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Keyword Search Results for:
Lawn

23 Found

Question: 1-5201
We have patches of grass on our lawn. We have used the packaged programs without success. We have only two to three inches of loam. Should we top dress? Connie, Wakefield, RI

Mort's Answer:
My suggestion is to give up trying to build a lawn. You can bring in another 5 inches of loam over the present lawn. This can prove to be expensive. Top dressing with a half inch of loam is wasting your time and money. Without a proper foundation you are toiling forever with fertilizers, pesticides, lime and maintenance. If you decide to have a cottage, rock or Japanese garden, you can dig holes deep enough to start new plants. Fill the holes with loam. Ground covers, like myrtle, pachysandra and vetch will fill the void of grass until the landscape material is purchased for the gardens.

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Question: 2-5201
My lawn service company has told me that my lawn is necrotic. It will cost me another $120.00 to apply a spray on an area 20 feet by 20 feet. Is there something else that I can buy to correct this? Doris, Spokane, WA

Mort's Answer:
Your lawn service company has told you that the lawn is dead. Since you have handed over control to your company, I would make them correct the situation. Spraying fertilizer on your lawn can over stimulate growth and lead to susceptibility to fungus, mold and other diseases. Lawn companies are hired to avoid these problems. Your alternative is to go to an organic fertilizer once a year and check your PH periodically. It should be close to 7. Either you or your company should aerate and thatch regularly, especially this coming spring.

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Question: 52-1216
When can I start to reseed my lawn? Karen, Townsend, MA

Mort's Answer:
Good seed like fescue and bluegrasses take 30 days to germinate. If the mix has some annual rye, you will be in good shape. Fertilizer needs to be applied 10 days after the lime. This will decrease the loss of nitrogen into the air. Apply 200 lbs. per 10,000 sq,ft of hydrated lime now. Follow directions on the label for the fertilizer and the seed. Give the seed a good soaking and erect some rag flags to discourage the birds. Many birds think the seed is for them. A rotary sprinkler and a cat will often help.

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Question: 510-1311
We have three spots anywhere from five feet to twelve feet that start out weak looking every spring in the Lawn. When summer comes they finally go from pale green to dark, Otherwise the grass spots are healthy. Fertilizer does not seem to help. Any thoughts? Michael, Kewanee, IL

Mort's Answer:
Nut sedge is considered a weed by most agronomists. If you can live with it, sedge can be crowded with good grasses like fescue, rye and blue. You could over seed with soil in the fall with winter rye or lay down some annual rye over  it this spring. There are herbicides on the market specifically for nut sedge. After killing it , you rototill the entire spots and start again with good seed, fertilizer and regular applications of water.

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Question: 518-1511
When is the best time to put down seed, fertilizer and lime for top dressing the Lawn? Ed, Bosra, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is best to spread some screen loam over the surface unless you are dealing with a few spots. Scratch the surface of the few spots before adding lime. Loam can be raked with an iron gravel rake to make a level surface. Pelletized lime can be applied with fertilizer and seed. Hydrated lime will release a lot of the nitrogen in the fertilizer. if applied the same day. Because you have a shallow water table in southeast Connecticut, you need to apply lime in the spring and in the fall. You can use limestone in the fall. Rake in each application separately. Use the 12 to 16 toothed gravel rake for fertilizer and lime. A large wooden pegged rake should be used to gently turn in the grass seed. All of this can be down at this time of year. It can precede frosts.

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Question: 580-2316
My 4000 sq.ft front lawn has virtually disappeared. Just a few clumps of grass remain. The rest is a dry gulch. It had gradually went away after several attempts to rescue it. I even applied a fungicide two years ago. Any suggestions? Judy, Willimantic, CT

Mort's Answer:
There may be remnants of grubs. Dig up one of the remaining clumps of grass and check for little shrimp-like insects. If you wait a few weeks they will be gone as adults. You also need to dig down to see if you have at least eight inches of good loam. Then you can roto-till the lawn area with an industrial sized tiller. Let that dry for a few days. Bring in the necessary additional loam to supplement up to a required eight inches. You may be able to have the truck driver run out the loam parallel to the street. Now you can rake out the loam for removal of stones and debris. Put down about 80 lbs. of hydrated lime. Rake it in and make your grade concave as it approaches the curb. Wait a week and apply a 10-6-4 fertilizer. Rake that in and put down a seed mix of 50% perennial rye, 25% blue grass, 15% fescue and 10% annual rye. Use a long tooth wooden rake for the seeds. You need to be more gentle with the seeds. Soak the new lawn and apply one inch of water including what mother nature brings every week.

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Question: 605-3511
My lawn has circles of light brown dead grass. What is it and what can I do? Gale, Lincoln, RI

Mort's Answer:
Dollar spot usually fungus appears in August and September. It generally follows a wet summer and excessive feeding of lawns. Benlate fungicide will arrest the fungus. Follow directions on the package. I would stop the fertilizer program until next spring. You will need to seed the area in the spring. You can add limestone to the area this fall.

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Question: 618-3811
My lawn has circles of light brown dead grass. What is it and what can I do? Gale ,Lincoln, RI

Mort's Answer:
Dollar spot fungus usually appears in August and September. It generally follows a wet summer and excessive feeding of lawns. Benlate fungicide will arrest the fungus. Follow directions on the package. I would stop the fertilizer program until next spring. You will need to seed the area in the spring. You can add limestone to the lawn this fall.

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Question: 624-4011
We have about 10% dried patches in my lawn from this summer's drought. Can I seed now to fill in the spots? Jim, Taylorville, IL

Mort's Answer:
You can scratch and rake out the dead grass. You might aerate the entire lawn or just the dead spots. Cut the grass to an inch or less, if you intend to top dress with loam fertilizer and seed. Plugs that are dug up from aerating can be raked off the lawn and shredded before using them as a top dress medium. Turfgrass Growers Association recommends applying half the seed before raking in the shredded medium with the balance of the seed. You can also just leave the plugs and just add seed and fertilizer. An 8-6-4 or equivalent fertilizer would work well. I would also apply limestone this fall before any top dressing. Top dressing with seed can be done anytime during the year. It just requires more water in the summer.

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Question: 635-4311
We have a patch of lawn that was dug up for a sewer line. It is 100 by 10 feet and over 50 % crabgrass. We have tried top dressing and extra fertilizer without success. What would you suggest? Delores, Duluth, MN

Mort's Answer:
The best weed control is a tight healthy lawn. I would cut the grass in this area down to a half inch. Rake up or collect the clippings in a catcher. Rototill with a heavy duty machine. You need to go at least six inches deep and preferably eight inches. Rake the surface with an iron toothed rake. Put down a high potassium fertilizer and rake it in with the iron rake. Put down a grass seed mix with at least 25% winter rye and the remainder perennial rye and blue grass. Rake the seed in gently with a wooden toothed rake. Roll the seed into the soil with a half filled roller. This will establish a base that feeds the blue and ryes for the spring. If holes appear before the summer, fill with more perennial rye. Crabgrass seed germinates in early summer. Keep top dressing each year until there is no room for weed seed.

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Question: 650-4611
Should we cut the lawn now so that we can rake the leaves? Cele, East Greenwich, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can shred the leaves with a mulch mower. I do not like to leave leaves unless they are shredded. The Audubon Society recommends leaving a thin layer. This could house fungi and insects. Birds love insects but insects carry pathogens for the lawn and garden. If you not expect many leaves the wind will rake the lawn for you. I prefer to rake the leaves and compost them for a winter. This will sterilize the pile. Compost can be used in next years plantings. The grass will do fine at three to four inches for the winter. Be sure that the leaves do not have Black Tar fungus. If they do, they should be hauled off to the local dump.

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Question: 653-4811
We had an awful drought and heat wave this summer. My Bermuda lawn has virtually disappeared. I just sowed some annual rye in a 1.000 sq.ft area to keep out the weeds. Gene, Austin, TX

Mort's Answer:
You did the right thing sowing some rye. I would aerate the entire lawn area with industrial size tines. You can rent these machines and they are very effective. If you can get a machine that will make four inch holes, you will be better served. Because your soil is so clay-like it lacks a sense of humus. Rake out the plugs of soil after you have fertilized with 10-6-4. I would build a compost pile that could accommodate grass clippings and aged steer manure each year. This mix of soil from plugs, manure and compost should be raked into the soil every fall to increase the organic content. If you follow this procedure, you could sow in St.Augustine grass for a great soft lawn. Stentotaphrum secundatum is a creeping grass that will excel in this environment, You can use Bermuda grass or Buffalo grass. Buffalo requires less water and upkeep. Cynadon dactylon is also creeping but can get weedy as you experienced. Cool grasses like bluegrass are best further north.

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Question: 656-4911
Can we grow a lawn at this time of year? Janet, Galesferry, CT

Mort's Answer:
You can build the lawn now but the warm weather seeds will probably not germinate until spring. You can use a cover crop of winter rye to protect the lawn from spring weed seeds. You can also use the new seed after turning in the rye in the spring and seeding with fescue, perennial rye and blue grass. If it is shady, you can use a higher percent of fescue. Be sure to have at least eight inches of good loam. Rake in all applications separately.You will need lime and fertilizer a week apart for the most efficiency of the fertilizer.

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Question: 825-3912
We just had our St.Augustine lawn dug up because our lawn company advised that we had a fungus. They removed the top inch of soil and replaced it with an inch of very sandy loam and Bermuda seed. They have come back a couple of times to rectify some large areas that did not grow well. We now have a Bermuda grass lawn with some bad areas that are six feet long. What else can we do? Ed, Austin, TX

Mort's Answer:
Starting lawns from seed is not as effective as using sod. You will have to continue to top dress for at least another year. You can use winter rye in late November to fill in the bare spots. Continue with the fungicide treatment that they are using as well.

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Question: 1017-3913
My lawn is covered with plantain and ivy. Can I use the target sprays to get rid of it. George, Lebanon, CT

Mort's Answer:
It may not be cost effective. Many fertilizers have herbicides in them for fall use. Most weeds are dying at this time of year because of the colder temperatures. After you apply the combo, you would be wise to scratch the soil or cover the holes with screened loam and some rye grass seed. This will occupy the space, while the cool weather grasses grow into the lawn. If it is really bad, you might consider turning over the lawn and starting anew. This could be a sod story.

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Question: 1111-1614
When is the best time to put down seed, fertilizer, and lime for top dressing the lawn? Ed, Bosra, CT& Don, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is best to spread some screen loam over the surface unless you are dealing with a few spots. Scratch the surface of the few spots before adding lime. Loam can be raked with an iron gravel rake to make a level surface. Pelletized lime can be applied with fertilizer and seed. Hydrated lime will release a lot of the nitrogen in the fertilizer. if applied the same day. Because you have a shallow water table in southeast Connecticut, you need to apply lime in the spring and in the fall. You can use limestone in the fall. Rake in each application separately. Use the 12 to 16 toothed gravel rake for fertilizer and lime. A large wooden pegged rake should be used to gently turn in the grass seed. All of this can be down at this time of year. It can precede frosts.

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Question: 1117-1814
When do I put down a grubicide on my lawn? The squirrels are already digging for them. Barbara

Mort's Answer:
If your grass is green and the squirrels have arrived, the soil temperatures are allowing the grubs to ascend. The squirrels have been anxious to get a good start, as well. It has been a long winter. I would put the grubicide down now. Soil temperature is more an indicator of how close to the surface the grubs have come. Get rid of the grubs and the squirrels will visit greener pastures.

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Question: 1217-5214
My lawn is barren like a lot of others at this time of year. What can I do to help it while I have the time now? John, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Folks in southeastern Connecticut should apply lime at this time of year because of your low water table and acidic soil. You can use pellets or limestone at the rate of 200 lbs. per 10,000 sq.ft. You can also apply hydrated lime in early spring. Fertilizer could be spread but you will lose a lot of nitrogen. You could also give it a stiff raking to remove thatch. Aerating by spiking the lawn is advisable as well.

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Question: 1320-4315
I are having a new lawn put in my backyard. It is about 40X50 feet with access to trucks and equipment. My landscape contractor says it is not too late. Any ideas? Jill, Cranston, RI

Mort's Answer:
Firstly, the loam has to be a minimum of eight inches deep. Usually older lawns in your area have the Gloucester sandy soil and are quite deep. You may not need to truck in more. The old lawn should be tilled and lime added at that time. Use 50 lbs. of limestone or hydrated. The actual sowing of seed, raking, fertilizing and rolling should be done a week to 10 days later. Your seed mix should be 50 % winter rye. Do not expect a lush green carpet next year. A good lawn requires topdressing for about two years tho crowd out potential weed seed. Cornstarch can be used in the spring but you will still have holes, if there is room for weeds. Next spring top dress with a more expensive seed mix with 85% perennial and blue grasses. The rest can be annual rye. Ryes germinate within 30 days and will be replaced by the better seeds. Fall is an excellent time to sow a lawn. Roots can grow under a frosted top and they have a head start next spring.

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Question: 1371-3316
I am converting my front lawn to a garden, about 40 by 20 feet. Any suggestions? Camille, Oakley, CA

Mort's Answer:
Because California now restricts the use of water and gives tax incentives for conversions of lawns and pools , there is an economic incentive to use Xeriscope principles. Junipers are excellent for low water usage. Shadblow is also drought resistant and is an upright large deciduous shrub. Mulch all plants with aged mulch to prevent evaporation and cut done on weeds. You have lot of options in zone 8. New plants need a lot of organic material mixed into the soil for water retention. Bottlebrush, Accacia, Lantana and succulents will do well. I would not use more than two or three shrubs. Ground covers could include rug juniper, Wandering Jew and morning glory. Another five or six short shrubs could include hybrid tea roses. You do not need trees in that size area.

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Question: 1396-4616
My front lawn has been brown in the summer for many years now. I recently employed a landscaper to rectify the problem. He top dressed this summer and the brown has spread to another area. What can be done? Edith, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
The landscaper should have checked for a fungus and applied a fungicide if necessary. He should also have checked the depth of the loam. I suspect both problems are related to the remedy. I would find a more competent expert and continue to top dress each year until the lawn has filled into a lush green. You will not accomplish anything unless you have at least eight inches of good loam to start. This would require hauling in the needed amount and turning over the old lawn.

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Question: 1420-1617
I would like to know what order I should use my products on the lawn or if I should skip something because I am using the grub product? Ann, Northeastern, CT..

Mort's Answer:
Lime should be applied both in spring and fall in CT. because of the shallow water tables, especially if you have shade. Lime should be the first application in the spring and can be applied last in the fall. Slow release granular lime will not interfere with the fertilizer or other lawn products but is applied in cool weather. Hydrated lime is hard to find in recent years. It can be used in early spring about two weeks before putting down fertilizer on you lawn. Limestone should be applied on gardens and lawns in the fall. It will break down through the winter.

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Question: 217-5201
I put in a new lawn about a month ago. The grass has come up rather well. I used fertilizer and lime. Are there any other treatments that I should use? Leo, RI

Mort's Answer:
You need to top dress at every opportunity with the eventual final mix of grasses. I suspect that you may have rye grass, if it came up so quickly. A good mix for New England is blue grass and fescue in addition to perennial rye. Perennial is a tough grass for high traffic areas. Blue grass will do better in sunny locations but requires more attention. Fescue is a fine grass that grows in poor soil and in dry conditions. A mix that accounts for these conditions will survive. Top dressing with loam and new seed will crowd out the weed seed, which is the bane of a good lawn. A fall fertilizer of 5-10-10 will build good roots for the winter. A 10-6-4 fertilizer will give good strong growth, when applied next spring. In New England it is important to add hydrated lime in the early spring and/or limestone in the fall, if the area is shady. One dose of hydrated each spring will suffice in sunny areas. Those four step programs are not necessary, if you can keep the weeds from getting established and keep the grubs away. A good test for chinch bugs and grubs is to put a coffee can, with the top and bottom cut out, into the ground. Fill the can with water and the grubs will bugs will float to the top, if present. Periodic testing in the late spring and early fall is best. Water the lawn with an inch of water every week. A small can that is emptied every week will help you keep track of mother naturešs contribution. There is no need to water more than that. Mow the lawn at three inches during the summer and at two inches in the spring and fall. Established lawns can be cut at a half inch lower each season. I do not like to leave the clippings but some people find that helpful. I put my clippings in my compost pile. If you have any weeds, you would need to do that anyway.

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