Coming out of winter, lawns are frequently thin, off color and choked with moss and/or weeds. Sometimes all it takes is some lawn fertilizer or fertilizer with moss control or weed control to make them thick and green again. Sometimes they need renovation such as aeration and thatch control. If the lawn has become especially thin or has a mixture of grassy and broad leaf weeds, reseeding may be needed.
When selecting lawn fertilizer for spring feeding, I prefer fertilizers with at least 25% slow release or timed release nitrogen. Check the “guaranteed analysis” label for slow release nitrogen. Slow release nitrogen will last well into summer instead of being used up in the first few weeks after fertilization. Methylene urea is a common slow release nitrogen compound. Sulfur coated and poly coated nitrogen is also slow release. Sometimes granules are coated with both sulfur and poly. If slow release nitrogen is included in the fertilizer it will usually indicate what percentage on the analysis label. I use a 25-5-5 fertilizer with 60% slow release nitrogen and 5% iron for moss control in the spring.
If you have moss in your lawn it requires at least 5% iron to control it. You can purchase moss control products separately or combined in your fertilizer. If you have a lot of mossy areas, a combined fertilizer with moss control is the most efficient. If you have only limited areas with moss, separate products may be the best choice. Apply moss control to other areas at the same time it is applied to lawns. Remember that any fertilizer which contains iron or moss control can stain concrete with rust colored spots. Make sure you brush off fertilizer spilled on concrete before it becomes wet.
Lawn weed control products selectively control broad leaf weeds but do not control grassy weeds. I have a new lawn weed control product called Imprelis which has a much reduced risk to people, pets and birds. It is also much more effective than granular weed and feed products. It is only available to licensed pesticide applicators. Let me know if you would like us to apply it to your lawn.
If your lawn has become mostly coarse, wild grasses, you may need to apply Roundup or similar products to kill everything before reseeding. If you use a granular weed and feed product, it should be applied when the lawn is wet so the weed killer sticks to the weed leaves.
Another choice for thatch control besides a thatch machine is Natural Guard Soil Activator which we can apply for a cost lower than a thatch machine. The active ingredient in this product is humic acid, or sometimes referred to as humates. It is a naturally occurring mineral which stimulates earthworm and micro-organism activity. They quickly decompose the thatch (dead, brown leaves and stems). This process also releases nitrogen, which stimulates grass growth.
If you are not sure what level of renovation is needed for your lawn, give me a call. I can check your lawn free of charge if you live in the Vancouver area.
START BROCCOLI AND OTHER COLE CROPS INSIDE NOW
Seeds of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Mustard, Swiss Chard, Kohl Rabi and other cole crops can be planted inside for outside planting in April. Peppers, tomatoes and other warm season vegetables can be sown by late March for outside planting in May. Transplants of cool season (frost tolerant) vegetables will be available in nurseries soon.
RAISED BEDS FOR VEGETABLES
Raised beds are especially advantageous in the Pacific Northwest. Cool, rainy spring weather delays germination and growth of vegetables. Artificial soil mix in raised beds drains more quickly and warms up sooner in the spring. We built several cedar board raised beds for clients last year. Let me know if you would like us to build a raised bed for you or give you help in building your own.
MOVE OR PLANT TREES, SHRUBS, FRUIT
All permanent plants such as lawns, trees, shrubs, berries, vines, ground covers, bulbs and perennial flowers can be planted in March. If you want to move trees or shrubs, now is the time to do it before they start to grow. They can be moved later, but will have a much smaller set back if done now. Perennial vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb can be planted now.
FERTILIZE PERMANENT PLANTS
Permanent plants such as trees, shrubs, berries, vines and ground covers can also be fertilized in March and April just before they begin to grow. I use lawn fertilizer for all my woody plants and a general purpose fertilizer such as 16-16-16 for everything else.
INCREASED PEST CONTROL SERVICES
We will be offering an increased range of Weed and Pest Control Services this year. As much as possible we will be using natural and organic methods. In some cases we will be using a new group of pesticides with an EPA rating of “reduced risk”. These products must be at least 10 times less toxic to qualify for this government rating. They are also used at much lower rates with a corresponding lower environmental impact. For example, the new broadleaf lawn weed control product “Imprelis” is a synthetic auxin growth regulator.
We will also be using a new mole control product (Talpirid) which is very effective and safe to use. Both Imprelis and Talpirid are only available to licensed pesticide applicators