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Beneficial Insects

Create a Garden to Attract Beneficial Insects

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To encourage high beneficial insect populations design your garden to incorporate a variety of flowering plants rich in nectar and pollen.  Choose cultivars with easily accessible pollen found in plants with a single layer of petals or a tubular flower form.  Common herbs, wildflowers, and scented plants are all attractive to beneficial insects.  Do not clear out dead foliage in the fall, this is an important habitat for beneficial over…

What's Under Your Soil?

Work on the Down Low to Improve What’s on Top

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Horticulturists agree that time spent improving what is happening below the surface of a lawn greatly reduces the time needed to maintain what is on top of it.  The ideal soil for grass meets five requirements: 1) it is slightly acidic; 2) it contains an adequate supply of nutrients; 3) it allows for deep root growth; 4) it supports a thriving population of beneficial microbes, and 5) it retains adequate…

Planting a new lawn—step-by-step

How Much Seed to Use When Overseeding

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Seed Type Pounds* per 1,000-square feet Bluegrass 1 to 2 Tall fescue 4 Perennial ryegrass 4 Fine fescue 2 2 *Note: some experts recommend exceeding these amounts.

Building Fertility - Lime Pellets

Applying Lime

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For acidic soils, use pelletized lime to minimize dust and ensure uniformity.  You can mix finely ground limestone with a water-soluble binder to form pellets.  Use a drop spreader to apply pelletized lime.  You can also apply with a rotary-type spreader.


What to Wear For Pest & Weed Control

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Whether you’re using insecticides and herbicides derived from botanical, biological, or synthetic materials, take all basic precautions, including the use of goggles, disposable dust masks (for pesticide dusts), and tight-fitting respirators when using liquid sprays.  Use National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators containing activated charcoal cartridges that filter pesticide vapors from the air. Read all product labels thoroughly, and apply the products with great care.  Completely…


Safe Pesticide Use

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Use the least toxic, most target-specific chemical. Purchase the smallest amount needed to do the job. Do not mix more spray than you need—and stick to target areas only. Read the label carefully, and follow all recommendations precisely. Wear protective clothing and gear as directed. Wear gloves when using a sprayer, and wash well afterward. Launder pesticide-contaminated clothing separately. Keep leftover pesticides away from children Keep leftover chemicals in their…

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle

Managing Lawn Pests

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Insect problems, like diseases, develop when conditions are favorable to them.  As the weather warms up in spring, insect populations and activity increase.  Your best line of defense against these pests is to provide optimal growing conditions for your lawn.  A thick, healthy turf is not attractive to pests as either habitat or food, and is better able to survive any foraging of insects.

Amend soil

What is a Soil Amendment?

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Adding a soil amendment, also called a soil conditioner, helps improve plant growth and health.  The type of amendment or amendments added depends on the current soil composition, the climate, and the type of plant.  Some of the various amendments include: Lime (makes soil less acidic) Fertilizers for plant nutrients (i.e. manure, peat, or compost) Materials for water retention (i.e. clay, shredded bark, or vermiculite) Gypsum (releases nutrients and improves…

Nematode - Biological Insecticides


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Predatory nematodes attack lawn pests such as billbugs, sod webworms, and white grubs. Nematodes are parasites that kill hosts, such as this grub, within 48-hours.  Some nematodes attack surface pests; others attack soil-dwelling pests.  Choose the correct type for your pest. Nematodes arrive by mail in a sponge.  To apply, place the sponge in a container of cold water and wring it several times to release the nematodes.  Apply with…

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an Eco-Friendly Approach

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Too often people see insects as invaders to be attacked with various toxic chemicals.  While such actions may take care of the immediate problem, they usually create a host of others.  Today, an ecologically sound concept called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is receiving serious recognition and support among home gardeners, professional landscapers, and scientists.  With IPM, the yard is as an ecosystem with components that are interdependent and where every…