Beneficial Insects Create a Garden to Attract Beneficial Insects

To encourage high beneficial insect populations design your garden to incorporate a variety of flowering plants rich in nectar and pollen.  Choose cultivars with easily accessible pollen found in plants with a single layer of petals or a tubular flower form.  Common herbs, wildflowers, and scented plants are all attractive to beneficial insects.  Do not clear out dead foliage in the fall, this is an important habitat for beneficial over the winter.  Read more »

What's Under Your Soil? Work on the Down Low to Improve What’s on Top

Horticulturists agree that time spent improving what is happening below the surface of a lawn greatly reduces the time needed to maintain what is on top of it.  The ideal soil for grass meets five requirements: 1) it is slightly acidic; 2) it contains an adequate supply of nutrients; 3) it allows for deep root growth; 4) it supports a thriving population of beneficial microbes, and 5) it retains adequate moisture. Read more » 

Planting a new lawn—step-by-step How Much Seed to Use When Overseeding

Seed Type - Pounds* per 1,000-square feet:  Bluegrass - 1 to 2; Tall fescue - 4; Perennial ryegrass - 4; Fine fescue 2 - 2. Read more »

Building Fertility - Lime Pellets Applying Lime

For acidic soils, use pelletized lime to minimize dust and ensure uniformity.  You can mix finely ground limestone with a water-soluble binder to form pellets.  Read more »

gardener What to Wear For Pest & Weed Control

Whether you’re using insecticides and herbicides derived from botanical, biological, or synthetic materials, take all basic precautions, including the use of goggles, disposable dust masks (for pesticide dusts), and tight-fitting respirators when using liquid sprays.  Use National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators containing activated charcoal cartridges that filter pesticide vapors from the air.  Read more »

Herbicides Safe Pesticide Use

Use the least toxic, most target-specific chemical. Purchase the smallest amount needed to do the job. Do not mix more spray than you need—and stick to target areas only. Read the label carefully, and follow all recommendations precisely. Wear protective clothing and gear as directed.  Read more »

Adding a soil amendment, also called a soil conditioner, helps improve plant growth and health.  The type of amendment or amendments added depends on the current soil composition, the climate, and the type of plant.  Some of the various amendments include: Lime (makes soil less acidic); Fertilizers for plant nutrients (i.e. manure, peat, or compost).   Read more »

Identifying Lawn Diseases Plant Disease Cycle

Fortunately, it takes more than the presence of pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) to bring on infection in lawns.  You also need a host—grass susceptible to a particular pathogen—and environmental conditions that foster disease.  Conditions favoring pathogens vary but generally include warm weather and extended periods of moisture from rain, humidity, irrigation, or poor drainage.   Read more »

Nematode - Biological Insecticides Nematodes

Predatory nematodes attack lawn pests such as billbugs, sod webworms, and white grubs. Nematodes are parasites that kill hosts, such as this grub, within 48-hours.  Some nematodes attack surface pests; others attack soil-dwelling pests.  Choose the correct type for your pest. Nematodes arrive by mail in a sponge.  Read more »

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an Eco-Friendly Approach

Too often people see insects as invaders to be attacked with various toxic chemicals.  While such actions may take care of the immediate problem, they usually create a host of others.  Today, an ecologically sound concept called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is receiving serious recognition and support among home gardeners, professional landscapers, and scientists.  With IPM, the yard is as an ecosystem with components that are interdependent and where every action has a wide-ranging impact.  Read more »