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....