Thinking of a new lawn? If so, get busy now. The last week of August and the first two weeks of September are the ideal time to install a new lawn, according to Darwin McKay, owner of The Turf Co.
Hes been growing sod at his Meridian location since 1979, and has served as president of Turf Producers International. Hes devoted to providing quality turf grass to landscapers and homeowners.
Now that the brutal heat is easing, grasses will have a chance to settle in and prepare for prime tillering (sending up new blades of grass) in December. If your lawn has been in place for a number of years, consider replacing it with some of the new varieties of grass that require less water, less fertilizer and less mowing.
Keep in mind if you seed a new lawn that will require your raking in the seed to a depth of about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch, then keeping the area moist for the days needed for germination. Shallow raking is difficult on soft ground, but if you dont rake or cover seeds with peat moss or a film of sandy loam, birds will have a high time gobbling grass seeds.
Seeding may require watering several times each day to keep soil moist. If you cannot do that, your best option is buying sod or hydroseeding.
Sod too is a bit tricky to settle in, but not as demanding as seeds. Some grasses now available are very drought tolerant, but until theyre established seed or sod they must be well-watered.
The Turf Company recommends watering thoroughly with 1 inch of water beginning within 30 minutes of laying the sod, then checking under a corner to make sure the water has penetrated to 3 or 4 inches of the base soil, then keep the sod and its base moistened with at least daily waterings for two weeks, allowing the sod roots to penetrate and knit with the underlying soil.
Once established, infrequent but deep watering is preferable to frequent shallow applications, for maximum drought tolerance. Sod farms in this area have customized grass varieties for this area.
If youre not replacing your lawn and have an older bluegrass lawn, give it one- quarter of its annual fertilizer requirement in September, then one-half in November and the last one quarter in May, before hot weather.
Weve been lucky until now that Japanese beetles have not invaded our area.
I was informed recently that they have been found in Ada and Kootenai counties.
They probably came in on some potted plants from another part of the country.
Japanese beetles are about 1/2-inch-long oval, metallic green, with bronze wings obscuring their backs, and white brushes or dots around the margins of their bodies. They feed voraciously on leaves of many ornamental and fruiting plants such as roses, dahlias, shrubs and stone fruit trees.
They lay eggs 2 to 4 inches deep in soil in late summer, and when those hatch, the grubs feed on grass roots. They pupate in late spring and emerge as adults in late June, when they skeletonize leaves and flowers, feeding in large numbers on each plant or tree.
Traps are set on the Boise State campus, on Warm Springs, and State Street near Pierce Park lane, as well as some parks.
In your efforts to bar elm seed bugs from entering your house, you obviously cant caulk around windows without sealing them shut. You can, however, use masking tape around screens or window frames to bar entry to your house.
Margaret Lauterbach: email@example.com or write to Gardening, The Idaho Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707