the driveway feeling a great sense of satisfaction in all the hard work and attention to detail from your diamond pattern cut and your edges trimmed to perfection. Turning that yard from drought-ravaged clay hard pan into this thick lush and green paradise of turf will make any homeowner swell with pride. It’s a glorious feeling when you look forward to mowing your lawn. But, this is October, how do we keep it looking like Augusta National in July?

Pay attention to the details and prepare your lawn for next year’s unpredictable season. The best lawns in spring are overseeded and fertilized in the fall. Don’t forget to follow all the steps to Uncle’s Idiot Proof Program. It’s easy to forget, the lawn looks great after overseeding, with that booster application of Renovator or Golf Course Starter fertilizer, and you lose track of time and forget that 2nd application four weeks later. If you have the program and you still have bags of Renovator or Golf Course Starter sitting on your garage floor in mid October, get that 2nd fall application of fertilizer on to the lawn. Snowman, winter root builder, goes down at Thanksgiving.

Work those spots. Now is the time to get out and walk the lawn looking for bare spots. Bare spots that may have been overlooked or the seed was washed away. Use Macho Mix or Estate Mix, both have perennial sports rye that will germinate quick in cooler soils and establish quickly avoiding any winter damage. Use PrimeraFC or sphagnum peat moss over the top of the seed and keep it moist. Remember, “No bare spots will mean no spring weeds next spring.”

October and November are an excellent time to control broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clover, and chickweed. In fall, broadleaf perennial weeds are busy collecting energy from photosynthesis and storing it in the crown and roots. Speedzone and Trimec contains systemic herbicides that will move through the leaf tissue and in to the crown and roots for a complete kill. Killing broadleaf weeds in fall will allow turf to grow and fill in bare spots this fall before crabgrass or other weeds germinate next spring.

Fertilize in Fall for Healthy Trees

Why should you fertilize trees and shrubs? Improve the health and disease tolerance of your trees and shrubs each year by supplementing much-needed nutrients every fall using fertilizer spikes or a root feeder. Shrubs and trees require energy stores to survive the winter and maintain healthy vigor to defend against pests and diseases.

Feeding established trees and shrubs is idiot-proof. Fertilizer spikes are a combination of slow fertilizers compressed to form a spike. These hard spikes can be driven into the ground using a mallet or hammer or after a dry season, using an auger drill makes installation much easier. Do not use fertilizer spikes on newly installed trees or shrubs. Spikes contain fertilizers in amounts not recommended for new trees or shrubs.

A root feeder can also be used to fertilize established trees. Connecting to your garden hose, special water soluble tablets are inserted into the root feeder handle. The attached hollow metal probe is pushed deep into the soil. As water flows through the root feeder, fertilizer tablets dissolve quickly, and nutrients become readily available to the roots. These root feeders can be used for deep watering trees during drought periods.

For newly installed trees and shrubs use Uncle's Root Accelerator containing a special starter fertilizer formula. Uncle’s Root Accelerator is specifically formulated for new plantings and is recommended for all trees and shrubs that have been installed for less than 12 months. Promoting rapid root growth, Uncle’s Root Accelerator, applied once per month for the first year will improve your transplanting results. Uncle’s Root Accelerator concentrate is mixed with water and poured at the base of the tree or shrub.

How much fertilizer will you need? Bring your tree measurements with you and our sales staff can help you determine how many spikes or tablets required for your tree. Fertilizer formulas are available for shade, ornamental and fruit trees. Measure your tree trunk diameter about 18 inches from the base to get the most accurate measurement. Shrubs and multi-stem trees without a main trunk, just estimate their height.