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SunDeck
03-26-2005, 01:03 PM
Okay friends,

Send me your problems, I'll make up an answer or two.
Let me know where you are if it's not obvious. No, not "In my kitchen", but your region, state, city, epa zone, whatever level of specificity you can muster.

I'll check back as often as I can, but like always I can't respond immediately because my staff think I work when I'm here and it's pretty hard to keep that illusion going in the first place.

Johnny Footstool
03-26-2005, 02:44 PM
Tree question:

I lost a Linden to a girdling root last year. I think another of my trees (I don't know what kind it is) might have one too -- I checked the base of the tree, and it looks like there is one small, thin root wrapping itself around the others. Is there any way for me to fix it without further damaging the tree, or should I call a professional?

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 10:08 AM
Tree question:

I lost a Linden to a girdling root last year. I think another of my trees (I don't know what kind it is) might have one too -- I checked the base of the tree, and it looks like there is one small, thin root wrapping itself around the others. Is there any way for me to fix it without further damaging the tree, or should I call a professional?

Call a professional, but I think the likely answer is that it's not a problem. And if it is, the root can be pruned. Knowing what kind of tree will help, too. Some species are known for those roots that cross over...like red maples. And it doesn't bother them one bit.
Did you have an aroborist diagnose the problem with the last one? It seems like an unlikely way for a Linden to die to me. They are tough, able to handle the urban streets of NYC and many other cities, where root compaction, girdling and all sorts of other things are pretty common. I would just recommend making sure that you don't have other problems before putting a tree in to replace it, since many, if not most tree deaths are site or human caused.

Anyway, when it comes to diagnosing tree problems, it's always good to call a licensed or otherwise registered arborist. Too many guys out there with chainsaws and cherry pickers call themselves tree experts. A real arborist can help you with an expensive investment like a tree, while Jimmy Bob the Tree cutter can only cut it down or ravage it in unsightly ways.
There's an idiot here in Bloomington who's Yellow Page listing says both "tree expert" and "Topping" as attributes. These things are mutually exclusive.

Joseph
03-29-2005, 10:20 AM
For starters I'm in Kentucky.

My question is, what kind of things can I plant around my house that are hearty and colorful yet don't need much sun? I happen to live in a heavily wooded parcel of land and only a spot or two get regular sunlight. I've done a yard, but the soil [a lot of clay] has prevented it from thriving and I want to landscape in such a way as to eliminate half or more of the lawn.

Thanks.

Blimpie
03-29-2005, 10:44 AM
Greetings SunDeck:

I have a beautiful River Birch in my front yard that was seriously damaged by the ice storm of February 2003. If what the previous home owner told me is accurate, then it is about 15 years old. I had a group of "Tree Professionals" do what they could to salvage it mid-2003 and it looked pretty good for a while. Now, about half of the tree looks very stressed. Last year, the leaves on the "stressed half" of the tree never quite turned as green as the rest--so I know it is in trouble. The tree is apparently free of all bores, and prior to the ice storm appeared quite healthy. I am guessing it is probably 20' tall and is a major player in my home's curb appeal. It provides our master BR with both good privacy and good shade. Not to mention the fact that I have used the birch as a focal point in the coordination of a ton of landscaping material.

My question is this: Can/should virtually 1/2 of the tree be removed in order to save the other?

I realize that this would drastically alter the looks of the tree (basically turning a "V" into an "I", if you will), but so would having to grind it down to a stump. Which is where I may be heading. Please let me know what you think. I can email you some pictures if helpful...

Thanks-

Blimpie

Blimpie
03-29-2005, 10:47 AM
For starters I'm in Kentucky.

My question is, what kind of things can I plant around my house that are hearty and colorful yet don't need much sun? I happen to live in a heavily wooded parcel of land and only a spot or two get regular sunlight. I've done a yard, but the soil [a lot of clay] has prevented it from thriving and I want to landscape in such a way as to eliminate half or more of the lawn.

Thanks.For our region (KY) I find that Azaleas do quite well in limited sunlight and have many color varieties...

RBA
03-29-2005, 11:03 AM
What trees are good for high elevation abot 1/2 mile up. Hot summers with little humidity. And not much rainfall thru out the year? (El Paso)

Johnny Footstool
03-29-2005, 11:37 AM
Did you have an aroborist diagnose the problem with the last one? It seems like an unlikely way for a Linden to die to me.

Yes. I was surprised because I had heard that Lindens were pretty hardy.

Thanks for the advice.

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 03:25 PM
For our region (KY) I find that Azaleas do quite well in limited sunlight and have many color varieties...
Yep, anything from that family Rhodies, azalea, etc. will do well in shaded areas. However, the problem is that they don't like heavy soils. So, if you go that route, you WILL have to amend the bed they live in. This involves adding lots of compost, organic matter (there are commercial soil conditioners that are basically aged pine bark...great stuff), etc. All plants in this family like well drained, airy soils...same kind of stuff you find in a forest, their native habitat.

Lots of perrenials thrive in these conditions, too. Ferns, hostas are also great choices. And most ground covers will do well there.

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 03:26 PM
What trees are good for high elevation abot 1/2 mile up. Hot summers with little humidity. And not much rainfall thru out the year? (El Paso)
That's a little out of my experience, but I'm thinking something coniferous. Lemme do a little digging for you.

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 03:34 PM
Greetings SunDeck:

I have a beautiful River Birch in my front yard that was seriously damaged by the ice storm of February 2003. If what the previous home owner told me is accurate, then it is about 15 years old. I had a group of "Tree Professionals" do what they could to salvage it mid-2003 and it looked pretty good for a while. Now, about half of the tree looks very stressed. Last year, the leaves on the "stressed half" of the tree never quite turned as green as the rest--so I know it is in trouble. The tree is apparently free of all bores, and prior to the ice storm appeared quite healthy. I am guessing it is probably 20' tall and is a major player in my home's curb appeal. It provides our master BR with both good privacy and good shade. Not to mention the fact that I have used the birch as a focal point in the coordination of a ton of landscaping material.

My question is this: Can/should virtually 1/2 of the tree be removed in order to save the other?

I realize that this would drastically alter the looks of the tree (basically turning a "V" into an "I", if you will), but so would having to grind it down to a stump. Which is where I may be heading. Please let me know what you think. I can email you some pictures if helpful...

Thanks-

Blimpie

River birches are not long lived, in the first place, so I wouldn't put too much effort into saving it. And they are not as valuable to your home value as are shade trees. Basically, they are planted in ornamental situations and outgrow that purpose.

I know it would be a bummer to lose the screen they provide, but I am doubtful that hacking off half the tree will "save" it. Trees don't generally work that way unless it has contracted diseases from the wounds caused by the damage you describe. It may be that this tree is just in a state of decline anyway. The first thing I thougt of was borers, but if you are sure they are not the prob. then I believe you. However, I have seen birches just crash and burn for no apparent reason.

Generally, smallish yellow leaves are a sign of stress. When it is localized, it's usually insect or disease. When it's systemic, such as one half or all of the tree declining at the same rate, it's usually environmental (ie, soil, cultural problems).

You could remove it and replace with another ornamental tree, or even another Rbirch.

Post a picture or two, maybe that will help.

RBA
03-29-2005, 03:34 PM
That's a little out of my experience, but I'm thinking something coniferous. Lemme do a little digging for you.

It seems people like Pine Trees around here. It does look awkward out in the desert. They do grow well, however.

We did plant a Weeping Willow over the weekend. I would like a tree that provides shade for obvious reasons.

Roy Tucker
03-29-2005, 03:41 PM
Lots of perrenials thrive in these conditions, too. Ferns, hostas are also great choices. And most ground covers will do well there.
We've got a pretty good sized north facing bed that is shaded all day. We've done the hostas, ferns, and perennials thing. I think we've got some columbines, asters, bleeding heart, and sweet woodruff. Once of those (I forget which) has gone berserk and is taking over the bed. I'll have to ask my wife which one.

westofyou
03-29-2005, 03:43 PM
Originally Posted by RedBloodedAmerican
What trees are good for high elevation abot 1/2 mile up. Hot summers with little humidity. And not much rainfall thru out the year? (El Paso)

Oaks.. California Oaks to be precise... you know like the ones on Little House and MASH.

westofyou
03-29-2005, 03:44 PM
SD, I have a 40 foot, by 60 foot Laurel Hedge that is 10 feet wide.

Want to come and cut it back for me? ;)

Blimpie
03-29-2005, 03:45 PM
River birches are not long lived, in the first place, so I wouldn't put too much effort into saving it. And they are not as valuable to your home value as are shade trees. Basically, they are planted in ornamental situations and outgrow that purpose.

I know it would be a bummer to lose the screen they provide, but I am doubtful that hacking off half the tree will "save" it. Trees don't generally work that way unless it has contracted diseases from the wounds caused by the damage you describe. It may be that this tree is just in a state of decline anyway. The first thing I thougt of was borers, but if you are sure they are not the prob. then I believe you. However, I have seen birches just crash and burn for no apparent reason.

Generally, smallish yellow leaves are a sign of stress. When it is localized, it's usually insect or disease. When it's systemic, such as one half or all of the tree declining at the same rate, it's usually environmental (ie, soil, cultural problems).

You could remove it and replace with another ornamental tree, or even another Rbirch.

Post a picture or two, maybe that will help.SunDeck:

It is with a heavy heart that I accept your advice. From what you've described, it sounds like it's almost time to fire up the old chipper. Thanks for your help!

Blimpie

TeamCasey
03-29-2005, 03:46 PM
We did plant a Weeping Willow over the weekend. I would like a tree that provides shade for obvious reasons.

Yikes! We grew up with huge, towering weeping willows with big knotty roots that came out of the ground. Mess to clean up after.

They're evil Ents. :)

Roy Tucker
03-29-2005, 03:55 PM
We've got a river birch in front of our house. I've pruned the thing like crazy (lower branches mostly), but it keeps growing *up*. I can always tell when things are getting dry because the river birch is the first thing to get stressed and it starts turning yellow and drops leaves. Its the canary in the coal mine for our yard.

My wife and I did a yard walk over the weekend.

Standing by the river birch, I said "Jeez, that thing is getting huge. How long do they last?".

My wife said "about 15 years".

I said "how long have we been living here?".

And she said "about 15 years".

I said "oh".

RBA
03-29-2005, 06:18 PM
Yikes! We grew up with huge, towering weeping willows with big knotty roots that came out of the ground. Mess to clean up after.

They're evil Ents. :)

The wife wanted it. But the front yard is mostly covered with landscaping (desert) rocks, so I'm hoping the the roots will be covered up by them.

creek14
03-29-2005, 06:22 PM
Yes. I was surprised because I had heard that Lindens were pretty hardy.

Thanks for the advice.
Gesh Johnny, you are all confused. It's the Lindners and their bank account is hardy.

Now back to your Tree Talk Thread.

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 08:28 PM
It seems people like Pine Trees around here. It does look awkward out in the desert. They do grow well, however.

We did plant a Weeping Willow over the weekend. I would like a tree that provides shade for obvious reasons.

Pines are conifers. There are about a bazillion of them, too. Pines like it dry, that's why they thrive in sandy places down southeast. And if your ever lost in a swamp, look for the pines because that's where the land is. They can't take the water.


Your local extension agent is likely to know.
http://urbantaex.tamu.edu/ElPaso/horticulture.html

And TAMU maintains a native tree database:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/elpasoplants/nativetrees.html

GAC
03-29-2005, 08:47 PM
Where, on the internet, can I get any C4 or plastic explosives wholesale? The moles in my yard are mounting a counter-attack! :p:

RBA
03-29-2005, 08:53 PM
Where, on the internet, can I get any C4 or plastic explosives wholesale? The moles in my yard are mounting a counter-attack! :p:

Careful, HLS maybe paying you a visit.

GAC
03-29-2005, 09:05 PM
Careful, HLS maybe paying you a visit.

Let them come. My yard may qualify under HLS. :lol:

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 09:42 PM
Where, on the internet, can I get any C4 or plastic explosives wholesale? The moles in my yard are mounting a counter-attack! :p:
GAC, you are the Pompitous of mole hunters! :beerme:

SunDeck
03-29-2005, 09:46 PM
SD, I have a 40 foot, by 60 foot Laurel Hedge that is 10 feet wide.

Want to come and cut it back for me? ;)
Um, that's a big hedge. You better talk to GAC, man. Maybe you can go in halfsies on the C4.

SunDeck
03-31-2005, 10:26 PM
By the way folks, it's time to fertilize (those of us in the midwest).
Most commercial fertilizers for this time of year are high in nitrogen to give the grass a big rush of foliage. Personally, I like to stick with something balanced, but that's very hard to find if you are also looking for crab and weed control. Most of those products are created as part of a year long program (ie, Scott's steps 1-4)

Application of fertilizer is always based on pounds 1000 per square feet. Don't know how much or at what rate to apply it? The bag will tell you how many square feet its total contents will cover. That translates to a rate (like 13 lbls per 1000 Sq Ft). Just walk off your yard and get a rough guess about the square footage, measure out the appropriate amount of fertilizer, then set your spreader to a pretty light setting. Keep going over it until you are out of fertilizer. That way, by applying it lightly you will cover your yard evenly.

I actually use a hand spreader, but if you use a push-type stick with a broadcast rather than a drop spreader. Much more forgiving.
If you buy a Scott's spreader, then you can follow the directions on the fert. bags for spreader settings. These settings are meant to equate the lbs/sq foot needed. However, I still like to cut the rate in half and cover the yard twice, in perpendicular directions.

Other fertilizing-
Bone meal is great for perennials right now. And hit them again after they flower.
Don't worry about your trees if you are fertilizing your yard. If your tree is young or in distress, then get a good root feeder. These attach to your hose and disolve pellets of fert. into the root zone. Very effective at putting the nutrients near the feeder roots.

RBA
03-31-2005, 10:34 PM
Is it better to try and sharpen the mower blade or throw it away and buy a brand new blade? Do those little blade sharperner gadgets do a good job? I heard the sharper the blade the healtier the grass will become.

TeamCasey
04-01-2005, 05:58 AM
Can you plant grass where moss has taken up residence?

SunDeck
04-01-2005, 06:24 AM
Is it better to try and sharpen the mower blade or throw it away and buy a brand new blade? Do those little blade sharperner gadgets do a good job? I heard the sharper the blade the healtier the grass will become.
A sharp blade cuts the grass cleaner. It makes sense that this helps your grass because cutting it is essentially creating a wound on each blade. A cleaner cut heals faster than a ragged one, and that means the grass has to expend less energy to heal. So, yes it does help your lawn.

Haven't ever tried any gadgets like that, so I can't say whether they work or not.

I sharpen mine with a file a few times each summer.
However, you can get yourself into trouble if you don't keep it balanced. That's why I use a file instead of a bench grinder because it's a slower process- removing less material and allowing me to keep from getting carried away. That, and I'm too cheap to buy a bench grinder just for mower blades.
To check for balance, I just hang the blade on a nail.

Inspect the blade. If it has any really big gouges, or if it is bent or twisted, discard it and start with a new one.

SunDeck
04-01-2005, 06:28 AM
Can you plant grass where moss has taken up residence?
Nope, moss and grass like completely different kinds of conditions.
Generally, mosses grow where there are poor soils, less light, high moisture, etc. I have a spot in my front yard that is very shaded. It's got a lot of moss. Grass doesn't grow there, but in the bed adjacent to the moss, I have hostas that are happy as can be. I keep the bed healthy with organic matter and compost, and I am considering just extending it out into the area where the moss is and forgetting about trying to grow grass there.

Less mowing :thumbup:

GAC
04-01-2005, 08:18 AM
Can you plant grass where moss has taken up residence?

Some people smoke grass till they grow moss. :mooner:

15fan
04-01-2005, 08:44 AM
Hey SD -

I've got fescue. Front yard looks pretty good - we put some sod down last fall & it has taken quite nicely. I figure a year or so of growth, as well as aerating & overseeding this fall, and I'll be in good shape.

The back yard, though, needs some help. There's fescue back there. There's also a fair amount of weeds and bare patches. I'd say I've got about 60% grass, 25% weeds, and 15% bare patches. About 2800 square feet or so.

I'm hoping that I can try overseeding later this spring (in a few weeks, maybe?) and again this fall so that I don't have to consider other options like plowing the whole thing under and starting from scratch. Any thoughts?

SunDeck
04-01-2005, 11:28 AM
Hey SD -

I've got fescue. Front yard looks pretty good - we put some sod down last fall & it has taken quite nicely. I figure a year or so of growth, as well as aerating & overseeding this fall, and I'll be in good shape.

The back yard, though, needs some help. There's fescue back there. There's also a fair amount of weeds and bare patches. I'd say I've got about 60% grass, 25% weeds, and 15% bare patches. About 2800 square feet or so.

I'm hoping that I can try overseeding later this spring (in a few weeks, maybe?) and again this fall so that I don't have to consider other options like plowing the whole thing under and starting from scratch. Any thoughts?

I think now or even earlier would be a good time to overseed. Fescue is a cool weather grass and it does best when the temp. is below 80 degrees. So, in Atlanta that leaves you about fifteen more minutes, doesn't it?

I'm curious about the "bare patches". If weeds won't even grow there, then you have a cultural problem and you need to give the soil a little TLC.
Lawns need a programmatic approach.

Fall:
Aerate and overseed in the Fall. This is THE BEST time to treat your lawn.
Aerating is very important- it introduces air space into the soil, creates spaces for the roots to grow, helps nutrients get to the roots. Also, "top dress" by spreading composted manure. Work it into the holes the aerator creates. Aerating and top dressing is what I recommend for your back yard. You could do it now, too, but the main thing is that you will have to care for the new grass that comes up more closely. The advantage to fall seeding is that you don't have to worry about the hot summer sun.

When the temp drops, weeds have stopped germinating and your grass is in hog heaven. Perfect temperature for root and shoot growth.
Fertilize with something rich in phosphorous in the Fall. This is good for the roots, which are very active in late fall and early spring.

Spring:
Seed and repair bad spots in the Spring (fall, too).
Fertilize with something that has a little more Nitrogen to get green growth.
If the weeds are perennial, kill them or pull them out. If you want to stop annual weeds, apply something prevents seed germination. Something that says it prevents annual weeds does that.


Summer: I generally only water and cut. But, Fert. companies would love to have you applying broadleaf weed killers and fertilizer.

TeamCasey
05-08-2005, 05:37 PM
What is the name of this really common shrub that grows wild in the woods around here. The branches are quite and kind of hollow like bamboo. I can snap them with my hands even it they're green. As it gets bigger, the lower branches dry up and die off.

We have them bordering our backyard. I like them. They're easy to maintain and "train". They're all over our woods. I whack through them trying to keep a trail to the creek.

SandyD
05-08-2005, 06:03 PM
Glad you brought this up ... my dad has grown a cypress tree from a seedling. It's over 8 feet tall now, and only about 4-5 feet from a cherry tree. Seems to close for those trees to grow together, but he can't make himself cut either one down. Any ideas how long he has to decide?

Also, we have an off patter of holes in the bark of a pear tree. Even pattern, straight lines, all around the tree, but fairly low--highest row is about 4 ft from the ground. Not very deep either -- looks light outer layer of the bark only is affected. Tree seems healthy, and I don't see any bugs around, but do you have any idea what would cause that?

Forgot to mention...we live in the greater New Orleans area ... southshore of Lake Pontchartrain.

SunDeck
05-08-2005, 06:07 PM
TC:

One of the most common things you see in the understory around Greater Cincinnati is (unfortunatetly) Chinese honeysuckle. What you are describing sounds like that. Very brittle branches? Red berries in the fall? If so, it's not likely you will find it on sale anywhere.
This species of honeysuckle was introduced about 100 years ago and was a very popular border shrub. The main problem with it is that is very invasive. Lots of parts of Mt. Airy are just overrun with the stuff.

I can come up with suggestions if you tell me what you are hoping to do. Border? Speciman? Flowering?

SunDeck
05-08-2005, 06:20 PM
Glad you brought this up ... my dad has grown a cypress tree from a seedling. It's over 8 feet tall now, and only about 4-5 feet from a cherry tree. Seems to close for those trees to grow together, but he can't make himself cut either one down. Any ideas how long he has to decide?

A while, but the sooner you move the cypress the better. It's just easier to move a young tree. Do it in the fall rather than spring for better results.



Also, we have an off patter of holes in the bark of a pear tree. Even pattern, straight lines, all around the tree, but fairly low--highest row is about 4 ft from the ground. Not very deep either -- looks light outer layer of the bark only is affected. Tree seems healty, and I don't see any bugs around, but do you have any idea what would cause that?

Pin head sized? If so, borers, most likely. Keep an eye on it. The thing about boring insects is that they are usually a sign that a tree is not well. Could be wrong- it could be birds, too. But if it is...they're looking for insects, which is also not a good sign. Generally, a healthy tree doesn't have much insect damage. But even healthy trees get attacked, but they can deal with it. If the tree is generally healthy (ie, leafed out when other pears did, no die back at the tips of the branches) then it's a fairly healthy tree.

TeamCasey
05-08-2005, 06:29 PM
TC:

One of the most common things you see in the understory around Greater Cincinnati is (unfortunatetly) Chinese honeysuckle. What you are describing sounds like that. Very brittle branches? Red berries in the fall? If so, it's not likely you will find it on sale anywhere.
This species of honeysuckle was introduced about 100 years ago and was a very popular border shrub. The main problem with it is that is very invasive. Lots of parts of Mt. Airy are just overrun with the stuff.

I can come up with suggestions if you tell me what you are hoping to do. Border? Speciman? Flowering?

I have tons of it. I actually dig up small ones from the woods and replant them in areas where nothing else grows. As far as shrubs/trees goes ..... it grows around here like a weed. I just wanted to identify it. I looked up some photos, and I think you're right. It has little white flowers.

I've been thinning it out in a lot of places, so it doesn't shade out other plants.

I have one that's been groomed over the years into a umbrella-like huge tree with large gnarly trunks. It's sort of cool, if you keep it trimmed.

SunDeck
05-08-2005, 06:34 PM
TC:
That's why it was brought here- it's hardy as hell, grows fast.
I think you would be doing the surrounding wild landscape a favor if you kept it from over crowding.
They spread by bird. The berries are eaten in the fall and pooped out all over the place.

TeamCasey
05-08-2005, 06:37 PM
One more woodsy question - I have two vines that grow in our woods. Both grow to the top of the canopy and choke the trees. They can get HUGE...... like the size of my calf! (And they can kill some enormous trees.)

I think one is poison ivy. The other has a hairy looking surface. I hike around each spring and hunt for them. I sever them with a machete or axe. I pulled one down once and it came tumbling ...... all these white flowers went down the back of my shirt. (Freaked me out because I thought it was poison ivy, but it wasn't)

I chopped one and liquid literally poured from it for two days.

Just curious what you think they are. I need to get a tree identification book or something.

TeamCasey
05-08-2005, 06:38 PM
TC:
That's why it was brought here- it's hardy as hell, grows fast.
I think you would be doing the surrounding wild landscape a favor if you kept it from over crowding.
They spread by bird. The berries are eaten in the fall and pooped out all over the place.

When TB first moved here, the forest floor was full of ferns. They just disappeared. I'll bet that's why.

TeamCasey
05-08-2005, 07:00 PM
Re: Chinese Amur Honeysuckle: I just read that it spreads by simply leaving the cuttings on the ground too ...... which is exactly what I've been doing all along.

I'll have to drag them to a common area.

SandyD
05-08-2005, 07:28 PM
Thanks, SD. I think my dad (who is going to be 74) is a bit intimidated about moving the cypress tree. And not sure where he'd move it to. But it's really cool for him to be able to say he grew it from seedling ... just grew up from the mulch he was using in the yard.

As for the borers ... I went out and looked more closely at them, and they look more like they've been done a phillips screwdriver rather than a pinhead. And this time I saw some white stuff that could have been some kind of egg sack. First time we've seen that. The tree does appear healthy. It's really rich with leaves right now. Came out late, but so did everything else around here. (We had a fairly cool spring)

The only insects I've seen around, tho, are tiny little ants.

Thanks again. We'll definitely have to watch. That tree shades our screened room in summer, so it stays a bit cooler than it otherwise would.

SunDeck
05-08-2005, 10:14 PM
One more woodsy question - I have two vines that grow in our woods. Both grow to the top of the canopy and choke the trees. They can get HUGE...... like the size of my calf! (And they can kill some enormous trees.)

I think one is poison ivy. The other has a hairy looking surface. I hike around each spring and hunt for them. I sever them with a machete or axe. I pulled one down once and it came tumbling ...... all these white flowers went down the back of my shirt. (Freaked me out because I thought it was poison ivy, but it wasn't)

I chopped one and liquid literally poured from it for two days.

Just curious what you think they are. I need to get a tree identification book or something.

Poison Ivy is easy to identify. Three leaves, look like mittins, sort of. It's pretty common for poison ivy to really become mature in trees, wrapping around, getting real woody.

Hard to say what the other stuff is. A couple of kinds of weed are real common around you. Virginia Creeper and Wild Grape come to mind, especially. How many leaves per stem? When does it flower? From your description, I'd say the most likely candidate is wild grape.

TeamCasey
05-09-2005, 05:56 AM
We have a lot of poison ivy around. I can't see the leaves on the big vines, because they're up in the canopy. I look online at wild grape and see if that what it is.

Thank you!

Johnny Footstool
05-16-2005, 12:04 AM
I noticed today that one of the bushes in my back yard is covered with ladybug larvae. A few of the leaves on the bush look chewed up, and a few of them look like they have been dried out, so I'm pretty sure the ladybugs are there to eat whatever is eating the plant (spider mites and/or aphids).

My question is -- should I spray for the pests, or should I let the ladybugs take care of the problem?

pedro
05-16-2005, 01:24 AM
Hi Sundeck,

How do I get rid of wisteria vines?

Thanks!

westofyou
05-16-2005, 01:28 AM
Hi Sundeck,

How do I get rid of wisteria vines?

Thanks!

You want to get rid of them?

I want mine to grow bigger.

If that's what you want, strip everything but the main cog.

If you want to get rid of it all you're going to have to cut the base and dig it up.

I have a shovel and axe.

pedro
05-16-2005, 01:59 AM
You want to get rid of them?

I want mine to grow bigger.

If that's what you want, strip everything but the main cog.

If you want to get rid of it all you're going to have to cut the base and dig it up.

I have a shovel and axe.

It's a kudzu like scourge. yes I want to get rid of it, otherwise it will kill my trees. It's relentless.

TeamCasey
05-21-2005, 09:20 PM
Gypsy Moth Caterpillers! I think people here call them tent worms.

They're prevalent in N.Y. I grew up with them.

I've never seen them here until this year. They're all over the place and in trees too high for me to cut out.

I used to just cut the "nests" out and either burn them or hair spray them. These were apple trees and I could access them with a ladder.

Should I panic? Does skirting trees help?

SunDeck
05-26-2005, 10:56 AM
Hey all,

I think TC is probably just seeing tent caterpillars, which can do a lot of damage, but which usually don't really harm a tree too severely.Here's some info. (http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/trees/ef423.htm)

As for Wisteria....it's very hard to eradicate. I had a very mature one in NC. It was on the east side of the house and I found roots on the west side, in the craw space, growing up into the floor joists. These things will drive away with your car if you let them.
However, if you are persistent, you can keep them under control...with a shovel, spade, and maybe a stick of TNT. Get digging and never stop.

I'm in South Carolina right now. If there is a god, he owns a home on Pawleys Island.

Roy Tucker
05-26-2005, 11:36 AM
I've never seen them here until this year. They're all over the place and in trees too high for me to cut out.
One of the handy things I have around the house is a 16 ft. telescoping pole.

I use it mostly to wash second story outside windows without having to get up on a ladder. I'm 6 ft.+ and I've got long arms, so I can reach pretty darn high with it, probably close to 25 ft.

But it comes in handy for other stuff like this. We've had a couple tent worm tents high up in trees that I've been able to knock out with the pole. Takes a little doing to tear apart the tent, but once you've done that, just whack the limb a few times and they all fall out.

RBA
09-19-2005, 08:35 AM
Okay, Fall is approaching. What can we do now to prepare our lawns/gardens for next spring? :jump:

RANDY IN INDY
09-19-2005, 10:06 AM
Good question. It's been really dry here in Charlotte this fall, and between the "brown patch" that got me early in the year and the dryness, I'm a little hesitant to put any fertilize down any time soon. I'm going to have to plant some seed as well, to take care of the areas where the "brown patch" got me. Any suggestions on timing, SunDeck?

SunDeck
09-19-2005, 01:21 PM
Good question. It's been really dry here in Charlotte this fall, and between the "brown patch" that got me early in the year and the dryness, I'm a little hesitant to put any fertilize down any time soon. I'm going to have to plant some seed as well, to take care of the areas where the "brown patch" got me. Any suggestions on timing, SunDeck?

Right now is the best time to overseed and repair your lawn in the Southeast. Further north, the window is closing fast. Seed needs warmth to germinate (80 degrees plus), but once it does the cool season weather will work to your advantage. Here's what I'd do:

Aerate
Rent a core aerator. This will leave little cylinders of soil all over your yard...but it's worth it because it will introduce airspace into the growing zone. That's a big deal. You can follow that with top dressing (raking in aged pine bark, compost or some other soil amendment after aerating) or just rake over the cores with a leaf rake to break them up.

Overseed
Follow the directions on the seed. Rough up those completely bare patches to accept seed then cover them with something that will keep the soil moist- straw or that stuff you can get at Lowes...I think it's old paper.

Water- Seed needs constant moisture.

To fertilize or not?
Fall is a time when your cool season lawns will naturally grow well anyway. So, while fertilizer helps, your lawn is going to do a lot of greening and thickening on its own. Most Fall fertilizers have a little less nitrogen and a little more phosphorus in them than the fertilizers marketed for earlier parts of the year. The idea that a fertilizer will aid spring "greenup" is dubious. Nitrogen is very mobile, doesn't last long and is not likely to even be there in the spring. Generally, more nitrogen means more mowing.
But phosphorus is a good idea because it is by contrast not very mobile and aids root growth in the Fall and early Spring.

If you do decide to fertilize, make sure to do the whole lawn. If you only do the spots you seeded, you'll get uneven growth and color.

Feed and Weed?
A lot of fall fertilizers have weed killers in them, too. If you don't have many weeds, then don't bother. They are not going to germinate between now and winter anyway. Instead, you can buy a Fall fertilizer without the 24D.

gonelong
09-20-2005, 09:55 AM
West-Central Ohio here.

My grass gets "rusty" every now and again if I haven't fertilized in awhile. Your shoes get a bit orange if you walk through my grass at these times. I'm kind of guessing my grass is crying for Nitrogen but I am not real sure. Generally I buy a higher Nitrogen content fertilizer and after an application this goes away for awhile.

The soil has quite a bit of clay where I am, dirtbags who built the sub-division stripped all the topsoil off before building the homes.

Any Ideas?

GL

Side note:
I have mowed at the highest setting on my lawnmower this year and the results are outstanding, if not completely shocking. My lawn warded off a much larger percentage of weeds as well as stayed much greener during the dry times of year. I am a convert from scalping.

I also purchased a riding mower this year, and in the process edged, landscaped, etc. to remove about 90% of my trimming. I took my mow/trimming/clean up time down from roughly 85 minutes to 25 so I don't mind mowing a more often.

SunDeck
09-20-2005, 11:15 AM
West-Central Ohio here.

My grass gets "rusty" every now and again if I haven't fertilized in awhile. Your shoes get a bit orange if you walk through my grass at these times. I'm kind of guessing my grass is crying for Nitrogen but I am not real sure. Generally I buy a higher Nitrogen content fertilizer and after an application this goes away for awhile.

The soil has quite a bit of clay where I am, dirtbags who built the sub-division stripped all the topsoil off before building the homes.

Any Ideas?


That's probably Rust. All the conditions appear right- high humidity, poor soil condition. More info here:
http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/plantsci/landscap/pp950w.htm#rust

The solution is to embark on a long term, soil amendment program. Fertilizing helps, but you need to address the basic soil structure. Aerate now and apply top dressing. If your soil is as bad as you suggest, then this is something to do each fall. You don't have to top dress each time, but aerating is a must; it will help to reduce the compaction problems that you get with hard clay.

Clay is not all bad. In fact, soil containing clay has a tremendous ability to hold nutrients (Cation Exchange (http://soils.tfrec.wsu.edu/webnutritiongood/soilprops/04CEC.htm) ). The thing it also needs, however, is organic matter. When they stripped away the top soil, that's what you lost, thousands of years of worm poop, leaf litter, dead critters and all that beautiful stuff that makes soil the stuff of life. By aerating each year, you will create conditions that help trap organic matter. Also, consider not bagging your clippings, as this is a form of organic matter that breaks down quickly and is also a good source of Nitrogen.

Lastly, consider overseeding with a variety of grass seeds. Rust affects a couple of Bluegrass species and introducing a mix of grasses into your lawn will allow it to look better overall even if part of it is affected by some disease or pests.
I always look for something that has a mix of Bluegrass and Fescues.






GL
[QUOTE]
Side note:
I have mowed at the highest setting on my lawnmower this year and the results are outstanding, if not completely shocking. My lawn warded off a much larger percentage of weeds as well as stayed much greener during the dry times of year. I am a convert from scalping.



Smart move! :beerme:
Generally,it's not the height of the lawn that matters, it's how even the grass is cut. Cool season grasses are tall plants that we happen to keep short. Giving them an extra inch goes a long way.

dman
09-20-2005, 09:08 PM
Sun Deck,

I'm about to lose 40' of my front yard to an ODOT road widening project. As it stands now, I am going to lose the following:

3 Austrian (Black) pines; all are at least 50' diameter and 30' tall
1 Blue Spruce - 33' diameter and 20' tall
1 Pin Oak - 40' diameter and 25' tall
1 Pin Oak - 32' diameter and 20' tall.

Given these dimensions, do you have any idea of the compensation that I might receive for these trees? Thanks.

BTW, I'm in the Grove City area near the intersections of SR104 and SR665.

gonelong
09-20-2005, 11:20 PM
That's probably Rust. All the conditions appear right- high humidity, poor soil condition. More info here:
http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/plantsci/landscap/pp950w.htm#rust

Rust, who'da thunk it?

Thanks for the info. I have aerated the lawn the last 2 falls and plan to again this year. I haven't top dressed but will give it a shot this year, probably a good idea to do so. I mow pretty regularly now, so I don't bag at all anymore.

GL

TeamCasey
09-29-2005, 06:36 PM
The little guy and I were out in the woods collecting black walnuts and acorns and other fun fall treasures. :)

I came across a nut that I'm not sure what it is.

It's smaller than a black walnut and bumpy/bristly.

http://msucares.com/lawn/garden/msgardens/02/images/chestnut.jpg

The unhusked nut looks a little like the ones in this picture, but that's not it. The leaf is large like a Maple, but not spearlike.

Roy Tucker
09-30-2005, 07:30 AM
Looks like a buckeye to me. Or some other kind of horse chestnut.

SunDeck
09-30-2005, 08:06 AM
Sun Deck,

I'm about to lose 40' of my front yard to an ODOT road widening project. As it stands now, I am going to lose the following:

3 Austrian (Black) pines; all are at least 50' diameter and 30' tall
1 Blue Spruce - 33' diameter and 20' tall
1 Pin Oak - 40' diameter and 25' tall
1 Pin Oak - 32' diameter and 20' tall.

Given these dimensions, do you have any idea of the compensation that I might receive for these trees? Thanks.

BTW, I'm in the Grove City area near the intersections of SR104 and SR665.

Wow, that's a lot to lose. I think the best thing would be to have a couple of arborists take a look. I'm not sure exactly how compensation for trees is figured, whether it's just on the cost of replacing them or on the value they add at their present state of growth. If it's the latter, you have a lot of value sitting right there.

SunDeck
09-30-2005, 08:07 AM
The little guy and I were out in the woods collecting black walnuts and acorns and other fun fall treasures. :)

I came across a nut that I'm not sure what it is.

It's smaller than a black walnut and bumpy/bristly.

http://msucares.com/lawn/garden/msgardens/02/images/chestnut.jpg

The unhusked nut looks a little like the ones in this picture, but that's not it. The leaf is large like a Maple, but not spearlike.

Sweetgum? They have leaves that somewhat resemble a maple and bristly fruit. I've never cracked one to see what was inside.

TeamCasey
09-30-2005, 08:19 AM
Sweetgum? They have leaves that somewhat resemble a maple and bristly fruit. I've never cracked one to see what was inside.

Maybe, not quite. The leaves still don't look right. I'm cracking that puppy open when I get home tonight.

I need to get a guide book sometime. I really enjoy meandering through the woods. I love showing TG stuff. I can't identify plants and trees to save my soul.

TeamCasey
09-30-2005, 08:30 AM
I found it, it's a sycamore! :thumbup:

SunDeck
09-30-2005, 02:44 PM
I found it, it's a sycamore! :thumbup:
Doh! Should have thought of that.

dman
09-30-2005, 05:47 PM
Wow, that's a lot to lose. I think the best thing would be to have a couple of arborists take a look. I'm not sure exactly how compensation for trees is figured, whether it's just on the cost of replacing them or on the value they add at their present state of growth. If it's the latter, you have a lot of value sitting right there.

From what the appraiser said, it goes by the present state of growth. Thanks for the help and your response though.

SunDeck
07-29-2006, 11:53 AM
Bump:
Mid to Late Summer is the time of year when people finally take a look at their yard and realize that there are a lot of problems.

Send in your questions and I'll do the digging (figuratively, of course). As always, I will check this thread periodically, but there may be a day or two that go by when I'm not on the Board. I'll get to it, it may just not be with Krono like immediacy...

LoganBuck
07-29-2006, 11:57 AM
I have a buckhorn infestation. What should I be doing at this time of year? Should I just wait till fall, and then spring to deal with it?

SunDeck
07-29-2006, 12:30 PM
I have a buckhorn infestation. What should I be doing at this time of year? Should I just wait till fall, and then spring to deal with it?

In SW Ohio and North Carolina where I worked Buckthorn is not really something that anyone has ever had contact with. However, in the states where it is common, it's doing the same thing that Chinese Honeysuckle is doing, say, in Ohio. Where are you?

Controlling it is tough- you can choose between controlling mechanically or chemically. Either way requires a prolonged effort. In your situation, the most responsible thing to do is to keep it from developing fruit. That's the stuff that birds eat and then poop out three miles away, which then establishes it somewhere else. So, now would be a good time (I think it sets fruit late) to prevent it from creating more seeds.

Basically, the message is to get at it and try to prevent seedlings. The mature plants need to be cut to the ground, but smaller ones can be yanked out of the ground. I am glad you are interested in this- invasive species like this can ruin the forest.

Here is more info (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/woody/buckthorn/control.html) on controlling it.

LoganBuck
07-29-2006, 01:41 PM
SunDeck I think you miss read my post I wrote Buckhorn, not Buckthorn.

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecordframe2.asp?id=800#

SunDeck
07-29-2006, 02:41 PM
Doh! Lemme try again...stupid glasses, or attention span or brain!

Anyway, for Buckhorn Plantain (or Plantago lanceolata for those of us who prefer the exact name, which avoids the confusion we just went through and which allows me to sound like a real plant guy) and really for any Plantain you are facing a tough managment issue. If you are not into broadleaf herbicide (2-4-d) which is basically what all turfgrass fert/weedkillers use, then you can dig them out. If the infestation is minor, then digging is not a big deal.

You can apply herbicide right now, but I'm guessing you have a pretty well established plant and herbicides work best on young plants. And with Buckhorn Plantain, it's narrower leaves are less likely to hold onto the herbicide, so it may not be as effective.

The best answer is to manage early and often. Ever notice how soft Plantain leaves are when they are just coming up? The roots are shallow- you can pop 'em right out of the ground. Next year, get the buggers right when they start appearing, whether by herbicide or by pulling. For now, at the very least, don't let them go to seed. That's next year's problem and you can help yourself by prevention. Mow the stuff, or snap those seed heads off.

Lastly...Plantago is edible and often used in herbal medicine. So, you know, there's a potential dinner out there waiting for you.

Spring~Fields
07-29-2006, 03:38 PM
SD,
What do you hear and what do you think about the new grass seed out called "Thermal Blue", they speak of it as if it something that cures alot of yard woes. Supposedly it is superior to fescues and other blue grass, drought resistant and even stays healthy in shade. Is that true?

http://www.american-lawns.com/grasses/thermal_blue.html

SunDeck
07-29-2006, 10:24 PM
A cool season grass is a cool season grass. Although it's not surprising to me that turf researchers are getting better drought and heat resistance out of cool season grasses, I stilly think it makes sense to use a variety in the lawn, a mixture of fescue, ryes and bluegrasses. The problem with using only one type of grass is that it's a monoculture, which is less resistant to specific pathogens, and environmental stresses.

Looks pretty cool though.

Spring~Fields
07-30-2006, 12:42 PM
I stilly think it makes sense to use a variety in the lawn, a mixture of fescue, ryes and bluegrasses. The problem with using only one type of grass is that it's a monoculture, which is less resistant to specific pathogens, and environmental stresses.

Looks pretty cool though.

I think that our yard with its various micro climates (light shade-dense shade to no shade with intense sun, high traffic-no traffic, flat to hilly) proves you correct, whenever I have not considered the differences this year I have received an expensive education that supports what you are telling me.

So if I overseed in September or October with a mix of good fescue, blue grass and perinial rye would it cover my learning mistakes by next spring?

RANDY IN INDY
07-30-2006, 05:04 PM
What kind of seed mix would you recommend here in the South Charlotte area, SunDeck? Mine is mainly fescue, but around here, with the lack of rain, it gets ugly and burnt this time of year. Any particular brand I could look for that you think would do well?

SunDeck
07-30-2006, 09:12 PM
Randy,

Well, the short answer is "no one knows". The difficulty with the Carolinas is that you're in a weird place where both cool season and warm season grasses thrive at certain time of year. However, the tradition has almost always been to prefer cool season grasses for residential neighborhoods, but straight bluegrass just doesn't really stand up to the stress. That's why there is so much fescue used. Happily, fescue has developed very well over the years, to the point that there are great varieties available that are quite tough in the heat of the summer. My recommendation would be to contact your local extension office (http://mecklenburg.ces.ncsu.edu/). This is a plug for my former employer...but the extension offices are great. If anyone will know what type of turf to plant, they will. Chances are there is something they know of that was hybridized right over in Raleigh.


And check this out...it's the motherload (http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/pubs/management/ag69.html#wtp) of turfgrass info for North Carolina.

SunDeck
07-30-2006, 09:22 PM
I think that our yard with its various micro climates (light shade-dense shade to no shade with intense sun, high traffic-no traffic, flat to hilly) proves you correct, whenever I have not considered the differences this year I have received an expensive education that supports what you are telling me.

So if I overseed in September or October with a mix of good fescue, blue grass and perinial rye would it cover my learning mistakes by next spring?

That's a good thing to do every year, but I like to do it earlier. If you overseed when the daytime temperature is still reaching the low 80s, then it will germinate and have the entire fall to thrive. If you wait too long, it won't and then it's really no different than seeding in the spring. A lot of people seed late, but I think the best time to repair your lawn is at the end of summer, like late August when it's still warm but late enough that weeds are no longer germinating.
And I would recommend aerating. It will help create a better grow zone for your turf roots....and when your neighbors see you walking behind the aerator, they will be mighty impressed. You might even consider splitting an aerator with a neighbor, since you can rent for a half day, but it only takes an hour or two to aerate. Also helps with lugging the thing.
I aerate in the fall because the rains will have softened up the turf a little and make the process more effective.

gonelong
07-30-2006, 10:02 PM
I have a buckhorn infestation. What should I be doing at this time of year? Should I just wait till fall, and then spring to deal with it?

You need a bucket and a straight (not curved) claw hammer ... and wait for a bit of rain.

The day of or after the rain, grab your bucket and claw hammer. Swing the claw hammer down, claw first at ground level. You want the claw to pinch the root a bit. Pull with an even pressure, and you'll pull the root system out. Put the buckhorn in the bucket. Repeat a few thousand times or until your buckets if full.

GL

/not kidding

LoganBuck
07-30-2006, 11:54 PM
My yard is over an acre, I need to be thinking herbicide strategy.

SunDeck
07-31-2006, 09:21 AM
You need a bucket and a straight (not curved) claw hammer ... and wait for a bit of rain.

The day of or after the rain, grab your bucket and claw hammer. Swing the claw hammer down, claw first at ground level. You want the claw to pinch the root a bit. Pull with an even pressure, and you'll pull the root system out. Put the buckhorn in the bucket. Repeat a few thousand times or until your buckets if full.

GL

/not kidding

Hey Man, the point of this thread is to help people...not to make their neighbors laugh at them. :)

Red Leader
07-31-2006, 09:49 AM
Sun Deck,
(southern Dayton, OH)
I sent you pictures in the Spring of weeds (purplish) that were popping up all over in my grass in the back of our yard. They continued to grow throughout the Spring. The flowering eventually died off, but the weeds still exist to this day and spread over the entire back of our property even after using a weed/feed application and a 2nd application in the Spring. I don't know how to stop them from growing / get rid of it. I was going to aerate the yard towards the end of August and overseed (is that too late around here?). I'm also going to be spraying other weeds that have crept up in the yard. Do you think Round-Up or some other spray that advertises being able to get rid of weeds without harming the grass would get rid of all of the weeds I have in the back of my property, and how long should I wait after applying all of that spray to do the overseeding / aerating? I'm hoping to walk out my backdoor next Spring to see a nice backyard full of grass and free of these weeds that currently blanket the back of my property.

Worse case scenario, I hire a lawn company for next year to get this straightened out because I don't want it expanding any further than it already has.

Thanks for any help / advice in advance.

SunDeck
07-31-2006, 01:52 PM
Sun Deck,
(southern Dayton, OH)
I sent you pictures in the Spring of weeds (purplish) that were popping up all over in my grass in the back of our yard. They continued to grow throughout the Spring. The flowering eventually died off, but the weeds still exist to this day and spread over the entire back of our property even after using a weed/feed application and a 2nd application in the Spring. I don't know how to stop them from growing / get rid of it. I was going to aerate the yard towards the end of August and overseed (is that too late around here?). I'm also going to be spraying other weeds that have crept up in the yard. Do you think Round-Up or some other spray that advertises being able to get rid of weeds without harming the grass would get rid of all of the weeds I have in the back of my property, and how long should I wait after applying all of that spray to do the overseeding / aerating? I'm hoping to walk out my backdoor next Spring to see a nice backyard full of grass and free of these weeds that currently blanket the back of my property.

Worse case scenario, I hire a lawn company for next year to get this straightened out because I don't want it expanding any further than it already has.

Thanks for any help / advice in advance.

I don't have that email anymore...what did we decide that was- henbit?


Anyway, you can apply broad leaf weed killer right now, but since the stuff is well established it may not be as successful. Doing so in the spring and early summer is usually more effective because the plants are not as tough.

Roundup is SYSTEMIC. It kills everything, grass and broadleaf weeds, so don't spray it in your yard becaue you will end up with dead spots everywhere you put the stuff. There are some sprays that say they don't kill grass, in which case they are broadleaf herbicides. With a large yard, it's expensive to do it that way, but you could apply now.

Aerating and overseeding are great ideas. I posted my opinion earlier about doing the overseeding while there is still some warmth, like late summer so that you will get germination and growth for the fall (which is when cool season grasses thrive). Aerating, I do that later, after some rains have shown up and softened the yard. Makes the job a lot easier for you and the aerator.

Red Leader
07-31-2006, 02:00 PM
I don't have that email anymore...what did we decide that was- henbit?


Anyway, you can apply broad leaf weed killer right now, but since the stuff is well established it may not be as successful. Doing so in the spring and early summer is usually more effective because the plants are not as tough.

Roundup is SYSTEMIC. It kills everything, grass and broadleaf weeds, so don't spray it in your yard becaue you will end up with dead spots everywhere you put the stuff. There are some sprays that say they don't kill grass, in which case they are broadleaf herbicides. With a large yard, it's expensive to do it that way, but you could apply now.

Aerating and overseeding are great ideas. I posted my opinion earlier about doing the overseeding while there is still some warmth, like late summer so that you will get germination and growth for the fall (which is when cool season grasses thrive). Aerating, I do that later, after some rains have shown up and softened the yard. Makes the job a lot easier for you and the aerator.

Well, to be honest, I don't remember what we had decided that it was. Even with the pictures, you weren't completely sure, IIRC. I know henbit was in the discussion, but there were others we discussed as well. We have a pretty decent sized yard (~1 acre). I might buy the broadleaf herbicide for the normal weeds that pop up in our lawn. I'll probably wait until the spring to kill off the stuff that is blanketing my backyard. I thought it would be smarter to aerate before overseeding so that the new seeds had room to settle in and more oxygen / nutrients could get to it? You're saying just go ahead and overseed now and then aerate after?

SunDeck
07-31-2006, 02:40 PM
Well, to be honest, I don't remember what we had decided that it was. Even with the pictures, you weren't completely sure, IIRC. I know henbit was in the discussion, but there were others we discussed as well. We have a pretty decent sized yard (~1 acre). I might buy the broadleaf herbicide for the normal weeds that pop up in our lawn. I'll probably wait until the spring to kill off the stuff that is blanketing my backyard. I thought it would be smarter to aerate before overseeding so that the new seeds had room to settle in and more oxygen / nutrients could get to it? You're saying just go ahead and overseed now and then aerate after?

Okay, this is where it gets a little complicated.
The BEST possible thing to do is this:
aerate, topdress, fertilize and then overseed

However, most homeowners don't want to topdress, which is a pretty labor intensive process. But topdressing is the thing that puts your seed into contact with some kind of medium that will be conducive to germination. Additionally topdressing with organic matter is great because that stuff falls down into the holes created by the aerator...which is like injecting your lawn with a soil conditioner.
But, like I said, most homeowners don't want to take this on, and you will need a way to create a good environment for the grass seed to germinate. So, I tell them to rough up the brownest patches, then overseed, then mow with a mulching mower. It's a cheat, basically. The mown grass will provide a mulch cover in which the seed can germinate. If you keep it watered then that grass will take root. For the brown spots, I recommend roughing up and leaving the dead stuff. Overseed then rake lightly, just like planting new seed. But keep it watered- newly germinated grass needs water.

Still, I think it's best to do this before the temperature drops below the 80s in the day time. You could aerate before you do this, but if you are not topdressing, I'd aerate after the new grass has been mowed a couple times.

TeamCasey
07-31-2006, 07:16 PM
Sundeck,

Can you please make it a little cooler here tomorrow.

Thank you.

SunDeck
07-31-2006, 09:47 PM
Here ya go...

http://www.mapleleafpromotions.com/Igloo_Cooler_6_cans.jpg

A little cooler.

Red Leader
08-01-2006, 09:03 AM
Okay, this is where it gets a little complicated.
The BEST possible thing to do is this:
aerate, topdress, fertilize and then overseed

However, most homeowners don't want to topdress, which is a pretty labor intensive process. But topdressing is the thing that puts your seed into contact with some kind of medium that will be conducive to germination. Additionally topdressing with organic matter is great because that stuff falls down into the holes created by the aerator...which is like injecting your lawn with a soil conditioner.
But, like I said, most homeowners don't want to take this on, and you will need a way to create a good environment for the grass seed to germinate. So, I tell them to rough up the brownest patches, then overseed, then mow with a mulching mower. It's a cheat, basically. The mown grass will provide a mulch cover in which the seed can germinate. If you keep it watered then that grass will take root. For the brown spots, I recommend roughing up and leaving the dead stuff. Overseed then rake lightly, just like planting new seed. But keep it watered- newly germinated grass needs water.

Still, I think it's best to do this before the temperature drops below the 80s in the day time. You could aerate before you do this, but if you are not topdressing, I'd aerate after the new grass has been mowed a couple times.


Sorry SunDeck. With the trade deadline yesterday and the site crashing I didn't get a chance to respond to you, but thank you very much for all of your help and advice. It is very much appreciated. :beerme: :thumbup:

gonelong
08-01-2006, 01:00 PM
My yard is over an acre, I need to be thinking herbicide strategy.

An acre? What a pansy! ;)

My parents place had about 3 acres. We had buckhorns everywhere and my Dad's solution was to send us kids out with a hammer and a bucket. It actually worked pretty well.

If I had to do it again today, I'd probably just fill a squirt bottle with Preen. :)

GL

gonelong
08-01-2006, 01:02 PM
Hey Man, the point of this thread is to help people...not to make their neighbors laugh at them. :)

Ha Ha. About 3-4 times a year, I remind my suburban nieghbors that I grew up in the sticks.

This would be one way to remind them. :laugh:

GL

SunDeck
08-01-2006, 01:27 PM
My parents place had about 3 acres. We had buckhorns everywhere and my Dad's solution was to send us kids out with a hammer and a bucket. It actually worked pretty well.


GL

You sure it was the buckhorn and not just wanting some peace and quiet?
Once on a trip to Traverse City (all day in the car with three boys!) my dad gave my brothers and me all a handful of non-dairy creamers and told us to shake them until they turned into butter. I think we shook the damned things from Dayton to Saginaw.

Hoosier Red
08-01-2006, 04:21 PM
Ok Sundeck,

I just moved into a new house in May. The previous guy didn't take great care of the lawn and it had a lot of brown spots.
I tried putting seed down(without doing anything else) and when it looked like that was taking, I spread some fertilizer on the whole front yard early in June.

Now I've got huge dead spots, and most of the grass is getting a little worn. How can I get the grass green before the end of the summer.

EDIT: Oh yeah the new house has a sprinkler system so water isn't an issue. I've been watering about 25-30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

gonelong
08-01-2006, 04:33 PM
You sure it was the buckhorn and not just wanting some peace and quiet?
Once on a trip to Traverse City (all day in the car with three boys!) my dad gave my brothers and me all a handful of non-dairy creamers and told us to shake them until they turned into butter. I think we shook the damned things from Dayton to Saginaw.

Ha ha, it was probably a bit of both, though peace and quite was a pipe-dream for my Dad.

I remember Mom and Dad packing up us 5 kids and Grandpa in the station wagon and driving to Pennsylvania for a 2 week "vacation" in a pop up camper. My Dad grew up as one of 14 kids and had 5 himself. He doesn't even know that you can have peace and quite at home. :D Dad's idea of peace and quite was to go fishing, and he regularly brought us little knuckleheads along so that probably wasn't it. (Incidentally, I listened to many a Reds game with Dad as we were cleaning fish ... we both love fish and he took me almost every weekend from spring to fall).

Poor Mom on the other hand, she had grown up as 1 of 2 children and was stuck at home with us all summer. :eek:

In our family, you were expected to pull your own weight. We didn't live on a farm or anything (I REALLY respected those kids, we had it creampuff compared to them) but we had 3+ acres of grass to mow with a 16" push-mower ... a 2+ acre garden that always needed plowing, fertilizing, planting, weeding, and harvesting ... apple, cherry, and peach trees to pick .. raspberries and strawberrys (endless quarts) to pick ... a grove of trees that made for endless leaf raking (and humongous piles of leaves to jump into) and picking up sticks from (to mow) ... as well as a 4 acre woods that always had dead trees to cut up and clear ... etc ... always something.

My guess is that it was a rare instance when we were pretty much caught up on our other chores and he had to find something for us to do to keep us out of Mom's hair and out of trouble. If we had too much free time he would come home to an exasperated wife and have to dish out punishment (beware the "board of education"). :p: By keeping us busy he could come home to dinner and then tinker outside, checking up to see how our list of chores were coming along.

GL

SunDeck
08-01-2006, 04:41 PM
Ok Sundeck,

I just moved into a new house in May. The previous guy didn't take great care of the lawn and it had a lot of brown spots.
I tried putting seed down(without doing anything else) and when it looked like that was taking, I spread some fertilizer on the whole front yard early in June.

Now I've got huge dead spots, and most of the grass is getting a little worn. How can I get the grass green before the end of the summer.

Nitrogen is what makes your grass green. Applying just about any commercial fertilizer will have enough in it to do that. However, assuming you are in Indiana, you can forget about green until the heat wave is over. Cool season grasses respond to heat by going dormant. It's perfectly natural.

Without seeing your yard, it's hard to know what the problem is with the brown spots, but let's just assume your lawn is just lacking in established turf, aeration and nutrients (that usually is the problem).

When it cools off, your healthy grass will rebound, provided we get a little rain. Otherwise, I'd say, water it a lot in the mornings- that will help keep the root system healthy.

Start a program for rejuvenating the lawn in late Summer. Keep watering, overseed, make sure you keep the root zone moist, then you can apply fall fertilizer...which is basically a greenup of Nitrogen. If you are ambitious, try aerating and topdressing. Otherwise, just rough up the brown spots, overseed and keep moist.

Scotts four step program is pretty good, except that they add an extra, largely unnecessary step in the mid summer. That's step 3 I think...and it's basically nitrogen with an insect killer. So, you could start with their fall fertilizer, then pick up with Step 1 in the early spring. Step 2 is fertilizer with broad leaf herbicide, which you would apply May-June. I usually just keep watering in July and early August. At the end of August I start with the overseeding and then go into fall fertilizing.

POST Edit:
On that sprinkler system. I would recommend you give it a good soak once a week. That's about 1-1.5 hours. Short, frequent doses are more effective than long ones done less frequently.

Spring~Fields
08-01-2006, 05:27 PM
Thanks SD for the input.

15fan
08-02-2006, 12:11 PM
hey Sundeck. Couple of general questions for you:

Any thoughts on bagging vs. mulching grass clippings?

Also, I'm in part of the world where I need to dump some lime in my lawn on a semi-regular basis. I limed last fall when I aerated & overseeded, and that seemed to work pretty well. Is it ok to do the liming & overseeding at the same time (rationale is that both the lime pellets & the seed drop down in the holes)? Or is there a reason that should I think about splitting the two up (ie, overseeding in the fall, and liming in the winter / spring)?

SunDeck
08-02-2006, 12:25 PM
Check this out, the Georgia Turf management calendar. Lime is mentioned there.

http://www.commodities.caes.uga.edu/turfgrass/georgiaturf/CultPrac/1310_Calendar.htm

I know the clays you are dealing with are highly acidic, but I wonder if you need to apply lime so regularly? Most experts recommend having a soil test to verify that the acidity of the soil is really high enough to warrant application. If you don't know the current pH of your soil, it's hard to know how much lime you need.

You may have covered your bases here, but if you haven't checked the pH, I'd recommend that you do. It may allow you to avoid the extra work. And if you were to really go through with a soil test it will tell you a lot about what nutrients you may need in addition.


On mulching v. bagging- go with mulching, but make sure your mower has the horsepower to do it well. I recommend cutting higher and more frequently. By cutting off less length, you are doing your grass a favor and making the mulcher work better.

Red Leader
08-02-2006, 12:34 PM
Should you raise the blade of your mower in the hotter months (July / August) or should you always cut with the blade at 2 inches?

Also, if you are mulching and your grass gets out of hand (say you're on vacation) should you cut once at like 3 1/2 " and then again at 2" rather than cutting it once from like 4 1/2" to 2 inches? Does it matter?

dabvu2498
08-02-2006, 01:14 PM
I've always heard the 1/3 rule, RL. That is, if you're going to cut more than 1/3 of the length of the blade of grass, you should bag it. A couple times when I've had to "make up" some cuts, I'll cut it down to 4 inches, give it a couple days to recover, then drop the blades.

Like SD said, mowing more often at a higher cut is generally better for the health of the yard.

When I'm on vacation, I pay someone to do it so it doesn't get out of hand and it's worth the money to not have to come home and cut the grass the first day back. I keep mine pretty tall anyway and if it goes more than 5 days, it gets crazy.

SunDeck
08-02-2006, 02:32 PM
I've always heard the 1/3 rule, RL. That is, if you're going to cut more than 1/3 of the length of the blade of grass, you should bag it. A couple times when I've had to "make up" some cuts, I'll cut it down to 4 inches, give it a couple days to recover, then drop the blades.

Like SD said, mowing more often at a higher cut is generally better for the health of the yard.

When I'm on vacation, I pay someone to do it so it doesn't get out of hand and it's worth the money to not have to come home and cut the grass the first day back. I keep mine pretty tall anyway and if it goes more than 5 days, it gets crazy.

Good point about the mowing height, in general. Bluegrass, for instance is normally a two foot plant. While it doesn't mind being significantly shorter, the length does make a difference to the root zone, which needs a little protection. And, this from the lawnservice point of view- it's not the height of the turf, but whether it's even and neatly trimmed that makes homeowners happy.

dabvu2498
08-02-2006, 02:59 PM
Good point about the mowing height, in general. Bluegrass, for instance is normally a two foot plant. While it doesn't mind being significantly shorter, the length does make a difference to the root zone, which needs a little protection. And, this from the lawnservice point of view- it's not the height of the turf, but whether it's even and neatly trimmed that makes homeowners happy.
Agreed. I like my back yard shorter (easier to clean up after dogs) but it looks like garbage. However, I mow the front at 3 1/2 and I can stripe it up all pretty-like.

This is a fun thread, SD. Thanks!

Is that "1/3 rule" a pretty standard way of thinking? Would you still stick with the 1/3 rule if using a mulching mower?

Roy Tucker
08-02-2006, 03:10 PM
My wife is hooked into the county extension office. She sent me this link a ways back about mowing height...

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/4000/4020.html

I cut mine at 3.5" in the summer. I'm not big on watering my grass (i.e. I don't) so I try to let it provide its own shade.

The spring I'm at 2.75" and then in the fall, I step-wise lower it down to 2" so the leaves blow into my neighbors yard :)

MaineRed
08-02-2006, 09:14 PM
You certainly want to raise the mower in the hotter months. The more grass you have, the better the protection for the roots. This keeps the roots cooler and in really hot, dry weather, alive.

If you water, do it in the morning or at night. Both are better than in the hot of the day because you lose so much water to evaporation before it gets where it needs to go, deep into the ground. Don't sprinkle your lawn with water on hot days, or ever really. You want the water to do deep into the ground so that the grass roots will go deep into the ground to get it. Watering often but not enough promotes shallow roots which makes for poor turf.

I recommend, if you can afford it, hiring a lawn service to at the least kill the weeds, if you have a serious problem. The stuff you buy at the hardware store can be tricky to work with, especially granular, such as Scotts Weed and Feed. If you don't put it on when the turf is pretty wet, the weed killer will not stick on the weeds and thus is ineffective. It also doesn't kill many types of weeds. I know of a lawn service here that will guarantee they will kill ALL the weeds or they will come back and get it right for free.

Not sure if this happens where many of you are, but in Maine if an area needs lime, moss will start to grow. If you have a lot of pine trees, you probably have acid soil. A soil reading is a good idea and again a lawn service will give you a ph reading for free. Beware of the cheap, ph meters at the hardware store for $6. They do not work. We have highly acid soil and we went everywhere with that thing and all it gave were neutral readings. There are ph meters, like the ones the lawn services have that cost $200 or more. There is a reason for that. Thing of other products that cost $200 and think of their $6 counterparts. Yep, yikes!

If you do have a need for lime, it is something you can do yourself to save money. It is easy to apply (I'd get the granular and not the powder) and it won't burn so you don't have to be super exact when applying it. Weed killer and fertilizer are a different story.

If you only want to spend a few bucks and want to try to get rid of some weeds and green up your lawn there are Scotts and Ortho products that you hook up to a hose and apply that way and they work pretty good. Most have a high nitrogen content and kill most weeds. You need to be careful to not spray anything other than the turf. It needs to be kept off flowers, shrubs and trees.

Mulching the grass clippings is the better way to go. But bagging is cleaner. Mulching the clippings is a way to feed the grass and the clippings are high in nitrogen. I mulch whenever possible and put the bag on when the grass is a little tall or not as dry as it should be before mowing. This makes less of a mess. For anyone with not place to dump the clippings, mulch whenver possible. If you have a small yard and it doesn't take a long time to mow, you cand mow it once and if it makes a small mess, just mow it again and most of the clippings will break up and never be seen again. Also, going over an area a second time, in the same direction will really make your pattern stand out, if that matters to you. Its actually quite amazing how much grass you cut on a second pass. Next time you mow, do three strips, back and forth and then cut the middle strip a second time in the same direction. You won't believe how much shorter it is.

Sorry, I could go on forever. Grass is one of my passions. HA HA.

MaineRed
08-02-2006, 09:21 PM
I was going to mention one more thing (yeah right). A good way to get rid of leaves is to just mow them without the bagger on. It makes good food for the grass and you can really get rid of alot of leaves. It sure as heck beats raking them up and disposing of them.

I love to do this when there are leaves everywhere in the fall. I mow my lawn and then afterwards my lawn is the only green patch in the entire neighborhood because everyone else is buried in leaves.

SunDeck
08-02-2006, 09:38 PM
Agreed. I like my back yard shorter (easier to clean up after dogs) but it looks like garbage. However, I mow the front at 3 1/2 and I can stripe it up all pretty-like.

This is a fun thread, SD. Thanks!

Is that "1/3 rule" a pretty standard way of thinking? Would you still stick with the 1/3 rule if using a mulching mower?
Yes, cutting no more than 1/3 of the total height is about right.

Basically, you're wounding the grass when you cut it, so by taking off no more than that much you are always assured that there is sufficient plant mass left to direct energy into healing the plant. Another thing that helps your grass rebound quickly after mowing is to keep the blade sharp. It's just like your skin- a cut from a razor heals faster than a scrap on the pavement.

SunDeck
08-02-2006, 09:43 PM
I was going to mention one more thing (yeah right). A good way to get rid of leaves is to just mow them without the bagger on. It makes good food for the grass and you can really get rid of alot of leaves. It sure as heck beats raking them up and disposing of them.

I love to do this when there are leaves everywhere in the fall. I mow my lawn and then afterwards my lawn is the only green patch in the entire neighborhood because everyone else is buried in leaves.

I hear you, MainRed. :beerme:

15fan
08-28-2007, 03:29 PM
Bump.

This summer has been brutal down here. Absolutely brutal. We're something like 16 inches below normal rainfall on the year. Water restrictions for most of the summer limited outdoor watering for me to 12:01 am - 10:00 am on Sunday. And that's it.

We're coming off a stretch of 18 out of 19 days in which the high was 95 or higher. If I dropped a lit match on my fescue yard, the entire thing (what's left of it, anyway) would burn in about 45 seconds.

Assuming that I'm going to feed/fertilize 2 times between now and the end of the year, and that somewhere in there I'll need to do a pretty thorough aerate/overseed, is it too early to fertilize? Or should I trust the folks at Scotts who just sent me the email telling me that it's time for my late summer feeding?

IslandRed
08-28-2007, 03:40 PM
Equally brutal here, 15fan. Everyone's yard looks terrible. Mine is no better, since I was buried in work this spring and never got around to the initial fertilizer/crabgrass preventer step, so I have more weeds than usual. Overseeding will be a must.

My intuition is that I should wait for the heat to break for a bit before I put down anything; I can't imagine adding chemicals to an overstressed lawn helps much. Could be wrong.

SunDeck
08-28-2007, 05:01 PM
Your lawn is dormant right now. Fertilizer won't hurt it. The roots are alive, but are barely active, trying to conserve energy until there is moisture. Once you get a little fall rain, the roots will spring back to life. Especially with cool season grasses. Scott's step four probably has a little higher phosphorus and potassium ratios and a little lower nitrogen. If I were making the stuff I wouldn't put much nitrogen in at all- but people love to have their grass grow like crazy and nitrogen is what causes that.

LoganBuck
07-23-2008, 07:53 AM
Got a question: I have a semi dwarf apple tree that I planted last year. It is not supposed to bear fruit for three years. It has one main branch that has produced six apples this year but it is bending the tree too much. Should I cut them off or leave them. My intuition is to prune the apples.

SunDeck
07-23-2008, 12:04 PM
Got a question: I have a semi dwarf apple tree that I planted last year. It is not supposed to bear fruit for three years. It has one main branch that has produced six apples this year but it is bending the tree too much. Should I cut them off or leave them. My intuition is to prune the apples.

How about staking the tree to keep the branches from bending? I'd hate to sacrifice the fruit.
Or you could remove a few of them just to lighten the load, but generally apple branches are tough. Ever tried to break them?

LoganBuck
07-23-2008, 01:07 PM
How about staking the tree to keep the branches from bending? I'd hate to sacrifice the fruit.
Or you could remove a few of them just to lighten the load, but generally apple branches are tough. Ever tried to break them?

I thought of that but was worried about how to do it without damaging the tree, the apples are at the tips of the main trunk. How would you go about staking it safely?

This is one of those spliced, hybrid-four-varieties-in-one-tree trees. This tree is so young, I planted it last spring, it survived the drought last year with my constant attention.

Hoosier Red
08-12-2010, 03:06 PM
Sundeck,

I was wondering what you thought of these suggestions (http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp). A lot seem to be close to what you would recommend, though I thought I remembered you advising very little water every day, as opposed to lots of water very rarely.

I have grass which has gotten a ton of sun this summer and really seems to brown out and give in to weeds quite a bit.

SunDeck
08-12-2010, 09:54 PM
Sundeck,

I was wondering what you thought of these suggestions (http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp). A lot seem to be close to what you would recommend, though I thought I remembered you advising very little water every day, as opposed to lots of water very rarely.

I have grass which has gotten a ton of sun this summer and really seems to brown out and give in to weeds quite a bit.

I agree with this list and they have watering basically correct. I probably (or should have) said that watering daily for a few minutes promotes shallow root growth, as opposed to deep root growth. I tend to water my yard a lot because it also helps shrubs and trees, which are much more valuable in the landscape than the grass. Since their roots are often in the lawn, it makes sense to water there.

The part about soil is not very helpful because there isn't much you can do to actually add topsoil to your lawn. Aeration helps a lot with that, though. You can add aged compost as a top dressing (or top soil, but I prefer compost) when you aerate. Over time, this helps to improve the condition of your soil. Getting a soil test is a good idea- contact your local cooperative extension office for advice on that.

Hoosier Red
08-13-2010, 08:51 PM
So since the advice line is open again, I have a question on a gigantic tree that is sucking up a lot of water. I've planted Vinca (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://tuin-aanleggen.be/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/Vinca-minor-3.jpg&imgrefurl=http://tuin-aanleggen.be/%3Fpaged%3D8&usg=__3L0eU1rf_P0bp4-5E5mruN0Gs-A=&h=400&w=493&sz=38&hl=en&start=0&sig2=rcXFmuU_hwQvO2IUXRUexQ&tbnid=RnbrbSGl-a50EM:&tbnh=149&tbnw=184&ei=N-hlTMbDCIiBnwf9jI2ODA&prev=/images%3Fq%3DVinca%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26b iw%3D1024%26bih%3D651%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=136&vpy=117&dur=341&hovh=202&hovw=249&tx=172&ty=120&oei=N-hlTMbDCIiBnwf9jI2ODA&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=12&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0) as a ground cover all around the tree, and it's done pretty well except there's a circle of maybe 2 feet around the tree where it's just not growing. There are some heartier plants which have seen some growth immediately around the tree, but the vinca won't grow there. Is there anything I can do? Put additional dirt(so the tree roots are even further down?) Any ivy like plants which don't need as much water that would fit in with the Vinca?

SunDeck
08-14-2010, 07:56 AM
Generally, a mature tree doesn't really take up water right near its trunk. It will have roots out nearer the edges of its canopy for that. And you don't want to add any soil around its base, or really do anything that will cover those roots up. It's just the way it is with a mature tree and it can be difficult to find plants to grow in the deepest shade, so you may have to be content and satisfied that you've got a healthy one. What kind of a tree is it?

Did you just plant the Vinca recently? Most ground covers act the same way; the old adage goes, "In the first year they sleep, in the second year they creep and in the third year they leap." Do you know the names of the other plants you say have survived there? Plain old Ivy (Hedera helix) loves to get near trees...then grow up the trunk and drive you crazy forever. Pachysandra (http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=Nba&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=pachysandra&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1440&bih=720) tends to do well in beds with trees and it's a really showy ground cover.

Hoosier Red
08-15-2010, 12:03 AM
Actually the more I look at it, the area right around the trunk doesn't get much shade. Because we've had to cut the lower limbs from the tree going out, (or else they would be on top of the path to our house) but that means the dirt right around the tree kind of gets the worst of both worlds. It gets scorched in the sun, and whatever stays I'm afraid does get sucked up by the tree. I looked and noticed a number of plants have done pretty well there. Some ferns and a few others. But again there's just a number of bare spots where the vinca just doesn't seem to want to grow.

It's been three years since we planted and I can certainly appreciate that adage. I think it's done well growing everywhere else in the garden we want. Just not in this particular spot.

My mother in law probably has some additional vinca seedlings, but would it be good to re plant the vinca or just try to get the vines to move to the areas I want? Hopefully by next spring, the vinca will actually have grown enough that I can start to fill in some bare spots.

SunDeck
08-15-2010, 07:17 AM
The tree is not sucking up the water, unless it's a weeping willow. You could try to put some vinca in the spots where it is not growing to see if it will grow there.

Redlegs23
08-18-2010, 10:55 PM
OK, I need some serious help. I recently bought a house that sits on 2 acres. The problem is that the yard is in pretty bad shape. I have a bad crabgrass problem...really bad. About 1/3 of the yard is crabgrass. Another 1/3 is clover. Yes, I have about 33% of my large yard that is actually real grass. The previous owner always kept it cut very short to mask the problem, but from what I understand this also helps the crabgrass take over.

Sooo, what exactly should I do at this point? Is there an effective post-emergence treatment that I need to be doing this fall? Should I wait until the spring and give it a pre-emergence treatment? Should I not mess with it myself and pay a professional? If so, what are some opinions on Chemlawn? I live a couple hours north of Cincinnati so my options with companies are limited.

One more question, I have a ton of weeding to do. Stupid question here, but should I zap everything with Roundup and then try and pull the weeds after they're dead?

Sorry for the many questions, thanks in advance.

SunDeck
08-19-2010, 06:41 AM
OK, I need some serious help. I recently bought a house that sits on 2 acres. The problem is that the yard is in pretty bad shape. I have a bad crabgrass problem...really bad. About 1/3 of the yard is crabgrass. Another 1/3 is clover. Yes, I have about 33% of my large yard that is actually real grass. The previous owner always kept it cut very short to mask the problem, but from what I understand this also helps the crabgrass take over.

Sooo, what exactly should I do at this point? Is there an effective post-emergence treatment that I need to be doing this fall? Should I wait until the spring and give it a pre-emergence treatment? Should I not mess with it myself and pay a professional? If so, what are some opinions on Chemlawn? I live a couple hours north of Cincinnati so my options with companies are limited.

One more question, I have a ton of weeding to do. Stupid question here, but should I zap everything with Roundup and then try and pull the weeds after they're dead?

Sorry for the many questions, thanks in advance.

Right now is the time to renovate your lawn. Grass seeds like to germinate at around 80-85 degrees, and then there is a window in the late summer and early fall that favors cool season grasses.

1) Buy a good broadcast fertilizer spreader- not the kind that drops the stuff directly down, but one with a spreading wheel that is turned by walking forward.

2) Buy a crabgrass killer from your local garden store. Apply it asap, then apply it again in a week to spots where the crabgrass has not died.

3) Aerate- you can do this yourself by renting an aerator or hire it out. It's a pretty important step, so don't skip it.

4) Overseed with a mixture of seed that matches your conditions. Tell your garden store what your yard is like (sunny, shady, etc.) and they will help match the seed to the conditions.

5) Water it in and keep watering until the grass looks like it's healthy and established.

6) If you have patches where this is no grass whatsoever, consider renting a slit seeder (below). These babies do a great job.

YouTube - Slit Seeding by Steven (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIitovqcAU0&feature=related).

As for the question about weeds, I only recommend using Roundup when you want to kill everything. If you have patchy weeds throughout the yard, using Roundup on each one will result in a circle of dead plants (both weed and grass) at each spray point. Instead, you can use a broadleaf herbicide (2, 4-D (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic_acid) is the most common)
You may find a crabgrass killer that also kills weeds (including the clover). If you don't, then look for something that is both a fertilizer and a broadleaf herbicide. Apply it now, then apply the crabgrass killer.


Do you need a professional service to maintain your lawn? Well, you might want to ask a landscaper to renovate your lawn, but I have never seen a real reason to have someone come out and treat a homeowners lawn unless the homeowner hates the work. It's not hard to fertilize a few times a year. My own opinion about professional services is that they use too much nitrogen and too much herbicide. I prefer to treat for weeds only occasionally and fertilize twice a year to keep lawns healthy, which often keeps weeds from growing (but I also have a higher tolerance for weeds than many homeowners- I just don't like throwing chemicals on the grass my kids play on). The best thing you can do for your lawn, once established is to keep it watered, fertilize and then aerate and top dress in the fall. All these things can be hired out, of course.

Redlegs23
08-19-2010, 11:36 AM
Awesome info, thanks!

Redsfan320
08-19-2010, 12:01 PM
Who are you exactly, SunDeck? A professional landscaper and gardener?

320

Hoosier Red
08-19-2010, 12:52 PM
Don't ask questions of the man behind the curtain!
I think I'm going to rent an aerator next week and do that work myself. Then I can throw some more grass seed down and the lawn will be bright and green next year!

Roy Tucker
08-19-2010, 01:31 PM
I'll vouch for aerating/seeding and slit seeding.

In 1988, we had a pretty bad drought/heat wave in the tri-state, i.e. the proverbial 100 year drought. Our township banned outdoor watering. Not limited, but banned as in the county agents and sheriffs drove around and handed out tickets if they caught you watering. Started with a warning and then the $$$ figure escalated PDQ. My wife saved the bathwater she bathed my 6 mos. old son in to water the flowers with.

So by the time the fall, I had about a 2/3 dead lawn. Late fall, I aerated the bejesus out of it and overseeded with my spreader. I also slit-seeded the bigger dead areas. I went in on renting the aerator and seeder with 2-3 other neighbors and that lessened the $$$ imapact. Watered as much as I could (the ban came off in late fall).

By next spring, I had lots of nice fuzzy bright green grass growing. By June, my lawn looked pretty OK. Took a couple years for deep root growth to settle in, but it all worked pretty well.

westofyou
08-19-2010, 02:00 PM
I'll vouch for aerating/seeding and slit seeding.

In 1988, we had a pretty bad drought/heat wave in the tri-state, i.e. the proverbial 100 year drought. Our township banned outdoor watering. Not limited, but banned as in the county agents and sheriffs drove around and handed out tickets if they caught you watering. Started with a warning and then the $$$ figure escalated PDQ. My wife saved the bathwater she bathed my 6 mos. old son in to water the flowers with.

So by the time the fall, I had about a 2/3 dead lawn. Late fall, I aerated the bejesus out of it and overseeded with my spreader. I also slit-seeded the bigger dead areas. I went in on renting the aerator and seeder with 2-3 other neighbors and that lessened the $$$ imapact. Watered as much as I could (the ban came off in late fall).

By next spring, I had lots of nice fuzzy bright green grass growing. By June, my lawn looked pretty OK. Took a couple years for deep root growth to settle in, but it all worked pretty well.

Horrendous summer 88 was, just painful

SunDeck
08-19-2010, 02:53 PM
Who are you exactly, SunDeck? A professional landscaper and gardener?

320
I look a lot like GAC:

http://www.ericandangela.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/bill_murray_caddyshack.jpg

Redsfan320
08-19-2010, 07:22 PM
I look a lot like GAC:

LOL. But what beest thou occupation?

320

SunDeck
08-19-2010, 09:20 PM
LOL. But what beest thou occupation?

320

Former landscaper, former horticultural research librarian, lifelong blowhard about landscape maintenance.

Redsfan320
08-19-2010, 11:15 PM
Former landscaper, former horticultural research librarian, lifelong blowhard about landscape maintenance.

So I see.

320

klw
08-24-2010, 07:27 PM
We bought a place last year that has a great old huge apple tree. I am getting a number of drops but other than tasting some of the apples, is there a way to know when to pick them? I am unsure of the variety other than they are a red crisp tart apple.

SunDeck
08-24-2010, 07:40 PM
We bought a place last year that has a great old huge apple tree. I am getting a number of drops but other than tasting some of the apples, is there a way to know when to pick them? I am unsure of the variety other than they are a red crisp tart apple.

I'm not much of an orchardist, but those sound like your basic McIntosh apples. What a lucky find! My grandfather had a McIntosh tree when I was a kid and he always started picking when they started falling on their own.

Try some extension websites, there is probably a lot of good info out there. Here are a couple:
U of Illinois (http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/growing.cfm)
Ohio State (http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1401.html)

KYRedsFan
08-28-2010, 07:02 PM
Sundeck, great thread and gonna get to work on my yard's weed problem with the advice you have passed along above. I had a somewhat related question, our home has a patio out back and appears to have some sort of overgrowth on it. It's not moss, but it is green, and has an almost "crunchy" like texture almost like a coating on the patio but to me isn't something that is supposed to be here. When you walk on it, it leaves this green residue all over your shoes that is very fine, almost sand-like. Anyone have any idea what this is? Should I just go with a power washer? Gonna try and post a couple pics. Thanks for everyone on here's advice.

http://i38.tinypic.com/153wmcj.jpg

KYRedsFan
08-28-2010, 07:07 PM
And. Not sure if it reproduces, but it's a very fine layer and sort of crystalline in its appearance

http://i33.tinypic.com/2e37g40.jpg

SunDeck
08-28-2010, 10:16 PM
Looks like a kind of Lichen to me. I'd probably power wash it, but don't use the highest setting. Just enough to clean it off. Stone is tough, but not indestructible.

Is that the north side of your house or is it constantly shaded?

Smokin Joe
08-28-2010, 11:49 PM
Question from Omaha, Nebraska.

We had a terrible winter (heavy snowfall) that created snow mold on lawns. Any thoughts on what to use to either prevent or keep it from getting worse?

SunDeck
08-29-2010, 07:42 AM
I have not had much experience with snow molds, but from what I know they can be reduced best by letting your grass go into its dormant cycle as naturally as possible. That means not fertilizing within about six weeks of the date your lawn will go dormant. Additionally, making sure to remove grass clippings and leaves from the lawn helps to reduce the cultural characteristics that molds thrive in. If you get an early snow, before the grass goes dormant, that's when snow molds are likely to develop. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do to prevent it, but you can try to be conscious of where you are mounding snow, like near the driveway and walks, because the micro environment underneath those piles of snow creates good conditions for molds.

Snow mold will usually clear up in the spring. Treat the spots where the grass is dead- rough up the dead spot and seed it.

KYRedsFan
08-29-2010, 04:55 PM
Looks like a kind of Lichen to me. I'd probably power wash it, but don't use the highest setting. Just enough to clean it off. Stone is tough, but not indestructible.

Is that the north side of your house or is it constantly shaded?

It is in pretty direct sunlight most of the day. Backyard faces southeast

SunDeck
08-29-2010, 08:34 PM
It is in pretty direct sunlight most of the day. Backyard faces southeast

Interesting- I would have expected less light. Anyway, from the little I know of it, I think powerwashing would be my first step.

15fan
08-29-2010, 10:15 PM
I concur. When in doubt, power wash.

Roy Tucker
08-30-2010, 12:48 PM
Interesting- I would have expected less light. Anyway, from the little I know of it, I think powerwashing would be my first step.

When powerwashing would pretty well destroy the surface, I've used a weak bleach solution to get rid of moss as well.

SunDeck
08-30-2010, 01:29 PM
When powerwashing would pretty well destroy the surface, I've used a weak bleach solution to get rid of moss as well.

Just watch out for any surrounding plants. Same goes for using oxalic acid, one of the most awesome wood brightening products you can find. It will kill mosses and lichens, I'm sure. Just use lots of water to rinse so that whatever hits the plants is diluted and washed off.

15fan
08-30-2010, 02:39 PM
Hey KY: Is there a tree or anything that hangs over the patio? We have a massive oak that hangs over our deck. Couple of years ago, the tree got aphids/scale. Our deck would get nasty. I would pressure wash, but the deck would be disgusting again in a matter of days. Once we had the tree treated by an arborist for the scale, the nasty drippings stopped and the deck would stay clean.

KYRedsFan
09-01-2010, 12:13 PM
Thanks for the further replies. No, no trees in the area, and yeah, I'm suprised anything could be on there due to the amount of sunlight we can get. Oh well, power washing always seemed like a fun tool to play around with so may start there and see what happens.

SunDeck
09-01-2010, 12:23 PM
Thanks for the further replies. No, no trees in the area, and yeah, I'm suprised anything could be on there due to the amount of sunlight we can get. Oh well, power washing always seemed like a fun tool to play around with so may start there and see what happens.

Just try to use the lowest possible psi.

klw
09-10-2010, 07:44 PM
I am planning on moving at least one maple sapling this fall. Should I do it now or in a month when the leaves are off it. I am in Northern Vermont if that makes a difference or even if it doesn't.

SunDeck
09-10-2010, 09:09 PM
I am planning on moving at least one maple sapling this fall. Should I do it now or in a month when the leaves are off it. I am in Northern Vermont if that makes a difference or even if it doesn't.

I've always been partial to planting trees in the fall. Leaves may be gone, but roots are still active, which gives them a little head start on getting established so you don't have to worry as much about watering in the next summer. Not that you should neglect the watering.

Roy Tucker
09-11-2010, 10:02 AM
The fall is when we plant trees for the reasons SunDeck said. They get settled in their hole and get to wake up slowly next spring in the natural cycle of things.

With the climate being the way its been, we've also invested in those tree watering bags and use them on young trees.

A good time for putting in a lawn as well.

klw
09-11-2010, 11:10 AM
Up here it is essentially fall now. Should I wait until the leaves are off or just whenever it is a good opportunity? We are not expected to reach 80 again this season. Ex. Here is my forecast for the next week.
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Peacham&state=VT&site=BTV&textField1=44.33&textField2=-72.17

SunDeck
09-11-2010, 12:10 PM
Up here it is essentially fall now. Should I wait until the leaves are off or just whenever it is a good opportunity? We are not expected to reach 80 again this season. Ex. Here is my forecast for the next week.
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=Peacham&state=VT&site=BTV&textField1=44.33&textField2=-72.17

Do it now. Whatever leaves are on there are not growing or drawing nutrients away from the rest of the tree.

15fan
09-15-2010, 04:04 PM
A good time for putting in a lawn as well.

This. My fescue got cooked this year. Baked beyond belief. We usually have about 20 days above 90 here. This summer, almost 70. Neighbor who also happens to do landscaping tilled up a section that was completely gone and leveled a few other low spots the other day. Will aerate & overseed at the end of the month & see what happens.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, we closing in on the time of year to have your furnace checked out by your favorite HVAC person. It always amazes me when someone's furnace conks out in the middle of winter (or AC in summer). When I ask how long it had been since it was serviced, I get answers like "I don't know" or "Never".

Redlegs23
10-14-2010, 09:28 PM
OK I need help guys. I have a critter that's digging holes in my yard. Large, deep holes. It started with one or two, and now I'm up to 8 holes. They are all within about a 7 square foot area. The largest one is about 12 inches in diameter and the smallest is about 3 inches or so in diameter. A few of these are deep too. Put a branch down in one and it went down probably close to two feet. There's no dirt on the surface either, just clean holes.

I thought it was chipmunks initially, but I haven't seen any and I think the holes are too big to be chipmunks. My other thought was possibly a groundhog, but I think a few of the holes are too small to be groundhogs. I also don't think they're moles because there's no tunnels popping up in the turf like you typically see with moles. Plus I think moles usually leave mounds of dirt on the surface. There's a creek about 60 yards away from the holes, not sure if it would be a water type creature.

I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?

KYRedsFan
03-16-2011, 02:21 PM
Love this thread, it's been a big help. Anyway, about 8 days ago I aerated and dethathched my yard, planted some seed, and fertilized. THere's been some pretty heavy rain here in the Ohio Valley since that time, a couple of days with 2 inches or so. Then it's been in the 30s at night a couple times. I haven't seen any sprouting yet, and was wondering if this type of weather may prevent my grass from growing or if I should just be more patient. Suppose to be gorgeous the next seven days, so I am tempted to reseed now if people think it got too cold for the seed I put down. Used the scotts turf builder tall fescue mix. Thanks everyone

15fan
03-16-2011, 03:27 PM
I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?

Did you ever figure out what it was?

If you want to try to trap it, look here (http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/Catalog/Live-Traps-for-Raccoons-,Opposums,Groundhogs).

I'm also fond of an air rifle with a scope. :D

Roy Tucker
03-16-2011, 05:47 PM
Love this thread, it's been a big help. Anyway, about 8 days ago I aerated and dethathched my yard, planted some seed, and fertilized. THere's been some pretty heavy rain here in the Ohio Valley since that time, a couple of days with 2 inches or so. Then it's been in the 30s at night a couple times. I haven't seen any sprouting yet, and was wondering if this type of weather may prevent my grass from growing or if I should just be more patient. Suppose to be gorgeous the next seven days, so I am tempted to reseed now if people think it got too cold for the seed I put down. Used the scotts turf builder tall fescue mix. Thanks everyone

I did a lot of re-seeding about a month ago but have yet to see anything. The guy I know that knows about these things said to be patient. The seed is still dormant.

Getting my ash trees inspected for emerald ash borer. I think I'm going ahead the treatments. Costs about $150-200 per tree (every 2 years) and there are 2 ash trees in my yard that I planted 20 years ago in prime shade spots and I'd really hate to lose them.

At least with all this rain the past month. the pond levels are back up to normal. Last fall they were waaaaaaay low.

Ordered my seeds from Burpee a couple weeks ago (my wife and I sat down with a bottle of wine and got ambitious). Got some seedlings going and about to get my cold frame going with lettuce and spinach.

KYRedsFan
03-17-2011, 07:21 AM
I did a lot of re-seeding about a month ago but have yet to see anything. The guy I know that knows about these things said to be patient. The seed is still dormant.

Getting my ash trees inspected for emerald ash borer. I think I'm going ahead the treatments. Costs about $150-200 per tree (every 2 years) and there are 2 ash trees in my yard that I planted 20 years ago in prime shade spots and I'd really hate to lose them.

At least with all this rain the past month. the pond levels are back up to normal. Last fall they were waaaaaaay low.

Ordered my seeds from Burpee a couple weeks ago (my wife and I sat down with a bottle of wine and got ambitious). Got some seedlings going and about to get my cold frame going with lettuce and spinach.


Thanks Roy

klw
03-17-2011, 03:33 PM
Most of my yard still has two feet of hard packed snow covering it. My front flower garden probably has 4 feet on top of it. On the plus side I won't be watering much this year.

Redlegs23
03-21-2011, 11:35 AM
Did you ever figure out what it was?

If you want to try to trap it, look here (http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/Catalog/Live-Traps-for-Raccoons-,Opposums,Groundhogs).

I'm also fond of an air rifle with a scope. :D

I never did find out what was digging the holes. I ended up packing the holes with some big rocks. Then packed in as much dirt as I could, and no more holes. It was odd. I expected the critter to just dig around the rocks and continue to give me problems but that never happened.

My dog did get blasted by a skunk a while back but from what I read skunks don't dig holes like the ones in my yard.

SunDeck
03-22-2011, 02:18 PM
Love this thread, it's been a big help. Anyway, about 8 days ago I aerated and dethathched my yard, planted some seed, and fertilized. THere's been some pretty heavy rain here in the Ohio Valley since that time, a couple of days with 2 inches or so. Then it's been in the 30s at night a couple times. I haven't seen any sprouting yet, and was wondering if this type of weather may prevent my grass from growing or if I should just be more patient. Suppose to be gorgeous the next seven days, so I am tempted to reseed now if people think it got too cold for the seed I put down. Used the scotts turf builder tall fescue mix. Thanks everyone

Here's the funny thing about grass- everyone wants to plant it in the Spring, but it needs warm weather to germinate, and here's why. In a natural habitat, grass grows all Summer to produce seed, then drops them in the late Summer. They germinate and grow then become dormant until the spring, when they start to grow to maturity.

Best time to over seed, reseed, renovate, etc. is late Summer, at the time when grass seeds most expect to be hitting the ground.

So, your grass will sprout, but it just needs a few warm days.

Hoosier Red
03-22-2011, 02:57 PM
Here's the funny thing about grass- everyone wants to plant it in the Spring, but it needs warm weather to germinate, and here's why. In a natural habitat, grass grows all Summer to produce seed, then drops them in the late Summer. They germinate and grow then become dormant until the spring, when they start to grow to maturity.

Best time to over seed, reseed, renovate, etc. is late Summer, at the time when grass seeds most expect to be hitting the ground.

So, your grass will sprout, but it just needs a few warm days.

I have found that both the patch master and the EZ seed products are pretty successful even planting them very early(really in February.) Due to the mulch and fertilizer in ther products, they produce enough grass seed to cover a lot of the areas so long as you water them correctly first.

gonelong
03-23-2011, 12:10 PM
If you can cover your patch of grass with burlap, you will always do better than without. You can get a 36"x12ft roll of burlap at most local yard and gardens (not sure about box stores like Lowes/HD). Get a handful simple tent stakes to hold it in place.

GL

SunDeck
03-23-2011, 04:17 PM
If you can cover your patch of grass with burlap, you will always do better than without. You can get a 36"x12ft roll of burlap at most local yard and gardens (not sure about box stores like Lowes/HD). Get a handful simple tent stakes to hold it in place.

GL

Not sure I understand how that works. Burlap will not let light through.

919191
03-24-2011, 08:41 AM
I have the kind of grass that turns completely brown and dead looking in the winter and comes back in the spring. I have raked a whole lot of dead grass up out of it. It looks like clippings. The actual grass isn't being pulled up- it is loose stuff I am getting and a lot of it. I mow with a mulching mower. Is this stuff I am raking up the result of a crappy mulch mower or is it common for this grass?

SunDeck
03-24-2011, 12:48 PM
I have the kind of grass that turns completely brown and dead looking in the winter and comes back in the spring. I have raked a whole lot of dead grass up out of it. It looks like clippings. The actual grass isn't being pulled up- it is loose stuff I am getting and a lot of it. I mow with a mulching mower. Is this stuff I am raking up the result of a crappy mulch mower or is it common for this grass?

Zoysia, I assume?
If so, I don't think it's a problem. It could be that your mulching mower isn't chopping the grass up very finely, but then Zoysia is a very thick grass that probably resists letting the grass clippings fall to the soil where they can decompose. If it were me, I would let it go and judge whether action needs to be taken on how well the turf does this Summer. If it seems healthy, it probably is healthy and there is no need to worry. Crack a beer and watch the grass grow rather than raking the heck out of it.

gonelong
03-24-2011, 01:26 PM
Not sure I understand how that works. Burlap will not let light through.

The grass will grow up right through the weave of the burlap, so enough light gets through.

I suspect it works for 2 reasons ...
1. it keeps the grass from baking in the sun, yet it keeps it warm
2. that patch of dirt won't dry out nearly as easily.

GL

klw
04-01-2011, 08:54 PM
We got another 7 to 8 inches of snow today and we have 21 inches of snow on top of the area of the yard where I have my vegetable garden. I guess it is about time to get my seeds started inside.

GAC
04-02-2011, 07:04 AM
What can I buy (TRC, Lowes, etc) as a pretreatment against dandelions? They were terrible last year.

SunDeck
04-02-2011, 09:26 AM
What can I buy (TRC, Lowes, etc) as a pretreatment against dandelions? They were terrible last year.

There are a host of "weed and feed" products that work on dandelions. They have a combination of herbicides in them, most notably 2-4-D. Try to use it sparingly; if your neighbors don't have dandelions then you probably won't have to use it every year. If they do, you may have to re apply each spring and maybe even again in the season. What I do not recommend is to apply without first checking to see if it's needed. This is a gripe I have against a lot of turf care companies- they have an indiscriminate schedule of herbicide application, whether it's needed or not.

Stepping off the green soapbox now...

RBA
04-02-2011, 01:45 PM
The grass will grow up right through the weave of the burlap, so enough light gets through.

I suspect it works for 2 reasons ...
1. it keeps the grass from baking in the sun, yet it keeps it warm
2. that patch of dirt won't dry out nearly as easily.

GL

We had to use the burlap to keep the birds from feasting on the seeds.

GAC
04-02-2011, 02:40 PM
if your neighbors don't have dandelions then you probably won't have to use it every year. If they do, you may have to re apply each spring and maybe even again in the season.

The neighbors didn't seem to get them as bad as I did last year. It was terrible. So should I look specifically for a weed-n-feed with 2-4-D? I was always told - don't know if it's true or not - that once they start to appear, you need to spray before they turn to spore or else it's pretty useless.

Roy Tucker
04-02-2011, 02:50 PM
The lawn cutting season begins.

SunDeck
04-03-2011, 07:14 AM
The neighbors didn't seem to get them as bad as I did last year. It was terrible. So should I look specifically for a weed-n-feed with 2-4-D? I was always told - don't know if it's true or not - that once they start to appear, you need to spray before they turn to spore or else it's pretty useless.

2-4-D doesn't know the difference between a flowering dandelion and an immature one, but the younger the plant the easier it is to kill it. So, if you're seeing them popping up all over (and they should be now if you have them), it's best to get them while they are still tender. And if I'm spreading something to kill weeds in the Spring, I want to fertilize first. Just make sure you know the dandelions are present because those products must contact the weeds to kill them.

RiverRat13
04-14-2011, 09:11 AM
Any suggestions for mushrooms in my yard? The biggest problem is one big patch where it appears that a tree was removed a few years ago.

SunDeck
04-14-2011, 12:30 PM
Any suggestions for mushrooms in my yard? The biggest problem is one big patch where it appears that a tree was removed a few years ago.

The mushrooms are living off the decaying roots. You could dig the roots up to solve the problem. They are not going to harm anything; you can slow them down by picking as soon as you see them, which limits their ability to cast spores and spread. Some places recommend using a high nitrogen fertilizer to speed up the decomposition of the roots in the soil, but I don't like that idea because nitrogen is extremely mobile and it washes into the watershed and produces all sorts of downstream problems in lakes and streams. That's why I prefer either letting them be or pulling out their food source.

RiverRat13
04-14-2011, 02:23 PM
The mushrooms are living off the decaying roots. You could dig the roots up to solve the problem. They are not going to harm anything; you can slow them down by picking as soon as you see them, which limits their ability to cast spores and spread. Some places recommend using a high nitrogen fertilizer to speed up the decomposition of the roots in the soil, but I don't like that idea because nitrogen is extremely mobile and it washes into the watershed and produces all sorts of downstream problems in lakes and streams. That's why I prefer either letting them be or pulling out their food source.

Thanks!

klw
06-08-2011, 10:27 AM
It looks like my lawn mower (10 yr old Craftsman) is on its last legs. It is getting very difficult to start. 7 or 8 pulls in which the first three or four are very difficult to get the string going. The last two times I got it to start it stopped after about 2 minutes. The first time this happened i got it going after about 5 minutes. The last time it did not restart and has not since. I put in a new sparkplug and air filter but no change.

If I get a new one I am most likely looking at Craftsman or Troy Bilt push mowers. I have about half an acre of land which is probably about half lawn. The way it is set up even if I had a rider I would still need a push for some areas and I would rather have a walk behind. Any body have any brand suggestions, etc?

gonelong
06-08-2011, 12:13 PM
It looks like my lawn mower (10 yr old Craftsman) is on its last legs. It is getting very difficult to start. 7 or 8 pulls in which the first three or four are very difficult to get the string going. The last two times I got it to start it stopped after about 2 minutes. The first time this happened i got it going after about 5 minutes. The last time it did not restart and has not since. I put in a new sparkplug and air filter but no change.

If I get a new one I am most likely looking at Craftsman or Troy Bilt push mowers. I have about half an acre of land which is probably about half lawn. The way it is set up even if I had a rider I would still need a push for some areas and I would rather have a walk behind. Any body have any brand suggestions, etc?

My advice for any two-stroke is:
1. Open up the carb and spray extremely liberal amounts of this (http://www.amazon.com/DEEP-CREEP-LUBRICANT-CLEANER-OZ/dp/B0002KL6TM)into it and let it set for 30 minutes.
2. Put a bit of this (http://www.amazon.com/MOTOR-TREATMENT-MULTI-USE-OZ/dp/B0002JN2EU/ref=pd_bxgy_auto_img_b)in your gas tank occasionally.

When I heard people talk about these products I thought they were crazy. That is until I needed somthing to resurrect an old 2-stroke boat motor. I am a firm believer in this stuff. I use them on any 2-stroke engine I have. (Boat, mower, weed-whacker, etc.)

GL

SunDeck
06-21-2011, 12:37 PM
My advice for any two-stroke is:
1. Open up the carb and spray extremely liberal amounts of this (http://www.amazon.com/DEEP-CREEP-LUBRICANT-CLEANER-OZ/dp/B0002KL6TM)into it and let it set for 30 minutes.
2. Put a bit of this (http://www.amazon.com/MOTOR-TREATMENT-MULTI-USE-OZ/dp/B0002JN2EU/ref=pd_bxgy_auto_img_b)in your gas tank occasionally.

When I heard people talk about these products I thought they were crazy. That is until I needed somthing to resurrect an old 2-stroke boat motor. I am a firm believer in this stuff. I use them on any 2-stroke engine I have. (Boat, mower, weed-whacker, etc.)

GL

His motor is probably a four stroke, but this advice should still work. A lot of times, those motors are suffering from a gunked up carb or from dirty air problems. I just use carb cleaner and compressed air to clean carbs.

I use Seafoam (http://www.seafoamsales.com/) as a fuel additive for my 4hp/4Stroke sailboat kicker and it helps a lot, and I also use ethanol free gas, which is probably the most important thing for a small motor with tiny carb jets. And keep the tank full.

SunDeck
06-21-2011, 12:41 PM
If I get a new one I am most likely looking at Craftsman or Troy Bilt push mowers. I have about half an acre of land which is probably about half lawn. The way it is set up even if I had a rider I would still need a push for some areas and I would rather have a walk behind. Any body have any brand suggestions, etc?

I have a Craftsman 6.5hp, rear wheel drive (which I recommend over front wheel drive). Motor is Briggs and Stratton, bomb proof, reliable.
Not happy with the drive, though. Clutches keep getting fouled up and I have to take the wheels off and clean them out.

foxfire123
06-21-2011, 10:29 PM
Whatduya know about tomatoes Sundeck? Last year the few we got cracked and split. I thought my watering once a day was too much at one time, so I've been watering lightly twice a day this year, but now my bottom leaves are dying... We container garden. I've got Big Boys, Mr Stripeys and Cherry tomatoes in 5 gallon containers with an all purpose potting soil, and fertilize every 10 day or so with a liquid (Miracle Grow) vegetable fertilizer

I swear I have a black thumb....

SunDeck
06-22-2011, 10:58 AM
Whatduya know about tomatoes Sundeck? Last year the few we got cracked and split. I thought my watering once a day was too much at one time, so I've been watering lightly twice a day this year, but now my bottom leaves are dying... We container garden. I've got Big Boys, Mr Stripeys and Cherry tomatoes in 5 gallon containers with an all purpose potting soil, and fertilize every 10 day or so with a liquid (Miracle Grow) vegetable fertilizer

I swear I have a black thumb....

I'm not an expert on veggies, but here is what I know about tomatoes:

Regular watering is key. Sounds like you're being consistent, so that's good.
They like soil to be kept cool, loose and moist. Good container soil is often good for staying loose, but containers are hard to keep moist and cool. You may consider placing the containers into larger one (i.e.- place a plastic one into a larger clay one, or larger ones, depending on how hot and exposed to the sun they are.

Tomato plants turn yellow for a variety of reasons:
1) Not getting enough sun- happens as the plant matures. Not a big deal.
2) Not getting enough nitrogen- usually affects newish growth. If you have a plant with a lot of turgid, healthy and deep green growth, this is probably not your problem.
3) Pests- examine closely for signs of pests (i.e. holes in the leaves).
4) Water- addressed above. I've found that most of the problems with my tomatoes occur when I don't get enough water on them. Generally, this will show up by causing the plant to be spindly, lighter green...can often be confused with nitrogen problems.

bucksfan2
08-11-2011, 09:11 AM
Bump.

Need a little landscaping help here. I am landscaping the front of my house and need to accentuate a blue spruce bush I have. I would like to use boxwoods on either side if the spruce but my dog likes to pee on and kill all the other boxwoods I have throughout the yard. I swear they have a target on them for him to pee on. I would like to accentuate them with boxwoods, and it may work because they are tucked back a little from where he likes to run and pee, but don't know if there is another plant that would work better.

SunDeck
08-11-2011, 11:06 AM
Bump.

Need a little landscaping help here. I am landscaping the front of my house and need to accentuate a blue spruce bush I have. I would like to use boxwoods on either side if the spruce but my dog likes to pee on and kill all the other boxwoods I have throughout the yard. I swear they have a target on them for him to pee on. I would like to accentuate them with boxwoods, and it may work because they are tucked back a little from where he likes to run and pee, but don't know if there is another plant that would work better.

I assume this is full sun, given that you have a blue spruce there?

But here's the deal, your dog is probably peeing on them because he likes the spot and it's a habit for him at this point. Changing plants won't change his behavior. You could try something like Barberry, which because it is thorny, may be a deterrent, but I don't like the look of them in Winter.

bucksfan2
08-11-2011, 12:19 PM
I assume this is full sun, given that you have a blue spruce there?

But here's the deal, your dog is probably peeing on them because he likes the spot and it's a habit for him at this point. Changing plants won't change his behavior. You could try something like Barberry, which because it is thorny, may be a deterrent, but I don't like the look of them in Winter.

Yes the front of my house gets full sun.

I do have some barberrys in my front landscaping as well. For the most part he has left them alone and he does seem to target a particular area. I just didn't know if had a particular smell to them that attracted my dog.

Also I have a big unruly bush on the one side of my garage. It pretty much stands by itself and I am seriously debate removing it. Do you have any specimen recommendations for that area. I don't really want it to be more than 6 feet high because there is a light that my bush currently obstructs.

SunDeck
08-11-2011, 12:46 PM
Yes the front of my house gets full sun.

I do have some barberrys in my front landscaping as well. For the most part he has left them alone and he does seem to target a particular area. I just didn't know if had a particular smell to them that attracted my dog.

Also I have a big unruly bush on the one side of my garage. It pretty much stands by itself and I am seriously debate removing it. Do you have any specimen recommendations for that area. I don't really want it to be more than 6 feet high because there is a light that my bush currently obstructs.

Full sun as well? It's a rather short spot for a specimen plant.


Evergreen: Arbrovitae or one of several types of Cypress shrubs. I really like the choices in these two genus. Also look at viburnum. There are many, for all sorts of exposures with many flower, leaf and berry types. And hollies- there are many that tolerate full sun. Little leaf Japanese Holly might work.

Deciduous: Sand cherry is a nice choice. Spring flowers, it may get a little larger than six feet, as do many plants, including those listed above. Unfortunately, "specimen" plants often have larger habits than a location can accommodate. Amelanchier is a favorite of mine as well. Some nurseries are selling single trunk, but look for shrub type. Nice white spring flowers, red edible berries. Kousa dogwood may also fit, but again, if six feet is your upper limit, maybe not. If the spot doesn't have a lot of winter exposure, consider Japanese Maple (expensive) or Crape Myrtle (dies back in northern winters, so it won't grow large).

Grasses: A great option for a spot like this, with winter interest. Visit a nursery to see many varieties. I don't generally like Miscanthus, which is very aggressive. You'll see plenty, but there are other choices.

Roy Tucker
08-11-2011, 03:52 PM
Maybe your dog likes the way boxwoods smell.

They can be pretty stinky. My wife refuses to let me plant any because of that.

and our Kousa dogwood is about 12-15 ft. tall now.

SunDeck
08-11-2011, 04:17 PM
and our Kousa dogwood is about 12-15 ft. tall now.

Exactly! That's what happens in landscaping- there are very few six foot varieties of anything. Probably the best solution for Bucksfan's specimen plant is to stay with a conifer. Many 70 foot plants are kept at six feet and below via the twice annual pruning. My favorite examples of this are yews, which when left to grow can be quite large...which is also where the English got their long bows.

bucksfan2
08-11-2011, 04:42 PM
Exactly! That's what happens in landscaping- there are very few six foot varieties of anything. Probably the best solution for Bucksfan's specimen plant is to stay with a conifer. Many 70 foot plants are kept at six feet and below via the twice annual pruning. My favorite examples of this are yews, which when left to grow can be quite large...which is also where the English got their long bows.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am kinda sucker for trees. I think they look much nicer than plants, especially your smaller types. We just recently planted a snowfall pear (I believe its called that) in the front of our yard.

The problem with my landscaping it thats its been a work in progress ever since we moved in 4 years ago. One year we put in some barburry's and a blue spruce (my dog did a number on). The next year we put in some tulips and a couple of knockout rose bushes, then after than my wife decided to plant some annuals (I refuse to plant annuals) to spice up the yard. The issue is that there is very little continuity and we never seem to have dedicated time to work on the yard. Its coming together but not fast enough for my wife.

Is it a good time to plant right now? I realize it isn't exactly fall but we do a good job of keeping everything watered.

SunDeck
08-11-2011, 04:59 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am kinda sucker for trees. I think they look much nicer than plants, especially your smaller types. We just recently planted a snowfall pear (I believe its called that) in the front of our yard.

The problem with my landscaping it thats its been a work in progress ever since we moved in 4 years ago. One year we put in some barburry's and a blue spruce (my dog did a number on). The next year we put in some tulips and a couple of knockout rose bushes, then after than my wife decided to plant some annuals (I refuse to plant annuals) to spice up the yard. The issue is that there is very little continuity and we never seem to have dedicated time to work on the yard. Its coming together but not fast enough for my wife.

Is it a good time to plant right now? I realize it isn't exactly fall but we do a good job of keeping everything watered.

Not a bad time to plant at all. I mentioned grasses earlier, I created a 100 foot border of grasses in our back yard and it's really working out well. They are tough, drought/deer resistant and they add a lot to a landscape. We did groupings of different grasses interspersed with groupings of perennials - rudbekia, cone flowers, coreopsis, aster, and lots of butterfly bushes. The look is very different from the traditional landscape look, but definitely worth considering.

RiverRat13
07-22-2012, 12:52 AM
So my lawn is pretty much dead except for the multitude of weeds growing in it. Can I go ahead and kill the weeds or should I wait until the lawn greens up again? Should I try to deal with the weeds at all this year or wait until next spring?

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:29 PM
Are my poplar trees that have lost nearly all their leaves as of 3 weeks ago completely cooked? Will it help to leave a hose under them?

SunDeck
07-24-2012, 08:33 AM
So my lawn is pretty much dead except for the multitude of weeds growing in it. Can I go ahead and kill the weeds or should I wait until the lawn greens up again? Should I try to deal with the weeds at all this year or wait until next spring?

Now is the time to be doing some lawn repair. Weeds are not germinating, and the grass you have is probably dormant. You could consider a few options; aerate and overseed, slitseed or a complete renovation (killing off everything and starting over). Can't recommend the last one without seeing the yard, but generally I'd say people often go with dynamite when all that's required is a little party popper. At any rate, late Summer is the best time to address issues because seed needs hot weather to germinate quickly and cooler temps when they are just starting to grow.

SunDeck
07-24-2012, 08:36 AM
Are my poplar trees that have lost nearly all their leaves as of 3 weeks ago completely cooked? Will it help to leave a hose under them?

They have probably gone dormant, but that doesn't mean watering won't help. Water thoroughly all the way around the drip line. Also, you won't know how much damage they've suffered until a year or two out, as it usually takes a couple years for deciduous trees to die from stress. If you value these trees, I'd highly recommend a wide, mulched area for the root zone. And call an arborist if you are really worried.

mdccclxix
07-24-2012, 09:21 AM
They have probably gone dormant, but that doesn't mean watering won't help. Water thoroughly all the way around the drip line. Also, you won't know how much damage they've suffered until a year or two out, as it usually takes a couple years for deciduous trees to die from stress. If you value these trees, I'd highly recommend a wide, mulched area for the root zone. And call an arborist if you are really worried.

9-1-1, right?

SunDeck
07-24-2012, 12:13 PM
9-1-1, right?

Not sure what you mean, but if by 911 you are saying it's dire, that's not something I can help you with, absent pictures and a site evaluation. Regionally, Tulip Poplars have had a very bad year, both from an insect infestation and the drought. Least you can do is (or should have been doing) is keeping the root zone well watered. Trees need water- they are tough and can handle a drought year, but you should plan for keeping them watered well from now through next season.

RiverRat13
07-24-2012, 03:18 PM
Now is the time to be doing some lawn repair. Weeds are not germinating, and the grass you have is probably dormant. You could consider a few options; aerate and overseed, slitseed or a complete renovation (killing off everything and starting over). Can't recommend the last one without seeing the yard, but generally I'd say people often go with dynamite when all that's required is a little party popper. At any rate, late Summer is the best time to address issues because seed needs hot weather to germinate quickly and cooler temps when they are just starting to grow.

Gracias!

Roy Tucker
07-26-2012, 10:19 PM
One other comment I'll make is that the emerald ash borer is killing off a lot of the untreated ash trees in the greater Cinci area. It's been very noticeable this summer.

We have a couple ash trees (a purple and a white) in our backyard that I've invested 20 years worth of growth in so I would really hate to lose them. We had them treated last year by an arborist and they are doing great. So if you have some ash trees you want to keep, get them treated pronto. Once they start looking punky from the borer, it's too late.

Redlegs23
08-02-2012, 12:50 PM
We fertilize the lawn in the fall right? Mid to late September?

RedsFan75
08-02-2012, 01:33 PM
Anybody got any sure fire ways to get rid of the moles????

I've tried the trap... got one, but now it's like they tunnel around the trap when I put it in.

I've tried the worm bait/poison, one of them ate half and threw the rest out of the mound

I've even tried some home remedies and tried to flush them out....

Still got mounds popping up, and the wife is about to go nuts at all the damage it's doing to her flowers...

Hoosier Red
08-02-2012, 01:52 PM
Since we're in the midst of a draught and a watering ban, I was wondering if now's a good time to napalm the weeds into submission. Would this give me any advantage when I replant the grass this fall or next spring?

RiverRat13
05-13-2013, 09:49 AM
SunDeck - have you heard any reviews on Fiesta Weed Killer? With a 13-month old and two dogs my wife is anti-traditional herbicide to treat our dandelion epidemic.

http://www.fiestaweedkiller.com/

medford
05-13-2013, 11:54 AM
random question, but figured someone on here would know the answer.

My 4 year old son brought up home a little "starter" sprout the other day from the sitters house, it is (was?) the start of a sunflower, I assume 1 seed, incased in a ball of dirt. It had already sprouted, and had about 2-3 inches of sprout shootting out. My 4 year old, being the 4 year old that he is, handled it more than it should have. Anyhoo, everything appeared to be intact when I stuck it in the ground on sunday, however, as I was putting the dirt back around it, I noticed that the head of the spout had fallen off due to all of the rough handling.

Will the sunflour, respout or continue to grow? I'm assuming not, but other than "throw a handful of seeds in the ground and see what grows" approach, I'm not all that familar with raising any plant from the sprout age to a full fledged blossoming flower. If there's a chance that it could still grow into a sunflower, I'll be sure to pay attention and make sure that it gets water. If not, then it will catch whatever offshot it gets when I water the rose bushes a few feet away.

SunDeck
05-13-2013, 03:33 PM
Sun flowers are pretty tough, but at that stage all plants are pretty fragile. I recommend buying a handful of sunflower seeds and planting them. It's easy for a four year old and there are some truly beautiful varieties, including gigantic ones, a foot across. And now's the time to sow them!

medford
05-13-2013, 04:59 PM
So you're saying the plant is as good as dead? That was my thinking. Honestly, I don't think the 4 year old cares all that much, and personally I don't care for the way a handful of sunflowers look, at least how they would look where I could plant them. A field of sunflowers is pretty cool, but I don't have any space where I could pull that off, or any space where I could pull off a good 3-4 sunflowers in a "tight" cluster.

Now, if we're talking tomatoes, the 4 year old will be all into that in another month, as well as all over picking them off and eathing them before they ever get a chance to get inside the house.

thanks for the response.

SunDeck
05-13-2013, 07:40 PM
If you don't like sunflowers and the kid doesn't care, what's the point? Go buy some tomatoes.

medford
05-14-2013, 10:10 AM
I was mainly trying to figure out if that seedling I planted for him was indeed dead. I like sunflowers, fwiw, I just don't have a spot that I think they'd look anything but "misplaced"

Roy Tucker
05-14-2013, 11:23 PM
So you're saying the plant is as good as dead? That was my thinking. Honestly, I don't think the 4 year old cares all that much, and personally I don't care for the way a handful of sunflowers look, at least how they would look where I could plant them. A field of sunflowers is pretty cool, but I don't have any space where I could pull that off, or any space where I could pull off a good 3-4 sunflowers in a "tight" cluster.

Now, if we're talking tomatoes, the 4 year old will be all into that in another month, as well as all over picking them off and eathing them before they ever get a chance to get inside the house.

thanks for the response.

Another thing kids love to pick and eat (besides their nose) is strawberries. Whenever my strawberries started to get good, the kidd would go back there and eat them. I don't think many ever made it to the house. I didn't mind it at all, worth the entertainment value.