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FAQs

Chemicals

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FAQ

My lawn gets brown areas in it every year as the weather warms. What can I do?

  1. Check to make sure you irrigation system is working properly(usually #1 problem)
  2. Check for soil compaction and water penetration 3. Aerate, if needed, after aerating apply gypsum and or organic fertilizer.

Fertilizers

What fertilizer is good for my lawn in the winter months?

Using a fertilizer high in Nitrate Nitrogen will give you the best results in the winter months. The 2 most popular fertilizers to use are the Turf Royale 21-7-14 or Nitrex 22-4-4 with 5% Iron.

Golf Accessories

There are currently no FAQ’s in this category

Grass Seeds

What is the difference between a Turfgrass blend and a Turfgrass Mix?

  1. A Turfgrass blend is a combination of different varieties of the same species of turf grass such as our Celebrity Ryegrass Blend.
  2. A Turfgrass Mix is a combination of different species of Turfgrass seeds such as our 80% Rygrass, 20% Blue grass mixture.

What are NTEP results?

NTEP, or National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, is a turfgrass research program. University researches inspect turf grass varieties for several different criteria such as, blade width, leaf texture and color, and disease resistance.

Test results can be viewed at www.ntep.com

The bag of seed I bought says it is a mixture or a blend - what does that mean?

A blend is when more than one cultivar within a species are blended together. Blends can be useful in habitats where the environment is variable and a number of different disease and/or insect problems exits. Blends are valid where no one cultivar is resistant to all the major diseases within a habitat. If one cultivar is available that is resistant to all of the major disease and pest problems, then the use of a blend is not necessary.

Insecticide

My shade tree has sticky stuff dripping off it, what is it?

Chances are aphids are the problem. Aphids are fairly easy to deal with: A very effective method that will give season long control would be to soil inject Merit insecticide. As with all products read the label before using.

How do I control White Grubs in my lawn and oranmentals.

Merit Systemic Insecticide Granule for White Grubs.

White Grub is a generic term for the larval stage of a group of beetles that include Japanese Beetles and May/June Beetles. Timing of insecticide applications for grubs in lawns is the most important part of the job. Just as in controlling mole crickets, grub elimination must be timed to target the youngest stage of the grubs that are close to the surface. While at or near the surface of your lawn, the grubs are easier to kill. Grubs that are in their early or most immanture stages are more valnerable to your pesticide application than the older grub stages.

Merit Systemic Granule applications made to lawns in July and early August will have the best control. Contact you local county extension office if you need to know the exact time to apply white grub control products in your area.

You will need one bag of Merit Granules per half acre of lawn turf grass to be treated for white grub control. After broadcasting the granular insecticide, irrigate the area thoroughly. You will need a deep watering to push the insecticide down to the roots of your plants so that the plant can take up the insecticide.

Application to Turfgrass

Merit 0.5 G Insecticide can be used for the control of soil inhabiting pests of turfgrass, such as Northern & Southern masked chafers, Cyclocephala borealis, C. immaculata, and/or C. lurida; Asiatic garden beetle, Maladera castanea; European chafer, Rhizotroqus majalis; Green June beetle, Cotinis nitida; May or June beetles, Phyllophaga spp.; Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica; Oriental beetle, Anomala orientalis; Billbugs, Spherophorus spp.; Annual bluegress weevil, Hyperodes spp.; Black turfgrass ataenius, Ataenius spretulus; Aphodius spp; and mole crickets, Scapteriscus spp.

Merit 0.5 G Insecticide can also be used for the suppressioin of cutworms and chinch bugs in turfgrass areas. Merit 0.5 G Insecticide can be used as directed on turfgrass in sites such as home lawns, business and office complexes, golf courses, airports, cemeteries, parks, playgrounds and athletic fields. Merit insecticide cannot be used on commercial sod farms.

The active ingredient in Merit 0.5 G Insecticide has sufficient residual activity so that applications can be made preceding the egg laying activity of the target pests. High levels of control can be achieved when applications are made preceding or during the egg laying period. The need for an application can be based on historical monitoring of the site, previous records or experiences, current season adult trapping or other methods. Optimum control will be achieved when applications are made prior to egg hatch of the target pest, followed sufficient irrigation or rainfall to move the active ingredient throught the thatch. Applications should not be made when turfgrass areas are water logged or the soil is saturated with water. Adequate distribution of the active ingredient cannot be achieved when these conditions exist. The treated turf must be in such a condition that the rainfall or irrigation will penetrate vertically in the soil profile. Applications cannot exceed a total of 80 lb. (0.4 lb. of active ingredient) per acre per year.

Application to Ornamentals

Merit 0.5 G Insecticide can be used as a broadcast application on ornamentals in commercial and residential landscapes. Merit 0.5 G is a systemic product and will be translocated upward within the plant system. Optimum control will be achieved when applications are followed by sufficient mechanical incorporation, irrigation or rainfall to move the active ingredient into the soil. Applications should be made prior to anticipated pest infestation to achieve optimum levels of control.

Applications of Merit 0.5 G Insecticide cannot exceed 80 pounds per acre per year.

Irrigation Parts

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Herbicide

How do I kill Bermuda grass in my groundcover?

Two products that give very good control of grasses, including Bermuda grass, and safe on most groundcovers are Fusilade II and Grass Getter. Both are liquids that are sprayed. As with all products read the label before using.

I have nutgrass taking over my lawn, HELP?

Nutgrass favors areas that are excessivley wet with poor drainage, improving those conditions will help. Do not over water. To control established nutgrass MANAGE HERBICIDE will give excellent control. Follow label directions.

Last year my lawn was full of crabgrass what should I do?

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How do you control weeds?

How do you control weeds in the garden? Dig ’em? Spray ’em? Mulch ’em? This page gives you some suggestions on whatever methods you choose. If you chose to use chemicals, use the right one for the job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people use Roundup to kill weeds in a lawn. Well, it says it’s a weed and grass killer, and I wanted to kill weeds. Well, I mixed it real weak so it would just kill the weeds and not the lawn. Well, well, well.

DIG ‘EM! MULCH ‘EM!

Do it the old fashioned way. Dig and cultivate the soil. Add organic compost too. You will create a rich and friable soil this way, and you will be rewarded with healthy plants in the bargain.

Use organic compost of some kind as a mulch (top dressing) in your planting areas. A layer of two inches or more will suppress weeds and keep plant roots cool and moist by slowing evaproation from the soil. Retard weeds and conserve water in one operation.

Another way to prevent weeds by covering the ground is to use plastic or permeable landscape cloth covered with rocks or woods chips. River rock or shredded wood is used for its natural look. Shredded wood may be available from a local recycling facility.

Use a dandelion digger or other weeding tool to remove weeds from the lawn. This is certainly a good way to remove a few weeds. But this method won’t work on a very weedy lawn. Keep your lawn thick and green and healthy. Weeds can’t compete with a well cared-for lawn.

CAUTION!

Please read the label on all garden chemicals, and follow the instructions precisely. Use only on plants that are indicated on the label to control pest indicated on the label. Mix chemicals exactly as instructed on the label. More is not better. And please be sure to follow all safety precautions to the letter.

HERBICIDES FOR LAWNS

Controlling weeds in lawns requires a defensive and an offensive plan. Use a pre-emergence herbicide twice a year. Apply in February to prevent crabgrass and spurge in the summer. Apply in September to prevent Poa annua (annual bluegrass) in the winter. These products are usually combined with fertilizer so that you are fertilizing and preventing weeds at the same time. There is a wide range of active chemicals used in these products. Check the label to see what weeds are prevented. All products are not the same.

Do you have weeds already? Let’s examine the post-emergence herbicides available today.

Trimec

Trimec is a combination of 3 chemicals that kill broadleaf weeds in grass lawns. Trimec is found in most weed-n-feed products. Use caution with weed-n-feed application. They will damage shrubs if the chemical gets on their foliage. There is another danger. One of the ingredients in Trimec is Dicamba, which is absorbed through roots. It can be absorbed by trees and shrubs that have roots under the turf. It will damage these plants if enough chemical is absorbed. I prefer to spot spray weeds. Only a minimum amount of chemical is applied this way, and only where it’s needed.

Turflon

This chemical will kill oxalis and kikuyu grass in fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass lawns. These are stubborn weeds. Little can be done without the aid of Turflon. Spot spray infested areas, and follow up a week or two later and as needed. Turflon can be combined with trimec to control a wide variety of weeds.

MSMA

MSMA kills crabgrass when it first sprouts, and it kills nutsedge. Crabgrass is a stubborn weed. If you have an infestation, you should use a pre-emergence herbicide in February in Southern California or March in Northern California. Spray if weeds show up in June and July. Nutsedge is stubborn too. It often begins in areas and poor drainage. Correct the drainage if possible. Repeat sprays of MSMA may be necessary to suppress this weed. MSMA can also be combined with Trimec to control broadleaf weeds as well.

WEEDS IN GROUNDCOVERS AND SHRUB BEDS

Here again, we have two fronts on which to fight weeds with herbicides. We can deal with them before they sprout and after they sprout.

Ornamec

Ormanec will kill grassy weeds in flower and shrub beds. Look at the label to see which plants can be sprayed without damage. The same chemical is also found in Ortho’s Grass-B-Gon, available in small hand held sprayers. It will kill Bermuda grass and annual weedy grasses growing up into shrubs and groundcovers such as ivy. There’s no other way to get rid of a tangle of Bermuda grass that has managed to grow up inside of a Juniper. This is a welcome aid where it’s needed.

Roundup

This herbicide kills almost any plant. Be careful with it. Apply it only to weeds you want to kill. Do not let it touch plants you do not want to harm, including lawns. It doesn’t take much to do damage.

Treflan and Surflan

These are just two of the chemicals used in pre-emergence herbicides, weed preventers. There are several products on the market in both granular and liquid forms. Amaze and Preen seem to be widely available. These can be used in planting beds on bare ground to prevent weeds for six months or more. Apply in Octorber and March, at the beginning and at the end of the rainy season. If there is no rain, you will need to water them into the ground for their actions to be effective. These chemicals kill weeds as they germinate. They do not prevent weeds that sprout from roots or bulbs. You’ll have to dig those out.

Granular Products

There are currently no FAQ’s in this category

Lawn Care

What is the best cultivar of grass to grow where I live?

Turfgrass breeders throughout the U.S. have worked very hard to develop cultivars of the common turfgrass species that are well adapted to different regions of the country. In addition there is an excellent program, called the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), partially sponsored by the USDA that tests new and old standard cultivars of the most common turfgrass species at locations throughout the U.S. The results of these tests are available at the NTEP web site(www.ntep.org). Many of the evaluation sites are at public universities throught the U.S., and university extension programs can generally provide data on the best locally adapted cultivars. In selecting an appropriate cultivar, it is generally best to select one that has rated high both locally and nationally, in other words, it rated within the top ten to twenty of the local test and its national average is in the top ten to twenty.

Once an acceptable cultivar has been selected, it is imporant to locate a source of high quality seed. Seed quality is one of the most often overlooked aspects of turfgrass establishment. If poor quality seed is selected, even the most intensive management efforts may not result in an acceptable turf. Unfortanately many home and garden supply stores do not stock high quality seed, therefore, it can be difficult to locate the seed that you want. In some locations, agricultural seed supply stores may stock high quality seed of well-adapted cultivars. The world-wide-web can also be searched to locate companies that deliver high quality seed by mail. The best way to determine if seed you are buying is high quaility is to see if it has a state seed certification tag. The tag will indicate the level of germination of a selected sample and tell the relative percentage of important weeds and contamination species.

How short can I mow my lawn?

It is important to remember that turfgrasses do not thrive on mowing; they tolerate it. It may seem that mowing is good for the grass, but mowing is always a stress. The cutting of leaf tissue may allow disease organisms to enter the plant, and it reduces the photosynthetic area, lowering the production of carbohydrates that the plant needs to grow. Turfgrasses are the best-equipped plants on earth to tolerate this type of defoliation. If there were better-adapted species, they would be used in the place of grasses. The mowing height that a turf will tolerate is dependent on the species. The mowing height that a turf will tolerate is dependent on the species that are present. The cool-season species primarily used in lawn situations are Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass. These three species will do best at heights of 1.5 to 3.0 inches, with higher mowing heights used during the high-temperautre stress periods. Warm-season species such as Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass can tolerate heights of 0.5 inches or less, while Bahiagrass, carpetgrass, and centipedegrass do best at heights from 1.0 to 3.0 inches.

How often should I water my lawn?

This question does not have a simple answer because irrigation requirments vary with grass species, with soil type, and with environmental conditions. These factors often interact in complex ways that make decision making difficult. On average, turf will usually require from 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week for normal maintenance conditions. This can be provided by rainfall or irrigation or a combination of the two.

The best time to irrigate is another management decision that can impact turf quality. Overly wet conditions in the canopy can contribute to disease development. Nighttime watering will keep the turf wet for the longest period of time and should be avoided if possible. Watering during the day will allow the turf to dry quickly, but will increase water loss due to evaporation. All things considered, the early morning hours provide the best time for turf irrigation. Water loss from evaporation will be less, and the turf will dry quickly in the morning.

How can I grow grass under my trees?

It can be very difficult to maintain a turf under shade conditions. However, a few management practices can improve the overall turf condition in these areas. Shade in home lawn situations is generally provided by trees, therefore, the pruning of limbs below 10 feet from the ground and selective pruning of limbs in the crown of the tree will allow more light to reach the turf and imrpove turf quality.

The choice of the correct turf species can also enhance the odds of a high quality shaded turf. Red fescue is the cool-season species with the best shade tolerance and tall fescue will also do well in the shade. St. Augustine grass is the warm-season species with the best shade tolerance, but zoysiagrass will also perform well under shaded conditions.

How do you control weeds?

How do you control weeds in the garden? Dig ’em? Spray ’em? Mulch ’em? This page gives you some suggestions on whatever methods you choose. If you chose to use chemicals, use the right one for the job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people use Roundup to kill weeds in a lawn. Well, it says it’s a weed and grass killer, and I wanted to kill weeds. Well, I mixed it real weak so it would just kill the weeds and not the lawn. Well, well, well.

DIG ‘EM! MULCH ‘EM!

Do it the old fashioned way. Dig and cultivate the soil. Add organic compost too. You will create a rich and friable soil this way, and you will be rewarded with healthy plants in the bargain.

Use organic compost of some kind as a mulch (top dressing) in your planting areas. A layer of two inches or more will suppress weeds and keep plant roots cool and moist by slowing evaproation from the soil. Retard weeds and conserve water in one operation.

Another way to prevent weeds by covering the ground is to use plastic or permeable landscape cloth covered with rocks or woods chips. River rock or shredded wood is used for its natural look. Shredded wood may be available from a local recycling facility.

Use a dandelion digger or other weeding tool to remove weeds from the lawn. This is certainly a good way to remove a few weeds. But this method won’t work on a very weedy lawn. Keep your lawn thick and green and healthy. Weeds can’t compete with a well cared-for lawn.

CAUTION!

Please read the label on all garden chemicals, and follow the instructions precisely. Use only on plants that are indicated on the label to control pest indicated on the label. Mix chemicals exactly as instructed on the label. More is not better. And please be sure to follow all safety precautions to the letter.

HERBICIDES FOR LAWNS

Controlling weeds in lawns requires a defensive and an offensive plan. Use a pre-emergence herbicide twice a year. Apply in February to prevent crabgrass and spurge in the summer. Apply in September to prevent Poa annua (annual bluegrass) in the winter. These products are usually combined with fertilizer so that you are fertilizing and preventing weeds at the same time. There is a wide range of active chemicals used in these products. Check the label to see what weeds are prevented. All products are not the same.

Do you have weeds already? Let’s examine the post-emergence herbicides available today.

Trimec

Trimec is a combination of 3 chemicals that kill broadleaf weeds in grass lawns. Trimec is found in most weed-n-feed products. Use caution with weed-n-feed application. They will damage shrubs if the chemical gets on their foliage. There is another danger. One of the ingredients in Trimec is Dicamba, which is absorbed through roots. It can be absorbed by trees and shrubs that have roots under the turf. It will damage these plants if enough chemical is absorbed. I prefer to spot spray weeds. Only a minimum amount of chemical is applied this way, and only where it’s needed.

Turflon

This chemical will kill oxalis and kikuyu grass in fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass lawns. These are stubborn weeds. Little can be done without the aid of Turflon. Spot spray infested areas, and follow up a week or two later and as needed. Turflon can be combined with trimec to control a wide variety of weeds.

MSMA

MSMA kills crabgrass when it first sprouts, and it kills nutsedge. Crabgrass is a stubborn weed. If you have an infestation, you should use a pre-emergence herbicide in February in Southern California or March in Northern California. Spray if weeds show up in June and July. Nutsedge is stubborn too. It often begins in areas and poor drainage. Correct the drainage if possible. Repeat sprays of MSMA may be necessary to suppress this weed. MSMA can also be combined with Trimec to control broadleaf weeds as well.

WEEDS IN GROUNDCOVERS AND SHRUB BEDS

Here again, we have two fronts on which to fight weeds with herbicides. We can deal with them before they sprout and after they sprout.

Ornamec

Ormanec will kill grassy weeds in flower and shrub beds. Look at the label to see which plants can be sprayed without damage. The same chemical is also found in Ortho’s Grass-B-Gon, available in small hand held sprayers. It will kill Bermuda grass and annual weedy grasses growing up into shrubs and groundcovers such as ivy. There’s no other way to get rid of a tangle of Bermuda grass that has managed to grow up inside of a Juniper. This is a welcome aid where it’s needed.

Roundup

This herbicide kills almost any plant. Be careful with it. Apply it only to weeds you want to kill. Do not let it touch plants you do not want to harm, including lawns. It doesn’t take much to do damage.

Treflan and Surflan

These are just two of the chemicals used in pre-emergence herbicides, weed preventers. There are several products on the market in both granular and liquid forms. Amaze and Preen seem to be widely available. These can be used in planting beds on bare ground to prevent weeds for six months or more. Apply in Octorber and March, at the beginning and at the end of the rainy season. If there is no rain, you will need to water them into the ground for their actions to be effective. These chemicals kill weeds as they germinate. They do not prevent weeds that sprout from roots or bulbs. You’ll have to dig those out.

Plant Care

What can I do about black spot on my roses?

Roses are not the easiest plants to grow. Our climate is perfect for the development of black spot, a fungus that can defoliate and weaken plants if not kept in check. Fortunately, antique, heritage, and species roses are generally more resistant to diseases and pests than hybrid tea roses. When control measures are needed, the Arboretum practices Intergrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests and diseases. The practice combines planting disease resistant varieties, promoting proper cultural techniques, and careful monitoring of pests combined with spraying, natural control methods, and tolerance of minor amounts of damage. To minimize black spot problems and limit the amount of spraying you need to do in your own rose garden, follow these tips:

  • Promote air circulation and light penetration. Prune trees and hedges surrounding the rose garden low so that sunlight and breezes can quickly dry the foliage after morning dew or rain. Keep companion plantings at a distance to allow maximum exposure of the rose foliage to sunshine and air.
  • Eliminate overhead irrigation. Water the soil with a soaker hose and keep the leaves dry. Black spot spores need water on the leaf surface to germinate.
  • Prune cankered canes. Cankered stems bear black, dead areas that harbor the fungus over the winter. Prune them out, preserving more vigorous healthy canes, to prevent infection of spring foliage.
  • Apply lime sulfur just before bud break in spring. This treatment delays the onset of black spot and powdery mildew infections for several weeks, even if weather is favorable for infection.
  • Apply a fungicide based on neem seed extract beginning when leaves are fully expanded. Neem products are not as toxic as conventional fungicides and have the added benefit of controlling many rose insect and mite pests. They only work to provent new infections, so spraying must be done on a weekly basis as long as weather is humid.
  • Apply conventional fungicides as a last resort. If the weather is dry in early summer, and you have applied neem every week, you may not have a black spot problem at all. But if you miss an application, or daily rain and dew create ideal fungal infection and growth conditions, you may need to use a conventional fungicide. Use a fungicide containing chlorthalonil, thiophanate methyl, or propiconazole. It’s best to rotate different funicides, never using the same one two times in a row, to prevent the fungus from developing resistance to the fungicides.
  • Tolerate some damage, especially late in the season. Heritage and antique roses generally bloom in late spring and bloom only sporadically throughout the rest of the season. In July and August, with the flowers gone, the plants attract little attention and some black spot can be tolerated without permanent harm to the plants.

How should I prune my roses?

Prune your roses lightly in autumn, removing canes long enough to be whipped by winter winds and those canes with signs of disease. Pruning to remove remaining dead, diseased, and damaged canes is done in early to mid-March just before growth starts. Species and climbing roses are pruned by removing entire canes all the way to the ground to encourage an open, vase-shaped habit. The rest of the roses get pruned to knee height at an outward facing bud. You can do some light pruning to shape the plants during the summer as needed.

Where can I get more information about roses?

Start with the American Rose Society located at www.ars.org where you’ll find a wealth of information about roses.

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