Summer turf musings

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.    

The dry conditions that persisted across much of Michigan earlier this spring and caused many lawns to look like it was already August is well in the rear view mirror now. The storms that literally thrashed the state a couple of weeks ago and brought plenty, if not too much rain to many areas have been followed by nice, mild, Michigan summer weather that has helped the turf rebound from the spring drought stress. As we near the July 4th holiday, this has typically been one of the timings of the holiday fertilizer schedule. Whether or not this fertilizer application is necessary is dependent on what you have already done this season. If the turf is actively growing and still has good color, it is probably not critical for you to apply fertilizer now. However, if the turf is really starting to slow down and the color has dimmed, a slow release fertilizer application will provide the boost to maintain a healthy lawn throughout the rest of the summer.

On the weed front, it seems that almost everything is active now and making in-roads into the turf. Some of the weeds that I’ve been observing include black medic, white clover, crabgrass, birdsfoot trefoil, and oxalis (yellow woodsorrel). In my random observations black medic appears to be particularly pesky in many lawns. Crabgrass has certainly found a home in many areas but the cool temperatures seemed to have at least slowed down its development up to now. If you’re looking to go after the crabgrass, it would be good to get after it sooner rather than later as the younger crabgrass will be easier to control. For the broadleaf bandits that may be troubling you, if they’re flowering its the second best time to control them. Of course, fall applications for broadleaf weed control are still considered the most effective.

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