NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 10, 2010 Horticulture Column


The old saying goes, May showers bring May flowers, well, somehow this terminology got a little mixed up.  I had a very strong hunch that we were in for a surprise when April was so nice. I do hope that many of you planted any tender annuals to include flowers and garden vegetables.  Our average frost date is May 20, which means we have plenty of time left for that old man frost to appear.  I have been out working in my yard and even mowed the south part of my yard last Thursday.  My snow mold spots are not responding to the warmer temperatures and are in need of some tender, loving care.  So, I mowed the grass and then spread 2 pounds of grass seed over those areas.  I then went over the whole lawn and applied another pound of seed.  I have done this for many years with the sole purpose of keeping the lawn fresh.  I also applied 2 pounds of nutrients per 100 square feet.  There are many different types of fertilizers to use.  The nutrient in most need, this time of year would be Nitrogen.  Nitrogen is the first number in the formula of fertilizer.  Phosphorus is the second number and potash being the last number.  It does not hurt to apply either of those two products with only a more concentrated amount in the fall.  The fall application enhances root development, for the long cold winter season ahead, but for now we want nice dark green grass and Nitrogen is the key.  The last thing to mention about lawn care is the type of grass seed to use.  Grass seed comes in many different percentages of usually Kentucky Blue grass, Creeping Red Fescue and Perennial Rye grass.  The grasses are each used for different situations.  Kentucky Blue grass is the most common grass for lawn care.  This grass likes sun and water and is quite durable.  Creeping Red Fescue and Perennial Rye grass is in most mixes to take the guess work out of which grass grows where.  The last two mentioned grasses are very adaptable to low sun light areas and also a little more tolerant to drought.  They do a very good job in other areas of the lawn as well.  Last but not least is weed control.  Weed control can be a difficult task as many different things can happen.  First and foremost, we as gardeners are very adept at looking a weed and say you need to go, however, we very often life to give an overdose of the chemical as “if a little is good, more must be better”.  This objective does two things: it only burns off the upper leaves and does not allow good penetration in to the root system and more importantly we are finding more and more weeds becoming resistant to herbicides.  Because the plant has made it through the original herbicide application (leaves smoked off but the roots not killed) we find it harder and harder to control weeds the following years.

This does not relate to horticulture but would like to invite any of you interested in competing against our Ramsey County Shooting Sports program shotgun team.  This team of four shot gunner’s is heading to the national Shooting Sports competition in Texas and is doing a fund raising project.  This project is inviting anyone to challenge their team in a shoot out, at the Lake Region Shooting Club range.   For more information contact our office or Darin McDonald.       


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