Although the weather today on March 26th does not feel much like a spring day, the calendar says that spring is here. Many of you will soon begin to scrutinize your lawns and decide it is time to renew or replace. If your lawn is not healthy, your first step should be a soil test as your soil conditions have a huge impact on the state of your lawn. Your soil report will contain recommendations on how much and what type of fertilizer you might need to perk up your lawn. If you have lots of weeds, disease or fungus in the grass and are not sure what your plan of action should be, you can also send off lawn and soil samples to help identify the problems and possible solutions. There are many givens, such as the amount of sun or shade, that can’t be easily changed. At this point the homeowner may have to decide what level of imperfection he/she can tolerate.
If you have decided to replace your lawn (or perhaps are installing one for the first time), there is a lot of information that you should gather about your site before you choose a turf grass. Just as with ornamentals and trees where we strive to choose the right plant for the right place, we also want to choose the right grass for the right place. Please take note of your environmental conditions: whether the grass will be in sun or shade; whether you have poor or good drainage; whether you are able to keep your lawn watered, the type of soil (clay, sand) in your yard, and what your soil pH (acid or alkaline soil) is.
More questions need answers to help the homeowner determine the best turf for the site: how much time and effort and money are you willing to spend maintaining your lawn? How much work do you personally want to do to keep up your lawn? (Some folks refer to centipede as the lazy man's grass because fertilizing too much can ruin it; however, it is very picky about its growing conditions.) Do you enjoy watering, mowing, fertilizing, etc.? What kind of turf are you looking for: a lawn that looks like a golf course or are you happy with a peaceful green lawn with a few weeds here and there? Another important consideration is how much use will your lawn get. There are lawns, like centipede, which do not react well to lots of foot traffic; thus, if you have a team of young soccer players, perhaps centipede is not for you.
One of the most important considerations for the homeowner to evaluate is how much shade the lawn will get. Grass and full shade do not go hand in hand. The more light a lawn gets the better it will grow, but our blazing hot summers and continued droughts can also be very stressful on a lawn.
Once you have thought through some of these issues, consider consulting the many publications available either online at ACES.edu or at our local Extension Office on Noble Street for information regarding specific turfgrasses, planting times as well as the best planting and care techniques. A healthy lush lawn is a delight but like the rest of gardening requires thought, preparation, and continued effort.
Many thanks to Dr. David Han from Auburn University whose class on turgrasses for our MG intern training class was the inspiration and factual source for this blog.
May 22 “Alabama the Beautiful”
Lisa Harris, Scenic Alabama
June 26 “A Simple Water Feature for the Garden”
Hayes Jackson, ACES
July 24 “Herb Gardening”
Dani Carroll, ACES
August 28 “Getting to Know the Talladega
National Forest: Part 2"
Jonathan Stober, District Biologist
September 25 “Gardening for Dry Places”
Hayes Jackson, ACES
Speakers & topics subject to change.
Contact the Extension Office to confirm. 256 237 1621
Join the Calhoun County Tree Amigos Master Gardeners for the first plant sale of the season. Unusual perennials, trees, and shrubs will be featured at the sale, Saturday, April 20th, 8am - noon, Cane Creek Community Gardens at McClellan.
Sale proceeds benefit the Tree Amigos program. For information please call 256-237-1621.
Two weeks ago at our Master Gardener training class Dr. Jim Jacobi, an Auburn pathologist, discussed the many diseases–viral and bacterial, etc. that can afflict our beloved plants. One of those that really caught my attention was Rose Rosette disease. This is not a new disease but due to the widespread use of Knockout Roses in landscapes the plant pathologists are seeing a huge rise in outbreaks of this disease. Knockout Roses appear to be very susceptible to this disease. It is spread by a mite on wild roses but the mites are finding our Knockouts and having a field day. Symptoms of RRD are witches broom on the rose stem, red pigmentation of new growth, and excessive thorns. Before you completely panic, new growth on all Knockouts is red but when you have RRD the growth stays red. Up in North Alabama hundreds of roses were taken out of a park. There is no chemical to treat this disease. The only way to rid your garden of it is to get rid of the rose–root and all. Then throw it away, do not compost it. The disease is in the branches so good hygiene is really essential when you prune your roses. Clippers should be cleaned with chlorox.
Pay careful attention to the next sentence. If you are concerned you may have RRD in your garden, do not start tearing your hair and roses out. Please take a sample down to the great folks at our Calhoun County Extension Office and let them send the sample to the pathology lab.
Here is a link to a very informative article:
PUBLICATION 450-620. Rose Rosette Disease. Chuan Hong, Extension Plant Pathologist, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center ...
WEDNESDAY’S LIST . . . of beans ’n greens ’n other things:
DON’T TELL me I’ve nothing to do.
From the window of my barn I see Ozzie coming through the hedgerow from next door. I like Ozzie a lot, but I’m not sure he feels the same. Efforts to pet and feed over the years have been a flop at best.
What Ozzie likes to do is hunt. I mean really hunt.
You see, Ozzie is a brindle, bob-tailed, three-legged cat and he loves to feed on whatever he can find in the hedgerow across my back yard, including field mice and squirrels.
Ozzie is flat out deadly, too.
Since losing his right front leg to a tumor a couple of years back, he has taught himself a new way to hunt. He keeps stalking to a minimum. But with the patience of Job, he settles down and waits for a meal to come within striking distance.
When the meal does, it’s “Wham” and Ozzie heads for the dinner table.
He’s a wonder to watch ...
IT IS A typical day at the Smith Estate. I am out in my barn kicked back in what I call “Archie’s Recliner.” I am reading a book, listening to Merle Haggard on the stereo, and watching TV (how’s that for multi-tasking, huh?) The blonde is out and about.
The phone rings. It is from the blonde. She is at Sears in the Quintard Mall ...
“Sweetheart, I’m at Sears looking at vacuum cleaners. I can get a small one to go with a regular one. What do you think I should do?”
Recovering from the shock of her asking my permission for anything, I agree to the double dip and then make a mistake with “What’s going on, you asking my permission?”
From the other end, there is a happy laugh with:
“It’d be different if it were shoes and a dress.”
I managed a quiet goodbye (without choking), hung up, and went back to singing along with Merle. It seemed fitting he was in the middle of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Here And Drink” at the time.
JOE ESTEP deserves a standing ovation. Joe runs the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame and, this past Saturday night, put together another classic.
Held at the “new” Oxford Civic Center, the 2013 induction played to a near packed house.
Outstanding Joe, outstanding.
FOR THOSE asking, the Peach Man’s tomatoes are a week away, but Ken Easterling will be at Regions in Oxford on Friday morning at 6 with another load of Chilton County peaches.
If no sell-out in Oxford he heads for the Anniston post office along about 8 . . . but don’t bet he gets there.
IF YOU’RE lining up at the Walmart deli at Lenlock, I hope you get lucky and a young lady by the name of Vanesa Durham waits on you. She did for me a few days back and while I’ve had an unpleasant moment or two there, Vanesa left me feeling pretty good.
Walmart could use more like her.
BIRTHDAYS: June 12 – Annette Vice; June 14 – Sage Snow; June 15 – Twins Brettnie and Dakota Smith; June 17 – Aiden Lloyd; 11; June 18 – Don Beabout.
And Jeff Jones, June 17. A member of a vanishing breed (The Great Generation), Jeff drove a “weasel” jeep ashore at Normandy, June 6, 1944.
QUOTABLE: “My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down - but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let's all have another round.”
Thanks for visiting ...
George Smith may be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.