Getting grass to grow where trees once stood

BACKYARD Q&A

April 11, 1999

Q. After the damaging ice storm in January, I had three tree stumps ground up in my yard. Now I'm wondering what I should do to get grass to grow there.

A. You need to act quickly to take advantage of the cool, rainy spring weather that will help get your grass established. First, rake out and remove the ground-up remains of your trees. Also, remove any rocks and other debris.

Buy a turf-type tall fescue cultivar and sow it at the rate of 1 pound per 100 feet of bare area. Lightly rake or walk on the seed to ensure good contact between seed and soil. Cover the seed lightly with straw, and water the areas twice daily. Broadcast a starter lawn fertilizer at the labeled rate after grass seedlings emerge.

Q. My four buddleias have outgrown their assigned space and I don't know how to prune them.

A. Buddleias are woody shrubs that become quite large if not pruned. You can cut them completely down to the ground before new growth begins or prune them back to the main trunks.

Thin out some of the new shoots that emerge in the spring to keep them from becoming crowded. The shoots that emerge from the ground will flower this summer. You also can head back new growth and older growth to the desired height during the summer.

THIS WEEK'S CHECKLIST

1. Monitor azaleas, rhododendron, laurel and andromeda for signs of lace bug damage. Lace bugs suck plant sap, leaving plants bleached out. Look for their feces (small, black tar spots) on leaf undersides.

2. Pre-sprout bean and corn seeds before planting them in the garden to prevent germination problems caused by diseases and insects.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507, or visit its Web site at www. agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic.

Pub Date: 04/11/99

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