Jr. Batty | 7/17/2012 7:45:52 PM
Growing a lawn in St. Tammany can be an easy job during the dog days of August. Just sit back and let it grow, right? Not true, if you’re looking for green ground cover for the months ahead.
Planning is better than planting during August for your lawn. Of course, you can plant sod or plugs but don’t wait long. Every week of delay now is one less week of growing. Time would be better spent taking a soil sample to better prepare for next growing season.
Identifying weeds in August will also help in preparing for the battle on the war on weeds. Find out what your weeds are and begin your preemergence applications this fall. Make note of where, when, and how much of weed problems have occurred. Using herbicide for weed control is less effective on weeds and more injurious to the lawn, in August, following a long hot summer.
Fertilizing in early August is acceptable for St. Augustine, Bermuda or Zoysia, not Centipede. Make this your last application for the year. Apply a fertilizer with a high first number, low second number and third number in between, like 15-5-10. Broadcast it evenly and water it immediately.
Watering during August is important to critical. We have dry periods, wet periods, but always hot periods of August. Afternoon showers are not enough. A half inch rain doesn’t offer what your lawn needs. Usually one inch or more over a two hour period is good. If you irrigate, water early, water deep and water at least every fifth day.
Diseases can be controlled not eliminated. If you had a consistent / continuing problem of brown patch, gray leaf spot or melting out use a lawn fungicide early. Overuse of nitrogen across the summer is usually the cause many of diseases. Rake out dead patches, don’t fertilize and proper fungicide can help manage most lawn disease problems.
Finally, mowing is the best management practice toward a healthy lawn. Cut your grass higher than normal in August. “Short shoots equal’s short roots” is important to remember in our high temperature / high humidity month. Cut Bermuda at one inch, Centipede and Zoysia at two inches and St. Augustine at three inches.
A beautiful lawn takes commitment, consistency and continuity in lawn care. There is no cooling off in August.
For more information see publication #2940, Louisiana Lawns Best Management Practices on the LSU AgCenter website: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/.