I guess you can say that I have been slacking on the blogs lately so I will try and catch everyone up on where you lawn should be at this time of the year.

We’ve had some unusual weather which has resulted in a very slow transition of the ryegrass over to our warm season turf. People with non-overseeded turf probably noticed that it took much longer this year to get their lawn actively growing. Just recently our soil temperature reached and maintained 64 degrees to allow for warm season grass growth. You may have seen quite a bit of green up in the previous months, but you probably have not had to do much mowing unless you are growing one of the paspalums. Even I was shocked as to how soon the grass started growing this season. Be patient with the transition this year and keep those mowing heights a little lower than normal. If you have an excessive amount of ryegrass right now you will want to gradually cut back the water and verticut some of the material out.

We have now entered the month of June. Transition is in full swing, beetles are starting to fly around and emerge, and it’s time to change some cultural practices to our lawns. Let’s start with the emergence of the European chafer beetle. It is pretty typical to start to see them flying around and emerging at the end of May in our light traps. This is always a good indication that it is time to put down a pre-emergent insecticide. Now this is not something that everyone needs to do. If you have never had an issue with grubs in the past then there is no reason to treat for insects that are not going to be present anyway. We typically will see the mating flights of the chafer at this time of the year and the females will begin to lay their eggs in the grass. The eggs will hatch at the end of July to early August and the grubs will emerge and begin to feed on your grasses root system.

If in the past you have had areas of your lawn that showed extreme damage from digging animals or your grass lifts right out of the ground then grubs are usually to blame. The grubs are usually visible when the turf is pulled back and they look like little C-shaped worms. The damage from grubs is always the worst in the fall and spring when the grubs are increasing in size and begin to feed near the surface.

Now controlling grubs is getting easier every year as we learn more and more about the timing and emergence of them. If you maintain a healthy lawn that is actively growing you will usually have a better root system and can therefore reduce grub damage. Another effective control method is to continue to use deep irrigation cycles which will keep the turf healthy and the grubs deeper in the soil. If grubs have been a problem for you year after year it is important to maintain a healthy lawn and incorporate the following cultural practices to assist.

1. Remove excess thatch and aerate compacted soils to make sure water and air is getting deep into your lawn.

2. Continue to water deep and infrequent year round once your grass is established to help the drought tolerance of your turf.

3. Increasing your mowing height slightly because beetles prefer to lay their eggs closer to the soil surface.

4. Explore biological controls

If none of these are working for you then it’s time to explore chemical options. Treatments are best applied during the mating season and over the next couple weeks is the best tie to apply an insecticide here. Not just any insecticide will keep them away and will have residual value so look for a product called Merit or Mach 2. The active ingredients in these products are imidacloprid and halofenozide. These products will eliminate the presence of any new emerging beetles and will disrupt the life cycle of others. These don’t need to be used in every situation, but if you have had a serious grub issue in the past and want to control them then now is the time. This is the route most high end landscape and golf courses will take for areas that have been damaged year after year.

One of the best things to do instead of wasting money on chemically treating your whole lawn or park is to map the grub activity from year to year and just treat the areas that are most often hit. If you have a few small areas that show grub activity later there are post emergent controls but it is always better to apply it before the emerge and are tougher to control.

Soil Burst Applications

If you just purchased your Soil Burst fertilizers or have them on hand now here is a little guide to help you decide what to use and when.

Soil Burst 5-15-10: This is a starter fertilizer that should be applied prior to a new sod install right on top of the soil and lightly raked in. If you have an existing lawn then it can be used throughout the year for a monthly fertilizer application but you will see the best results in the spring during transition (now), during summer stress periods, and late in the fall before the grass goes dormant for the year.

Soil Burst 16-0-4: This product will help your lawn maintain its green color year round and will get you 3-4 weeks of color by providing high rates of calcium, magnesium, and iron. The nice part about this product is that it will not stain your driveways, walks, or stone. I like to use this product once per quarter in the spring and summer months and bi-monthly throughout the winter ryegrass season. If you have applied your starter fertilizer and it has been 25-30 days then now is an excellent time to put this down and perk up your lawn.

Soil Burst 7-7-7: This is the ultimate in balance for your lawn and exactly what is needed to provide a deep healthy root system, shoot growth, and contains enough iron to maintain a deep green color for up to 30 days. This should be used in opposite months of the 16-0-4 to make sure the root system is getting potassium and balanced growth. Use this product throughout the summer/springs months as needed and 4 weeks after seeding in the fall. Once ryegrass is established use this to promote good winter growth and a deep green color.

Soil Burst 4-0-6: This is the one stop shop product that is great for your plants, flowers, and root system for your lawn. This is optimally used during lawn stress periods which are May, July, August, and late fall to maintain deep roots. The low nitrogen and high calcium provides the grass plant enough fertilizer to be healthy from root to shoot. During the overseed season use this every other month to help establish your winter ryegrass.

So what about watering at this time of the year? You should be applying 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week on your lawn and this should be done over two to three cycles per week. The general rule of thumb is to water 10 minutes for every day you skip. With this in mind if you water every third day, you need approximately 30 minutes of water. Obviously your sprinkler output, water pressure, and coverage significantly come into play so the easiest check is to make sure you can easily stick a screwdriver in the ground 8 inches after you water. If you cannot water that long without runoff, rent an aerifier, and then do a cycle/soak so the water has time to penetrate.

If you have a extremely thick lawn right now there is a couple things that need to be done. First cut back on the amount of nitrogen you are using and use more balanced fertilizers. Second rent a “Ren-O-Thin” and verticut your lawn in two directions to open up the turf canopy. This is not the same as a power rake or de-thatcher so don’t be confused. You only want to dethatch if your thatch has really built up over the last few years.

Hopefully this answers most people questions right now and if it didn’t let me know how I can help you.


While it has been a couple weeks since I posted on the blog, I was working hard at getting some extra mileage in for my upcoming 100 mile run in August. I just completed a 12 hour run in Riverside, CA last Saturday night from 8pm to 8am and was able to get in 67 miles.

Running 67 miles gave me plenty of time to come up with some blog ideas, solve the world’s problems, and think of turf topics that needed to be discussed. Most people would say that turf grass is boring, but I can tell you that running the same 1 mile track for 12 hours straight is much worse. While it did give me a lot of practice for my race, it was still 12 hours I can’t get back.
I really needed a supported run and it was a great way to tweak my nutrition plan, hydration plan, and learn how to stay up past 8 o’clock at night. As I had predicted before the race started I ran well from 8pm to 1am, could barely handle the boredom from 1am till 4:30am, and then the sun came out and I ran the best I had all night long. I was surprising able to finish my last two miles in 7.5 minutes each mile. I guess the track speed and tempo workouts do pay off. When I completed my first 50 miles I really had it in my head that I would just call it a day and go to sleep in the tent, but just as I finished lap 50 my wife came out and quickly informed me that we didn’t drive 5 hours so she could watch me run 50 miles. She said you have done that three times before and this is a great chance to work on extra miles for my 100. I couldn’t be more glad that she made me continue as I was able to complete my most mileage in my life so far. If only she would have yelled at me earlier I may have run 75, either way I am pretty happy with the effort.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need information. Transition time should be over soon!