Sunday, May 7, 2017

What seeds may come...

Weather, demand, production all affect the price of seed. With the year we had in 2016 the demand for seed was at an all-time high to fix the damage caused by the heat and insects. As a result you may find yourself hunting for the bargains, but before you do consider the myths about grass seed.

Myth #1: Spring is the best time to seed- Yeah, not so much.
Fix some bare areas if you must, but annually seeding in the fall is a much better proposition for the following reasons. There is not the competition in the soil as there is in the spring with weeds. The nights are cooler the days are warm creating a perfect environment for germination and a happier you.

Myth #2: Cheap seed saves you money- A cheap seed may be due to an older cultivar. Generally these seeds will require more water, fertilizer and may not germinate at all. When they do, the new grass will be more susceptible to turf disease and other concerns. Less expensive seeds  have a higher concentration of weed seeds in them which will work against your cause. Starting with a product that states, "99% weed-free," on the bag is a good place to begin. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Myth #3: All fescue and perennial rye grasses perform the same. It is true fescue has a better stress and wear tolerance, however, not all fescues contain endophytes which act as a weed  and insect repellent excreting a natural fungus/ herbicide into the soil to repel the germination of crabgrass and broad leaf weeds while limiting root growth. There is also the germination time to consider, fescue- 3 weeks at least, rye grasses- 7 to 10 days. If you need a quick fix, stay with rye seed.

Myth #4: Kentucky Blue Grass is best- maybe for nice deep-green colour, but consider the shorter root system, the lack of endophytes, and it being the top menu item for insects and suddenly KBG doesn't seem so appealing. Anyone who has had to re-sod their lawn usually find themselves in the same situation a few years down the line unless they are dumping  a huge amount of water on the lawn, or are over-seeding annually with diverse species of grass to out-compete the Kentucky blue.

Myth #5: Coated seed is the way to go- Sure if you have absolutely no time to keep the seed moist yourself, but with the recent dumping of rain we've had, I find that difficult to believe. Understand what a brilliant marketing campaign coated seed is. They are selling you half the seed you'd normally get in the bag and you are buying it for more money. Is that worth a little of your time to hose down a seeded area for a week or so?

Leave mythology for the Greeks and stick to the facts when seeding your lawn and watch it flourish.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What weeds may come...

It was an unseasonably cool and wet beginning to May but, you can be sure the weeds will pop overnight once it warms up.

It's like the first snowfall when people suddenly can't drive, the weeds appear and everyone loses their mind.

I constantly wonder why this is? I mean there has been a bylaw in place for what...eight years now? Weeds appear every year at this time, so where's the surprise?

I have come to the conclusion it is due to the constant bombardment of flyers and other media ads proclaiming product/ service that is "guaranteed" to give you a "weed-free lawn." This is simply not true.

I know the big companies are about the numbers and this is an excellent selling tool for them, but once they have your money they've got you. This happens every year when the frustration of looking at a sea of yellow turns to desperation/ panic and you are willing to try anything.

Even Fiesta and Weed-B-Gone state, "weed killer" right on the container, but these products affect the top-growth only and the unaffected root will push up a new weed. Yet, we keep buying this crap although you know from experience it has limited capabilities.  It's the only product, currently available, to remotely control anything. If you are concerned about creeping charlie , or clover, well...just forget about injuring any weed with a horizontal root system, it's not going to happen to your satisfaction.

I've tried discussing this slight-of-hand with both the Ministry of the Environment and the Consumer Protection Agency only to be sent chasing the tail of the other. Please know guys,"passing the buck" accomplishes nothing and the problem remains.

Here's a thought; if all the companies just started to drift away from their antiquated ways of advertising and tried being honest, maybe the consumer would change their way of thinking too and shift to creating a healthier lawn by other practices.

While there is money to be made and suckers willing to bite, I don't see change anytime soon and a "weed-free" lawn will continue to be a hopeless pursuit instead of a thing of the past.