Perino’s Guide to a Perfect Lawn

Lawn care can be one of the most tricky aspects of curb appeal. Different seasons come with different obstacles. It doesn’t matter if you are a first time homeowner or a seasoned vet, the battle for a beautiful lawn is never ending. In Southern Louisiana, we are blessed with extreme hot and extreme cold which, anyone who is a plant enthusiast can tell you it’s a challenge within itself. We’re going to break down the do’s and don’ts of lawn care to keep your yard looking beautiful!

129,358 Beautiful Lawn House Royalty-Free Images, Stock Photos & Pictures | Shutterstock

Lawn Care By Month

Here is a general breakdown by month. Some advice may vary depending on the temperature changes we see in the transitional months between seasons. A good rule of thumb regarding grass is: the more extreme the weather, the better to leave it alone.

January-February

Your lawn should be dormant. Grasses tend to go dormant when soil reaches a temperature of about 55 . It’s important to monitor for fungus, as we have chronic moisture in our air which makes the hot weather hotter and the cold weather colder. The mixture of warm and moist climate is the perfect breeding ground for fungus during warmer winters. You can also spray for weeds during this time.

March

You should apply pre-emergent weed granules and spray liquid herbicides for weeds in the lawn. You can continue to spray for weeds as necessary throughout the month if the temperature is cool enough to do so.

April

You may now apply weed and feed if necessary during this time. If not needed, use a regular fertilizer with iron. Resume your regular watering schedule (preferably every 3 days for an established lawn, weather pending) to keep your lawn happy and hydrated.

May

Keep an eye on the weather! If we are experiencing a wet season, apply fungicide as a preventative. You can still spray for weeds as long as the temperature is below 85 degrees.

June-August

Watch for insect damage in your lawn. Chinch Bugs and Sod Webworms love hot weather. Always monitor for fungus in your lawns if we’re experiencing a wet season, and on the flipside, keep your lawns hydrated in the dry season. It’s best to water thoroughly in the morning and early evening to give your lawns a chance to soak up the water before it evaporates.  Mild fertilizers like Milorganite can also be used at this time.

September​-October

When temperatures are below 85 degrees, it is safe to spray for weeds again. You can start prepping your lawns for the colder months by putting down your winterizer at the end of September. When the nights become consistently cooler, this is the earliest you can start overseeding with perennial ryegrass, but do this prior to pre-emergent or it will stunt your grass.

November-December

Your grass will begin to go dormant, So keep an eye out for fungus and continue to spray for weeds as necessary.

 

 

To Sod or Seed? That is the question

Figuring out what to do with your lawn can be an overwhelming experience riddled with questions. One of those questions is whether it is better to lay sod or grass seeds. Here we’ll provide you with enough information to make the choice best for your lawn needs.

 

What is the difference between sod, plugs, and seed?

When it comes to overhauling your lawn, you have a couple of options.*
St. Augustine Classic Sun or Shade Sod Pallet - 400 Square Foot – Wekiva FarmsPalmetto® St. Augustine Grass PlugsGrass Seed Tifblair Centipede 1 lb.
  • Sod gives you instant results by laying out a mat of the grass or ground cover of your choice on top of dirt and looks beautiful while you wait for it to take root. 
  • Seed is exactly what you think it is. If you have the patience to wait for germination and are trying to cover a large area on a budget, seed might be the way to go.
  • Plugs are a great option if you just need to fill some spaces that have suffered damage. While you technically can plant a whole lawn, it’s not recommended because it’s expensive and can take just as long a seed.

 

*However, it should be important to note that not all grasses come in sod, seed, and plug formats. St. Augustine Grass for instance, typically only comes in plugs or sod form because the seed contains the many broadleaf weeds – many herbicides can’t tell the difference between what’s grass and what’s weeds. It’s best to leave that part to the pros.

 

Meet the Grasses

Everyone has their preference, but here in Southern Louisiana, the following grasses are the ones that tend to perform the best in our subtropical climate.

Bermuda

This grass does best with well-draining soil and is a must for full sun exposure but can also tolerate more acidic soils. It’s fairly soft, drought tolerant, and loves heat, which makes it a great warm weather grass for drier seasons. It’s also great for high traffic areas such as yards with children and pets.  However, Bermuda grass hates shade and will turn brown when the temperature drops in the fall. If this grass is the one for you, you can pick up the seed at Perino’s Garden Center upon request.

Bermuda Grass: What It Is and What It Isn't - Bethel Farms

Centipede

This grass is a fan favorite and it’s easy to see why; between its ability to thrive in poor soil, crowd out weeds,  resist chinch bugs, this grass is a juggernaut amongst warm weather lawn options. However, Centipede is not without its weaknesses. It tends to be on the coarse side, has a shallow root system (making it sensitive to drought), and recovers slowly from damage. 

All You Need to Know About Centipede Grass

Perennial Rye 

While typically a cool weather grass, it makes for a great groundcover when the mercury drops. It seeds and establishes quickly, has an improved heat and cold tolerance compared to annual ryegrass, and is durable enough to play on. While it can suffer from winterkill if the temperature drops too much, it’s fairly shade tolerant, making it a great option to bring some life back to your lawn during the seasons with shorter days. If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for, you can find the seeds at Perino’s Garden Center starting at the end of September!                       

Complete Guide to Planting and Caring for Perennial Ryegrass

 

 

St. Augustine

This grass performs well here because it is hardy and fast growing, tolerates moderate shade, and has a high water requirement (meaning it loves our swampy climate). If you have low spots in your yard that flood when it rains, St. Augustine might be your savior. However, as much as we love this grass, so do Chinch Bugs and Sod Webworms. These insects can do considerable damage, especially if we are in a dry season and your lawn isn’t getting the hydration it needs. While St. Augustine tolerates shade, it can actually be prone to sunburn, and if not mowed properly it can build up thatch. St Aug is also not recommended for high-traffic areas because of its low wearability. You can find these grass plugs readily at Perino’s Garden Center!

St. Augustine Grass Facts | Sod University | Sod Solutions

Zoysia

Zoysia is another great option for surviving our drier seasons. It’s dense enough to keep weeds from taking root while being relatively bug and disease resistant. It thrives in the heat of our long summers while requiring little water to stay happy. Although Zoysia is a slow grower in the shade, it’s more shade tolerant than bermudagrass varieties. While not as soft as bermudagrass, it has a higher wearability than both Bermuda and St. Aug, making it a solid option for high-traffic yards. You can find the seeds and plugs at Perino’s Garden Center, but email us for availability!

All You Need to Know About Zoysia Grass

 

 

Pests and Plagues of your lawn

Keeping a well-manicured lawn is hard enough without the added threat of pests, weeds, and fungi interfering with your beautiful landscape. Sometimes it can be hard to identify what’s eating your lawn and how to fix it, but we’re here to help! Below are some common vexations that almost every lawn owner will run into at some point. 

 

Weeds

It’s been said that “weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place” and for the most part, that is true. Some weeds can cause actual harm to the space they inhabit by draining nutrients like a parasite while others simply ruin the aesthetic of your perfect lawn.  In fact, many weeds are just different types of grasses including varieties of bluegrass and bermudagrass!

 

Chickweed is a mat-forming annual weed with multiple branches that crops up around winter. It has tiny hairs running up the length of the stems and small white flowers.

How to Identify, Forage and Use Chickweed

Crabgrass is a narrow leaf annual weed that grows quickly in the summer. Often forming clumps of overlapping leaves, you can find it in most yards and fields in southern Louisiana. 

How To Identify And Control Crabgrass

Dandelions are a broadleaf perennial that appear in the cooler months of spring and fall.  They grow in small, circular clumps with deep taproots and spread seeds through the wind, small children making wishes, and adults who still have a sense of whimsy. While there are plenty of herbicides that specifically target dandelions along with many other broadleaf weeds, they’re also edible! They are incredibly nutritious as well have added health benefits of lowering cholesterol and adding in digestion. You can cook it or eat it raw but only do this if you have not used herbicides or you’ll eat those too!

Dandelion weeds, how they spread and how to control them | LebanonTurf

 

 

Dollarweed is another broadleaf perennial that loves our swampy conditions. In fact, the presence of dollarweed (a.k.a. pennywort) can be an indicator that you are overwatering your lawn. They often grow in “low spots” or places of poor water absorption in your lawn because of their love of these damp conditions. You can adjust your sprinkler heads to disperse water more evenly or check for other issues such as a burst pipe or poor drainage. You can use herbicides to get rid of them, but if you don’t take care of the underlying issue they’ll just come back. A more cost effective way to handle them if they’re in a large area is to simply eat them!

Identifying Dollarweed

Torpedograss in a pervasive perennial that is notoriously difficult to remove. Some people joke that the best way to get rid of Torpedograss is to move to a new house entirely. It has sharp-pointed rhizomes that “torpedo” out from a main clump. This hydra-like nature is what makes it hard to kill. However, not all hope is lost! This weed, like many others, likes to take advantage of weekspots in your lawn. Wet, high-traffic areas where the grass has died back andis patchy provide the perfect foothold for torpedograss. Zoysia and Bermudagrass work well to stave off torpedograss because of their dense growing habit.  When it comes to torpedograss, keeping a happy, lush lawn is your best defense!

Torpedograss - Pests | GeorgiaTurf

 

 

Insects

When it comes to your lawn, the pests might be small, but their damage can be immense if not taken care of in time!

 

Chinch bugs are very tiny bugs that love your lawn especially in the dry season. St. Augustine grass is prone to these little guys since this grass has the most issues during drier weather. The lack of moisture allows them to lay their eggs undisturbed and spread like wildfire. They create large circular patches in your lawn that can sometimes be mistaken for fungi in your lawn. Applying a granular pesticide as a preventative in spring or as a treatment in the warmer months but the best deterrent is to keep your lawn well watered!

  • Think you have a Chinch Bug infestation? Take up a large clump of grass (about the size of a Perino’s cardboard box – iykyk) that is half brown/dead and half green/alive. We can assess this sample for you and recommend the perfect pesticide to purchase from our “Plant Pharmacy”. 

Managing and Recovering From Chinch Bug DamageWhat Are Chinch Bugs and How to Get Rid of Them

Sod Webworms usually start to crop up in the warmer months of late spring and summer. Adult Webworms look like small white moths (a.k.a. Lawn Moths) and drop eggs as they fly around the yard, spreading them all over. Webworm damage looks like brown patches accompanied by larvae silk pouches on blades of grass. Acephate is a great way to keep this pest at bay. It is also a good idea to always keep an eye out for “thatch”, or built up layers of grass, as this can house larvae and eggs.             

           Sod Webworm larvae feed on leaves and stems of turfgrass | LebanonTurfSod webworms are a big problem for lawns well into the fall

Fungi

Fungi comes in many different shapes and sizes, but there are a few that are more common here in the south. 

 

Brown Patch is identified by the large brown, circular patches and can be several feet in diameter. It can occur during high temperatures upwards of 75 degrees and high, consistent humidity. Overfertilization can also be a leading cause of this disease. Keeping a well manicured lawn and removing thatch buildup as well as avoiding nitrogen heavy fertilizers can help keep this off your lawn. 

How to Treat Brown Patches in Your Lawn: Step-by-Step Guide | NaturaLawn

 

Fairy Rings may sound magical, but they can be a whole host of problems. They can be identified by the dark green rings with mushrooms at the border and dying grass in the middle. The mushrooms themselves are often very toxic and can be a danger to pets and children, and the dying grass can cause poor water penetration. They typically develop around areas with decaying woody matter like dead tree roots, old construction materials like wooden beams, acidic soils, and old lawns. You can add nitrogen to green up your lawn, as well aerating the inside of the ring to help with water absorption. Also removing the mushrooms is best to keep them from pets and children.

Fairy Rings | Lawntech Care Guide

 

If you’re ever uncertain about what is ruining your beautiful lawn or have questions on how to treat it, feel free to bring us a sample and one of our talented horticulturists will be happy to help you! You can also email us at info@perinos.com!