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Published April 28, 2010, 09:20 AM

Healthy grass can sprout weed-free lawns

To keep a healthy lawn, give it some fertilizer. There are several excellent commercial fertilizers out there. You do not need much. It is good to apply the fertilizer on the holiday schedule. In other words, apply the fertilizer around Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Before the snow starts to fly in October, put on a slow-release fertilizer so your lawn will take off in the early spring (when we have enough heat units).

By: Lance Brower, NDSU Extension Service, The Jamestown Sun

To keep a healthy lawn, give it some fertilizer. There are several excellent commercial fertilizers out there. You do not need much.

It is good to apply the fertilizer on the holiday schedule. In other words, apply the fertilizer around Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Before the snow starts to fly in October, put on a slow-release fertilizer so your lawn will take off in the early spring (when we have enough heat units).

Water is also a major component of a healthy lawn. I get questions as to how to know if you have enough water. First, it is good to stress the grass just a little so the roots grow deep. In other words, it is OK to have a dry yard once in a while.

Also, too much water for too long of a time can promote the growth of various fungi. These fungi can kill grass. It is best to put on an inch of water at a time. An old trick to see if you have an inch (or not) of water is the use of a tuna fish can. Put the can on the lawn so it will collect the water from your irrigation. It is about an inch high, so when it is filled, it is time to shut the water off.

Sometimes the weeds are successful in their invasion of our yards. A good chemical to use that will not damage the grass is 2-4D if it is used according to the label.

Trimac is another chemical that works well for turf.

Both of these chemicals can volatize so it is important to use when there is no inversion and mild temperatures. Again, read the label.

Cutting the grass at the proper length (2 1/2 to 3 inches) is another key to a healthy lawn. Never cut more than one-third the height of the plant. Cutting more than this can damage turfs and make lawns vulnerable to weeds. Stressed grass does not stand a chance competing against aggressive weeds.

Since I have been here, I have received calls about neighbors who do not care for their lawns. While I must admit that you can get weeds from your neighbor’s lawn, you can still have a weed-free lawn if it is healthy.

(Lance Brower is the community, leadership, and economic development extension agent, Stutsman County office, NDSU Extension Service. Contact him at 252-9030 or email lance.brower@ndsu. edu.)

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