grass

Top 10 Cool Season Tips to Get You the Best Yard

bentgrass stand dormant in hot summer, may be mistaken for disease activityClean up Gently

In the spring, remove any large debris from the lawn that may have the potential to smother and kill your grass as it starts to resume growth in the spring.  Once excess debris is removed, rake your lawn to remove any dead grass.

Get Rid of Bare Spots

Reseed any bare patches with grass seed to reduce spaces where weeds can grow and help to create a dense and consistent turfgrass surface to match the rest of the lawn’s lush look.

Don’t Cut the Grass too Short

Mowing the lawn too short can cause it to “stress”, which in turn will prevent it from flourishing.  The height of cut should be maintained at least 3 inches tall.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade during the mowing process.   Grass clippings should be returned to the turfgrass surface. As the leaf clippings degrade, they release nutrients back into the turfgrass lawn.

Sharpen Mower Blades and Clean Up

Sharpen mower blades and clean mowing equipment of debris. When cleaning off equipment, make sure that grass clipping stuck on the underside of the mower is not rinsed where they can get washed into stormwater drains.

Water (If needed)

During the growing season, consider watering lawn areas, if there have been no measurable rain. Lawns require about an inch of water/week, therefore deep and infrequent watering will keep the lawn healthy during the hot summer months. Water early in the morning to allow the turfgrass roots to absorb the water, but also time for the leaves to dry.

Lawns that are not irrigated will become dormant and “rest” during the hot summer months, but will resume active growth when hot summer temperatures turn cool.

Different turfgrasses require different watering or nutrients to persist.  Consider turfgrasses that utilize less water or fertilizer in lawns with little activity. Some grasses are better suited to full sun, others better suited to partial shade.  Fine fescues can survive with few inputs and do well in dry partial shade conditions.

Feed Your lawn

Like people, turfgrass lawns, require nutrients protect itself against insects, weeds or diseases that grow in the turfgrass canopy.  Fertilize when turfgrass is actively growing so that the lawn will benefit from each fertilizer application.

Fertilizing your lawn is important, especially if the lawn may thin out due wear damage from active children and pets.

Fertilizers that release nutrients slowly over time (slow release) can extend the duration of feeding.  Quick release fertilizers provide a quick response and do not provide a consistent slow release of nutrients.  Slow release fertilizers can be synthetic or organic.

Older lawns typically require less fertilizer than younger lawns.  Overtime older lawns can release nutrients back into the soil.

Attract Pollinators to your Garden

Pollinators will be attracted to all flowering plants, including weeds in the lawn.  If pollinators are to be protected, mow the lawn to remove the flowers before any herbicide is applied.  Pollinators will not travel to weeds to collect pollen if the flowers have been removed.

Clean and Polish

Make sure you have cleaned and lubricated all the garden tools you have been using before storing them away.

Give Your Lawn What It Wants

Fertilizing your lawn is absolutely necessary if you find that it is struggling to grow. Completing this process in the early spring will jumpstart the growth of your grass.

Hire the Professionals

Hire a professional landscape contractor or lawn care company to help manage your lawn.  These professionals are trained to make environmentally friendly adjustments that will help you grow a healthy lawn.

 

Visit s.uconn.edu/fertadvisor for more tips on how to maintain the perfect yard.

 

Seedlings in a Lawn

seedling infographic

Friend or foe? What are those seedlings coming up in your lawn? We are getting numerous calls and e-mails from people all around the state about seedlings coming up in their lawns and gardens. They believe, or are being told, that these are poison ivy, when in fact they are maple seedlings.
 
People need to check the leaves carefully – poison ivy is in threes, maples seedling have two leaves.
 
Some people do not want to mow their lawns for fear of being exposed to poison ivy. This is a mast year for certain maples, that is why there are so many.
 
Thanks to Pamm Cooper of our UConn Home & Garden Education Center for answering this question for us.
 
#AskUConnExtension

Water Testing in Connecticut

water being put into test tubes with a dropper in a water test situation

Water is part of everything that we do. We are frequently asked about water testing, septic system maintenance, and fertilizing lawns. The Connecticut Institute of Water Resources, a project with Natural Resources & the Environment, has resources for homeowners: http://ctiwr.uconn.edu/residential/

#AskUConnExtension

Pesticide Law Primer Developed for Schools

school athletic fieldPesticide Law Primer Developed by UConn Extension for Connecticut School Grounds Managers, Superintendents, Teachers, and Members of the School Community

UConn Extension, with the CT Department of Energy and Environment (CT DEEP), has developed a series that explains and clarifies Connecticut’s pesticide restrictions on school grounds.

In 2010, Connecticut state legislation banned the application of all pesticides registered with EPA, and labeled for use on lawn, garden, and ornamental sites, on the grounds of public or private daycares and schools with grades K-8. The law was amended in 2015 to allow the use of horticultural oils and microbial and biochemical pesticides.

Since enactment of this legislation, weed control on school ground properties has been a significant challenge for school grounds managers. Although the law is nearly 10 years old, widespread understanding and awareness of the law remains elusive. UConn Extension’s primers aim to break down the most essential details of the law for grounds managers, administrators, parents, guardians, teachers, and other members of the school community.

Vickie Wallace and Alyssa Siegel-Miles, of UConn Extension, with the assistance of Diane Jorsey, of CT DEEP, created three versions of the primer: a brochure for the school community; a more detailed primer for school administrators, and longer primer that includes management information for school grounds managers.

The primers answer the most frequently asked questions, such as:

  • Which school locations are affected by this law?
  • Which pesticides are banned?
  • Who can apply minimum risk pesticides on school properties?
  • Are exemptions to the law permitted for emergencies?
  • Are there pesticide products that are permitted for use on K-8 school properties?
  • How must a school notify the school community, including parents, of pesticide applications, whether minimum risk or emergency?
  • Can playing fields, grounds, and lawns be managed without the use of pesticides?

 

Read and download the primers:

A Superintendents’ Primer on Connecticut’s School Grounds Pesticide Regulations:

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1451

A School Grounds Manager’s Primer on Connecticut’s School Grounds Pesticide Regulations: http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1450

School Grounds Pesticide Regulations for the School Community (brochure):

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/view.php?id=1452

10 Tips for the April Gardener

grass and tree trunk

 

  1. Purchase onion sets for planting and set 1 inch deep and 4 to 5 inches apart when soil can be worked.
  2. Early spring is a great time to spot spray or hand-dig dandelions. If spraying, choose a product that won’t kill grass. If digging, wait until after a rain, when soil is soft.
  3. Apply horticultural oil sprays to control insect pests on fruit trees if temperature is over 40°F.
  4. Fertilize all fruits mid-month except for strawberries- these are fertilized later in the season.
  5. If you have dead spots in the lawn, patch them before the summer heat. Top dress bare areas with a mix of topsoil and compost, then reseed.
  6. Raised beds dry out quicker in wet springs, keep soil from becoming compacted by foot traffic and make crop rotation simpler.
  7. Plant dahlia tubers indoors in pots. Pinch the growing tips when they reach 6 inches to keep the plant stocky and make transplanting easier.
  8. Prune ornamental grasses, sedum, hydrangea, and buddleia to a height of 6-12 inches before new growth appears.
  9. Make a note of gaps in flowerbeds and fill in with spring flowering bulbs next fall.
  10. Sow peas, carrots, radishes, lettuces, and spinach weather permitting. Plant seedlings of cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli but cover if frost threatens.

For more information please visit the UConn Home and Garden Education Center.