From Across the Field – Yard Work Ahead

Hopefully everyone had a good holiday with friends and family. I traveled to southern Ohio for the weekend and I can report that it is not any warmer or drier in the opposite corner of the state. Had the weather been fit I’m sure would have been building fence or putting in a new seeding of hay instead of watching basketball. It’s tough to do but we have to remind ourselves that it is only the first week of April and there is still plenty of time to finish preparations for field and yard work. As long as soil temperatures are at or near 50 degrees there is no need to be in too big of a rush.

As temperature (slowly) begin to warm up this is a great time to prepare equipment for mowing lawns. There are two simple rules that you can follow to maintain a beautiful lawn. The first is to sharpen your mower blades. Having sharp blades will cut leaves rather than tearing them. This will reduce disease pressure and the lawn will look a lot nicer. If your yard is like mine and you have mole hills you may need to sharpen your blades a couple of time throughout the season. Before I mow each time I like to smooth out any mole hills with a gravel rake or garden hoe.

The second rule is to keep the mower deck two to two and a half inches off the ground. Once the seed heads are removed from the grass in May, raise the deck another half an inch. When we mow too close, the grass is weakened and allows weeds to complete more easily in the lawn. By mowing higher and removing no more than half the grass, root development will not stop, there will be move cover to soak in the rain, the soil will stay cooler, and weeds will be at a disadvantage. We probably won’t be mowing as long as the ground is saturated but once we get a couple of warm dry days I look for grass to really green up and grow.

Speaking of weeds this is also a good time to consider crabgrass control. Crabgrass is a summer annual that tends to take advantage of thin spots in your yard where sunlight can reach the soil. There are both pre and post emergence herbicides that are approved for crabgrass control. Any time we can prevent germination with a pre-emerge herbicide it is often more effective than trying to control weeds once they are established. As with any pesticide read the label to see if crabgrass is one of the species that the chemistry will control.

Tonight at 5:30 will be the first 4-H Livestock Judging Practice of the season. I am looking forward to working with a new group of livestock enthusiasts and seeing them be successful at the state competition at the end of July.

I’ll end this week with a quote from coaching great John Wooden, “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts”. Have a great week.

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