I was browsing on the TikTok app and there was an advertisement for a company called Sunday Lawn Care. This company is advising a custom lawn plan and giving everything you need for a set price along with a free soil test kit. I did some browsing on their site and I have a lot of mixed feelings. From working and helping customers with their lawn, I know that lawns are not alike. I do commend their program being organic as possible however, I do know regionally that there are different issues that Sunday does not have a solution for: such as crabgrass control and grub control especially my area of New Jersey.
This product is made to be simple with its liquid lawn fertilizer application. You receive two to four pouched a year to maintain your lawn with your customize lawn plan. I do commend the break down of macro and micro nutrients in the soil when I looked at a sample online. That information is important to me because a soil’s profile tells you what is in your soil and how that reflects to plant growth. I also commend their all natural product line. I do sway more toward using organic based product because I am all for protecting our pollinators and the impact that I leave on the Earth is important to me. I feel their blend of grass seed is very similar to Scott Lawn Products - a universal line that you would have to choose that is suitable for your region. I have looked at Sunday Lawn Care’s herbicides and insecticides; they are both made from naturally occurring or organic based products.
Sometimes the organic product lines does not take care of the major problems. The organic line offered by Sunday Lawn Care does not tackle crabgrass and grub control. Two major issues in New Jersey lawns! The herbicides may kill crabgrass on contact, but Sundays Lawn Control does not have a or emergent for weeds that need to be suppressed before germination - such as Japanese Silt Grass and annual Crabgrass. These things can be controlled with your heavy duty chemicals such as Trifluralin and Imidacloprid respectively. Somethings in our backyard do a lot better with chemical control instead of organic control and that is completely okay if it is done correctly.
One thing that I question with the product line is that it will become a quick fix for homeowners. The ability for plants to absorb fast acting nutrients is not the way to go, especially in the summer months, for example the turf grass goes dormant or when our shrubs stop growing. I also question the fact that it just comes in a box and you are all ready to go. When I interact with customers, I spend a lot of time with them because I educate them on what they can expect now with their lawn and where they are going with it. This limits one on one interaction between homeowner and the professionals.
Sunday Lawn Organics has a lot of potential to join the ranks of existing product lines such as Scott’s products, Espoma, Greenview products, and Bonide products but the jumping onto the trend of boxed products such as Hello Fresh for lawn care is not a good pathway at all for the Horticulture/Green Industry. I do commend Sunday Lawn Organics’s desire to be pro organic but the interaction between professional and homeowner to promote a healthy lawn is very important.
Welcome back to my soil series! Here is a popcorn read for you! One thing that I noticed throughout the years while analyzing and giving recommendations regarding lawns is always giving my customers a time line to raise their pH. pH is known as the measurement to determine if something is acidic or alkaline on a 0.0 to a 14.0 scale. 0.0 being acidic, 7.0 being neutral, and 14.0 being alkaline. Every day items have their own pH. Here are some great examples to put the pH scale in perspective: orange juice is a 3.0, distilled water is 7.0, and bleach is a 13.0. Our lawn likes a pH of 6.2 to 6.8, most vegetables like the pH slightly acidic, azaleas and rhododendrons like a pH between 5.0 to 5.5, and cabbage and cauliflower likes a pH of 7.5 to 8.0.
When our soil pH is off, our lawn or plants will not thrive. When our pH in our soil is too alkaline, our plants cannot utilize many of the nutrients in the soil. When our pH is too low, it creates deficiencies for our plants. It is very easy to alter the pH in your soil too!
To raise the pH, you need to add lime to the soil. The general rule of thumb is that you need 50 pounds of lime for every 1,000 square feet to raise the pH up by half of a point. That means to cover one acre of lawn, 45,000 square feet, you need 2,400 pounds of lime. To lower pH, you need twenty pounds for every 1,000 square feet to lower pH in clay soil or you can do ten pounds for every 1,000 square feet to lower pH to lower pH in sandy soil.
We need to remember when we are trying to alter the soil, that we need to make sure our pH is correct in order that deficiencies do not happen as well as to make sure our plants can take in the nutrients that they need to thrive! Thank you so much for reading if you have a popcorn topic or questions send it in and I will do a popcorn article with an answer!
Here it is! That time of the year again in New Jersey when the Japanese Beetles, Popilla japonica, emerges from the ground to wreck havoc in our gardens! I have seen these small, six legged beetles on rose bushes, crape myrtle, weigela, cherry trees and various flowering plants. Japanese Beetles feast on leaves and flowers; whereas Japanese Beetle larva feast on roots of grasses. Japanese Beetles are easy to identity as they hide in flower blooms. They have a green head and thorax and their abdomen is a bronze color. They start emerging from the grounding during this time of the year and in order to control them, we need to understand their life cycle!
One of my favorite charts ever when it comes to the Japanese Beetles is on the back of any St. Gabriel’s Milky Spore product line.
If you look at the chart, we are just out of June and entering July. During some point of the month of June, the larva goes through a metamorphosis. The larva pupates and emerges from the ground to feast off of our plants and to mate. The adult beetles live between thirty to forty five days. One Japanese Beetle female can produce sixty eggs! The females lay their eggs in the ground in August. The eggs hatch into a C-shaped larva that is the color of a clear white. The larva actively feed on roots from August to September before they make their way down to hibernate in the soil from October to March. Then in April and May, the grubs start actively feeding again and go through their metamorphosis entering June. Then the cycle starts all over again!
There are different types of products that you can use to combat Japanese beetles and their grubs. The products that I will be talking about are products that my garden center stocks during the year. The products are in order on when to apply it during a calendar year. Products have certain time frames when they can be applied during the year. It’s always important to follow all instructions and safety regulations on the back of any application product whether it is a spray or a granular.
The first one is Milky Spore. Milky Spore is an organic option for grub control. Milky Spore is a beneficial bacteria that reproduces in the soil. The beneficial bacteria kills grubs and it stays in the soil. You apply this three times a year: Spring, Summer, and Fall for two consecutive years. By the third year, it is in the soil and ready to kill grubs.
The second one is by BioAdvance, formerly known as the Bayer company, Seasons Long Grub Control with Turf Revitalizer. The active ingredient is Imidacloprid, also known as Merit. Imidapcloprid is a type of neonicotinoid which is harmful to the bees if ingested by them. This one you can apply during May to August and it stays in the ground for the whole year. When we apply it, it kills the grubs who are already in the soil as they actively feed in April and May and then kills out the grubs who hatch in August. I tell customers to apply this in May when they are active in the soil.
The next product is one again by BioAdvance 24 Hour Grub Control. The active ingredient is Dylox. Dylox is an insecticide that immediately kicks in when watered in or after a rainstorm. Dylox is really toxic to the environment but stays in the soil for 48 hours. This product is to apply in late August to early September as thee new grubs just hatched; then next spring I would either start up with the Milky Spore product line or go with the BioAdvanced Seasons Long Grub Control. Both BioAdvanced products are non organic.
Not only are the lawn applications a good practice, but we can also follow up with setting up Japanese Beetle traps! The way that these traps work is that the pheromones attract the beetles into the trap, they go into the trap bag, and they cannot get out. They just die in the bag. Make sure you put up your traps away from the desirable plants and ten feet apart! You may need to change out the trap bags and put in new pheromone bait. Make sure you stock up on those extras! We need to take in consideration that even though we treat our lawns, Japanese Beetles can fly from your neighbor’s backyard into your backyard. The traps are vital.
The last piece of the puzzle to control Japanese Beetles are sprays. Some excellent sprays that you can use is GardenTech Sevin, Bonide’s Eight, Bonide’s Captain Jack’s Deadbug spray, Bonide’s Tomato and Vegetable spray (my FAVORITE application product), and BioAdvanced Insect, Mite, and Disease Control. Bonide’s Captain Jack’s and Bonide’s Tomato and Vegetable spray are both organic options. These products are great to apply once a week to control Japanese Beetle damage. They cannot reverse the damage but it will kill on contact.
This short lived season with the Japanese Beetles can be controlled very easily with the right products and the right knowledge! I hope you enjoyed my post to help you through this short lived season and I hope I helped you pave a pathway for future control! Have a happy weekend!