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Danelle Cutting: Questions pouring in on lawns, weeds

Hands-on training

Cooperative Extension Bill Cline shows how to prune mature blueberries at Pine Top Blueberry Farm.

Cooperative Extension Bill Cline shows how to prune mature blueberries at Pine Top Blueberry Farm.

Even though the weather is unpredictable, calls concerning weeds, fertilizing and pruning have been constant this week. Below are some of the concerns that Rowan County citizens have had. As always, if you have a question concerning your lawn, pests or any gardening issues, give us a call.

Question: How much fertilizer should I put on my lawn? I want to make sure that I do not burn it, and I want enough to make it stay green.

Answer: There are no perfect lawns, unless you get AstroTurf; then, I can guarantee your lawn will be green yearround. But if you are like most homeowners who have a cool-season grass like fescue, you may start thinking about fertilizing.

I am not one who likes to provide a standard fertilizer before having a soil sample completed. Soil sample kits are available for free from our office. The only cost is shipping and the $4 cost of results. The analysis has also been coming back within two weeks. This gives you a perfect amount of time to get your soil sample turned in and the results you need to find out the exact amount and kind of fertilizer your lawn wants.

This will save you time and money because fertilizers are not cheap and if you just put out any kind of fertilizer without knowing what your lawn actually wants, then you are just wasting money and not helping your lawn. If you have a warm-season lawn like Bermuda grass, you will wait until around May to apply fertilizer.

You should also soil sample warm-season lawns before you buy fertilizer. Once you have the soil sample reports, we can figure out what kind and how much fertilizer your lawn needs.

Question: I am having issues with weeds! Can I use any herbicide to control my problems?

Answer: This is where proper identification needs to happen. There are lots of ways to control weeds before chemical control. We like to go through the process of cultural control first, which is proper identification. You can bring a weed sample to the office for identification, but please bring the entire weed. Then, see if soil amendments can be made to remove the issue; a soil sample should be completed first. If the weed cannot be controlled through cultural means, maybe mechanical control can help. Sometimes, you may need to lower the mow height or hand weeding.

Chemical control needs to be done last to help prevent resistance. There are two options (pre-emergent and post-emergent control). Pre-emergent products help control weeds before they start growing. Proper weed identification needs to be made so that the pre-emergent product works like it should. So, this process can take at least a year to get good control.

Post-emergent products are then applied directly to the weed or over the entire area to get good coverage. Some products do not cause issues to other landscape plants and some can cause problems to the lawn. Cooperative Extension can aid in identification and selecting the best control method.

Question: I missed the blueberry pruning demonstration. Will you have more?

Answer: I hate you missed the class. It was a blast. However, we had so much demand for an additional class that we are now working on a second date, so stay tuned for more details. The second program looks like it will be in March. We are trying to secure a date and location.

You may also be interested in the Peach Pruning workshop being held Feb. 17 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Huffman Peach Farm (4825 Goodman Lake Road). RSVPs for the Peach Pruning class are required. There are also a few more spaces in the Fruit Class later that day at 1 p.m. Once again, RSVPs are required to attend any of these events.

If you have questions concerning weeds, fertilizing, or you would like to RSVP to any of the events mentioned in this article, call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.

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