Video of the Week:
Crabgrass Prevention in Lawns
Seeding Cool-Season Lawns in the Spring
- Some of the most serious lawn weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail emerge in the spring. Since they are warm-season weeds, they will compete and often crowd out young, tender cool-season grasses during the heat of summer.
- The most stressful time of year for cool-season grasses is summer, not winter. Poorly established lawns may die out during the summer due to heat and drought stress.
- A lawn often gets more use during the summer, leading to increased compaction and traffic stress.
If an area needs to be established in the spring, sodding is much more likely to be successful than seeding. Sodding provides stronger, more mature plants that are better able to withstand stress and prevent weed invasion. (Ward Upham)
Controlling Weeds in Strawberries
Fertilizing the Home Orchard
Trees 1 to 2 years old, apply one-fourth cup of fertilizer per tree;
Trees 3 to 4 years old, apply one-half cup per tree;
Trees 5 to 10 years old, apply 1 to 2 cups per tree;
Trees more than 10 years old, apply 2 to 3 cups.
You may also use nitrate of soda (16-0-0) but double the rate recommended above. If a soil test calls for phosphorus and potassium, use a 10-10-10 but triple the rate.
On apple trees, last year's growth should be 8 to 10 inches, cherries should have 10 to 12 inches, and peaches should equal 12 to 15 inches of terminal growth. If less than this, apply the higher rate of fertilizer, and if more, apply the lesser amount.
Spread all fertilizer evenly on the ground away from the trunk of the tree and to the outer spread of the branches. Water in the fertilizer. (Ward Upham)
Ants in the Home
In the end, homeowners are often left with two strategies: sanitation and baits. Eliminating crumbs, grease, scraps or other food materials will help discourage ant invasions. Ants use the most easily accessible food sources, which leads to use of baits. By using bait materials the ants like, you can trick them into taking the insecticide back to the nest where it is fed to the queen and other members of the colony. Over time the nest will be destroyed.
There are a number of commercially available homeowner formulations that contain both the bait and insecticide and come pre-packaged in a child-resistant station. If ant activity increases around the newly set bait station, do not worry. The insecticides are meant to be slow acting so the product can be transported back to the colony before the worker dies. Unfortunately, not all ants are attracted to the same baits. Also, the food preference of ants may change over time. If one bait product isn't attractive, try another. (Ward Upham)
First Generation Nantucket Pine Tip Moth
This is a pest primarily of scotch, ponderosa and mugo pines. Thanks to Willy Goevert of 4C Christmastree Farm that does the local pheromone trapping and monitoring of this pest. We realize that not every susceptible tree cannot be sprayed on the same day, but for Christmastree growers it is best to treat the scotch pines on that day if possible. (Bob Neier)
There are a number of plants that attract butterflies. However, different species of butterflies prefer different plants. Using a variety of plant material that vary in blooming times of day and year helps attract a diverse group of visitors. Plant groups of the same plant together; a single plant is difficult for a butterfly to detect. If trying to attract a certain species of butterfly, learn which plant(s) that butterfly prefers, and then emphasize that plant in your planting. Annuals that attract butterflies include ageratum, cosmos, French marigold, petunia, verbena and zinnia.
Perennials and shrubs can be split into those that bloom early, mid-season and late. Good choices for those that bloom early are allium, chives, forget-me-not and lilac. Bee balm, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susan, buttonbush, butterfly weed, daisy, daylily, gaillardia, lavender, lily, mint, phlox, privet, sunflower and veronica are fitting picks for mid-season bloom. Late bloomers include aster, glossy abelia and sedum.
There are other things you can do to encourage butterflies. Butterflies are cold-blooded and like open areas where they can sun themselves on cool days and shade to cool off when the sun is too intense.
Butterflies also need water. A simple way to make a butterfly pool is to take a bucket, fill it with gravel, and bury it to the rim. Now add water, sugar water or sweet drinks so that the butterflies can land on the gravel but still reach the liquid.
Our Johnson County Master Gardeners have put together a site on butterfly gardening that gives more detailed information at http://www.johnson.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=117 Don’t overlook the left-hand column that gives the major divisions of information. (Ward Upham)
Setting Up Water Teepees
The bucket works much better if it is modified by taking the handle off and drilling a hole (use a hole saw bit) in the bottom of the bucket. Place the bucket upside down over the plant you wish to protect and place the water teepee over the bucket. Now the bucket will support the teepee as it is filled. Once the teepee is filled, the bucket can be removed by sticking your finger into the hole and pulling straight up. You may also want to support the teepee after it is filled by using a metal rod (rebar or an electric fence post) on the inside of the teepee. The metal rod is pushed into the soil to keep the teepee from collapsing from high winds. (Ward Upham)
Contributors: Bob Neier, Sedgwick County Horticultural Agent; Ward Upham, Extension Associate