Thursday, February 1, 2007

Grass types can reduce insect damage

Grass seed- we are looking at a new grass seed supplier. We were discussing the different mixes. We wanted to make sure that the new mix included some endophytic perennial rye grass seed.

What does "endophytic" mean for the lawn? Endophytic grasses reduce chinch bugs and other lawn pests. They contain materials that are either toxic to the insects or that cause the pests to avoid these plants. Perennial rye grasses have been developed to reduce the chances of insect damage. Never use endophytic lawn grasses in pasture areas as the endophytic grasses are harmful to horse and cattle. Our mix uses a "turf-type" perennial rye grass. This designation is to distinguish between fine textured varieties that are suitable for lawn use from those varieties that have coarse, unsightly leaf blades.

Mixes with Annual rye grass are generally not recommended. The annual rye grass is useful in some situations as it germinates rapidly. However, it is not long lived. Generally, turf-type perennial rye grasses will do the same job of germinating quickly and thus providing some cover and protection for the slower germinating grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass.

The King of Green is Cold

Winter has descended with a white blanket over the lawns in Hamilton and the cold is numbing at times.

The warm weather in December and January was unusual. I drove by a lawn in December after a few days of sunshine and saw a few dandelion plants with seed heads blooming. I swear I had driven by that way a few days earlier. Yet, I could not remember seeing any yellow flowers. I wondered if the dandelion seed heads had been sitting encased in their post-flower stage just waiting for some warm weather. If the weather hadn't been warm in December, would they have bided their time until the spring. Was this an effect of the "El Nino" winter that we are supposed to be getting? Will the dandelion puffs that dispersed their seeds in December result in more weeds or fewer weeds next spring.