From Across the Field: 4-2-2020

Being Lawn Ready

We are in the third week of telecommuting and even though it has taken a while to get used to, we have been able to get along fairly well. Don’t hesitate to call the office, as we are still able to serve the county. If interested in keeping up on agriculture and natural resources education over the next month or so, tune into OSU Extension Ag Madness. Each day a topic area “bracket” with be covered. Brackets range from produces safety to farm management to cover crops. Join the fun at

As temperature (slowly) begin to warm up this is a great time to prepare equipment for mowing lawns. 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.

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.

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.

Finally, you are probably aware that there has been a tax filing extension until July 15th. If any farmers need to still recertify to keep their pesticide license, there will be a window to get recertified when things start to return to normal. If you recertified and did not receive your new license yet, your “pink” copy you received at the end of training will suffice if you need to obtain restricted use pesticides and have not received your new card yet. I’ll end this week with a thought from Yogi Berra: “You can observe a lot by watching.” Have a great week and stay healthy out there.

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