NDSU Extension Service - Traill County


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Traill County Extension

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grass mowingMowing Lawns

So far, this summer has started out on the dry side. The moisture we received earlier in the week should help the grass begin to bounce back. Let’s mow the lawn properly so we can keep it healthy and growing well.

Cut your lawn TALL and let the grass clippings FALL.

A tall turf will:
• shade the soil and protect it from the heat of summer;
• develop a deep root system; and
• reduce weed populations since the tall grass blades smother emerging weed seedlings.

Cut your lawn between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. Tall heights are especially beneficial during summer and for low-maintenance conditions. Follow the “one-third rule.” Avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade at any time. Cutting too much of the grass will slow its regrowth. It will expose the soil more, which leads to drought stress and the establishment of more weeds. Using this “one-third rule” as a guide, if you kept your lawn at 3 inches, you would cut it when it is no more than 4.5 inches tall. Thus, the timing for mowing your lawn is dependent on its rate of growth. You may need to mow every 5 days in spring, but every 5 weeks in summer.

You don’t need to collect clippings. Your lawn wants those clippings. The clippings will shade the soil and conserve moisture. The clippings will recycle nutrients to the soil—it is like getting a free fertilization every year. If you mow regularly, clippings will not create a thatch problem. Clippings are mainly water and they will quickly decompose. The exception is when your lawn gets neglected and grows very tall. Excessively tall grass when mowed can gather in clumps on the lawn. This can smother the turf. Tall blades can get more fibrous and become slower to decompose—this can lead to an accumulation of thatch. In these cases it is wise to collect these clippings. Mow when grass is dry. This will reduce clumping and help to mulch the grass blades finer.

Use a sharp mower blade. A sharp blade will make a clean cut. Dull blades will tear the tips of leaf blades. The damaged leaf blades will develop a brown tip. Frayed blades lose water more quickly and become more susceptible to diseases. Depending on how much turf you cut, you may need to sharpen or replace your blade every year.

Drought Creeps Deeper Into N.D.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 25 percent of North Dakota is in a moderate drought.

“As the drought conditions are worsening in some parts, they are developing or showing early signs of drought in other parts of the state,” says Adnan Akyuz, professor of climatological practice at North Dakota State University and North Dakota’s state climatologist.

Counties that are in moderate drought are Bottineau, Renville, Ward, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Oliver, Burleigh, Morton, Grant, Sioux, Emmons, Kidder, Stutsman, Barnes, Cass, Logan, McIntosh, LaMoure, Dickey, Ransom, Sargent and Richland.

After completing the ninth wettest six-month period, which ended in February, the precipitation pattern started to change, according to Akyuz.

The entire state is showing less than average precipitation during the last three-month period. Portions of central and south-central North Dakota received only 25 to 50 percent of normal precipitation during this period, and even less in some areas.

Spring so far has been the 15th driest in Fargo, seventh driest in Bismarck, 10th driest in Minot and 17th driest in Jamestown.

High winds not only are causing the top soil to dry out quickly, but they’re also causing top soil to drift, and even causing blowing dust in central parts of the state.

“If average temperatures were not as cool as they have been, and if we did not follow a significantly wet six-month period, conditions would be worse,” Akyuz says.

He predicts the dry conditions will persist throughout the summer.

Visit http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ to see the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Be Safe – Tips for Preventing Tick BitesWood Tick

Of the several kinds of ticks in North Dakota, the one that is most bothersome to people and their pets is the American dog tick, also called the wood tick. American dog ticks are most active during spring and early summer, when they can attach themselves to the skin of people or their pets.

Wood ticks are found in large numbers in tall, grassy fields or in areas with dense underbrush. They feed on the blood of rodents and small animals, remaining on the animal for several days before dropping off and laying their eggs.

If you are in the tick-infested area, carefully examine your clothing and body for ticks. Pets should also be checked daily for ticks during the season. Although ticks can "hitchhike" into your home, they cannot successfully reproduce indoors.

To remove a tick that is imbedded in skin, grasp it very close to the skin with tissue paper held in your fingers. Then pull it straight out. The mouth parts are short and should come completely out.

Another method is to smother the tick with petroleum jelly. Within 10 to 20 minutes, it should begin to back itself out and you can remove it. Never try to remove a tick by crushing it in your fingers. The mouth parts may be left in the skin and an infection can occur. Do not use a hot match or cigarette to remove ticks as skin can burn easily.

When you know you will be walking through a tick-infested area, use an insect repellent. Choose a repellent with a high percentage of the active ingredient Deet or use Permanone tick repellent. Apply the repellent on socks, trouser legs and cuffs, shirt sleeves, and other parts of your clothing / that may brush the tall vegetation where ticks concentrate. Do not apply to skin.

Pets should also be protected against ticks. Check with your veterinarian for a recommended product.

Traill County Courthouse


NDSU Extension Service/Traill County
114 Caledonia Ave. W.
Box 730 (mailing address)
Hillsboro, ND 58045
Phone:  701-636-5665   
Fax: 701-636-5666

Office Hours:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Summer Office Hours:
(Memorial Day - Labor Day)
7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.,  Monday-Thursday
8 a.m. - Noon, Friday


Related Links:
NDSU Extension Service
North Dakota Department of Agriculture

Traill County
City of Hillsboro
Cities of Mayville-Portland
City of Hatton

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