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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 8/18/2004

Despite cooler weather, lawns need food, water

It has been an unusually cool start to August Toledo s

high temperatures have been below normal for 14 of the first

16 days of the month but that is good news for lawns. Instead

of being dry and brown, many are still soft and green.

Mike O Rourke, manager at Black Diamond Lawn Service in

Toledo, says the cool weather has cured some moisture problems.

We had been seeing a lot of fungus and bacteria problems

in many lawns because of the high humidity, and the cold

temperatures stopped them in their tracks, he says.

Mr. O Rourke says the cool weather also has slowed any

insect and weed problems, at least until the weather gets

warmer.

And even though the grass looks green, it still needs adequate

food and water. After walking across a lawn, look for

footprints in the grass. If they are visible, your grass probably

needs a drink.

When temperatures are in the mid 70s and low 80s, water

[the lawn] more frequently for about 10 minutes at a time, Mr.

O Rourke says. And when it heats up, step up your watering.

The best time to fertilize an established lawn is in spring,

late summer, and fall. Look for 70 to 80-degree daytime temperatures and 40 to 50-degree night temperatures. This is

when grass is most actively growing and needs more food.

If you are a once-a-year fertilizer, this is the best time to

spread it. With temperatures a bit lower than normal, your

lawn may have snapped out of the dormant stage it drifts into

while trying to survive the summer heat.

If you are a fussy grass grower, you may want to fertilize

more often. Start a fertilizing program with an application in

early fall, and add a slowrelease winterizer on Thanksgiving

Day to have the first green lawn in the neighborhood next spring. In mid-May, apply fertilizer and a grub-control product, and feed the lawn

again in late June before the weather gets really hot.

Adjust the fertilizing program to fit the soil. Sandy soils

may need slow-release fertilizers, but heavy clay soils might

need water-soluble products. If you want the beautiful green

lawn without all of the hassle, hire a reputable lawn-care company.

Nitrogen is the first number on bags of fertilizer and feeds

the blades of grass. This should be the highest number for a fall

application. Nitrogen will help grass grow, give it a dark green

color, and increase the density of the turf. Phosphorus is the

second number on fertilizer bags and it nourishes the roots.

The last number on bags of fertilizer is potassium, which helps

the lawn s overall growth. Scientists say the right amount of

potassium will make turf tougher and help it to survive

through extreme temperatures, moisture, and heavy traffic.



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