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September Landscapes – A Month of Transition

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September Landscapes – A Month of Transition

September is here and hopefully, an end to our heat wave.

Each year on Labor Day, I remind everyone to change their watering cycles from evening starts to morning starts instead. Doing this will help fend off lawn fungus.

Lawn fungus becomes an issue each Fall as the nights grow cooler and longer and the days shorter and not as hot. We may still see some 100 degree temperatures this month, however, this is not like it was in July and August. Back then, we would hit 100 by 12 noon most of the time. It would spend the rest of the day until 7-8 p.m. at that 100 degree temperature.

But now, we will not see 100 until 3 to 4 p.m. and it only stays there a short time.

The low temperatures during July and August are largely in the 80s. Fungus cannot survive in such a hot and dry environment. But September begins the time when our nightly lows begin dropping into the 70s and 60s again. That is when the conditions come together for fungus to form – those 60s (and lower) during the night.

I will suggest this year that you wait a week before changing back to morning watering starts. The advantage we’ve enjoyed with evening starts has been extended time for water and plant to be together. It produces a healthier plant. We are so dry and still hot right now, delay your change by a week instead this year.

While you need to make that transition to morning watering start times, you should also reduce the amount of time each zone is running. So if you have a zone set to run for 20 minutes, reduce that to 15 minutes now.

September is a transition month, weather-speaking that is. When September begins, it feels a lot like August. So we water like it’s August. But later in the month, we will be much cooler and must change our settings accordingly. Changing to morning starts, reducing run times and number of days to water. I will caution not to reduce too much, make it a gradual change.


When too fertilize . . .

During normal years, we would be applying fertilizer to our lawns during the last week of August and first week of September. But this year is not normal. We’re still in the grips of a heat wave and most of us haven’t seen rain since early July.

Since we’re in such a predicament, we should hold off on applying fertilizer to our lawns until the heat breaks and we begin getting rain again. Fertilizer makes your turf thirsty, so applying in already stressed conditions is a recipe for disaster.

Since we’ll be applying at a later date that we would prefer, reduce your ratio slightly. This is one of those times when more is not better. If you normally have a spreader setting of 14 for your product, reduce that to 12 instead.


Take-All Patch lawn fungus, above.

Reducing the ratio will help prevent fungus development. The primary active ingredient in fertilizer is nitrogen. When fungus is given a lot of nitrogen, it grows and develops. We’re looking for that happy medium. Less is more.

Your lawn was also due a pre-emergent application at the end of August or early September. You can still apply that without fear as pre-emergent would have no adverse effects on your turf, even in heat.

Other notes for this month. . .

1. If you have trees that need to be trimmed, September and October are great months to do that. One reason is because you will want to trim deciduous trees before they turn and drop their leaves. Once they’ve dropped, it becomes more difficult to spot dead limbs. Also, trees are headed for winter dormancy, so there’s less chance of insect issues after the trim.

2. Near the end of the month, you will want to drop your lawnmower blade one notch. Temperatures will be cooler and hopefully rainfall returns to us, so cutting the turf shorter can be done without consequence. This actually helps the lawn defend against lawn fungus, since the grass is shorter and allowing more sunlight to hit the interior of the turf.

3. I recommend getting with your landscaper now to get your fall landscape project rolling. It normally takes a couple of weeks to iron out the details on most projects, so doing it now is timely.



4. September is a great time to have your sprinkler system inspected. During a hot summer like we’ve had, your system has been working at maximum capacity. With the dry conditions, we also have to deal with shifting soil, which causes line breaks. There’s also the sprinkler heads that may have been nicked by a mower blade at some point. Best to check this out now that the summer season is coming to an end.







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50 minutes ago, Big Daddy Cane said:

It's not for me, but I am seeing more people installing artificial turf. Just doesnt look right. Are you seeing a lot of this?

We've installed more artificial turf in the last two years than we did the previous 10 years. So I think your'e right.

It works for some applications, especially the thumbnail back yards some homes have.

There are some folks who have a difficult time keeping grass alive and are left with dirt portions of the yard. When it rains, their pets track through the mud and come back indoors with it. Thats one of the primary reasons I get when I talk to folks.


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4 hours ago, tejasrulz said:

@Sirhornsalot, there are some spots in my yard where I need to add some topsoil. I'm thinking of doing those spots in October when it cools down. Is that a good plan?

If you want your grass to overtake and grow into that topsoil areas, you would want to do it in September (now). Grass growth slows quite a bit in October.

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1 hour ago, gmcc said:


I failed to treat the sedge in my lawn last year and it is really bad now.  I have approx. 1/2 acre to treat.  What would be my best herbicide choice?  Does pre-emergent help with sedge?  I have applied it twice each year?

thank you in advance.

You should be applying pre-emergent at the end of January or early February, the end of August, and early November. So there should be three applications each year.

"SedgeHammer" is a great product for killing Nutsedge. It is made specifically for nutsedge.

Celsius Plus kills nutsedge, but will also kill a host of other summer weeds.



I don't have a link for the Celsius Plus. Be SURE you don't buy the regular Celsius WG. It does not kill nutsedge. Only the Celsius Plus will kill nutsedge. You can get Celsius Plus at any Site One Landscape Supply and I think also at Ewing Irrigation.


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I sold my house in Katy and Momma and I have taken permanent residence just outside Brenham.  It appears my yard here has an infestation of chinch bugs.  The yard is watered daily and the St. Augustine that isn't infested is green and healthy. 

I think my yard man from Brenham has been bringing them to us.

What's the best way to get rid of those rascals?

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2 hours ago, doc longhorn said:

I sold my house in Katy and Momma and I have taken permanent residence just outside Brenham.  It appears my yard here has an infestation of chinch bugs.  The yard is watered daily and the St. Augustine that isn't infested is green and healthy. 

I think my yard man from Brenham has been bringing them to us.

What's the best way to get rid of those rascals?

Ask your mowing crew to blow out their mower wells before they mow your lawn. You're right. Chinch are spread so easily this way.

There is a chemical called Bifenythrin that we turn to. We call it "Bifen" for short. There are a number of commercial products that utilize this chemical. I use a product called "Cross Check" which has the Bifen in it. Any product with Biden in it will do. Bifen is what we call a "contact kill." This means you only need to make contact with the insect with your chemical. By the time you're done, most of the killing is over.

Bifen comes in granular and liquid form. You would want the liquid version. Just follow the mixing directions and start spraying! Spray the areas damaged plus a 1-ft parameter around it. Also spray areas where the grass looks freshly cut because it hasn't grown since it was last cut. That is a sign of Chinch getting started.

Chinch like to hang out on the ends of the blades, so they are easy to kill. 

You will want to repeat this after a week or so. This chemical will kill Chinch, but not the eggs. We give it a week or so to respray so we can get the hatchlings before they mature enough to lay eggs.



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