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LAWN TIPS FOR DENVER METRO AREA LAWNS. FOR MORE VIDEOS

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Cultural Practices:

Watering-

It's best to water in the early morning, at sunrise, not at night as this

contributes to disease problems. It's still cool and the water won't

evaporate and waste it, the water will soak down into the soil

where it's needed, and as the day heats up the lawn will dry

off on the surface and avoid disease problems.


Mowing-

Mowing should be done weekly at 3 inches with a razor sharp blade.

It is not necessary to bag the clippings because if you're not over

fertilizing and your lawn is not growing too fast, you should not be

cutting more than a third of the leaf blade off per cutting. Excessive

clippings contributes to thatch layer build up in the root zone and

makes your lawn susceptible to attack from insects and diseases.

You should alternate the direction of mowing every week because

if you mow the same direction the grass blades will tend to lay

over in that direction and lose it's bristle brush groomed turf

appearance.

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There is a disease that is showing up on lawns now called Dollar Spot.


It can be caused by a number of things and is difficult to control.

It can also do severe damage and can even kill your lawn.

It is usually caused by poor cultural practices (watering and mowing)

combined with atmospheric conditions such as the weather.

It is a foliar disease (in the leaf blade) that is spread by spores in

the air and can also be spread by your mower. The symptoms are

yellow or brown spots in your lawn that don't go away with added

water and actually get worse the more you water. The symptom to

look for on the leaf blade is called wicking at the top of the leaf blade.

It will be straw colored and looks similar to a candle wick. Here is the

formula for getting rid of Dollar Spot Disease:


1. Cultural Practices- Water in the early morning, not at night! This

contributes to disease problems. Mow weekly at 3 inches with a razor

sharp blade!

2. Fungicide Treatments- use a fungicide labeled for Dollar Spot and follow

the label directions exactly.

3. Repair- the damaged turf has to be replaced after the disease is

controlled and gone by either seeding or sodding these areas.

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Aschochyta Leaf Blight-


Aschochyta Leaf Blight is similar to Dollar Spot with the wicking symptom and is usually easily controlled by watering less often but more at a time. The lawn will usually just grow out of this disease with no damage if you excercise good cultural practices. High nitrogen rates in fertilizers also contribute to both of these diseases.

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Necrotic Ring Spot-


A big problem with lawns is a disease called Necrotic Ring Spot.

This is a disease in the soil which appears as circular dead spots

in the lawn with one tuft of live grass in the center. The cause is

not real clear and really doesn't matter except it is caused by a

fungus and can be spread by mowers and other lawn equipment,

especially if you use a service for mowing. To try to remove the

diseased soil, you would have to remove at least 18 inches of the

diseased soil and if any of the diseased soil touches any of the clean

soil you have wasted your time. Another option is treating it with

fungicides but all they do, at best, is keep it from spreading and

they don't work very well for this disease and are very expensive.

So the best option is to seed the entire section of diseased turf with

Perennial Rye grass. This variety is not affected by the disease while

Kentucky Bluegrass (which most sod is made up of) is. So, basically,

you just cover it up with a different type of grass that is not affected

by the disease. Also, the Perennial Rye grass blends in well with the

Kentucky Bluegrass as well as other varieties. 

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Leaf Spot- Every lawn has some Leaf Spot in it and usually doesn't cause a problem unless it becomes a severe infestation. Symptoms of Leaf Spot are dark brown colored spots on the leaf blade. Hence the name. It is usually found in extremely wet areas of the lawn, somewhat swampy or marshy accompanied by mushrooms. If infection reaches the crown area, it can cause melt out or thinning of the lawn. Cutting back the water or improving the drainage in these areas will help and Fungicide applications may be necessary along with replacing damaged turf.

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These circles of mushrooms are called fairy rings and are fruiting structures of fungi produced when weather conditions become favorable - such as on warm, moist days. The mushroom-producing fungi develop on organic matter in the soil and produce pustules or fruiting structures that grow on the outer limits of the colony, causing a circular effect. Grass is often greener in the ring area because the fungus converts proteins of the thatch and soil organic matter into nitrogen.


The fairy ring is more unsightly than it is serious. It can, however, be an indicator that a thatch problem exists. You can reduce the number of mushroom fairy rings by picking off and discarding the toadstools or mowing them before they fully open to release their spores. There are no chemical controls for lawn mushrooms.

Insects:

The four most common insects found in the Denver Metro area turf grasses are Mites, Bill bugs, Sodwebworm and Cranberry Girdlers.


Mites- Mites are active through the winter months especially in warm dry years. They also come down into the lawn from evergreens such as Junipers and Pines and Spruces. They like warm areas such as south facing exposures (especially slopes) and along sidewalks or wood fences where there is heat reflection, or off of a building. They are a piercing sucking insect and do damage by sucking the juices out of the leaf blades. Usually heavy watering in the early spring will drown them out but the best one two punch is insecticide treatments followed by heavy watering. Damaged turf will need to be replaced. 

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Mite damage in Parker CO.

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Bill bugs- Bill bugs are root feeders feeding on the roots of turf grasses in the larva stage. Symptoms are brown spots in the lawn usually about one to two feet in diameter and the turf can be easily pulled up because of root damage. The adult Bill bug is a black beetle about a half inch long. Insecticide applications are required to kill them and turf may need to be replaced.

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Sodwebworm and Cranberry Girdlers are found in the crown area (where the grass plant emerges from the soil) and symptoms are just turf that won't quite green up and has some dead leaf blades mixed in with the green ones. Black Birds will be seen searching for them in the lawn and a frass looking something like pepper and silk tunnels containing the larva will be found in the crown area. Insecticide applications are necessary to kill them and usually the turf will recover.

WEEDS-

There are two types of weeds; grassy and broad leaf weeds. Grassy weeds include Crabgrass, Quack grass, Barnyard grass and Foxtail which are annuals that die every year and can be best controlled with pre-emergent herbicides applied in the early Spring. This application must be watered in to be effective.Tall Fescue on the other hand, (often mistaken for Crabgrass) is a Perennial that goes dormant in the winter and comes back every year and must be pulled or dug out or just crowded out by overseeding with a more desirable variety.


Crabgrass- Annual grassy weed

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Tall Fescue

Broad leaf weeds include Dandelion, Clover, Thistle and many more. They must be controlled with both pre and post emergent applications of herbicide at the proper times.


Noxious weeds such as Leafy Spurge, Canada Thistle and Knapweed just to name a few are weeds that just take over so that nothing else will grow there and reduce the good grasses for livestock to feed on. They must be controlled typically with post emergent applications of herbicide.

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Prairie dog damage- they destroy lawns! They carry disease! Bubonic and Pneumonic plague which has been transferred to humans through the fleas they carry. Still think they are cute?!

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You can't see too well in this picture but there were about 25 of them grazing (eating the grass) on this lawn.

Wiens Lawncare offers a liquid lawn fertilization program containing balanced fertilizer, Iron and both pre and post emergent herbicides applied at the appropriate time of year. Fungicides for disease control and insecticide applications for insect control are applied on an as needed basis. For more help with your lawn please fill out the contact form on the Contact Us page.

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