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What is the correct way to manage my lawn?

I like in the Chicago area and have moved into a new home (8 years old). I am unaware of the previous owner’s lawn care techniques. The reason for my question is that today I saw my first Japanese Beetle. Some websites say to treat for grubs now with the first sighting of a Beetle. The lawn looks good overall, but I do not some thatch. The yellow spots in the lawn are minimal. I do have an inground sprinkler system. My question is when is the best time to dethatch my lawn, and apply appropriate chemicals throughout the year in Chicago? What products and dethatching techniques are recommended? I appreciate your thoughts in advance!

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4 Responses to “What is the correct way to manage my lawn?”

  1. jennifer k said:

    I do know this… living here in Michigan and having had a landscaping business for a few years, the biggest mistake I see here are people watering their lawns in the middle of the day. When the sun is hot, the water will burn your grass. The best advise I can give anyone is to run your sprinklers at dusk or early in the morning ONLY to prevent burning. Dethatching can be found on the link below. 🙂

  2. Julie said:

    You really can’t treat Japanese beetles unless everyone around you is treating them as well.. For the lawn, treat with triazicide or sevin in the spring and now. The beetles will be laying eggs and the insecticide should keep their eggs from developing and causing grubs to feast on your lawn. Once the beetles are hatched, they will eat and eat and then lay eggs. Not much stopping the adults.. kill the grubs! (helps prevent mole problems, too)

    Aerate in September and apply turf food and kill broadleaf weeds. An application of gypsum is probably a good idea at this time, assuming you have clay soil. Check you soil pH to see if you need buffering (lime or sulfur to raise or lower pH) Apply these at this time. If you soil is heavy clay, you might add some organic compost or sphagnum peat to help the structure of your soil.

    Don’t bother de-thatching. The nitrogen in the fall fertilization and the introduction of air to the soil from the aeration will kick start biological activity that will break down most of the dead grass, etc.

    In the spring, apply a turf fertilizer with crabgrass pre-emergent. Use one with a controlled release formula over the “4 step” program.

    Through the summer, keep the grass watered and spot treat weeds with weed-b-gone..

    Good luck!

  3. kwhaling said:

    I live in Colorado, which is the same kind of climate as Chicago. I use “Jerry Baker’s Year Round Lawn Care” teqnique, which has worked wonderful for my lawn the last couple of years. He uses a lot of natural tonic recipes, which are quite inexpensive compared to garden center supplies. Hope this helps!

  4. mike453683 said:

    I offer organic solutions if you care to try them. Try milky spore to minimize the damage from beetle grubs (most grubs) on grass roots. That may be one of your problems with the spots, and you can tell by digging them up a little and see if there are grubs in small sections of the sod roots. Overall for fertilizer I like dolomite lime, greensand, and rock phosphate for long lasting slow release of everything but the nitrogen component. If you don’t mind you can use milorganite for that part, but some people prefer a different form as sewage sludge is a turn off. It is a nice product though and really works. Apply it over the three minerals. For watering, set your sprinkler to turn on as early in the AM as you can stand it. The lawn is already moist and adding water then does not keep the lawn any wetter than it already is. Too wet too long causes fungus problems so a late afternoon water keeping the lawn wet all night into the next day is begging for it, esp. when a high nitrogen chemical formula is giving you a soft green fast growth. It is too soft and disease will take it out at the first chance. This is why I recommend my way, it makes a great lawn that resists disease. Thatch when you can as soon as you can and haul it so the grass plants have all the room they can. This promotes “tillering”, the spreading out of the individual plant, like stretching your arms and legs. Then they interlock in a fashion. Grass is a lot of plant clumps. Not individual leaves with a root. It is a bit more labor but worth it, and good for the environment and the quality of the grasses is superior and disease resistant, naturally.




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