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Darrell Blackwelder: Lawn-care questions grow like weeds

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY – Uncertain weather patterns have many people wondering what the next step is with their lawns.
Recent rains and warmer than normal temperatures have sparked a number of questions concerning newly seeded lawns. Below are a few questions posed to Cooperative Extension over the past few days.
Q: I have seeded my lawn with a premium fescue blend and it looks very good. It is still growing but there seems to be taller than normal grass seedlings intermixed with the emerging grass. It grows taller and has a wider blade. What is this grass and what are the control measures?
A: The grass is most likely annual ryegrass. Most premium fescue cultivars are produced in Oregon. According to turf specialists, a statewide law passed in Oregon prohibits burning of turf fields. Burning the fields helped reduce ryegrass problems for commercial producers. However, with this new law in effect, annual ryegrass has become a problem weed in some fescue turf blends. The ryegrass in your lawn will die in the summer. There is no feasible control for the grass.
Q: Is there still time to over-seed fescue lawns?
A: Yes, but don’t wait too long. There is still plenty of time to seed or over-seed weak lawns.
Q: I have a weed in my yard that looks much like a strawberry. What is this weed and how do I kill it?
A: The weed is India mock strawberry. It is a perennial weed that can be difficult to control. Two applications of broadleaf weed killer 10 days apart usually give satisfactory results.
Q: How soon after I plant my lawn can I use weed killers to control emerging weeds?
A: The newly seeded lawn should be well established before applying broad-leafed herbicides. Mow your lawn at least 3-4 times before applying herbicides. Hose-on type applicators work very well. Post emergence herbicides can be applied almost any time of year to control broadleaf weeds. However, control is best when the seedlings are newly emerging.
Q: How soon after my fescue germinates can I mow the grass?
A: Fescue should be cut when the newly emerging grass reaches about 4 inches. Raise the mower as high as it will go and mow. Make sure the blade is very sharp.
Q: Why do you always recommend a blend of turf type fescues?
A: A blend of turf type fescues and bluegrass survives brown patch and other disease problems much better than a mono culture or single cultivar fescues.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970
www.rowanmastergardener.com
rowan.ces.ncsu.edu
www.rowanextension.com

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