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Blackwelder: Tackle outdoor chores as cooler weather arrives

The weather is getting cooler, hinting of a change in weather and time to think about some work outdoors. With cooler weather nearing, it’s time to consider lawn renovation, last minute pruning, dividing perennials and other gardening chores. Below are a few questions that Cooperative Extension has received over the past few days
Question: In your article last week, you spoke about turf type blends. Exactly what do you mean when you were speaking of a turf blend?
Answer: Many companies sell fescue as blends that will contain different seed cultivars. Example of blends would be Diamond, Shady Nook, Rebel Supreme, and Confederate. These contain three or more different kinds of turf type fescue, and bluegrass is often included in these blends.
 Blending different cultivars helps reduce the spread of fungal diseases such as brown patch and often allows lawns to become better established in shady areas. Every bag, regardless of size, must be labeled with the mixture blends. Go to http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/PDFFiles/004175/Carolina_Lawns.pdf for more detailed information.

Question: I was mowing grass near our pond and found giant, clear blobs floating in the water. Is this some type of fungus? Will it kill our fish?
Answer: What you have is a bryozoans, or “moss animals.” These are aquatic organisms, living for the most part in colonies of interconnected individuals. Many millions of these individuals may form one large colony. These are more of an oddity than a detriment. These will not kill fish. Scientists are experimenting with compounds derived from these organisms for anti-cancer drugs.

Question: I want to core aerate, seed, add lime and fertilize my lawn this weekend.  Do I have to wait a couple weeks before I can add my seed? Answer: No, you can do all the tasks in one day. Be sure to aerate first, and then add seed and fertilizer.

Question: I am going to aerate and reseed my lawn. I spoke to my neighbor and he told me that if I keep the lawn evenly irrigated it didn’t need mulch.  I don’t like to use mulch because of the weeds. Will I have a stand of grass without straw mulch?
Answer: Yes your grass will germinate, but, it will germinate much quicker and be stronger if you use some type of mulch. Try to use clean wheat straw. Some home improvement stores have paper mulch that are completely inert with no seeds and also contains a starter fertilizer. This type of mulch works well for small renovation projects.

Darrell Blackwelder is the county extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970, online at www. rowanextension.com or on Facebook.

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