Heavy rainstorms may wash liquid fertilizer off the lawn

BACKYARD Q&A

In The Garden

October 10, 2004|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I just planted some grass seed and used liquid seaweed as fertilizer. I did this Sept. 14. IM-Fm concerned that the fertilizer is insufficient. Any suggestions?

That liquid fertilizer probably washed away in recent rainstorms. New lawns require a specially formulated fertilizer known as starter fertilizer, which provides extra phosphorus to aid root development. Apply it now. In May (not early spring), if your lawn is not a healthy green color or is thin, apply a half-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Yearly maintenance fertilizing should be done in the fall. Check out our online publications, FS702, M-tLawns and the Chesapeake Bay,M-v and HG103, M-tFertilizing Facts for Home Lawns.M-v

When does the ground freeze in Maryland zone 7?

Ground freeze can only be predicted in general terms based on recorded observations. For example, one year in 10 youM-Fll experience a frost by Oct. 7. You have a 50 percent chance of frost by Oct. 21 and a 90 percent chance by Nov. 6. Ground freeze may not occur at all during a mild winter in eastern parts of the state. Clay soil will freeze more quickly than sandy soil. Shady, north-facing land freezes more easily, and protected sites, near large heat-retaining buildings, less easily. Get to know your landscape. You may have several microclimates within your landscape that freeze at different times.

Some pines in my area are dying, and I noticed needles on my white pine are yellowing and turning brown. Is this normal? If not, what should I do?

Many interior needles yellow, brown and drop in the fall. This is the normal shedding of 3- to-5- year-old needles. On white pine, this shedding is especially noticeable, because they hold their needles only one year before dropping them. If they produce a lot of needles one year, then the following autumn they may seem to be dropping an alarming amount.

If the tree continues to die back, however, and no new growth is visible next spring, there may be other factors involved. White pines do not tolerate drought or saturated soils well, i.e., the past five years in Maryland. Other possible causes of browning are mites, scale insects, borers and the like. Standing dead pines can attract bark beetles that then infest other weakened pine trees, so it is important to determine whether your pine is dying or not. There is a symptom/cause diagnostic chart in our pine publication, HG54 M-tIPM Series: Pine,M-v and a color photo diagnostic on our Web site (click on M-tPlant DiagnosticsM-v)

CHECKLIST

1. Mums that are planted now should be treated as annuals. They will not become established over the winter.

2. Cut back dahlias and cannas and lift them out of the ground for storage in an unheated basement or garage.

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