In this episode of the Houston Grass Podcast, Michael talks about what you should be thinking about in May to get your lawn ready for the heat of Houston’s summer. Got a question? Call us at 281-431-7441.
Summary of How to Get Your Lawn Ready for the Heat of Houston’s Summer
In this episode of the Houston Grass Podcast, Michael Romine discusses various grass types, weather effects on grass availability, and essential lawn care tips. Learn how to choose the right grass for your yard, including the benefits of Palmetto St. Augustine, effective ways to measure sunlight, and how to tackle Common Bermuda grass. Michael also shares crucial advice on lawn maintenance, including ideal mowing schedules and the best time to apply fertilizers and pre-emergents. If you have any questions or need a quote for your grass project, don’t hesitate to call 281-431-7441. The Houston Grass team is here to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy lawn!
Good morning everyone. I’m Michael and this is the Houston Grass Podcast. We are here at the end of April, and we’re still kind of unseasonably cool outside for this time of year. And it looks like we’re going to be that way for the week.
If you look out at your yard, you might not be having to mow quite as often as you maybe did this time last year. That that would be the reason why, even if you’re doing your fertilizing and it’s finally started raining a little bit again.
How Can Grass Harvesting Be Rained Out?
Speaking of the rain, we’ve finally gotten some good rain. We’ve had a real dry start to the year and we’ve finally gotten some good rain here in South Houston, and the whole greater Gulf Coast, including our farm, We were sold out of grass for a couple of days, and weren’t able to replenish our supplies because the farm couldn’t harvest any.
A lot of people wonder why grass dealers can’t get grass. They call around to all the grass places and we get lots of phone calls in those rain-out days. It’s because the farm can’t harvest grass when it rains like it has recently. They can’t put those big old heavy machines out in their fields, and sometimes they can’t even drive on their roads because it’ll tear up their roads.
You certainly can’t put those machines out in the fields. It just ruts ’em up and makes a big old mess. Grass harvesting is really a fair weather sport. You’ve got those forklifts and stuff out there that weigh up to 12,000 pounds. So that’s the reason when we say we’re rained out, that’s what we’re referring to.
Make Your Raleigh St. Augustine Lawn More Shade Tolerant by Adding Palmetto St. Augustine
It seems like we’re getting lots of phone calls about Palmetto St. Augustine in particular. Palmetto is our more shade tolerant variety of St. Augustine. Looks real similar to the Raleigh St. Augustine. As a matter of fact, if you laid a block of each of ’em side by side, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
The difference is there’s a little more vegetation, a little more leaf tissue per square inch on the Palmetto than there is on the Raleigh St. Augustine. And the blades themselves may be a little bit finer, but again, to somebody who is not down on their hands and knees, they look real similar.
And for that reason, you can actually use them in conjunction with one another. If you have Raleigh St. Augustine there in your yard, but it’s thinning out in some shady areas you could lay Palmetto in those areas. A combination of Raleigh and Palmetto St. Augustine grass makes a much more affordable lawn than switching a yard out to Zoysia.
Get a More Affordable Lawn with Shade Tolerance by Combining Raleigh and Palmetto St. Augustine Grass
You don’t have to go in and rip out the whole thing. You can just patch in with Palmetto where those thin spots are. Where you’re not getting that sunlight. But again, Palmetto is no miracle grass. It still needs that four or five hours of direct sunlight per day to survive. And the more it gets, the more it will thrive. Whereas the regular Raleigh St. Augustine needs at least six or seven hours of direct sunlight per day to do its thing. So Palmetto St. Augustine is not something that you can grow in a cave, but it definitely has its place in those shadier spots in your yard.
So that does help with the affordability as well. The Palmetto St. Augustine is a little more expensive than the Raleigh St. Augustine, but it’s less expensive than Zoysia. And again, we’re not talking about having to take out a whole yard. You can, you can lay these St. Augustine grasses right next to one another if you’ve just got a few spots that need to be fixed up.
We’re Selling Palmetto St. Augustine By the Piece During Springtime
And of course, this time of year is the only time of year that we sell Palmetto St. Augustine in the smaller quantities. Most of the year we only sell it by the full pallet. But in the springtime, we’ve just kind of picked the end of the week to try to let everybody know. Hey, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, we try to get a couple of pallets of it and have it to sell by the piece.
That’s not something that we do the rest of the year because the demand’s not there. And if we brought a pallet of it up here to sell it by the piece and we didn’t sell it all it would go bad. It’s so hot outside during the Houston summer that the grass has to be sold the day we get it for the most part. We don’t want to be throwing anything away. So that’s why we stick to the springtime to do that.
How to Measure the Sunlight Your Grass Gets
Suppose you don’t really know how much sun that you get in some parts of your yard. You wonder whether you should think about doing Palmetto St. Augustine, or maybe you get so much shade that Palmetto St. Augustine wouldn’t work.
l tell everybody the best way to determine how much sun your grass gets is to use your phone. On a sunny day, you go out every hour and take a picture of your yard — the areas that you’re concerned with. And then at the end of the day, you scroll through those pictures to see where the shade is and for how long. It’s the absolute easiest way to tell if you get that sunlight. A little bit of filtered sunlight here and there doesn’t count. You’ve got to get that direct sunlight. You’ve got to get that four or five hours for Palmetto to grow.
And if you don’t have that much sun, you’ve got to aggressively trim those trees and take a lot of that overhead shade away. Obviously you can’t do anything if the shade is caused by structures, houses, and fences and stuff like that. But if it’s trees, sometimes you might have to make ’em look a little bit silly — make ’em look like a stock of broccoli like my coworker says here. You can’t have ’em look like oak trees with the big overhanging branches or you’re not gonna be able to grow grass under there of any type.
Time for Another Application of Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide
We are approaching May so it is definitely the time to get down the Barricade Pre-emergent. It’ll create that barrier that across the soil that will keep those summer weed seeds from germinating. It’s not going to get rid of any weeds that you have now.
That’s not what a pre-emergent is for. A pre-emergent creates that barrier and keeps those weed seeds from, from germinating and becoming plants and unsightly things in your yard. So May is definitely the time to get that out.
Nitro-Phos Superturf Helps Get Your Lawn Ready for the Heat of a Houston Summer
It’s also the time to put down the Superturf. If you did not do a weed and feed already, it is getting too warm, too fast to be putting down either of the Nitro Phos weed and feed with the Atrazine in it or the weed and feed with Trimec in it. We are past time to do that.
So it’s time to put down the Superturf that’s got the slow release nitrogen in it, the 19-4-10. you can do that anytime in May, and that should get you through the summer because of that slow release nitrogen.
Because it is slow release, it can keep you from burning your grass with excessive nitrogen. So get it out there, water it in real well, and follow the directions on the bag. Never put it out by hand. Always put it out there with the walk behind spreaders, with the proper settings.
Get it out there and get plenty of water on it. Or even better if you can time it before about a half inch rain, that’s all the better. So definitely get the Barricade Pre-emergent and the Superturf down.
It’s Hot Enough to Be Mowing Each Week Now
And keep mowing. We should be mowing once a week right now, at least, and we should be watering and getting that one inch of water per week, whether it’s falling out of the sky or coming out of the irrigation or the sprinklers. Those are the things we need to be doing right now.
How to Kill Common Bermuda Grass in Your Lawn
Another topic I’d like to talk about here is the Common Bermuda grass. People may not know the name, Common Bermuda grass, but it is everywhere here in South Texas. Anywhere there is an empty piece of dirt, whether it be in your flower bed or wherever else. Those Common Bermuda grass seeds are blowing around everywhere.
And as it warms up, they start to germinate. So if you have an unhealthy piece of your yard somewhere, the common Bermuda grass will take root there. If there’s a thin spot that’s created from excess traffic or shade or whatever, as those weed seeds from that Common Bermuda grass will set up shop there.
It’s the fine sort of grass that sends out the long runners that if you grab ’em, you can pull ’em up. They’re kind kind of thin.
The only way to get rid of that stuff is with glyphosate or Roundup, a non-selective herbicide.
There is no weed and feed for it. There’s nothing that’s going to selectively pick that stuff out that I’m aware of anyway.
How We Kill Common Bermuda Grass at Our Farm
At the farm, the way we get rid of it is these guys line u, shoulder to shoulder holding little wire flags in their hands. As they walk along, when they see a little piece of it, they stick a flag in the ground. Then somebody comes behind them and sprays it with the glyphosate.
So that is really the only way to get rid of it in your yard. You’ve got to spray the affected area, give it 10 to 14 days to die and then remove that area and replace it with new grass.
You definitely want to replace it with new grass. If you leave it bare dirt, you’re just going to see the same problem pop up again. That, that is the only way to get rid of that Common Bermuda grass.
Pulling it up is fruitless. It’s so prolific. It will come back from those little runners and rhizomes that it has in the ground. So, uh, to my knowledge, that is the only way to get rid of that.
That’s kind what I have here for today. Certainly give us a call if you’ve got any questions Thank you for listening.