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Leave the lawn alone, explore Altamaha

Where the grass is greener

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POSTED: February 19, 2012 12:35 p.m.

The Super Bowl is past us and we have had some unusually warm weather, thanks to the La Nina weather pattern we are experiencing.
Cabin fever has set in, and it seems we are itching to get out in the yard and start something. I’m going to give some of the same advice I give every year about this time because, well, y’all are not listening.
This is not the time to put out weed and feed. Pre-emerge should have been put down by the end of last month. Smart people apply nitrogen fertilizer to their centipede lawns only in May, June, July and August, and that’s not now. St. Augustine lawns do best when nitrogen fertilizer is applied May through September. Do not spray any herbicides on lawns during their transition from dormant to active growth. If you have not put down your pre-emerge by now, and the weeds are starting to take over, tough! You have missed the boat.
Hold off on spraying post-emergence herbicides until you have gotten a couple good green cuttings on the turf, probably sometime in mid-May. If you miss the application window then, don’t worry, the Poa annua will die with the summer heat.
June through August are good times to apply weed and feed if you have broadleaf weed problems, but be careful that the nitrogen rate you apply does not exceed what the turf can handle. You are working against yourself if applying a weed and feed at the recommended rate to get an effective dose of herbicide also puts down more than a pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet on your centipede. Centipede starts declining in performance at nitrogen rates of over one pound per thousand per year. The recent fluctuations in temperature may have fooled a number of lawns into waking up too soon. The recent freezes caught a number of plants by surprise. Don’t compound the problem by forcing unnatural growth with nitrogen now.
This next one is for the guys out there who got too busy, forgot, or couldn’t find the right gift for your lady for Valentine’s Day. I might have a solution to get you out of the doghouse, but it won’t be cheap. We have some spaces left on our Rivers 2 Reefs Advanced Master Naturalist training we are planning for the third week in May. We have teamed up with Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary and the Georgia Aquarium to offer “The Mighty Altamaha – From Atlanta to the Sea.” It’s a five-day, all-inclusive, intensive watershed training modeled on the training Grays Reef has offered to school teachers in the past. Coastal folk will assemble at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and ride by motor coach to the Georgia Aquarium where we will join the rest of the group.  After a tour of the Georgia Aquarium, we will visit the outfall of an Atlanta parking lot that is the headwaters of the Oconee River. We will follow it to the confluence with the Ocmulgee to form the Altamaha and kayak to the sand bar that marks the start of the Altamaha. We will follow the Altamaha, testing its water and noting its uses all the way to the Sound and Sapelo Island, with a final day at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Restaurants, hotels and transportation are included.  Yes, you will spend the whole week with her to mend the fences for missing Valentine’s Day, but it will be worth it.
If you are interested, contact me for more information at 912-554-7578 or dgardner@uga.edu.

 

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