NDSU Extension - Morton County


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May 18, 2020 New Horticulturist & Memorial Day, Great Time to Fertilize Lawn

Karla Meikle, Extension Agent/4-H Youth Development


Dates to Remember:

May 21: In depth perspective of Local meats Webinar: Challenges and Opportunities, 7pm

May 26:  In depth perspective of The Beef Checkoff Webinar 7pm


Horticulture Agent Begins

 The NDU Extension office in Morton County is excited to introduce you to Kelsey Decker, the new Horticulture Agent for Burleigh and Morton County.  She started her duties on May 1st.

Kelsey has served as the 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent in Burleigh County since October 2019. She worked as the Agriculture Education teacher in Wing, ND from January 2017 through June 2019 and has done stints in the Burleigh County Extension office each summer since 2013, either as a summer intern or Extension program assistant.  During her time in the Burleigh County office, Kelsey has fielded countless calls and public inquiries related to horticulture, has worked with Master Gardeners and the Junior Master Gardener program, and has delivered horticulture programs in person or through mass media.

The Burleigh-Morton County horticulture agent position was created to better serve the needs of our second largest urban area of the state and to respond to ever-increasing needs for horticulture programming in the area. Kelsey’s knowledge of local horticulture issues, her relationships with local stakeholders, her desire to help others, and her skill as an educator will allow her to immediately address local horticulture programming needs.

Kelsey is very excited to be in this role as she has a great passion for horticulture and educating both youth and adults in the area of horticulture. 


Memorial Day: A Great Time to Fertilize Your Lawn

Fertilize your lawn around Memorial Day to support its growth and reduce the stresses of summer.

Did you fertilize your lawn yet? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t. The best time to feed your lawn in spring is near Memorial Day, not earlier.

The key to a thick, healthy turf is a strong root system. When your turf wakes up after winter, it naturally wants to develop roots and build up its energy reserves. If you fertilize early in spring, your lawn will skip this phase and immediately go to producing more grass blades.

Lawns fertilized early in spring may appear to be robust since they are mowed more often, but the individual grass plants are drawing from their limited energy reserves. This makes the lawn more susceptible to stress from diseases and summer heat.

Its better to wait until Memorial Day. Let your turf focus on root growth in early spring. Once temps warm up in mid-May, the plants will naturally change its focus to blade growth. A fertilization around Memorial Day will support this growth, maintain food reserves in the plants, and prepare the turf for the stresses of summer.

A few other quick points:

  • Use a lawn fertilizer that contains some slow-release nitrogen. Examples include isobutylidene diurea (IBDU), polymer-coated urea, sulfur-coated urea and organic sources. This will gradually feed the lawn for several weeks.
  • Irrigate your lawn after fertilizing. This increases the effectiveness of the fertilizer and prevents fertilizer from running off the surface after a thunderstorm.
  • Apply the fertilizer in two directions (for example, north/south and then east/west). This will give you more uniform coverage and prevent striping.
  • Lawns are generally fertilized at the rate of 1.0 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Shady areas grow slower and require less fertilizer.
  • Follow the instructions on the bag.


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