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Core Aeration View
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Turfgrasses for Iowa View
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FAQs

As the snow melted over the last few weeks, several narrow meandering pathways appeared in my lawn. What produced them? Will the grass recover?

The runways in the lawn were likely caused by the meadow vole.  The meadow vole is a small, brown, mouse-like animal.  Though common in Iowa, the meadow vole is secretive and seldom seen by most individuals.  Voles are herbivores.  They feed on grasses and other herbaceous plants.  They also eat seeds, ....

How often should I aerate a lawn?

The frequency of aeration is largely determined by the soil type and the amount of use.  Lawns growing in heavy, clay soils and those subject to heavy foot or pet traffic should be aerated twice a year.  Once a year should be sufficient for lawns that are established on well-drained ....

What are the benefits of aerating the lawn?

Aeration relieves soil compaction, improves water and nutrient movement in the soil, and prevents thatch accumulation.  Aeration improves the growing conditions for the turfgrass plants and results in a healthier, more vigorous lawn.    ....

What is the proper way to aerate a lawn?

Aerate lawns with a core aerator.  Core aerators have hollow metal tubes or tines that remove plugs of soil.  Avoid spike-type devices that simply punch holes (compacting the soil) in the ground.  Core aerators are often available at rental agencies.  Core aeration can also be done by professional lawn care ....

When is the best time to aerate a lawn?

In Iowa, September and April are the best times to aerate Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season lawns.  While the overall results are beneficial, core aeration causes some initial damage.  Aerating in September or April allows the grass to quickly recover during the favorable growing conditions in spring and early fall.    ....

When should I apply a preemergence herbicide to my lawn to control crabgrass?

The keys to successful control of crabgrass in lawns are correct timing of the preemergence herbicide application and proper application of the material.  Preemergence herbicides must be applied before the crabgrass seeds germinate.  If the material is applied too early, crabgrass seeds that germinate late in the season will not ....

Would zoysiagrass be a good choice for a lawn in Iowa?

Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.) is a medium-textured, slow-growing, warm-season grass.  When managed properly, zoysiagrass will form an attractive lawn.  However, some of its growth characteristics may be objectionable.  Zoysia grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soils.  It does not tolerate poorly-drained soils. In alkaline soils, the color of zoysiagrass may be yellow-green.  ....

Areas of my lawn that were covered with snow for most of the winter aren’t greening up. What could be wrong?

Snow molds may be responsible for the brown spots in your lawn.  Two snow mold diseases, gray snow mold and pink snow mold, occur in Iowa.  Gray snow mold is caused by two species of the fungus Typhula, while pink snow mold is caused by the fungus Microdochium nivale.  Symptoms of ....

Are broadleaf herbicides effective when applied during dry weather?

Broadleaf herbicides are most effective when applied to weeds that are actively growing.  During prolonged periods of dry weather, some weeds are likely to curl up or wilt.  An application of a broadleaf herbicide to drought stressed weeds will likely be less effective as wilted foliage will absorb less herbicide ....

Do I need to remove the leaves on my lawn?

Turfgrass plants utilize light, water, and nutrients to manufacture food.  In fall, lawn areas beneath large trees are often completely covered with leaves.  The leaf debris prevents the turfgrass plants from manufacturing and storing food prior to winter.  A thick layer of leaves (little or no grass is visible) will ....

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