Ask the Experts: Lawn Care Professionals

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Ask PeterWellenberger

Peter Wellenberger
Great Bay Stewards
603 778-0015
greatbaystewards.org

Jean Eno, Winnicut River Watershed Coalition

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

The best time of year for reseeding is largely dependent upon the type of grass one wishes to grow. There are varieties of seed that prefer cooler temperatures to those of summer’s hotter temperatures, so one must be mindful of that. I also advise using seed mixtures with a high percentage of fescue grasses, which require less watering and mowing.

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

Brown spots can mean improper variety of grass species, soil chemistry imbalances, or harmful (nonnative) insect problems. The best way to determine what is going on is to have your soil analyzed. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is a tremendous and free resource. Alternatively, consider downsizing your lawn by planting native shrubs and flowers to eliminate problems like brown spots altogether.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

Brown spots can mean improper variety of grass species, soil chemistry imbalances, or harmful (nonnative) insect problems. The best way to determine what is going on is to have your soil analyzed. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is a tremendous and free resource. Alternatively, consider downsizing your lawn by planting native shrubs and flowers to eliminate problems like brown spots altogether.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

You might be seeing the fruiting of certain fungus that occurs underground, usually in conjunction with decaying tree roots. Mushrooms are often harmless to lawns, but do not let pets eat them. Raking them up would work to remove them.

 

Ask DaveBergquist
Dave Bergquist

Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club
603 964-5341
sagamoregolf.com

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

It is best to seed in the spring, after the soil has reached low 50º Fahrenheit. Summer is generally too hot, and it doesn’t take much to burn the freshly sprouted shoots. A dormant seeding in late fall is effective. When spring arrives, the seed is already in the ground waiting for the right conditions for it to pop!

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

The two more common reasons for dead spots are dog urine and white grubs. It’s pretty easy to keep dogs off the lawn to prevent them. To check if you have grubs, dig at the edge of the brown spot. The presence of crows and skunks feeding is also an indicator. Applying milky spore, a natural bacterium, will clean them up if they are Japanese beetle grubs.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

I don’t have a lot of experience with mulch, but white and yellow patches are most likely caused by fungi, breaking down the mulch. Keep mulch as dry as possible and turn over occasionally.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

I don’t have a lot of experience with mulch, but white and yellow patches are most likely caused by fungi, breaking down the mulch. Keep mulch as dry as possible and turn over occasionally. Mushrooms are another fungus. Keep the lawn as dry as possible and prevent overwatering. Thin or remove shade trees and surrounding brush to increase light and air movement.

 

Ask TerrenceParker

Terrence Parker
TerraFirma Landscape Architecture
603 430-8388
terrafirmalandarch.com

Mike Graves, Piscataqua Landscaping

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

Fall is the suggested season to reseed because it is the end of the annual weed cycle, and generally we get more rain and, with cooler nights, seed germination takes less effort. Spring would be the next best time to reseed. However, spring is the beginning of the annual weed cycle and the new seed will have to compete with the weeds.

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

The dead brown spots were most likely due to a fungal disease. The best way to keep the fungus from spreading is to clean the mower deck after each cut. After washing the deck off, spray the underside of the deck with Lysol or an equivalent, and this will prevent the disease from being spread throughout the lawn.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

Those patches were another form of fungus and most likely came in with the mulch. The spores (fungal seeds) that form these patches are tiny. Remove the patches when they are first seen and treat with an antifungal agent. You can mix baking soda and water together to spray on the spots. This is a mild treatment and will give you some control.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungus and a natural agent of decomposition. Their mycelium forms a network of webs all through the soil to feed upon organic matter and convert its nutrients into a form that plants can absorb. Mushrooms are an indicator of an abundance of moisture. Their presence may be a result of overwatering, so lighten up on irrigation. 

Ask Rugg

Derek Rugg
Rock Crest Gardens
603 235-2757 

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

Fall is the best time to reseed your lawn in New England. Short days and long nights allow for minimal watering requirements. Establishing grass in the fall will allow you to apply a fertilizer and preemergent, which will prevent many weeds that may pop up in your lawn. If you seed in the summer or spring, the preemergent will prevent your grass seed from germinating.

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

Brown grass can be a sign of a lack of water, but it could also be a result of a fungus that thrives in damp conditions. Insects can also cause brown spots and often require a chemical treatment. It is important to realize that all the brown spots on your lawn may not be caused by the same issue.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

Bright yellow and white patches in mulch beds are a mold or fungus. Simply cultivate them into the soil and turn over the mulch. Consider reducing the watering of the bed. If the surrounding shrubs or bushes are shading the afflicted area, appropriate pruning should help prevent the fungus from returning. You can also contact a professional to have him apply an appropriate fungicide.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

Mushrooms are a fungus and occur when environmental conditions allow. Mushrooms are entirely dependent on moisture to grow. Lawns in New England need time to dry out, and watering every day is often too much. If you cut back on your watering and mushrooms are still a problem, dethatching your lawn may help to prevent the unwanted moisture. A good dethatching will increase airflow.

Ask BenWoods

Ben Woods
Site Structures Landscape Inc.
207 438-9995
sitestructureslandscape.com

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

Although late August and September are the best times to reseed or seed a new lawn, spring is also a fine time to seed. The challenge to spring lawns is maintaining the new seedlings through the first summer when weeds and drought can quickly ruin a young lawn. Additional care and attention are necessary for a spring lawn. Summer seeding is not recommended.

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

Dead spots in the lawn in summertime are a result of a range of conditions. If the spots are concentrated and attract skunks or birds, then grubs are the culprit. If browning is more evenly spread, it could just be the lawn going dormant from lack of irrigation or shallow soils. After diagnosing the issue, a lawn care professional can recommend organic or traditional solutions.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

Slime mold is as attractive as the name sounds. Caused by a fungus occurring naturally in the soil, the fruiting body (what we see in our mulch) usually appears during periods of extended hot, wet weather. Slime mold is not harmful and doesn’t require any sort of treatment except a quick raking to remove the blob.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

Like slime mold, mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of naturally occurring fungi in soils. Most fungi are beneficial and important for decomposition and freeing up nutrients in soil. Mushrooms in the lawn could be a result of buried debris or animal waste. A quick raking or a mowing is adequate to remove the caps.

Ask Sansom

Dana M. Sansom
Thompson School of Applied Science, University of New Hampshire
tsas.unh.edu/hort

Is it okay to reseed a lawn in spring and summer as well as fall?

People reseed in fall because there is good soil moisture, warm soil, and limited weed pressure. Seeding in spring is difficult because of heavy rains and spring weed competition. Seeding in summer is near impossible because of heat, drought stress, and summer weed competition. Dormant seeding (before the ground thaws) can be successful; when soil cracks in winter, it provides crevices for the seed to go in.

What’s the best way to keep dead brown spots in a lawn from spreading?

A common cause of dead brown spots on lawns last summer was Rhizoctonia brown patch, which thrives in hot, humid weather. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer applications prior to and during humid weather, water early in the day (to a depth of six inches), and avoid overwatering. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue lawns are less susceptible to brown patch. Remove grass clippings and mow at proper heights.

What should homeowners do about those yellow or white patches that grow on mulch?

Bright yellow patches are usually caused by “dog vomit” slime mold. It starts out bright yellow and then turns brown, dries up, and releases spores in a cloud of fine dust. It eats the bacteria in the mulch and not the mulch itself or the plants in the mulch, so it is harmless. If it is offensive, take a shovel and remove it.

Why do mushrooms grow in lawns and what can be done about it?

Mushrooms are the reproductive structures of fungi, which live in the soil and feed on organic matter. Mushrooms exist if the soil is high in organic matter. The mushroom can be mowed off or picked and discarded. A concern for families with children and animals is that some lawn mushrooms are poisonous. Dethatching a lawn can help reduce a mushroom problem.

Tags: Ask the Experts, lawn care

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