Taking care of your lawn is a task that extends beyond the simple act of running a lawnmower now and then. Effective lawn care involves a carefully calculated application of various lawn care products.
Many homeowners attempt to care for their lawns themselves but don’t understand how to use lawn care products safely or effectively. Let’s delve deeper into these common pitfalls and learn how to avoid them for a lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood.
Overapplication and Underapplication: Avoiding the Twin Pitfalls of Lawn Care
Overapplication of lawn care products is common among DIY lawn care enthusiasts. A common reason for this is an incorrect interpretation of product labels. When the label instructs to use “1 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft,” this might seem straightforward. However, it requires an accurate understanding of your lawn’s size, and many homeowners don’t bother to measure it. The result? They use more product than necessary, leading to an oversaturated lawn that may be harmed instead of helped.
On the other hand, underapplication happens when homeowners underestimate the size of the area they’re treating or use incorrect application techniques. The issue becomes apparent when they get to the end of the area, and they find they’ve only used half of the product their plans called for. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time to ask, “How fast am I covering this area?” Dialing in your equipment for proper delivery is absolutely crucial. This could mean adjusting the settings on your spreader or sprayer or adjusting the speed at which you walk while applying.
Read the Label
The No. 1 rule of lawn care products that cannot be overstated is: READ THE LABEL.
The information detailed on the product label isn’t there just for decoration. It’s your roadmap to using the product correctly and effectively. Ignoring this crucial information can lead to ineffective treatments, damaged lawns, and wasted money.
The label is there to help you ascertain whether you have the right product for your specific lawn care needs. Remember, not all products are universal solutions. Some are designed for specific types of grass, specific pests, or specific weather conditions. Others may require specific application methods or equipment.
Yard Conditions Matter
The conditions of your yard can significantly affect the effectiveness of the product.
For example, bluegrass turf is notorious for developing a thatch layer—a tangled mat of roots, stems, and debris that can build up on the soil surface. Thatch can create a barrier that prevents water, nutrients, and lawn care products from reaching the soil and grass roots. If you’re treating a bluegrass lawn with a thick thatch layer, your product may get tied up in the thatch and fail to be effective. In such a case, you may need to dethatch your lawn before applying the product.
Navigating Nutsedge: A Major Lawn Care Hurdle
The seasons of watergrass and nutsedge present unique challenges, and it is during these periods that product misapplications can have severe consequences. These hardy weeds can thrive in various conditions and often resist common weed killers, leaning most homeowners to rely on weed control specialists.
Sulfentrazone is one of the most widely used and available products for tackling this issue. However, it comes with a caveat: a limited temperature range. If the temperature shoots up to between 90-100 degrees, sulfentrazone can harm rather than help. It has a tendency to burn the turf, leaving behind a white, scorched landscape. This isn’t a risk exclusive to sulfentrazone; carfentrazone products can have the same effect.
Despite this, both sulfentrazone and carfentrazone have a unique benefit — they can prevent the sedges from growing taller than your mowing height. However, this potential advantage should be weighed carefully against the risk of turf damage, especially in hot weather.
Safe Application: Protect Yourself while Protecting Your Lawn
Finally, we arrive at the topic of safety. Applying lawn care products is not a task to be taken lightly. If the label says to wear long pants, long sleeves, and rubber gloves, heed that advice. It protects you from potential skin irritation or other adverse effects.
Once you’ve finished treating your lawn, wash your hands thoroughly to remove any residual product. Don’t neglect this step, even if you’ve been wearing gloves. Residues can find their way onto your skin through small tears in the gloves or if you remove them improperly.
Always wear rubber gloves when handling, treating, and mixing these products. Additionally, don’t shy away from donning additional safety equipment like safety goggles or masks, especially during the mixing process. These safety precautions may seem like overkill, but they’re designed to keep you safe.
Lawn care is a process that demands precision, knowledge, and a good deal of patience. With these tips and some practice, you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of lawn care product application.
Or if this all seems like too much work, call the lawn care experts at Pure Lawn! We know how to handle the ins and outs of lawn care products safely and effectively.