Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ornamental Turf Workshop

I attended an Ornamental and Turf Workshop in Nashville yesterday. It was very informational, interesting and kind of fun. I got to meet some new people and talk-guess what-gardening!

The workshop was geared more for commercial pesticide applicators, so I was a little out of place, but did learn a few things I found interesting.

The first is that in an effort to stop the spread of fire ants in Tennessee, many counties are quarantined, and new regulations affecting nursery owners and landscapers are due to take effect soon, if they haven't already. The regulations will basically require anyone in the landscape business to buy only certified plants. That is, basically the plants sold for use in landscapes must have been inspected and treated for pests prior to arriving in Tennessee.

I think most people do a good job of this and I hope the quarantine measures stop the spread of fire ants in Tennessee. The real problem, which is hard to regulate, is ordinary homeowners and gardeners bringing stuff up from the south where fire ants are known to be. I myself have been offered plants from down south in Alabama by some kind hearted and good intentioned gardeners. I kindly accepted their offer and then gave the plants to other friends in the south. Simply because I could not be sure there would not be fire ants mixed in with the soil. It really hurt me to do this, but I don't want to be responsible for inadvertantly carrying fire ants to my part of the country. A serious issue for all of us.

Another thing I learned, is that in order to hopefully control goose grass (the bane of my summer lawn), I should apply a pre-emergent herbicide in May. Normally, I do not use herbicides but have occasionally applied crabgrass preventer. Crabgrass preventer needs to be applied around the time forsythias are blooming. Crabgrass preventer will prevent goose grass from germinating as well as crabgrass, but only if applied at the right time. That is my problem. I will make a point of using crabgrass preventer in May because I need help with the goose grass that is out of control in my lawn, despite good cultural methods and five long years at attempting to eradicate it. I always make sure my pets are safely out of harm's way and only apply the lawn treatment within hours of a good rain in order to be sure it is watered in well. This helps reduce the toxic effects and maximize its intended benefit of keeping weeds-GOOSE GRASS-from growing.

Many of the classes were just interesting. The speakers were all good and lunch was delicious (probably a little too delicious). I did not know it but Tennessee State University (one of the two land grant universities in Tennessee) puts on these workshops once a month, always on the third Friday. There are many varied subjects and I am planning to attend a few more during the year. Just some of the subjects they are planning to teach are: Organic growing, The Urban Forest and Communities, Field Days, Fruit Management, etc. The picture is of the John E. Farrell Building at Tennessee State University in Nashville. I found the college campus with no problems and thought the campus was quite beautiful. It was very nicely landscaped.

I am not done posting on lawns, and will prepare a more in depth post soon on how to manage lawns. I do love my lawn, but it is challenging and still requires work. I think more than one post on lawns will be required, as so much goes into maintaining a healthy lawn that you just can't fit it all in one post.

in the garden....


  1. Good Morning Tina and everyone!
    Our lawn needs help desperately. Last summer really played havoc on the grass. Probably need to just start over but then we're looking at two acres it would be a very big undertaking for us.

    I get to wear my grandma hat next week, so will be out of town enjoying my Granddaughter!

    Everyone have a good weekend!

  2. I know what fire ants are, none up here, thank goodness, but what is goose grass? Must be the stuff with the painful burrs in it? I have annoying plantain, it's listed as a woodland wildflower but the thing is downright ugly.

  3. We did not fertilize the grass two years in a row and the weed took over like crazy! We had those prickly burs thing you are talking about Dawn with Peaches… Last year, we started fertilizing again and most of the weed was gone! I am not seeing nearly as much weed starting this year. We found fertilizer at a close out sell last weekend so we are stocked and ready when the time comes. We must be sure to use only fertilizer for St Augustine grass as some fertilizers will kill it... We have lush, soft green grass for most of the summer and we dont have to water it much! I love my grass...

  4. Morning all.

    Nina I know you will enjoy that as grandkids are great! How old is she?

    Glad you had a good day yesterday Tina.

  5. Good morning.

    Could you send me more info about the TSU could I find them if I went to the TSU website? Are they community outreach programs or public service programs that are open to the general public? They do sound interesting.

    My bias is showing here but I wanted to share this: I am considering native grasses for my lawn area....I have seen photos of a little bluestem lawn that is mowed regularly and it looks good. Also, I broadcast clover seeds in the lawn for the bumblebees...;) Tina, if I could successfully grow the no-mow grasses that Neil Diboll sells I would! We are too far south, sigh.


  6. good morning all!
    nina, in the pictures you sent me it looks like you have fescue, and it really doesn't look too bad. i will do some posts on how i work my yard very soon. enjoy your beautiful granddaughter next week.

    dawn with peaches, goose grass is an insidious lawn weed. it is a warm season annual. it starts out looking like grass then spreads out flat along the ground. it can get large but not as large as crabgrass. you can easily recognize it in mid summer when the white blades that look like a star are very prominent. this grass competes with the fescue and is a bear! i only have it growing in one area-which ironically, is in the sun where the fescue should be growing the best! it is not stuff with burrs on it, but i occasionally have that too on the outskirts of the lawn.

    skeeter, i actually loved st. augustine grass when i lived in alabama. it is nice and cool and wide bladed. i hate bermuda and am ok with centipede. lucky you to find fertilizer on sale. it is so expensive and that is cool it worked to get rid of some of the weeds. i think the trick is to make the grass the most happiest so it can out compete the weeds. but that is for a post, i am wordy enough!

    good morning mom! so glad you are feeling better. talked to christine this morning. she tells me you all have quite a bit of snow-even with the rain.

    gail, i posted the schedule on the tsu programs. they are definitely open to the public. we have a great extension agent who is very organized. she emails the schedules to everyone and that is how i found out about this program. there is a charge but it is worth it and anyone can go. they really are more oriented to commercial people, not home gardeners but you can never have too much knowledge.

    on to the native grasses, i was surprised they said buffalo grass is not recommended for here. i have considered to something alternatively as well. but finally, my fescue is doing well and i think i will stick with it. i noticed at tsu they have an alternative grass by their sign. it is the long brown stuff. they could help you out with that.

    i am not familiar with blue stem grass or with neil diboll. so maybe you could post on them?

  7. Grandkids are great, but great,grandkids are even better. I have 2 little angels of great.

    Sometimes I wonder about fertilizers. I use millorganite {sp}. It is natural with no chemicals. If you can stand the smell it is real good. Won't harm good bugs or birds or animals. Not expensive either. I have some of the things that stick to your shoes, clothes or anything. Extension office told me to bag everything every time I mowed. I had it under control till I broke my let & Young'un had to take over. He doesn't bag. He is NOT a yard person. Soooooo.

    Jean, glad you're better. I miss read some last night.

    My grass is a mess. I hope it looks better once it warms up. With a little TLC I think it will be fine.

  8. Lola you are right about the great grandkids. I have 2 that live in FL and have been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time with the 4 year old but the other one was just born this past August and I was also lucky then. Was not there when she was born but before she came outta the hospital. Since I have spent enough time with the 4 year old she talks to me on the phone all the time. Then my 3rd one (Tin'a grandson) lives 20 mintues from me and he is the best. Such a happy baby. He will be 1 on April 13th.

    Tina I hear you got to listen to your grandson giggle. Cool!!

  9. Palm Harbor which is outside of Tampa

  10. That's about 4 hrs. from me.

  11. mom and lola, you two should hook up the next time you travel down to floriday mom. that would be fun. not too long of a drive. maybe next winter?

    lola, my uncle lives south of orlando and my sister outside of tampa. aren't you in the northeast part of florida?

    btw, my mother is talking about her three great grandchildren. and aren't the two cute boys you sent me a picture of your great grandchildren too?

    yes, mom, christine insisted i hear josh giggle-and giggle he did. she just lives for that baby and i am so glad he is close to you all if they can't live down here.

  12. Tina,

    Hi...Is the Perennial Plant meeting this week? I thought I missed it last week. For some reason I have it in my head that it is the 2nd Tuesday of the month...I used to have a good memory;)


  13. it is this tuesday, the 19th. i too USED to have a good memory. don't know where it is now...

  14. Tina, Yes the pics I sent you are my great,grandsons. I think we are in North Central Fl. I am closer to Gainesville than I am Jacksonville. J'ville is too confusing for me as I have no sense of direction.
    My zone is 8b. therefore I can get away with growing some things that are not supposed to live here.

    There's nothing sweeter than to hear a baby giggle or laugh. Just tonight I mentioned to Young'un that I saw the oldest ggk take his first step & also saw his first tooth first. His mom missed out on that. I treasure that fact {seeing him do his first}.

    Jean would love to meet up with you & maybe have coffee or something when you come through.

  15. i will be posting them at some point. i have not forgotten!

  16. Lola I would also love to get together. We will sure try to swing by where you are providing it is not a long ways out of the way. I am sure it will be close enough to swing by as we go one way on the way down and another way on the way back due to the difference in travel way from Maine to TN to FL to Maine. It will be great to put a face with the names! We probably will not go till after Christmas next year.

  17. Jean, If you go interstate 75 to Tampa that is about 2 hrs. from me. If you travel 301 that is about 3 blocks from me. Hope one way or other to meet.