Trying to whip your lawn into shape keeps it beaten & sad

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I have ferocious problems with weeds in my lawn. I have put on all sorts of weed killers and they don’t work. I have even doubled the amounts and they don’t work. I am trying to starve the weeds to death by not fertilizing and cutting my grass at 1 inch tall. I don’t water my lawn. I have neighbors that have nice lawns that live close, so it can’t be the dirt. I want a nice lawn. How do I fix my grass?

The first step is going to stop thinking that you can torture the weeds into submission. As you have found, punishment is not the answer.

With the care the lawn is receiving, the grass is being hurt worse than the weeds. As the grass gives it up, more weeds move in. If you really want a nicer lawn, you will have to change a number of your management practices. This is going to include treating both grass and weeds well until fall.

When the grass is healthy and ready to grow well, that is the time to use your weed killer at the recommended rate. When the weeds die, the grasses can advance into the empty areas.

Start by raising your finished cutting height to 3 or 3-1/2 inches. This will make for healthier grass because it has more length of blade to make food for itself.

Mow often enough that you only cut off about a third of the blade. You need to water about 1 inch of water per week, divided into about three applications or water every other day. Include natural rainfall in this total. Fertilize several times during the season, but skip July and the first half of August because it will probably be too hot.

Your cool season lawn grasses will be healthy by the end of September or the beginning o October. Use a broadleaf weed killer on the lawn then. The healthy, well-watered and fertilized grass will spread into the openings left by the dead weeds.

If you don’t want to use all of these management plans, just keep whining and whipping the lawn and it will stay beaten and sad.

Every year, something goes wrong with my tomatoes. The bottom leaves get spots and then get yellow. The leaves turn brown and crunchy and fall off. By the beginning of August, all I have are tufts of leaves on the ends of the branches and very little fruit. What do I do?

Realize that this year will be exactly the same unless you are willing to do something about it. That means using a protective fungicide on your plants.

Your tomato disease is called Septoria Leaf Spot. It is one of the most common tomato diseases in Michigan each year. For tomatoes to produce, they cannot be diseased. They need all their healthy leaves.

All tomato diseases are either difficult or impossible to control once they have begun. It is important to prevent them. That means beginning to spray them at the correct time and to repeat the sprays at the correct time. It also means not using an overhead sprinkler that washes away your protection.

The fungicide that you will use is chlorothalonil, which is Daconil or Fungonil, if you are a traditional gardener or Serenade if you are an organic gardener. You will probably have to buy the Serenade online.

Follow their directions. But most sprays start at the end of June or when the first tomato fruit are just visible. These are repeated every 7-10 days throughout the season. If it rains, the fungicide has to be repeated.

The good news is that either of these fungicides will protect against all four tomato diseases: Septoria, late and early blight and anthracnose. But be aware that most people have not even planted tomatoes but late blight has already been found in Florida. And the disease could be coming in our direction.

About Gretchen Voyle 51 Articles

Gretchen Voyle is the MSU Extension-Livingston County Horticulture Educator. She can be reached at (517) 546-3950.