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Dr. Jason Henderson, Associate Professor of Turfgrass and Soil Sciences at University of Connecticut, is the lead investigator of an ongoing, multiple year research project that has been evaluating conventional, organic, and pesticide-free management systems for athletic fields and home lawns. Other investigators involved with the project include Vickie Wallace, John Inguagiato, Karl Guillard, Steve Rackliffe, and Tom Morris. To date, two graduate students have completed research studies while collecting data on this project.
Dr. Henderson has been a champion of research that supports environmentally sound turf care practices. Besides collecting data on the various management regimes, Dr. Henderson and his team of collaborators set out to develop a smartphone app, FertAdvisor, that assists users in calculating the amount of lawn fertilizer required to properly fertilize turfgrass areas.
FertAdvisor is designed to provide users with a comprehensive tool that will help ensure accurate applications of fertilizer and reduce misapplications that can potentially damage turfgrass, waste fertilizer and/or pose environmental risk. The app has recommendations about application techniques, accurate calibration, fertilizer timing, and nitrogen source selection. Built-in calculators within the app help determine how much fertilizer will be needed to properly fertilize turfgrass areas, streamlining calibration calculations and calculating the amount of nitrogen, phosphate and potash that will be applied to the area based on the fertilizer selected.
Animations and videos guide turfgrass enthusiasts on how to take a soil sample, properly apply fertilizer using both drop and rotary spreaders, calibrate a fertilizer spreader, and calculate lawn surface area. Ten tips and tricks for managing cool-season lawns are also provided, in order to help homeowners make the right decisions for a healthy lawn.
Submitted by Vickie Wallace and Jason Henderson
Ten Tips for the August Gardener
- Fertilize perennials with a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 product to encourage continued blooming.
- Scout for C-shaped notches on the edges of the leaves of your perennials such as dahlias, roses, basil or coleus that are caused by Asiatic beetle feeding.
- Houseplants can dry out quicker in the heat and extra sunlight of summer. Check them frequently to evaluate their moisture needs.
- Keep an eye out for insect, slug, and snail damage throughout the garden. Use the controls in our fact sheet Snails and Slugs.
- Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms. Replant sites with chard, quick maturing beans or cucumbers, leafy greens etc.
- Even though tomatoes continue to ripen after picking, fruits develop greatest flavor when allowed to ripen on plants. The exception is cherry tomatoes since many varieties are prone to splitting. Pick any almost ripe ones before a heavy rain.
- Pick up, bag, and trash (do not compost) any dropped apples that show signs of apple maggot.
- Think about what fruits trees you might like to add to your yard this fall. Some suggestions for native plants may be found at Trees and Shrubs: Suggested Native Species for Pollinators.
- Reseeding the lawn in late August gives the new grass two growing periods (fall and spring) before the heat of summer. Be sure to keep the seed moist until germination.
- Fruiting plants such as winterberry, holly, and firethorn need regular watering during dry spells to ensure that berries mature and don’t drop off.