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The Fallacy of Weed and Feed Products Cont.

To achieve the best looking and healthiest lawn, the timing for applying herbicides is of the upmost importance. The active ingredients for the products have a defined shelf life. Apply them too early and they will deteriorate or wash into the soil and not be effective. Applied too late and weeds will have already germinated and will require an additional post-emergence herbicide. Applying at the wrong time means more runoff and contamination of the local watershed. Both fertilizers and herbicides are chemicals and if the plants are not able to absorb them, there is no place for them to go except the watershed.

What is the proper warm season lawn maintenance schedule?

Fall:                                                                                                                                                     Apply a pre-emergence herbicide in October. The ideal time is when temperatures drop below 55 degrees.

Spring:                                                                                                                                Reapply a pre-emergence in late March or early April, after the last frost, as the temperatures begin to warm. To be effective the herbicide needs to be applied before germination begins.When the lawn begins to turn green, in mid May or early June, apply a standard 12-12-12 fertilizer unless a recent soil test indicates the need for a different formulation.

Summer:                                                                                                                                    Never fertilize after the middle of August. If needed, apply a post-emergent herbicide to control perennial weeds.

Year Round:                                                                                                                                   Mow the lawn at the appropriate height for the grass species and the season. Most lawns are cut very short which is not always the best for the grass or the homeowners' relaxation. Leaving the grass taller also shades the ground therefore inhibiting weed germination.   Water the lawn at a rate of 1 inch per week. Too much watering encourages disease growth.

Always make sure to read each product label before applying any herbicide. No herbicide is effective for all weeds and may be labeled as harmful to your specific grass, flowers or ornamental plantings. Dispose of the empty containers according to each product label to help to maintain our environment.

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