A tough transition

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October 31, 2018 -  By
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Photo: Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

Photo: Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont

LCOs can overcome the challenges of winter by being prepared with the right products.

The transition from winter to spring can be a challenging time for lawn care operators. In many parts of the country, LCOs are at the mercy of Mother Nature when trying to determine the right time to kick off their busiest time of the year. But with proper planning and the use of the right products, LCOs can eliminate some of the problems they face when the weather finally breaks.

Gil Del Rosario

Gil Del Rosario

“Being prepared and taking care of things in the winter can ensure a successful spring season,” says Gil Del Rosario, market development specialist for Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, Turf and Ornamental Division.

Fall seeding is one area that can create unexpected challenges come spring. “For LCOs who seed in the fall, treating turf with preemergent herbicide too early in the spring can compromise the turf stand they are trying to establish,” says Del Rosario. To eliminate issues with fall seeding, he suggests LCOs keep good records of their seeding dates to avoid using products that may damage the turf. For example, Del Rosario says labels on products that contain the active ingredient indaziflam should not be applied to turf for a full 16 months after seeding.

“That is a challenge for lawns that have been seeded in the fall, as LCOs cannot use that active ingredient on the site until late the following year,” he says. “If the LCO did not thoroughly read the label they can end up applying a product that will jeopardize the turf stand they are trying to establish.”

LCOs can shorten this window of wait time and eliminate the risk of damaging turf by using the right product. According to the label, Dimension® specialty herbicide can be used on newly-seeded turf once the plant is well established, which Del Rosario says is generally after two mowings.

“If LCOs decide to go out early in the spring, Dimension is not going to compromise the growing cool-season turf they were hoping to establish over the winter,” he says. “It gives LCOs the flexibility to meet the end goal of an established, uniform stand of turf.”

Snowy yard. (Photo: iStock.com/Gerardo Martinez Cons)

Photo: iStock.com/Gerardo Martinez Cons

A wide window

Another challenge LCOs face year after year is the unpredictability of the weather. Treating turf before winter wetness has dried out can leave ruts and other types of turf damage in the lawn being treated. On the other hand, warm, damp spring weather can cause crabgrass to germinate before LCOs have the opportunity to begin applications. Del Rosario says it’s a fine line for LCOs to walk.

“Weather is always on applicators’ minds, especially as they transition from late winter to early spring,” he says. “In many cases, the preemergent products LCOs planned to use might not be effective because the crabgrass will have already emerged. As we all know, the crabgrass isn’t going to wait on us.”

Sidewalk covered with frost. (Photo: iStock.com/Piepereit)

Photo: iStock.com/Piepereit

Using a product like Dimension, which offers a wide, flexible window of application, can help LCOs overcome the challenges that come with uncooperative weather. The product gives LCOs a little more leeway because it provides both pre- and postemergent crabgrass control.

“LCOs can use Dimension to preventively control the crabgrass before it germinates, but if they do get caught by the weather they can use the product for postemergent control as well,” Del Rosario says. “This gives them a wider window of application to wipe out crabgrass.”

In addition to being prepared with the right products, Del Rosario suggests LCOs use the winter months to service and maintain their equipment to ensure everything is ready for spring. This will help minimize breakdowns during the busy season when time is limited.

With the challenges and uncertainty LCOs face in late winter and early spring, Del Rosario says simplicity is key.

“Dimension offers simplicity—it is one product that can be used across multiple conditions, offers pre- and postemergent control, and is safe on turf and landscape beds,” he says. “This minimizes liability with customers because LCOs get the performance while providing weed-free turf and landscapes. Products that offer versatility and provide peace of mind are very helpful for LCOs.”

®Trademark of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. State restrictions on the sale and use of Dimension apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.

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