I do my Living Better features Monday-Friday with The Morning Team between 5 and 9am on 84 WHAS; specifically, we run at around 6:55, 7:55, and 8:55. You can also hear me Saturday mornings from 9-10am.
I also do a regular feature for KNN called Kentucky Hearth and Home that runs weekdays at 11:40am, just in case you are travelling around the state and hear a familiar voice.
MORNING TEAM LIVING BETTER SEGMENTS Cindi takes calls everyday at 7:55 a.m.
Cindi Sullivan's Living Better Segment - Talking about foods good for our skin
I grew up in Lexington and graduated from the University Of Kentucky College Of Agriculture with a specialty in Horticulture.
I explore lots of topics of interest to listeners in Living Better with Cindi Sullivan segments on 84WHAS Radio and with Kentucky Hearth and Home on the Kentucky News Network. Of course it all began in the garden for me, but like many of our listeners, I’m used to juggling the many demands on my time and I have many interests in addition to my gardens. Being a naturally curious person with a scientific background, I tend to research topics of interest and like talking about different topics. With Living Better and with Kentucky Hearth and Home, I hope to be able to help our listeners enrich their relationships, improve their health, save some money, enhance their leisure time, and get more out of life with information that focuses on our homes, hearts, health, and pocketbooks.
When I was working for the city of Louisville's Operation Brightside program, I served as President of the American Community Gardening Association; I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Louisville Nursery Association. I'm a Kentucky Certified Nurseryman and a Certified Arborist, And just in case I ever need it again, a Certified Compost Operator.
My husband, Steve is the CFO of The Corradino Group, a national planning and engineering firm and we have two children (actually sub adults): a daughter, Stephanie, and a son, Bradley. And of course Coco, our chocolate lab has been in the family for almost 15 years and we have a new addition, Jezebelle, a black pug.
Tall fescue is a perennial cool-season grass widely used as turf in much of the United States, due in part to its relatively good heat tolerance. Bermudagrass is a warm-season perennial grass whose range substantially overlaps that of tall fescue. Alone, each is a valuable turfgrass. Inevitably, however, bermudagrass invades many tall fescue lawns, and with its spreading habit, it gradually crowds out the fescue creating an unsightly contrast between turf types. This is among the nastiest of turf weed problems.
Growing where the other one isn't
Tall fescue thrives in arid climates when irrigated. Due to its extensive root system, tall fescue also has excellent drought tolerance, as well as good disease and insect resistance. Its adaptation to shade is only fair, but it will survive infertile, saline, alkaline, wet and dry soil conditions. When improperly irrigated or fertilized, however, tall fescue often becomes susceptible to leaf spot and brown patch diseases, as well as white grub damage. Tall fescue stands thin following such damage, allowing opportunistic weeds such as crabgrass and bermudagrass to become established.
Another factor contributing to invasion by bermudagrass is that many housing subdivisions are established on old bermudagrass pastures and fields. This creates an inherent source of bermudagrass contamination in fescue lawns.
Tall fescue's optimum temperature range is 65 to 75°F, while bermudagrass is best adapted to temperatures from 80 to 95°F. Being a cool-season grass, tall fescue's growth during the hot summer months slows considerably. Meanwhile, the warm-season grasses — bermudagrass and crabgrass — grow aggressively during summer. Thus, they are able to compete strongly with tall fescue during this time.
A combination of cultural and chemical strategies will help tip the balance back in favor of tall fescue. However, you should recognize that there is no “silver bullet” for the problem. It takes persistent application of the strategies discussed below.
Several cultural practices encourage tall fescue growth over bermudagrass or crabgrass if you perform them in certain ways or at certain times. The primary ones involve seeding rates, mowing height and proper fertilization and irrigation practices.
Sufficient tall fescue seed is necessary when establishing a turf area. However, with excessive seeding rates, seedlings may become spindly, weak and susceptible to Pythium and other diseases. This in turn leads to gaps in the turf canopy, which can lead to invasion by grassy weeds. Most turf specialists recommend a seeding rate of 5 to 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. It's best to stay within that range. Additionally, a fall seeding date is much preferred to a spring one because the fescue is more likely to successfully become established with a fall seeding.
The new turf-type tall fescue cultivars grow better when mowed at 2 to 2.5 inches, but may need higher mowing during dry periods in the summer or under heavy shade. The old cultivar Kentucky 31 should be mowed at 3 inches. Use a rotary mower with sharp blades and mow often enough so that you don't remove more than one-third of the leaf height in a single mowing. So, for instance, if you're mowing your tall fescue at 2 inches, mow it before it exceeds 3 inches.
Keeping tall fescue in this height range encourages maximum root growth and provides enough canopy to help shade, and thus discourage, bermudagrass growth. Scalping tall fescue, by contrast, thins the turf, exposes the soil and is almost certain to encourage weed invasion.
Tall fescue will tolerate low fertility, but 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year is the generally recommended range. Typically, turf managers apply a complete fertilizer at the rate of 0.5 to 1 pound of nitrogen two or three times in the fall and winter (September to February) at six- to eight-week intervals. In areas with colder winters (where the ground freezes), avoid fertilization during the coldest months (roughly, December and January). Also, avoid fertilization during the late spring and summer months because this only adds to heat, disease and drought stress.
Irrigation is required to replace water lost via evapotranspiration. For water conservation, irrigate to prevent drought stress on an as-needed basis. Irrigate when 30 to 50 percent of the turf begins to wilt, turns blue-gray in color or recovery from foot or tire tracks is slow. Apply enough water to rewet the soil root zone and then wait until the turf shows signs of drought (e.g., wilting) again before the next irrigation (usually every 3 to 4 days during April to September, depending on soil type and maintenance practices).
For most soils, no more than 0.75 inch of water is necessary for each irrigation to rewet the top 4 to 8 inches of the root zone. This is the equivalent to 465 gallons per 1,000 square feet. Thus, each time you irrigate, you should do so long enough to wet soil to this depth. The length of the irrigation period should stay constant year round; only the frequency between irrigations should change. Therefore, you shouldn't set irrigation programs by automatic timers to operate on a daily schedule. They need only to operate after the turf begins to show signs of drought and then should be programmed to apply 0.75 inch of water. Light, frequent (daily) irrigation is a sure way of eventually weakening tall fescue and encouraging brown patch disease, bermudagrass, crabgrass and other weeds.
Selective control of grassy weeds in tall fescue is difficult to completely achieve with post-emergence herbicides because of unacceptable or unpredictable tall fescue phytotoxicity. To ensure safety, rates must be reduced, increasing the number of applications required and lowering the degree of bermudagrass control.
Only two currently available herbicides provide suppression of bermudagrass with acceptable phytotoxicity of fescue. One is Aventis' Acclaim Extra 0.57 EC (fenoxaprop-p-ethyl). This material is applied at 1.5 pints per acre every 3 weeks, starting after bermudagrass greenup in spring. During summer stress, you may need to lengthen application intervals or use lighter rates.
Young, actively growing weeds are easiest to control with Acclaim. Apply it in late spring or early summer to actively growing bermudagrass, but do not apply to moisture- or heat-stressed turf or weeds. Repeat in 3 weeks for complete control. Control may be reduced if you apply it within 14 days after a broadleaf herbicide. Tall fescue seedlings should be at least 4 weeks old before treatment. Do not mow for 24 hours after application, and do not tank-mix with phenoxy herbicides.
The other post-emergence herbicide for selective bermudagrass control in tall fescue is fluazifop-p-butyl (PBI/Gordon's Ornamec Over-The-Top and Syngenta's Fusilade T&O II 2EC). We conducted our research with Fusilade, but Ornamec uses the same active ingredient and is similarly labeled for this use, although product concentration, and therefore product application rates, are different.
Add a nonionic surfactant at 0.25 percent by volume when using this chemical. Make the first application in spring after bermudagrass has greened up, and a second application in early fall. Minor, short-term turf phytotoxicity may occur, especially if you apply the chemical during hot, dry weather. However, as Tables 1 and 2 indicate, little, if any, long-term phytotoxicity is normally exhibited with either herbicide.
Persistence is critical
No selective herbicide will consistently control bermudagrass with just one application or after only one year's use. For example, in research studies, four to six repeat applications of Acclaim at 3- to 4-week intervals were needed over 2 years for satisfactory (about 85 to 95 percent) control. This program is most effective when integrated with an agronomic scheme promoting tall fescue growth over the bermudagrass.
Table 1 (page 26) demonstrates the need for persistence with Fusilade. One application at 6 ounces per acre provided 30 percent bermudagrass control; two applications provided 79 percent control; three applications yielded 83 percent control. I've seen similar trends with single vs. sequential Acclaim applications.
Table 2 (above) demonstrates the need for a multi-year approach to control. Two applications of Fusilade, again at 6 ounces per application, provided only 3 percent bermudagrass control with one yearly application, but provided 90 percent control with two consecutive yearly applications.
In the never-ending search for the magical combination of products to provide selective bermudagrass control, turf managers have tried various tank-mix combinations.
Two herbicides used in combinations with Acclaim that we've tested are Aventis' Prograss 1.5EC (ethofumesate) and Dow AgroScience's Turflon Ester (triclopyr). Five monthly applications of Acclaim Extra 0.57EC (32 to 42 ounces per acre) plus Prograss 1.5EC at 1 gallon per acre tank-mixed and applied during a single year have provided between 70 and 96 percent common bermudagrass control in several studies. Tank-mix application of Acclaim Extra 0.57EC at 47 to 94 ounces per acre plus Turflon Ester 4L at 18 to 36 ounces per acre have provided 88 to 97 percent control with four repeat applications during one year. Single application provided less than 30 percent control.
Table 1 lists a study in North Carolina comparing Fusilade and Acclaim alone compared to Acclaim with Turflon or Prograss. Three applications of Acclaim Extra 0.57EC at 28 ounces per acre provided 75 percent bermudagrass control by the end of the growing season. When tank-mixed with Prograss 1.5EC at 128 ounces per acre, control increased to 84 percent, and to 90 percent when tank-mixed with Turflon Ester 4EC at 32 ounces per acre. Table 2 again demonstrates that repeat application of any material is necessary and that Acclaim + Turflon tank-mixes provide slightly better control than Acclaim + Prograss mixes. In addition, these herbicides also provide excellent post-emergence control of crabgrass, especially with repeat applications.
Bermudagrass is a common weed problem in tall fescue in much of the United States. A combination of cultural practices and herbicide applications are needed for satisfactory control. It's unlikely you'll ever completely eradicate bermudagrass from a sward, but with persistence, you can achieve acceptable results without have to perform a complete renovation.
Dr. L. Bert McCarty is professor of turgrass science in the Dept. of Horticulture at Clemson University (Clemson, S.C.).
General Care of Lilacs
Thursday 02-24-2011 8:08am ET
Lilacs are spring blooming woody ornamentals that are one of those wonderful heirloom plants that remind us of our gardening pasts. Lilacs prefer full sun exposures for the best performance. They also require a location with good air movement in order to combat disease problems.
Lilacs should be pruned in late spring after all the flowers have faded. For older plants it may be advisable to selectively remove older stems at the base of the plant to stimulate new growth and to keep (or get) the shrub in shape. A general rule of thumb if to remove one third of the oldest stems at ground level annually so you are completely rejuvenating the shrub every three years. (Borers will tend to prefer thicker stems, so by removing the oldest stems, you will help to deter borer damae.)Heading back cuts can also be made at the top of the plant to reduce the size.
If you have a type of lilac that is slower growing and is maintaining its size well, it is still advisable to remove the spent blossoms in late spring. This will stimulate new growth and will prevent the plant from expending its energy in seed production. Simply snip off the blossoms just above the next node down.
If your lilac needs to be moved, the best time to do this is in the dormant season. Usually anytime in late fall after the leaves have dropped until late winter before new growth begins is your window of opportunity. Limiting factors will be soil moisture, (don’t work the soil if it is too wet) or frozen soils. Keep the new transplants well watered to ensure good root development. Blooms may be reduced or eliminated the following growing season, but should resume the next spring.
‘Miss Kim’ is a popular variety of Syringa patula or Manchurian Lilac. Although Miss Kim is usually listed as 3 feet high and wide at maturity, give it a little extra space. If it is happy where it is growing, it could double that size in time! The flower panicles of Miss Kim are about 3 inches long, budding out a deep purple and turning bluish as they age.Miss Kim may also have a nice purple fall color.
‘Lark Song’ is a very fragrant lilac, blooming a little later in the season.
Cutting back your roses and late winter/spring maintenance
Wednesday 02-23-2011 8:20am ET
Spring pruning and fertilizing are absolutely critical elements for healthy roses. You need to prune hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas and miniatures by the first week of April. Pruning in late winter or early spring will stimulate new growth and produce a healthy plant and lots of blooms.If you didn’t get your roses pruned back in the fall, cut them back the first nice day you can-anytime really that there is nice weather in February-early April. This will prevent the roses from sprouting new growth on upper portions of the canes that will be cut off. This would just be a waste of valuable plant energy.
Gather your tools for spring pruning. Use high quality, clean, sharp pruners (I use Stihl), a two-pronged kitchen fork, and a pair of thick leather gloves (Bionic makes a gaunlet style rose glove—love it). The gloves will protect your hands from thorns, the pruners will make good clean cuts, but you may be wondering what the kitchen fork does. The kitchen fork is to pull back the winter mulch protection. Use a narrow kitchen fork instead of a garden fork because it makes it easier to work around the new, tender basal shoots that are growing beneath the mulch if you are pruning in the later part of the season.
After pulling back the mulch, use the pruners to cut away any dark or discolored stems. Cut all the way back to healthy, creamy colored pith—the pith is the interior of the stem.
Also remove any stems that are crossing over each other, or weak and spindly looking (pencil size). The idea is to shape the plant by pruning to an outside eye to encourage an open plant that will be more disease resistant. Don’t worry if you have to go all the way back to ground level to prune stems; better too much than not enough.
Be sure to pick up all your clippings, put them in a plastic bag and set them out for yard waste pick up. Good cleanup practices will help to prevent disease problems later in the season. If you had severe disease problems last year, hopefully you replaced the mulch around your roses in the fall with fresh mulch. If not, plan to replace the mulch and start a fungicide spray program just as soon as the first buds break.
When you finish your pruning, apply your spring fertilizer. Here’s a special formula to use on each plant:
½ cup Osmocote
¼ cup Nitroform (or other slow-release high nitrogen product)
2 Tablespoons Epsom Salts
The Osmocote is a slow release fertilizer that will provide nutrients all season long. The Nitroform is a high nitrogen fertilizer that will stimulate lots of good, strong vegetative growth to support the blooms, and the Epsom salts will provide magnesium for the blooms.
After fertilizing, push the winter mulch back up around the plant base to protect the new shoots, and then water the plants in well. Watering is very important to dilute the fertilizer and prevent root burn.
Depending on the weather, you’ll want to leave the winter mulch on until mid to late April. Keep that mulch handy though, because it’s not unusual to get a freeze into the middle of May, and you may need to put it back to protect your plants.
If you would like to meet people that are interested in roses and have the advantage of assistance of consulting rosarians, educational programs, a monthly newsletter, and garden tours, you might like to join the Louisville Rose Society. They meet the fourth Friday of every month at St. PaulUnitedMethodistChurch, 2000 Douglass Blvd at Bardstown Road in Louisville at in the evening.