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Ask Extension: We've got Answers for Your Lawn Care Questions!

Photo: Gail Hudson, UMN Extension Communications
It happens every year...things start greening up, and you notice everything that's not so great about your lawn--especially compared to the neighbors! Our "Ask Extension" service is getting a lot of lawn questions, too. So we've put together a list of some of them, plus links to UMN Extension's resources to help you tackle these problems.

Just want some general information? See the links at the end of this article. Let's get started!

Q: Because I wanted to limit my exposure to Covid-19, I purchased various stuff for my lawn all at once, but I need to figure out when and and in what order to apply. Can you help me? I have crabgrass preventer, fertilizer, weed & feed, something for grubs, something to control moss, some areas I will want to seed or sod, etc. 

A: You've got your work cut out for you, that's for sure! The first thing you need to look at is the Minnesota Lawn Care calendar, which tells you what to do and when--(crabgrass preventer, fertilizer, weed and feed, etc.).  

Seeding and sodding

For seeding and sodding home lawns information, click here.  

If you want to know how to choose the right grass seed, take a look at this article by Associate Professor Eric Watkins in the University of MN's Turfgrass Science Department: 

Got grubs?

You mention grubs--if you mean Japanese beetles, now is not the time to treat. But here's an excellent Extension web pager which tells you more about the timing of treatment and all about how to manage Japanese beetles: 

What about moss?

If you have moss invading your lawn, the University of Illinois Extension has a good article which talks about the problem and just what to do: 
Ask Extension: Should I aerate my lawn?

Q: My lawn seems a little slow to wake up. I know it’s still early in the season, but compared to neighbors, mine is the least green and dense. I was going to apply the crabgrass preventer as usual but now I’m wondering if I should aerate instead to get some airflow going. 

A: It’s best to do it fall, but you can aerate your lawn now and do the pre-emergent as well. Check out the U’s lawn care calendar.

Q: What should I put down first--fertilizer or grass seed?    

A: You should apply the fertilizer first, then the seed. And remember, the most important factor for seed germination is soil to seed contact.  Rake lightly to make sure this happens. 

Ask Extension: Why doesn't my grass grow under this tree?

Q: How can I get grass to grow under my tree? Should I just give up and mulch under my tree? 

A: Mulching under a tree is good for the tree. Grass is a big competitor for water. Looking at the girth of the tree in the picture, I don’t think your grass is being shaded out. I think perhaps you got the wrong mix ( too much annual seed) or the grass needs more water to grow.

Q: Can dirt be spread on top of lawn? I have a pile of dirt that consists of yard soil and some sand from digging post holes in my yard. The dirt was in my alley and was full of weeds. 

A: To kill the weed seeds they would have to be sprouted by watering the soil and killing them as they emerge or by soil solarization. To cook the soil it needs to be covered with clear plastic in full sun for about 8 weeks. Some summers here are too cloudy for complete success.The Le Sueur County Extension Office published this informative article about soil solarization.  The University of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension put together this "how-to" article:
Soil Solarization

Weed seeds can lie dormant for many years, exposing them to light often triggers germination. So expect eradication to take several years unless solarization works.

Lawn Care Resources

For your questions about everything from planting and maintaining your lawn to how to repair and renovate a lawn, here's an Extension link to get you started: 

And finally, here are two articles, which will help you have a healthy lawn all summer long: 

Essential Tips for a Healthy Lawn, Pt. 1

Essential Tips for a Healthy Lawn, Part 2

Author: Gail Hudson, Yard & Garden News Editor, UMN Extension Communications

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