Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Surprise! Now is the best time to seed your lawn.

Whether you decide to seed or sod, start with soil preparation. Your best long-term quality lawn depends on what you do with your soil before you seed or sod. Select a good soil amendment such as Earth Essentials Sheep, Peat and Compost. This organic product is produced locally. A one cubic foot bag will cover about 15 square feet, one inch deep. You'll want to combine the compost with the existing soil, using ½ amendment and ½ existing soil. Rake the area, then water thoroughly. Good soil is the key to having a healthy lawn.

When selecting grass seed, you need to consider several factors. Is your site sunny or shady? How much traffic will the lawn get? Do the kids and the pets play on it? As a general rule, fescues do best in shade. Perennial ryes and bluegrass are better for sunny and semi-shady sites. You can buy single seed or mixed (blue grass, perennial rye and fescue) combinations.  

Seed can be purchased bulk or bagged. Buying bulk is convenient because you can purchase the amount you need. Generally, a pound of grass seed will cover about 125 square feet.

Rake the area to be seeded. You want the seed to come in contact with the soil. Apply Fertilome New Lawn Starter, rake it in and water the area.

Now apply the grass seed. For small areas, you came simply hand sow. For larger areas, use a fertilizer spreader. Next, cover the seed lightly with compost, peat moss or Straw Net and water thoroughly.
Once the seed is wet, it must be kept moist. If the seed sprouts and then dries out, it will die. Watering twice a day is usually sufficient, but if it’s hot and windy, you may have to water three times a day. Perennial rye and fescue seed will germinate in 10-12 days. Bluegrass seed can take between 21-28 days to germinate.

These are general guidelines for seeding your lawn. We encourage you to stop in and discuss your specific lawn questions with us. That way, we can help you select the right seed for your situation.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tips to prolong your tomato harvest.

It’s the middle of August and the tomato harvest is in full swing. Like most years, some tomatoes turned out great and some didn’t. Here and there, something didn’t go quite right. Here’s a look at a few of problems that are correctable and can help improve your harvest.

The blossoms on my tomatoes keep falling off. You can help by gently shaking the plant to help move the pollen around. Spray with blossom set. Water deeply every third day. Mulch your plants.

Black spots on the end of tomatoes are caused by calcium deficiency. Spray weekly with a calcium supplement.

Fertilome Yield Booster comes in a convenient ready-to-use spray bottle. Age Old Organics Ca-Libur 20, is a 20% concentrated product that can be sprayed on the plant or added to the soil.
The tops of my tomatoes crack. This is called cat facing. Cat facing is a disorder, not a disease. Removed deformed fruit so that the plant can put energy into growing healthy tomatoes.



Something's chewing up my leaves. Look for tomato hornworm. Pick them off or spray with Thuricide.
The fruit on my plants look funny. You may have insect problems. Tiny insects called thrips can carry disease issues to your plants. Spray with Fertilome Triple Action.

Follow these tips to prolong your fall harvest. As always, if you have a question, bring a sample to the Diagnostic Center. Pets welcome.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Can a fungus really be good for my plants?

What are mycorrhizae fungi and why are they important to my plants? The term mycorrhizal comes from the Greek words mykes (fungus)  and rhiza (root). Mycorrhizal fungi develop beneficial relationships with plant root systems.
The plant does the above ground work and the fungi work underground to gather nutrients and protect the roots. The plant benefits because of increased availability of water and nutrients and in turn the mycorrhizae thrive and increase from the nourishment the plant provides.
Mycorrhizae will also improve clay-based soils by separating the clay molecules to improve  air and water movement around the plant’s roots. In sandy soils, these root networks help improve moisture retention.
Why do I have to add fungi to my soil.  In nature undisturbed soils are abundant with fungi and plants can more easily form a natural relationship with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. Since we live in areas where the soils have been disturbed through digging, tilling, moving soil around, it’s necessary to re-establish many of these organisms.
How do I get mycorrhizae into my soils? There are two ways to reintroduce beneficial mycorrhizae fungi. First, use a soil with mycorrhizal fungus in it.
This will greatly increase plant performance.
Second, add mycorrhizae using a liquid, water soluble or granular application. This can applied to new plantings or to established plants.

Mycorrhizal fungi need plant roots to survive, so it is important to apply close to the roots, where it will colonize and spread. Simply mix the appropriate amount of mycorrhizae with water and pour it close to the roots of your plants. You can use on edibles as well as ornamentals.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Now's the time to feed your lawn.

Is your lawn showing some summer stress?  You can help reduce the effect of summer’s heat, by applying Fertilome’s Lawn Food Plus Iron now. Fertilome’s Lawn Food Plus Iron contains a slow release nitrogen and chelated iron, to green your lawn now and keep it green through the rest of summer. Chelated iron is an important element of this fertilizer, because it allows your grass to take up iron it normally cannot get from the soil.

Correct watering  will also help your lawn. Watering longer and less frequently develops a deeper root system, enabling your lawn to better withstand the rigors of late summer. Whether you’re using a sprinkler system or hand watering, it’s important to know how much water your lawns getting. Pick up a simple rain gauge and measure the amount of water your lawn is getting.  The most efficient time to water is early morning, before sunrise. It’s cooler and less windy, so there’s less evaporation.

Now is also the time to add some Revive®. Revive® acts to help break down the surface tension and allow water to penetrate better. The water you apply becomes more efficient. Revive can also help the lawn take up more of the naturally existing elements in your soil; zinc and iron, for example.
Revive® is available in liquid and granular. They both work. Choose the one that is easier for you to apply. Use Revive® twice a year, spring and now.