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How often and for how long should I water (1) newly laid sod, (2) newly seeded grass and (3) new plantings?

Plants, sod and grass seed all require fairly constant moisture if they are to take root or germinate properly. (1) Water newly laid sod for one half-hour daily, between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm for the first 15 days and then as needed. (2) Newly seeded lawns should be watered three times a day, for 20 minutes each, at 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. After 15 days, simply apply water as needed to maintain adequate moisture. (3) We recommend that you water new plantings every other day, providing 5 gallons of water for each plant that is more than 30 inches tall and 15 gallons of water for each tree. You should continue this watering schedule throughout the first growing season.

I’ve been told I have a “broad leaf” weed problem on my lawn. What is that, and what should I use to treat it?

The broad leaf family of weeds includes such common plants as Clover, Ground Ivy, Henbit, Knotweed, Plantain, Canadian Thistle, Colber, Wild Violet, Wood Sorel, Dandelions and Chick Weed. All of these weeds can be treated effectively with Broad Leaf Weed Control.

When should I treat my lawn for grub worms?

The best times are late-Spring/early-Summer (April 15th through June 30th) and late-summer/early fall (August 15th through October 1st).

When should I fertilize my lawn?

Cool season grasses -- Bluegrass and Fescues -- should be fertilized during the cool months (September 1st through the end of December.) Warm season grasses – Zoysia and Bermuda -- should be fertilized during the warm months (from April 1st to August 15th.)

What type of grass is best-suited for the Maryland-Northern Virginia region?

Maryland and Northern Virginia occupy what scientists call a “climate transition zone.” Tall Fescue has proven itself to be the best all-purpose grass for this areAThe best type may change, however, if global warming’s effects become more pronounced.

What kinds of shrubs are well-suited for shady areas?

Many varieties will do quite well. You may want to consider these: Aucuba, Japunica, Hollies, Nandina, Lathraleaf, Viburnum and Rhododendron. Consult your local nursery.

How often should I lime and/or fertilize my lawn, and what quantities should I apply?

We recommend that you apply fertilizer and lime to your lawn annually. To determine the proper amount, it’s necessary, first, to measure the size of your lawn. For every 1,000 square feet of space, apply 1 to 3 lbs of fertilizer and 50 pounds of lime annually. You also should take soil tests every 2 to 3 years (Maryland requires you do this at least once every 3 years) and have the results analyzed by a lab to determine your optimum application rates.

How often should I mow the lawn and at what setting should I keep my mower?

Mower settings and scheduling will vary according to the type of grass you have growing in your yard. For Bluegrass and Tall Fescue, we recommend that you mow the lawn weekly and that you set your blade to cut the grass at a height of 2.5-inches to 3-inches. Never, ever remove more than one-third of the blade of grass, as you could seriously damage. Zoysia and Bermuda grass should be cropped much shorter. Set your blades to leave between 1-inch to 2-inches of blade standing. You may recut the lawn whenever this minimal height is exceeded.

What is Crabgrass? Why should I be concerned about it, and how do you control it?

Crabgrass is a member of the grassy weeds family. It’s a summer annual that crowds out desired grasses only to leave dead or bald patches which become obvious in the Fall. Even though Crabgrass remains out of sight until summer, you can best control it by treating your lawn in early Spring with pre-emergence Crabgrass Control. If you wait until you see the Crabgrass, you’ve waited too long.

What’s the best time of year to spray to kill such insects as Chinch bugs, Billbugs, Sod Webworm, Mole Crickets, and the like?

You should apply insecticides when these bugs are active, during the height of summer, from June 1st to the end of August.

I have a lot of shade on my property. What type(s) of grass would you recommend that I plant?

The best grasses to plant in shady areas are either Fine Fescue or Tall Fescue. In extremely shady areas, even these varieties may not flourish. In such cases, we recommend that you substitute natural ground covers for grasses. Some of the best choices include: Pachysandra, Ivy, Vinka, Ferns or Hostas.

My yard suffers from a lot of Deer damage. What deer-resistant plants, if any, would you recommend?

Deer are pretty indiscriminate eaters, but they do strongly dislike some plant varieties. A few you may want to consider include: Green Giant, Arborvita, Hollies, Ilex, Boxwoods and Junipers. Consult your local nursery for more options.

Could you recommend some good “barrier plants” that we could use to discourage people from crossing our yard – and to give us more privacy?

All types of evergreens, hollies and conifers (such as pines, Arborvita, Cypresses and Hemlocks) make excellent barriers that enhance privacy. In addition, you might consider certain low-branching trees, for instance, Shade Maples, Elms, Brach Oaks and most Discaduris trees, with the exception of ornamentals.

How soon after we do a fertilizer and/or weed control treatment is it safe for us to let our dog or cat back onto the yard?

Your lawn should return to pet-safe condition after either a thorough watering or rain, or within 48 hours of completing the work.


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