May is here and lawns are waking up and growing. Last year, we were close to hitting 90 degrees already at this time. Soil temperatures are in the low 60’s and if you are doing some Spring seeding, now would be a good time to start. It is also a good time to fertilize your lawn and push it a little to fill in bare areas. I took some time these past couple weekends to level off my home lawn with some sand so mowing would be more enjoyable. Keeping up with the mowing is also important, mowing more often will help your lawn thicken up. Mowing every few days is one of the most cost-effective ways to a great lawn. Keep the blades sharp and enjoy yourself. It’s nice to have a distraction and something that you have found to be a task in the past now be something you look forward to.
I have been doing a lot of studying over the past few years on insects and disease in turfgrass and what we see in here in Iowa. The increased use of pesticides to resolve the issue has bothered me. I am working on hopefully a different way of addressing this. I am running a regimen of monthly testing this year on a test plot to see what nutrients are in the grass and being utilized by the plant alongside standard soil testing methods. By doing this I hope to better understand what minerals are in the soil and levels and what is available and being used by the grass. The idea being that insects cannot digest a healthy plant and will look elsewhere for food, as well as nutrition requirements throughout the year besides the basic nitrogen-based applications that most rely on. I am hopeful it works or at the very least, reduces the pest pressure.