Should you Mow Your Lawn Before or After a Lawn Treatment?
A lush, green lawn is what you’re after in spring and summer. Who doesn’t want to sink their toes into velvety, thick, carpet-like grass? Can’t you feel your stress melt away just thinking about it?
Getting the healthy, thriving lawn that you want takes some work. To avoid unsightly brown spots and the effects of heavy foot and pet traffic, you need to care for your beloved grass. If you neglect it, there won’t be much to sink your toes into.
Regular, proper fertilization helps maintain the soil’s nutrients at a consistent level to keep your grass happy.
But you might be wondering whether you should mow before or after treating your lawn. After all, you don’t want to waste it.
Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here is everything you need to know about mowing timing around lawn treatments.
What You Should Know About Mowing Before or After Treating Your Lawn
During the growing season, you should be mowing your lawn about once each week.
As mowing frequency increases as the weather warms up, timing it around fertilization and weed control treatments can feel tricky.
These mowing tips and tricks should clear up any confusion.
Best Times to Mow Your Lawn
Fertilization, granular specifically, is rarely impacted by mowing. But weed control treatments can be impaired.
You usually don’t want to mow your lawn within 24 hours before any such treatment.
This is because if you mow right before an herbicide treatment, there isn’t much leaf area left to absorb the weed control. If a broadleaf weed control doesn’t come in contact with enough of the plant’s foliage, it won’t be effective.
How long do you wait to cut the grass after a lawn treatment? You should wait to mow for 24 to 48 hours post treatment . This is because it takes at least 24 hours for broadleaf weed control to translocate throughout the vascular system of the plant. If you cut the grass too soon, you’re not letting the herbicide get into the plant.
The Grass Clipping Benefit
When you mow after a lawn treatment, it’s always better to leave the clipped grass blades on the lawn.
These clippings act like barriers to help hold in the newly applied nutrients. Bonus: They also provide your lawn with organic nutrients to complement the fertilizer.
Remember the Mowing Basics
Whether you’re mowing your lawn before or after a lawn treatment, remembering the basics is essential to ensure your lawn thrives and you don’t waste your time.
First, make sure your mower is properly prepped. This means sharpening your mower blades, filling the tires with air, changing the oil, and ensuring it’s working correctly before the growing season is in full swing.
Then, when you mow, remember that your grass blades should be 3 to 4 inches tall after you mow. You never want to remove more than one-third of the lawn at any one time so as not to stress it out.
To Mow or Not To Mow: Your Questions Are Answered!
Mowing is an important part of a healthy lawn. And doing it right can keep your lawn happy and maximize the effectiveness of lawn treatments.
Regular mowing not only improves its appearance, but also helps it grow thicker, choking out weeds.
If mowing before or after treating your lawn is still confusing to you, never fear. Here at Natural Green, we’re happy to answer your questions about proper timing and mowing techniques to help you take better care of your lawn. It’s what we do here in Central and Southern Maryland, and we’re always happy to share our knowledge about what your grass likes best.
We’d love to be a part of helping you achieve the lawn of your dreams in Central or Southern Maryland. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we’ll prepare a customized plan so you can have the best lawn on the block.
7 Aeration and Overseeding Mistakes You Should Avoid
To revitalize your grass, you may consider aerating and overseeding, or creating holes in your soil to plant fresh seedlings. In fact, when done correctly, aerating and overseeding can be extremely beneficial to the wellbeing of your turf. Unfortunately, mistakes can be all too easy to make— and could cost time and money, with little return.
Be sure to avoid these seven aeration and overseeding mistakes to get the thick, healthy look you desire:
1. You don’t choose the right equipment.
We’ve all seen the do-it-yourselfers walking across their lawn in cleats, poking holes in the soil. Instead of investing in an aeration machine, they think aerating is just about creating holes— but actually, the concentrated force of stepping with a spiked shoe further compacts your soil. Even spike aerators, which use a solid tine or fork to poke holes, can cause additional compaction in the areas around the holes.
For best results, use a plug aerator, which removes a core, or plug, of grass and soil from your lawn. Look for an aerating tool or machine that removes soil plugs approximately two to three inches deep and roughly half to three quarters of an inch in diameter, about two to three inches apart.
2. You don’t know how to use your aeration machine and accidentally damage your turf.
After you choose the right aeration equipment, much of the success of your new growth will be the result of how well you operate the aerator. Walk-behind aerators are a common choice but can be heavy to push. Large lawns can mean achy arms and sloppy navigating, resulting in inconsistent growth.
In addition, during each turn, you must disengage the tines by lifting up from the handle to prevent damaging the turf. This can be time-consuming, so instead, some operators will lift and spin the whole unit when it’s time to turn, potentially causing compaction and bare spots later on. Make sure you choose the right machine and understand how to use it to ensure the best results for your lawn.
3. You aerate and overseed during the wrong time of the year.
The proper time to aerate is when new life has the greatest chance to grow in your region. You wouldn’t want to aerate and overseed too early, before the last frost hits for example, and kill the seeds. You also wouldn’t want to do it during the peak of a hot summer, when the harsh sun and temperature suppress new growth.
For cool-season grasses, common in northern lawns, aerate early fall or spring. Warm-season grasses, common to southern lawns, grow best in the late spring or very early summer. Not sure which applies to you? Here in Pennsylvania, cool air and moist soil in the fall and spring make it the perfect time to lay fresh turf, helping to build greater resistance against disease, insects, and drought.
4. You aerate and overseed during dry conditions.
Aerating is easy on your turf, and you, when your soil is slightly moist. Overly dry and compact soil is harder to penetrate and requires more manual effort to push the machinery. Especially during times of drought when you grass is already stressed, it’s best to wait until the day after a good rainfall before aerating.
5. You don’t keep your lawn moist after aerating and overseeding.
After planting the seeds, you must make sure they’re covered with moist soil— at least a fourth of an inch— to foster growth. A common mistake rookie aerators and overseeders make is thinking that the natural rain cycle will provide all the water you need, but a few days without moisture could mean bad news for a new seed.
For about three weeks after seeding, or until the grass begins to peek out of the dirt, set a daily watering schedule. Once the grass has gained a little height, you can ease back to your normal pattern.
6. You mow too soon.
After you lay down your seedlings, they’ll need time and the right environmental protection to grow. They’ll need to acclimate and set roots before the first mow, so during the first two to four weeks post aerating and overseeding, don’t mow. This time varies depending on your area and the type of grass you planted; for example, fescue and ryegrass typically take about 10 to 14 days to germinate, while Kentucky bluegrass might take up to four weeks. A lawn care professional can advise you on the right timespan.
During this sensitive time of growth, try to allow avoid heavy foot traffic on your property, which could compact the seeds too deeply. Once the grass reaches about three to three and half inches, you can fire up the mower for a fresh cut.
7. You fight weeds too early.
Weed control can work wonders keeping invasive growth at bay on a healthy turf, but chemicals and herbicides can harm seeding’s roots and fresh blades. Even organic and natural solutions can cause stress on the young plants, so it’s often best to wait until your grass is strong before laying down any weed control substances. We advise waiting until you’ve mowed your new grass four to five times before tackling any emerging weeds.
Sometimes, It’s Better to Trust a Professional
Being mindful of these seven aeration and overseeding mistakes can certainly help create the beautiful turf you long for, but landscape maintenance can be time-consuming— and there’s a lot of dos and don’ts along the way!
A lawn care professional will know the right equipment and understand the needs of your unique property. Our team at Caramanico is here to get the job done right and prepare your turf for vibrant growth for your commercial property. Give us a call at 610.499.1640 or fill out this form to get a free property assessment today.
Properties We Serve: Businesses, Colleges & Universities, High Schools & Elementary Schools, Shopping Centers, Apartments & Condominiums, Retirement Communities, Golf Courses & Country Clubs, Medical Centers, and more!
Service areas: Chester County, Pennsylvania; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Hunterdon County, New Jersey; Somerset County, New Jersey; Mercer County, New Jersey; Camden County, New Jersey; Gloucester County, New Jersey; New Castle County, Delaware
Tips For Using Pre-Emergent for Crabgrass Control & Weed Control
Maybe you’ve heard of pre-emergent weed control, but you’re not sure what it is, why it’s important in your lawn care regimen, or when you need to apply it. Have no fear! Heritage Lawns & Irrigation is here to answer all of your questions. Fasten your seatbelt and we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about pre-emergent weed control.
WHAT Is Pre-Emergent Weed Control?
Sometimes called crabgrass prevente r, a pre-emergent kills the weeds before they emerge from the ground. A common misconception is that they keep the seeds from germinating, but that is not the case! When the product is applied it creates a barrier layer on the surface so that the young seedlings die when they come in contact with the barrier. If it is a granular product, when it gets watered in, the solution creates the barrier. If it is a liquid, the barrier sets up right away.
The length of time the barrier is in place depends on the concentration of the product used and the amount of moisture received. In an ideal world, you want the barrier in place throughout the weed germinating season but to break down just before lawn seeding season. This is the “art” part of lawn care, it is always a balancing act with mother nature.
WHY Does Your Lawn Need Pre-Emergent?
Plants and weeds will begin to germinate sometime around April 15th or when the ground temperatures hit 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it the perfect time to break out the products to keep them from sprouting. The benefit of this one-time treatment is that you are ahead of the problem which will make these trouble spots easier to manage. Instead of having to fight your entire lawn, you should be able to spot treat with post-emergents for the rest of the year.
Grassy weeds can be the most difficult to control. Luckily, by using a pre-emergent, you can get a jumpstart on them before they hit maturity. This is important if you want to avoid killing desirable lawn grasses along with the weeds in later treatments. The pre-emergent is used to control grassy weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail . Plus, it can also help with a select few broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions . Unfortunately, there isn’t a surefire way to prevent all weeds.
A quick reminder and a common mistake:
- You can’t seed and apply a pre-emergent at the same time. It can’t tell the difference between a good seedling and a weed seedling. Your grass seed won’t grow!
- There are many other aspects of keeping weeds under control, this is just one tool. The best defense against weeds is still a thick healthy lawn that can choke out weeds.
WHEN Do You Need to Apply Pre-Emergent?
One of the first lawn care treatments of the year is the pre-emergent application that controls annual grassy weeds like crabgrass and foxtail. These weeds appear in late spring or early summer and can be difficult to control.
The key is to time your treatment before those nasty weed seeds germinate and kill them as they emerge. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temperature hits the low 50’s and stays there for a few days. In Kansas City that is usually around April 15th, but Mother Nature doesn’t always use the same calendar we do. Here are options we have for scheduling:
- Use the calendar. Have your pre-emergent treatment down before April 15th. For most homeowners in Kansas City, you will be close and more right than wrong.
- Measure the soil temperature. For the real geek in us. It’s not hard to get a soil thermometer and measure the temperature in the hottest part of your lawn and make your application when you hit the upper 40’s.
- Use web data. You can use the Internet to determine soil temperatures and time your applications accordingly. Websites like GreenCast give good data for your area. You can zoom in and get a decent idea of your part of town.
- Use indicator plants. Now this is the exact opposite of high tech #3. This is the old-school farmer version. Certain plants, like the forsythia bush and the lilac, flower at consistent soil temperatures every year. They naturally compensate for the curves mother nature throws each spring.
There are two ways to apply pre-emergent weed control products. It all depends on which type you get – granular or liquid. HOW Do You Apply the Pre-Emergent?
Liquid – For your pre-emergent to work, it must be properly mixed and applied evenly. Read the instructions on the label closely to make sure you’re applying it properly. Don’t forget to calibrate your sprayer! Thorough coverage is the key to success; spot spraying will just allow the weeds to pop up where there is no pre-emergent.
Granular – Apply when grass is dry. Set your spreader to the appropriate setting as directed on the instructions on the bag. Granules do not need to be watered in, but for best results, the lawn should receive 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water from rainfall or watering within 2-3 days after application. Wait to see if Mother Nature is going to help, and if not, water on the third day. Watering in the product activates the weed killer. It helps it to sink into the soil creating a barrier just below the surface. Most products call for a half inch of water within three weeks of the application.
Bonus Tips: What Can Make Your Pre-Emergent Fail?
If the barrier breaks down, then the weed seedling can escape and grow to maturity. The following factors affect the barrier and affect your control:
Drought: If the ground dries out and cracks then you have created a breach in the barrier. The weed seedling can grow with very little water and can work up through the cracks. We see this during the summer when our soil pulls back from the concrete curbs and sidewalks. While these gaps aren’t exactly cracks, they create an opening in the barrier that the weeds will take advantage of.
Soil Disturbance: If you dig up an area (for instance have a sprinkler line installed) the mechanical process of digging or trenching will break the layer of pre-emergent and allow weeds to grow through.
Heavy moisture: In very wet years, or lawns that are over watered, the barrier breaks down too early and we get late season break through.
Improper Application: As you can imagine thorough, even coverage is critical to set the barrier up in the first place. Areas that are missed, or not covered thoroughly, will not have an appropriate barrier in place.
Improper Timing: This is one that many people get wrong. Once the weed has emerged, control is reduced. Once the weed is past the six-leaf stage, it won’t be controlled at all. You must get your pre-emergent on before the weed seeds germinate so the barrier is in place for the seedling.
As you can see there are many factors that can impact the effectiveness of your pre-emergent and grassy weed control. When used correctly, they are a great tool for keeping our lawns looking good.