It is hard to believe that we are already at August 1st and the overseeding season is right around the corner. Yeah I just said that! I know you’re looking outside at the lovely 110 degree temperatures thinking I’m nuts for talking about overseeding, but the truth is now is the time to start preparing your lawn for the season.

It’s OK if you have let most of the summer pass you by, and you have been neglecting your lawn because of the temperatures outside. But I would suggest planning for overseeding now. Have you given your new lawn a 100 days to grow without any competition, is your turf weak, thick and “matty,” or growing out of control? Have you verticut, or aerated your lawn this season to give it a chance to breath and open up the turf canopy? Have you been fertilizing monthly or have you thought it would be okay without summer fertilizer? I am sure you have answered yes to some of these and no to most of these questions so now is the time to take action.

Get a calendar out and pick out a Sunday in October, (because no one should be doing it on a football Saturday) and count back 100 days. When you come up with this day does it coincide with the time you had all the ryegrass removed from your turf this past summer and was it free of competition? If it was then you are okay to overseed. If you figure that you will only have had your new turf for 60-80 days I would be very leery of overseeding. I am not a fan of overseeding turf the first season, but if it was in early enough in the summer you will be okay as long as you don’t get aggressive in the fall. That there will be my August lecture on overseeding so keep it simple, get your grass healthy and give it a little TLC this month to whip it into shape.

The weather is perfect to grow a warm season turf, and it is a great time to fill in any voids in the lawn during the humid months of the year. We don’t get a lot of humid days and I can attest to them being miserable, but your grass loves them.

I wanted to briefly touch today on a topic that has come up with a few homeowners lately. Fire ants. Some people are seeing an increase in the number of fire ants they are seeing throughout their turf areas. Fire ants are red in color and they are present throughout the year but can be even more aggressive during the summer months. These medium sized ants can be distinguished by the red color, but another sign is the large mounds of soil in your turf areas. They are primarily swarming and stinging insects that can cause great harm to you, not just your grass. If you have ever been stung by one of these ants you know it feels like a bee sting, except that you generally will be bitten by multiple ants at once.

Fire ants are one extremely tough insect to kill and they have even been able to adapt to severe flooding. Flooding the ant mounds used to be a way many thought would eliminate the pest population, but unfortunately they will eventually find dry land and can re-establish their colony quickly.

Since most of the common controls on the market today do very little to injure or kill the fire ants, I thought it would be important to tell you what to look for in a chemical to treat them. First there is not a product available for purchase for homeowners that has the correct active ingredient to completely eliminate the problem. I would suggest contacting a pest control agent and having them spray the active ingredient Fipronil. Many of you may be familiar with this active ingredient as it is found in most preventative dog flea medications. Fipronil can be applied as a foliar spray or there are granular such as Top Choice that can be applied directly to your turf and last up to one year before they need to be re- applied. They are broadcast spread over your lawn and are released into the soil through irrigation and rainfall. The ants will then pick up the chemical and bring it back to their colony eventually killing them. This chemical will eventually kill the entire colony including the queen. There are several chemicals out there with this active ingredient,but make sure you buy one with Fipronil. Like I said earlier this is an application that needs to be made by a licensed pesticide applicator but it is well worth the cost to get it done once per year.

If you have any turfgrass questions, please hit the “Ask Jay” button at the top right of the page. If you are interested in Ultra Running, please continue to read the 2nd half of my blog. If not, it won’t hurt my feelings!