NDSU Extension - Ramsey County

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May 6, 2013 Horticulture Column

Gardening in your yard

I imagine you have likely worked in your yard over the weekend.  It was a beautiful weekend for doing those types of activities; however you also have occurred some snow still left in your yard.  If you have you had better best wait for those spring clean up activities.  You can do more harm but being in your yard to early.  Compaction, tearing or disturbing any new plants trying to come out of dormancy, leaving indents in your yard from your lawnmower and or your vehicle.  I now that not all of you experience that problem of still snow in your yard but it is more common than you think.  Another word of caution is the use of a pesticide this time of year.  There is many really good products that are available but weeds do not become active until the soil temperature reaches about 50 degrees.  So why do an operation that might be for naught and have to make another application later.  Remember most products we use have application timing and length of time a pesticide will have an active ingredient. 

Snow mold was a real big problem over most areas of our community due to the length of the snow on our lawns.  Snow mold looks like fine webbing in the grass and/or mold and can be very devastating to your lawn grass.  We need to get those areas raked as soon as possible to allow those areas to dry out.  As we all know mold comes from wet areas and the same holds true for snow mold.  I would encourage you, as you rake those areas out, to apply a small amount of grass seed to those areas as snow mold usually does kill off some grass.  Depending on the area, if you have a full sun area use a Kentucky Blue grass mix.  If you have more shade to shady use either a perennial rye grass or a fescue grass.  These grass types can be found here locally at your local nursery supplier.  Lastly, to help discourage snow mold, the next growing season, cut your lawn short during the last fall clipping. 

Speaking of clipping your grass short, during the summer season try to mow your grass at least 2.5-3 inches tall.  This does m any things like keep the ground cooler for a better growing plant, conserves moisture and makes your lawn look more lush.  I know some of you will say that we have to mow our grass more often and that is not true.  The grass could grow a little more than usual because of the saved moisture from cooler ground temperatures.  To contradict myself about taller grass, if you have a snake problem mow your grass shorter as snakes like taller grass to hide in.    

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