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  • Last modified 52 days ago (May 4, 2017)

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Expert tips for gardening and lawn care in May

Staff writer

Outdoor enthusiasts may want to take some expert tips when maintaining their lawns and gardens.

Lawns

Ricky Roberts, county research and extension agent, said lawn fertilizer and herbicide should have been applied by now.

“There are some private fertilizer companies that try to sell plans that fertilize every month. “I don’t recommend that, but I’m not trying to sell anything,” Roberts said. “Research at our office says fertilizing fescue about twice a year works just fine.”

As to “cool season grass,” that vary, common to county lawns, he said there isn’t really any consequence to over fertilizing other than “not getting much bang for your buck.”

In caring for a fescue lawn, there are a few other things to consider.

“With watering, a lot depends on Mother Nature but a general rule of thumb is water about once or twice a week if its dry, but it’s not dry right now,” Roberts said. “We prefer to get a deeper soaking.”

He said the best way to water is to make sure that water soaks to a depth of six to eight inches, and when it dries to do it again.

“When it gets hot, our tendency is to over-water fescue,” he said. “But the hot times of the year is not fescue’s time to shine. You could say it wants to go to sleep when it gets hot, and just doesn’t produce as much as it does in the spring and fall when its cooler.”

Gardens

Many gardeners likely already have performed soil tests and amended soil according to an area’s nutrient needs, leaving May as the time for planting and fertilizing said crops, Roberts said.

“Garden layout and planning is the biggest thing to a successful garden,” he said. “You need to know where you planted things last year and rotate crops. It can be very helpful in disease control.”

Early May is the time to plant kitchen herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant transplants, while sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, beans, and other warm season vegetables should be seeded, according to www.kansashealthyyards.org.

The Kansas Research and Extension-sponsored website also says fresh asparagus should be harvested until the spear size decreases and that rhubarb seed stalks should be removed to encourage leaf growth.

Roberts said gardens should be planted in such a way that allows people enough room to weed without damaging crops. The website also recommends cultivating soil with a hoe to control weed growth.

Moving into the hotter months, mulch is an ally in water conservation, as it helps keep soil temperatures cooler and deters evaporation, Roberts said.

Last modified May 4, 2017

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