Three signs of spring are here

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

We have been getting several calls on ant control and lawn diseases already this year which will be a problem for months to come. We have also received calls about the abundance of pollen, which is temporary.

All three of these are seasonal. If you are one of the unlucky few who have all three of these problems going on right now at your house, just hang on, there is help.

Q: How can I prevent lawn diseases?

A: I have already been on several home visits this spring to see cases of brown patch and other lawn diseases. Why is this? As springtime arrives we get anxious to begin working on our lawns and landscapes.

As the turf is breaking dormancy we have the tendency to push things along a little faster than necessary with many of our cultural practices like fertilizing, watering and mowing. These cool nights and warm days along with a few spotty spring showers provide the ideal environment for many turf pathogens that can wreak havoc to a lawn during this period.

I would suggest you be a little cautious with the cultural practices you perform on the lawn during this time to reduce the severity of these diseases. Leaf wetness and excess nitrogen fertilization are the two major factors ideally suited for disease proliferation.

Therefore, we should not be too quick to apply heavy rates of fertilizer to our lawns, particularly highly water soluble sources of nitrogen that provides quick flushes of growth. If the lawn needs water, applying irrigation early in the day allows the leaves to dry before nightfall. Irrigation for established lawn is best if done once or twice a week rather than a little daily. Mowing at the optimum mowing height for each specific turf species also keeps the turf in a much healthier state. However when diseases occur, use fungicides when necessary to suppress active pathogen proliferation.

Q: Can you put ant poison in a vegetable garden?

A: I do not recommend putting any poison in home vegetable gardens. If ants are a serious problem in your garden, I would recommend you use granular ant baits around the edge of your garden. Most ant baits have vegetable oils in their ingredients therefore ants actively go out and seek them.

If you have them spread around the exterior of your garden ants should still go out and get the poison thus giving some control.

Q: When will pollen stop falling on my vehicle?

A: We have been blessed with an abundance of majestic oak, elm and pine trees in our area unfortunately pollen falling is a side effect that comes with this beauty.

The truth is we have many trees and grasses that are pollinating year round, but it is usually in the springtime when we get such a powerful visual demonstration of this.

The good thing is we are nearing the end of all the pollen falling. Within the next three weeks the vast majority of the falling pollen should be gone until next spring.

David Carter is the director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201.