1702 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 6 St. Augustine, Florida 32084
THE LATEST DIRT...
This is the month for your spring granular fertilizer application. We will be applying a 16/0/8, quality sulfur-coated, slow release fertilizer. PLEASE WATER YOUR LAWN FOLLOWING THE APPLICATION. Remember that per the St. Johns River Water Management District: “Watering in of chemicals, including insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides when required by law, the manufacturer, or best management practices, is allowed anytime within 24 hours of application.” Our fertilizer is encapsulated (hence the slow release) and must be watered in to break it down to make it accessible to the soil. Three quarters of an inch on your lawn, which translates to about 45 minutes running time for a sprinkler system, should do the job. If you are fortunate enough to get a good rain following your application, that will be acceptable too. After we have finished your application, we use our blowers to clean your drive and walkways of any misplaced fertilizer. But, please be aware that both wind and mowing can scatter some of the application and we cannot be responsible for what mother nature or lawn companies do after we leave. So, please do a perimeter check and blow or sweep the appropriate areas if needed. Your landscape and neighbors will appreciate it!
“Can I wait to water it the next day?” Yes.Usually this is asked by those with automated sprinkler systems that are a pain to modify! Waiting one day will not make a difference on this high a quality of product. Nitrogen can be lost into the air over time, but 24 hours will not affect it.
“Will it hurt to mow my lawn right away?” Definitely not.Some of the fertilizer could be misplaced a bit around your drive and walkways, but the loss is trivial to your lawn.
Going into this spring you may notice a great number of weeds in your lawn. Many weed seeds germinate in cold weather, so it stands to reason that while your lawn is dormant, those weeds will thrive. While your lawn is dormant there is more than likely more exposed soil than usual, allowing the ideal place for them to grow. Under normal conditions a healthy St. Augustinegrass lawn will crowd out any would be weeds. Lastly, weed seeds are carried in the wind from neighboring yards. This can sometimes mean that if your neighbor has a weed problem, you might end up with the same problem.
Having said that, as we apply your fertilizer this month, we will also spot treat for weeds we see with a post-emergent herbicide. But, please keep in mind that as we feed your lawn, your weeds are getting nourished as well. Those that haven’t “popped up” yet will and you’ll most likely see even more weeds after this month’s application. Don’t panic, this is normal and to be expected. For that reason, next month we will be applying a pre and post emergent herbicide. Simply stated, the “pre” is for the weeds ready to emerge and the “post” is for the weeds already emerged. The key to the ever frustrating weed issue is PATIENCE this time of year.
IN THE GARDEN...
Every spring I receive calls about “mysterious” holes in our customer’s lawns and I advise them that this is probably the result of armadillos foraging for insects. The holes caused by them are generally 1-3 inches in depth and 3-5 inches wide. Armadillos dig as they search for food items such as grubs. This activity can actually be considered beneficial. The “damage” they cause is mostly cosmetic, though they can sometimes uproot plants in beds. The good news is they do not eat the plants or turf, nor do they destroy roots.
Another frequent call I get is mysterious mounds of dirt and/or surface ridges in one’s lawn. These are caused by the common mole. The mounds look like puffs/piles of dirt shaped like a volcano. And, the surface ridges are raised and resemble the raised veins on the back of your hand. The surface ridges that lie just below the surface are foraging tunnels. These tunnels are created as the mole searches for the earthworms and insects on which they feed. You might notice them when walking over one and it feels as if the dirt below is cushiony and feels like it’s collapsing underneath your feet. Their diet consists of mole crickets, grubs, ants, cutworms, armyworms and slugs—and they are often falsely accused of eating the roots of grass. Just as armadillos can be considered beneficial, so can moles. They also help to loosen and aerate the soil. In loose soil moles can tunnel up to 18 feet per hour. That’s a lot for such a small creature! Their living space is in the tunnels and chambers 6-12” below the surface. Soil from these deep burrows is pushed to the surface in small mounds. But just like the armadillo, the damage caused by them is mainly cosmetic.
Given that both of these mammals forage for grubs, over the years many of you have asked if we could treat for them. While there are some companies that do offer so-called grub control applications, we do not. Reason being that grubs are located deep in your soil, are very difficult to eliminate, and many are beneficial to your soil. Furthermore, soil drenching is not good for our environment. Even if we could eradicate them, armadillos will still dig to try and locate them and moles will still tunnel in an effort to locate them. There are a lot of home remedies floating around, such as using cayenne pepper, mothballs or even chewed up juicy fruit gum. Most of the remedies we’ve heard of are just old wives tales and are a waste of time. The only viable solution we know of is to either trap them yourself or call a wildlife trapper to do the job for you. The good news is these creatures don’t seem to hang around any certain area for all that long. In other words, what may be an issue today, probably won’t be within 2 or 3 weeks or even less.
Lastly, some clients become concerned as they see bees hovering close to the ground in their lawns and landscapes. These bees are known as andrenid or miner bees and are approximately ½ inch in length with a black body and light-colored hairs and are docile, as well as beneficial to our environment. They make small mounds of soil that is excavated from each burrow which often brings attention to their activities. The threat of being stung by these bees is usually highly overrated. The males cannot sting and the females are docile and not likely to sting unless stepped on, handled or threatened. While the entrances to the tunnels and excavated soil may appear disruptive to the lawn, they are not damaging. It may appear that the grass is thin because of the bees but it is more likely that the bees are in the area because the grass was already thin. Therefore, control is not necessary, or advised. To the contrary, because the andrenid bees forage to gather pollen and nectar, they are beneficial because they serve as pollinators this time of the year.
© All rights reserved