July 16, 1999

Renovating a Thin Lawn

Mid-August through mid-September is the best time to renovate a thin lawn. Sowing grass seed in late summer has several advantages over spring seeding. Cool-season grass seeds germinate quickly in the warm soils of late summer. Once the grass germinates, the warm days and cool nights of fall promote rapid turf growth. Also, there will be less competition from weeds as fewer weed seeds germinate in late summer and fall.

Sprouting an Avocado Seed

Avocados have increased in popularity over the last few years. They are used in salads, dips, etc. Inside there is an added bonus. The pit or seed can be sprouted. The result is an interesting and attractive houseplant.

Yellowjacket wasps

Now is the time to be alert for nests of yellowjacket wasps, hornets, bumble bees and other social insects. These social insects develop in colonies that start each spring with a single queen. By now colonies should be large enough to notice and control now will prevent the nest from getting any larger and increasing the threat of being stung.

Yellowjackets build paper nests either in the ground, in a log or landscape timber or inside a building wall or attic. Nest openings are discovered by the activity of workers hovering back and forth at the small hole.

Leaf Blight on Austrees

Austree, a hybrid willow, is sometimes used in windbreaks, hedges, or as a shade tree. They have become popular because of their ability to grow fast, advertised as growing up to 15 feet per year. But with the good growth come the price homeowners have to deal with, a destructive leaf blight disease caused by the fungus Venturia saliciperda.

Drying Hot Peppers

Hot peppers vary tremendously in size, shape, color, and pungency or heat. They can be eaten fresh, used in sauces, pickled, frozen, or dried.