July 29, 2016
The weather this summer has been good for crabgrass, which is bad for home and commercial turfgrass lawns. Crabgrass is a light green grass with one-quarter inch wide blades.
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.
The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures.
Isn't it amazing to see your vegetable garden flush with bright colored flowers of pumpkin and squash. It certainly feels as if one is in the summer wonderland. But wonderland could soon turn out to be CSI (Crime Scene Investigation). Yes, you read it correct, CSI, as one frantically searches for female flowers in this large bright yellow/orange landscape. Now the mystery to solve is: Where are the female flowers?
We have received several turf samples in the clinic this season with a variety of problems, including plant diseases in lawns with grass species that have moderate to low tolerance to heat and/or drought and therefore, had suffered through the hot and dry spell.
Turf diseases are tied to the type of grass planted (bluegrass, fescue, etc.), the plant health, soil nutrient status, soil drainage, watering practices and stressors such temperature, compaction, and drought.
Earlier this summer parasitic wasps that attack the emerald ash borer were released in Jefferson County as a pilot program to establish natural enemies of this exotic pest in Iowa.
The second release site in Iowa's pilot program will be at Mount Hosmer City Park in Lansing, Iowa (Allamakee County) during the week of August 1, 2016.
Garden phlox is a beautiful way to add color to the garden in perennial fashion.
Read more about garden phlox and how keep it a valuable part of the garden landscape in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard & Garden news release from July 21, 2016.