PPLM’s Recovery Treatment
The spring fertilizer applied to a lawn sets the stage for the turf’s success in months to follow. Remember, a healthy lawn is a happy lawn. Establishing a solid foundation of various nutrients early in the year is key to improving soil fertility and supporting a hardy, thriving lawn by summer. In addition to necessary nutrient supplementation, spring fertilizer treatments are also a valuable opportunity to get the weeds in a lawn back under control.
Picture Perfect Lawn Maintenance is a turf management company local to the Greater Richmond area of Virginia. As a result, the primary turfgrass that our company maintains is tall fescue, a cool season grass that is resilient enough to make the most of the naturally poor soil in our area. PPLM’s maintenance fertilizer program is a seven stage process that spreads applications evenly throughout the year, approximately four to eight weeks apart. This method reduces the extent of “peaks and valleys” seen in a three or four application program and is more conscientious and sustainable when considering the environment surrounding the treated lawn.
A Healthy Lawn Is a Happy Lawn, And A Happy Lawn Is Picture Perfect Lawn
Two of the seven stages in PPLM’s program are spring fertilizer treatments that include nutrient support as well as pre- and post-emergent weed control. The first round of spring fertilizer is applied in February and is called our Recovery treatment because its purpose is to support fescue turf as it emerges from the stress of winter dormancy. Even though fescue is a cool season grass, winter is a stressful time for it due to several factors:
● – Soil compaction- recurrent freezing and thawing compacts soil, making root, nutrient, and water flow more difficult.
● – Frost and snow damage- the cells in the tips of grass blades can freeze and rupture due to low temperatures, causing them to yellow or die.
● – Salt runoff- high amounts of salt compounds from driveway and road treatments during the winter contribute toxicity to a lawn’s soil.
● – Weed development- after fall aeration and seeding, weed control is decreased while weed growth increases, potentially crowding the fescue.
● – Nutrient depletion- Nutrient levels are lower due to a new population of baby grass growing in after fall seeding and natural leaching processes.
With so many negative influences on the health of a fescue lawn during the winter, the recovery process needed at the beginning of spring puts a lot of pressure on the homeowner or company maintaining the turf. What spring fertilizer nutrients are most effective in addressing the problems seen in lawns and soil by the end of winter? How do I tackle soil nutrition for the long term and still encourage a healthy lawn in the short term? When should I treat actively growing weeds, and how should I prevent spring and summer weeds? These are the questions to consider when building an effective Recovery application of spring fertilizer and weed control for a fescue lawn.
A Healthy Fescue Lawn Is Green Even In Winter
Carbon Based, Science Driven Fertilizer
The nutritional component in PPLM’s Recovery application of spring fertilizer is a mix of hand-picked products that have been blended into an incredibly powerful fertility vehicle. This carbon based fertilizer concoction is the hot topic of the nation’s turf management network right now because of its cutting edge production methods and resulting capacity for high efficiency nutrient delivery. The optimized use of this product as early spring fertilizer is the most effective means of targeting the needs of fescue in the short term and the needs of the soil in the long term. This is done through components such as humic acid and kelp, biochar, and a comprehensive line up of macronutrients and micronutrients.
Root development is a pivotal process for the longevity and health of a fescue lawn. Humic acid and kelp are awesome organic assets that drive this root development by way of a spring fertilizer treatment. Humic acid is an organic compound that is a major component in humus, the stable organic polymers that have not been mineralized through decomposition but rather have dispersed throughout the soil and work to greatly improve its structure. By contributing humic acid to a lawn through humates, soil surface area increases. This process increases the cation exchange capacity of the soil and makes way for root development as well as nutrient, water, and air movement through the growing root systems. As a result, nutrient absorption is far more efficient for the turfgrass as a whole.
Supportively, the inclusion of deep sea kelp introduces trace nutrients and heightened levels of plant hormones that have been proven to support growing conditions that favor root development. This is also a direct contributor to increased stress tolerance for a lawn, which is vital to its recovery from the winter as well as preparation for the risks of fungus and heat stress by summer. The stronger a lawn’s root development during the spring, the greater success it will have in the summer.
“An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure” is a mantra for PPLM’s Team.
A large hurdle that homeowners and turf management professionals in the Greater Richmond area of Virginia face is poor soil quality contributed to in part by the removal of natural topsoil during construction of a home. This process paired with sand and gravel based terrace formations on top of granite bedrock yields coarse soil interspersed with irregular deposits of clay. Biochar, created by “cooking” green waste through pyrolysis, is a porous carbon structure that works not only as an excellent vehicle for nutrient transfer, but also adds tremendous surface area to your soil, increasing its absorption capacity and its ability to retain organic matter, nutrients, and water. As a result, supportive microbes in the soil flourish and rapidly improve the fertility of the lawn as a whole.
Soil fertility and carbon input are vastly important and interesting, but most homeowners aren’t concerned with the ins and outs of soil quality as much as they are worried about the overall appearance and vigor of their fescue turf itself. That’s why a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients as part of this spring fertilizer application is necessary to maintaining a rich green color in the fescue as well as improving overall thriftiness. A strong amount of nitrogen and an inclusion of potassium cover two key macronutrients needed for successful fescue growth and strengthening. Micronutrients like iron, magnesium, and calcium as well as manganese, zinc, and sulfur all work together to ensure total plant health through an all encompassing spring fertilizer.
A Lawn Should Be Viewed As An Entire System Of Roots, Soil, and Microbes, Not Just Blades of Grass
No Weeds Today, No Weeds Tomorrow
“Weed free” is such a tempting goal for turf management professionals and homeowners alike, but unfortunately is impossible in an open environment like a lawn. That being said, treating the weeds that are currently growing in a lawn with post-emergent herbicide as well as preventing the weeds that have yet to germinate with pre-emergent herbicide early in the year gets a lawn on the right track toward being as close to weed free as possible.
Post-emergent herbicides in a normal maintenance spring fertilizer treatment like PPLM’s target standard broadleaf weeds that developed in a lawn during the fall and the winter. Because weed control has to be limited after fall seeding, and because the process of core aeration brings dormant weed seeds close to the surface of the soil, winter is actually the time during which the most new weed growth is seen for fescue lawns being professionally maintained. Getting these weeds under control as part of spring fertilizer improves the uniformity of the lawn and increases the opportunity of your fescue to thicken and develop as it comes out of dormancy.
Pre-emergent herbicides as part of a maintenance spring fertilizer treatment inhibit a key enzyme function necessary to the successful germination of weed seeds. It basically creates a barrier throughout the surface zone of the soil that greatly reduces the development of crabgrass and some common broadleaf weeds during the spring and into summer. It is important for pre-emergent weed control to be put down properly at the end of winter or beginning of spring because the germination it’s meant to prevent can begin as early as late March, depending on air and soil temperatures. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
To Learn More About Spring Weed Control, Check Out Another PPLM Blog Here
When striving to develop a healthy, carbon rich soil and by association a healthy, uniform fescue lawn, it’s a necessity to have each lawn treatment planned for the nutrient and weed control of the region, the season, and the unique needs of the individual property. A well balanced and detailed early spring fertilizer treatment like PPLM’s Recovery application is the first step in an all-encompassing, effective, and sustainable turf management program. If you aren’t already signed up for our services, be sure to give us a call, and let us know if you have questions about the quality of your lawn or the coverage of your spring fertilizer treatments.
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Lawn Care Services That PPLM Provides
● – Tailored and Detailed Fertilization Programs
● – Weed Control
● – Aeration and Overseeding
● – Mosquito Control
● – Fungus Control
● – Grub Control
● – Nutsedge Control
● – Plus More…….
lawn with a fresh design that will have your
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We provide service to most of RVA, including: Chesterfield, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Henrico, and New Kent counties; the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Matoaca, Chester, Petersburg, Hopewell, Moseley, Midlothian, Short Pump, Mechanicsville, and Quinton; and neighborhoods like Brandy Oaks, Foxcreek, Harper’s Mill, Hampton Park, Magnolia Green, The Highlands, River’s Bend, Chesdin Landing, Patriot’s Landing, RounTrey, Founders Bridge, and others!