The following suggestions are for cool-season grasses such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. Zoysiagrass, bermudagrass and buffalograss are warm-season grasses and require a different maintenance regime. A warm-season grass calendar was covered in last week's column.
Spot treat broadleaf weeds, if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.
Apply crabgrass preventer when redbud trees are in full bloom, usually in April. The preventer needs to be watered in before it will start to work. Remember that a good, thick lawn is the best weed prevention and may be all that is needed.
Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer if you water your lawn or if you receive enough rainfall that your turf normally doesn't go drought-dormant during the summer. If there are broadleaf weeds, spot treat with a spray or use a fertilizer that includes a weed killer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness of the weed killer, but the fertilizer needs to be watered in. If you are using a product that has both fertilizer and weed killer, wait 24 hours after application before watering in.
* June through mid-July
Apply second round of crabgrass preventer by June 15 — unless you have used Dimension (dithiopyr) or Barricade (prodiamine) for the April application. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in. If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing "Merit" or "Mach 2" during the first half of July. This works to prevent grub damage. It must be watered in before it becomes active.
* Late July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer that contains Dylox. Merit and Mach 2 are effective against young grubs and may not be effective on late instar grubs. The grub killer containing Dylox must be watered in within 24 hours or effectiveness drops.
Fertilize around Labor Day. This is the most important fertilization of the year. Water in fertilizer.
Fertilize. This fertilizer is taken up by the roots but is not used until the following spring. Water in fertilizer. Spray for broadleaf weeds even if they are small. Broadleaf weeds are much easier to control in the fall than in the spring. Spray on a day that is at least 50 degrees. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use label rates for all products.
Dale Blasi, Kansas State Extension beef specialist, offers some tips about what beef producers should be thinking about in March.
* Manage calving pens and pastures to minimize human, cow and calf stress. Stay organized.
* An observation schedule should be implemented for calving first-calf heifers and cows. First-calf heifers should be checked every two to three hours.
* Sanitation is key to reducing and/or eliminating calf scours. An excellent calving pasture management plan by Dr. David Smith from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln can be found at http://beef.unl.edu/beefreports/symp-2003-19-XVIII.pdf.
* Make sure every calf consumes adequate colostrum during the first four to 12 hours after birth.
* Keep accurate calving records, including cow identification (ID), calf ID, birth date, calving difficulty score and birth weight. Other traits to consider recording are teat and udder scores, calf vigor score and other pertinent information. This information, along with Angus sire information, is vital for enrolling cattle into the AngusSource SM program.
* Calving books are essential sources of information; make sure you have a backup copy.
* Body condition score (BCS) cows. Thin and young cows will need extra energy to maintain yearly calving interval.
* If cow diets are going to be shifted from low- (poor quality forage or dormant grass) to high-quality forage (lush green grass) programs, begin a grass tetany prevention program at least three weeks prior to the forage switch.
* Given the high price of mineral supplements, conduct a needs assessment of your cowherd. Moreover, closely monitor daily intake to ensure that it is consistent with label directions.
* When making genetic selections, use the most recent National Cattle Evaluation and herd records judiciously.
* If new bulls are purchased, now is the time to start preparing them for their first breeding season. Bulls need to be properly vaccinated and conditioned to be athletic. Moderate body condition with abundant exercise is ideal.
* After calving and before breeding, vaccinate cows as recommended by your veterinarian.
* Plan to attend beef production meetings.
For more information or assistance on this or other topics, please call the Extension office at 272-3670, located at 501 S. Ninth St.