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Blog - the turf plan

Frequently Asked Questions



Q: How much lawn does your crabgrass product cover?

A: Our 50 lb bag of crabgrass prevention covers 10,000 sq ft. It is important that you apply the product accurately, by knowing how much actual turf you have (your “sward size”).

Q: Why does THE Turf Plan(R) require two applications of crabgrass herbicide? 

 A: Crabgrass will start to emerge when the soil warms up, but it will germinate ALL summer long, if rainfall and/or irrigation is supplied. Even though we’re using the best crabgrass herbicide on the market (dithiopyr = Dimension(R)) expecting season long control of crabgrass control from a single application of herbicide is pure folly. Our results speak for themselves, because our customers RAVE about how good their crabgrass control is. They tell us that the other products they use don’t work, as early as June!


Q: I cannot catch a mole with my old-fashioned Victor Harpoon Trap. It trips, but I never catch the dang things. What am I doing wrong? 

 A: The harpoon traps work OK, but you really have to learn how to set them properly. There are a few tricks you need to know. We can show you how to do this, but the newest traps, called the MOLE ELIMINATOR is sooooo easy to set (you just step on it) that we think you’ll have better results with it. Come on in and we’ll prove it to you.


Q: What plants to voles eat? I’ve seen hosta leaves halfway pulled down into a little hole–is a vole doing that?

A: The answer to your second question is YES! Voles are subterranean little rodents. They make holes in the ground, no bigger than a quarter in diameter. They frequently share mole runs or take over mole runs. They’ll cut leaves off at the base, drag them to their hole, and then munch on them safely in the cover of their tunnel. They absolutely love hostas and daylilies, but they’re known to eat all different kinds of plants. One customer brought pictures in last winter of ‘Knockout’ Roses, that had virtually no roots. The voles ate them up through the winter.


Q: My zoyisagrass lawn is about 25 years old and has not been power raked for about 15 years and aerated in about 3 years. I have begun getting a lot of brown dead patches in the lawn and was wondering what is the problem. I am considering power raking and aerating and over seeding very shortly. Would this be the recommended way to go at this time? And then use your warm weather grass plan.

 A: Zoysiagrass in STL has been hit hard with a disease, called “zoysia patch,” which is essentially the same disease organism as brown patch on turf type fescue. Its spread is aggravated by mismanagement! Too much water, not dethatching enough (your primary cause), and late applications of nitrogen (after August 15th) are some of the main contributors to incidence and occurence of the disease. 1st) don’t think about dethatching zoysiagrass until mid- to late May. It must be almost 100% green so that it can recover quickly after you tear it up. 2) The warm season plan, in very simple terms is STEP 1: Crabgrass Control in Early May, STEP 2: Grub Control mid-June, STEP 3: Fertilizer in mid-July, STEP 4: Fertilizer in mid-August.


Q: I have a lot of chickweed growing in my repaired turf. Do I need to spray it now?

A: Yes, you should plan to spray it as soon as you can find a nice, sunny, calm day, when the temperatures exceed 55F. It is important to slow this weed down, because just like turf, it’s about to explode as soon as the temperatures warm up. Spraying it sooner than later may not kill it dead, but it will stunt it severely, giving the baby turf a chance to compete better. Plan on spraying a second, and even a third time, if necessary this spring. There is no reason to tolerate any broadleaf weed in your lawn!


Q: OK, my neighbor follows your advice, and his lawn is excellent. He told me that I needed to calculate how big my lawn is, and warned me that you might chew me out if I don’t know. Is this true? Why is this such a big deal, because a bag of Scott’s TurfBuilder for 15,000 sq ft works perfectly on my lawn.

A: Wow, that’s a mouthful. 1st, we won’t chew you out, but you may see disappointment in our non-verbal communications, for your not knowing how much actual turf you manage. However, we WILL chew you out down the road, if you complain about less-than-stellar results, and you don’t know how big your sward is. Thus, your neighbor must have suffered from this in the past. So learn from his/her mistake. It’s a HUGE deal because everything we do is about proper application of the dose (whether it be nitrogen, crabgrass herbicide, grub control, fungicide, etc.) of the product being applied. If you overdose the lawn you might cause damage. If you underdose the product it won’t work correctly. Then you’ll blame us for your mistake. So let’s avoid all that malarkey. Finally, your claim of “perfect” application of an over-sold retail product is that it’s simply a coincidence, if you don’t have between 14,000 and 16,000 sq ft of turf. We can take ANY product, and find a setting to fit our lawn, but that doesn’t make it ACCURATE!

(Note: This blog was originally posed on Feb. 19, 2013)

Grub Control is Critical

Grub control is a vital element of THE Turf Plan®, or any decent lawn program, for that matter. You simply MUST treat for grubs, because the root eating insects can cause significant turf injury in a very short period of time. Too many of you neglect this critical application!Injury to turfgrass occurs when the grubs [...]

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Controlling Adult Japanese Beetles

Adult Japanese beetles usually appear in mid-to late June and their feeding can virtually destroy your favorite plants overnight. We know that beetles will feast upon roses (all types), ornamental cherries, crape myrtles, linden trees and birch trees, just to name a few. Don’t waste money on those hormone traps–rather, “pretreat” your landscape plants [...]

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Galls on Pin Oaks

We’ve had quite a few email questions about a malady that’s hitting our pin oaks, particularly west of I-270 and along the 40 corridor. Huge golf-ball to nectarine-sized woody galls are proliferating on oaks! And if you’re observant you’ve noticed the galls getting continually worse in affected trees, and also spreading from tree to [...]

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Our Newest #1 Turf Weed

Actually, it’s not new, because it’s been around for at least 15 years, but it’s growing in its ability to ruin the perfect sward. It’s called “European bluegrass”, or “roughstalk bluegrass”, which are polite names for Poa trivialis. Most of us just call it, “triv.” It is a bona fide cultivated bluegrass variety, [...]

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Controlling Nutsedge

In the St. Louis area, as well as around the world, a species of weed known as nutsedge (Cyperus) is actually listed as one of the world’s worst weed problems, not just in turf and landscape, but on those acres where crops are produced. Here in the Midwest, where our soil actually freezes in the [...]

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The Reseeding Bible

To download a copy of the “Fixing the Sward – THE Turf Plan Reseeding Bible” simply click here; Fixing the Sward – The Reseeding Bible.If you don’t have Adobe Reader on your computer you can download a copy for free here; Because we live in the transition zone of the United States, our weather is not [...]

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Irrigation Tips

One of the worst things you can do for your turf is to over-water, which discourages the development a deep root system. Think back to spring and summer of 2010…a season with a cold, wet spring; Mother Nature, on her own, caused our turf to have a shallow (and lazy!) root system. Then we [...]

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Moles and Their Control

The mole population has been growing steadily it seems for the 8 years, with no signs of abatement. Those of us that love our lawns detest the destructive mole because of the damage they cause. If moles would just stay the heck out of our lawns, we would probably thank this fascinating creature [...]

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Tips for Controlling Crabgrass

Crabgrass is the worst of the annual weed problems that we have to fight every season, to keep them out of our turfgrass and landscape beds. There are two common species of crabgrass that we battle in our turf here in Missouri, smooth crabgrass Digitaria ischaemum and large crabgrass Digitaria sanguinalis.The species are very [...]

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