Nuisance fruit prevention and lawn updates
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One of the main things to
discuss in this column is the removal of nuisance fruit. You may be
thinking about those apples or peaches, but really the nuisance
fruit category includes things that are much more a nuisance, like
sweet gum balls, maple seeds and crabapples.
Several products are available to eliminate nuisance fruit. The
most common is ethephon, and it is used as a foliar spray to
reduce or eliminate undesirable fruit or seeds. A couple of the
trade names are Florel and Ethrel. The product is effective at
eliminating much of the fruit without affecting leaf growth and
color, and it does not harm other plants that get some spray
drift on them. It also does not affect the actual flowering of
the treated trees.
With ethephon, the key is in the timing.
The application must be made during flowering but before the
fruit set in. For most flowering trees there is a 10- to 14-day
window of opportunity. Sweet gums are a little tricky since
there are no showy flowers involved, so effective sprays should
occur just as new leaves begin to emerge.
Sprays should leave leaves wet, but not to the point of
dripping. Good coverage of the tree is needed, so keep in mind
the size of the tree when you are weighing this option.
Injectable products are available, but they must be applied
by a professional. The injectable products have not been as
effective as the sprays.
This product is a growth regulator that naturally occurs. Its
natural production is stimulated by stress, so make sure you
aren't treating a tree that is under stress from drought, high
temperatures, diseases or other environmental stresses. Treating
stressed trees can cause severe injury to the plant, such as
leaf loss or scorching.
Crabgrass seed has already germinated and will continue to do
so throughout the spring and summer months. Preventive
treatments will still do some good for seed that will germinate
over the next six to eight weeks, but treatments won't get seeds
that have already germinated. The organic arsenicals, such as
DSMA and MSMA, will control newly germinated grass. Remember,
you should have a second preventive application around June 1
for summer control of crabgrass and other annual grasses.
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The time to begin mowing has already arrived in some areas, and
there are a few very simple rules for mowing grass. The first is to
use equipment that is ready for the job. Make sure the mower has
sharp blades. Dull blades will show up as injury on the grass
blades, like brown tips and jagged edges. Blades can be sharpened in
several ways. Using a file or grinder are the more common methods.
Next is the rule of one-third. Never remove more than one-third
of the leaf blade at any one time. This rule must be followed if you
don't want to catch or rake the grass. A good general mowing height
for combination bluegrass and fine fescue is about 2 inches. This
would mean that you would need to mow every time the grass reaches 3
inches in height.
Bagging grass clippings may actually add to the buildup of thatch
-- that dead, matted layer on the soil surface. Thatch is broken
down by microbes at the soil surface. Without a food source, the
microbe numbers crash, and any clippings remain without breaking
Mulching is OK. It isn't a cure-all, and it does take quite a bit
of extra power to accomplish. The final word is that grass mowed on
the one-third rule doesn't need to be caught or mulched. Bagging
takes time and the clippings must then be disposed of. Mulching
takes extra power and fuel.
Mowing intervals depend upon grass growth rather than a calendar
schedule. The spring and fall periods will require more frequent
mowing than during the summer. That is in a "normal" year.
really reduces the labor needed for overall operations.
University of Illinois Extension]