Lawn and Garden Q & A

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We had some great questions come in to the Catawba County Cooperative Extension office this week regarding lawn and garden considerations and activities for this time of year.

Q – Is it too late to seed my fescue lawn?

A – Tall fescue, the dominant lawn specie in Catawba County, is a cool season grass that is best seeded in early to mid-September. Tall fescue seedlings need soil temperatures above 60 degrees F and air temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F for emergence and optimal growth. It is possible to get some seed to germinate if we have a warm up period but it is too late to seed fescue now and have a successful establishment.

Q – I have a lot of wood chips and saw dust from the clean up after the tornado damage a few weeks ago. How can I use that in my landscape?

A – The chipped wood and sawdust that you may have generated from the storm clean up can serve as an excellent mulch product for lining landscape paths, smothering weeds in the walking path between garden beds, or to put around trees or shrubs. When mulching trees and shrubs don’t put the mulch any thicker than 4 inches and leave a space 1 – 2 feet back from the base of the trunk with little to no mulch. Heavy mulch around the base of the trunk will encourage fungal growth and vole activity.

Q – Can I start pruning my trees, shrubs, and woody ornamentals?

A – The majority of pruning is best done in the winter when the tree or shrub is dormant. While light pruning is done from May through July, it is not advisable to prune from August to November. Pruning encourages new growth unless the plant is totally dormant. New growth is more susceptible to damage from the cold, creating an unnecessary stress on your landscape plant. We recommend January and February for winter pruning.

Q – Is it too late to sign up for the Master Gardener course in 2018?

A – There are still 9 seats available. Call our office to register. This year’s course will take place from 9 a.m. to noon every Wednesday for 6 weeks in the spring (Feb 28 – April 4) and 6 weeks in the fall (Aug 29 – Oct 3). The class is going to have lots of hands-on learning and great field trips. If you want to become a Master Gardener but the daytime course is not possible for you, you can become a certified Master Gardener through the Advanced Gardener library course which takes place at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library (2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7 p.m.), Newton Library (3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.), or the Maiden Library (4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.). Please call our office for the requirement details on this program.

The Cooperative Extension Service is your connection to research based information from our land grant universities: NC State and NC A&T. The Cooperative Extension Service provides consultation and educational programming in the areas of food, agriculture, and 4-H youth empowerment. If you have questions or want to attend our programs sign up for our monthly update newsletter or call our office at 828-465-8240.