Answering your lawn questions

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2014

SALISBURY — With the arrival of daylight saving time, many have already ventured outside to try to catch up on their lawn maintenance. Fescue lawns, along with winter weeds, are beginning to green up across the county. Most fescue turf usually grows unevenly at the onset. After the first few mowings, fescue will smooth out and will be much neater. Weeds and other issues are still a problem for many home owners. Below are a few gardening questions posed to Cooperative Extension.
Question: How do I kill wild onions in my yard? Is now the time to cut and kill these onions?
Answer: The wild onions growing in your lawn are most likely wild garlic. Most of the broadleaf lawn weed killers with 2,4-D will eliminate the weed. Herbicide applications 10 days apart usually give satisfactory results. Pre-measured hose-on weed control herbicides work well for those with small lawn infestations. Mowing will reduce the growth and possibly weaken the weed, but never completely eliminate the problem.
Question: I planted my fescue a few weeks ago and it still has not germinated. Is it possible that the cold weather has killed the germination of the seed?
Answer: No, not likely. Fescue seed germinates best when the soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees. Even though we’ve had some warm days so far this spring, the soil temperature is still in the 40s. The fescue grass usually germinates within 10 to 14 days of planting.
Question: How soon after I plant my lawn can I use broadleaf weed killers? I have some chickweed and other weeds that are coming up with my fescue.
Answer: The cool season lawn needs to be well established before application of broadleaf herbicides. Fescue lawns that have been mowed at least three times are generally strong enough to withstand an application of broadleaf weed killers.
Question: What is that weed with the purple flower in my yard and how do I control it?
Answer: The weed is either henbit or deadnettle, both related to each other. Post emergence herbicides such as Trimec or Weed-B-Gon will control the weed, but during flowering, the weed is difficult to kill.
Question: I still haven’t had time to fertilize my lawn. Every time I get ready to fertilize my lawn it rains or I have to go out of town. Do I still have time to apply turf fertilizer?
Answer: Yes, but you don’t want to wait too much longer. If you fertilize in late April, you stand a chance of producing excessive growth, which often succumbs to brown patch. Apply slow release turf fertilizers soon.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970, Facebook or online at