“Steps to a Lush Green Lawn”

Please join us to hear Don Crim, Wyandotte County Extension Master Garden present “Steps to a Lush Lawn” for our next Advanced Education program. He will discuss how to determine whether a lawn needs to be overseeded or renovated and steps to accomplish both situations. Don will also discuss some common problems homeowners experience with with their lawns. This will be 1.5 hour of Advanced Education.

*Meetings are held in the Dreher Building located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence, KS.  All General Business meetings will begin at 9am and Advanced Education programs will be from 10:00-11:00am unless otherwise noted. All programs are Free and  Open to the Public except Nov. 11- EMG Panel.

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Scratcching & Itching…Weeds & Bugs in the Garden


Crabgrass can be can be a tough weed to control. you  have to scratch and pull to uproot it.  Its a worthy fellow traveler, the chigger is also hard to eliminate.

Ward Upham at K-State provides help today wit these two articles.

Crabgrass Control

This is the time of year when people really notice crabgrass infestations. By far the best way to control crabgrass is to prevent it by maintaining a good, thick lawn. Crabgrass is an annual that must come up from seed each year and the seed must have light in order to germinate. If a lawn is thick enough that sunlight does not reach the soil, the crabgrass will not germinate. Under Kansas conditions it is not easy to maintain such a lawn; so many gardeners do the next best thing and apply a crabgrass preventer in the spring.

Crabgrass preventers kill the seed as it germinates. Most do not have any effect on crabgrass that has already come up. If we are too late to apply a preventer, we do have other herbicides that will kill crabgrass after it is up including Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max + Crabgrass Control, Bayer All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer and Fertilome Weed Out with Crabgrass Killer. Each contains quinclorac, which is a crabgrass herbicide, as well as other active ingredients that control broadleaf weeds. Quiclorac is an excellent crabgrass killer that controls not only crabgrass but also has good activity on foxtail and certain broadleaves such as field bindweed, black medic and clover. However, it does little to nothing to goosegrass. However, quinclorac can harm garden plants if clippings are used as mulch. Clippings should be returned to the lawn or discarded. Even composting will not break down the quinclorac.

​Fortunately, crabgrass starts declining about the middle of August. This is about the same time that cool- season grasses such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass start to come out of their summer doldrums. By the first of September, the crabgrass will be less noticeable. Therefore, a small infestation is best ignored. Remember that crabgrass is a warm-season annual and will be killed by the first frost.


Chiggers are mites, not insects. And like all mites, the adults have eight legs. However, the larva only has six legs. Though the bright red female adult is tiny (about 1/20th of an inch) the larva is much smaller (about 1/150th of an inch). Only the larvae are parasitic and attack animals. The larva injects digestive juices into the skin, which causes a rapid swelling. In the center of the swelling is a “feeding tube” from which the chigger sucks out liquefied skin cells. Feeding usually continues for 2 to 4 days.
Protection from chiggers uses two approaches. The use of a repellent can discourage chiggers from attacking. The most effective repellents are Deet and permethrin. Both are applied to clothing. The second approach seeks to reduce chigger populations. Keeping the lawn mowed regularly can help, but large populations may require the use of an acaricide. Effective products include bifenthrin (Talstar, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster II, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin, and Ortho Lawn Insect Killer Granules), cyfluthrin (Tempo 20, Bayer Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray) and carbaryl (Sevin). For more information, see the K-State Research and Extension publication titled, “Chiggers” at: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF2107.PDF (Ward Upham)


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The Wildlands in Your Backyard

Let’s Get Wild


Every time I post from Something Wild it makes me think about how the tame-your garden- with the wild-the critter we learning about must interact with each other…WHEW!! Makes my head spin!  So, here ya; go, the WILD!

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Pretty Things to See

Tomorrow is the  Open House at the K-State Research & Extension Center, Olathe. 

Come see the hottest and newest plants while enjoying cool classes in air-conditioned comfort and ice cold water while wandering the field trials. Learn about the latest and greatest before it ever hits the garden centers. It’s all here at the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center’s Field Day.

It’s your chance to peek behind the scenes, talk with the experts and learn about the latest varieties and methods for achieving growing success. This year we are celebrating 20 years of the research center in its current location.

Admission is $5 per person, which includes ice cold bottled water, seminars, classes and demonstrations.

K-State Research and Extension horticulture research develops its list of recommended grasses, flowers or vegetable varieties through university research conducted in Olathe to determine what grows best in our landscapes.

The Center is a great place see demonstration gardens and lots of other plantings. For more info, follow this link; http://www.johnson.k-state.edu/lawn-garden/horticulture-field-day.html


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Tomatoes,Tomatoes Tomatoes…

This time of year means ,for sure, there will be something on your kitchen counter; TOMATOES!!!

Tomatoes Slow to Ripen?

The extremely hot weather we have had recently not only interferes with flower pollination (see July 11 newsletter) but also can affect how quickly fruit matures. The best temperature for tomato growth and fruit development is 85 to 90F. When temperatures exceed 100 degrees, the plant goes into survival mode and concentrates on moving water. Fruit development slows to a crawl. When temperatures moderate, even to the low to mid 90s, the fruit will ripen more quickly.

Tomato color can also be affected by heat. When temperatures rise above 95 degrees F, red pigments don’t form properly though the orange and yellow pigments do. This results in orange fruit. This doesn’t affect the edibility of the tomato, but often gardeners want that deep red color back.

So, can we do anything to help our tomatoes ripen and have good color during extreme heat? Sure, there is. We can pick tomatoes in the “breaker” stage. Breaker stage tomatoes are those that have started to turn color. At this point, the tomato has cut itself off from the vine and nothing will be gained by keeping it on the plant. If tomatoes are picked at this stage and brought into an air-conditioned house, they will ripen more quickly and develop a good, red color. A temperature of 75 to 85 degrees F will work well. (Ward Upham)

Tomato Cracking

Tomatoes often have problems with cracking caused by pressure inside the fruit that is more than the skin can handle. Cracks are usually on the upper part of the fruit and can be concentric (in concentric circles around the stem) or radial (radiating from the stem). We don’t know everything about cracking but here is what we do know.

Tomatoes have a root system that is very dense and fibrous and is quite efficient in picking up water. Unfortunately, the root system can become unbalanced with the top of the plant. Early in the season it may be small in relation to the top growth resulting in blossom-end rot during hot dry weather. Later it may be so efficient that it provides too much water when we get rain or irrigate heavily after a dry spell. This quick influx of water can cause the tomato fruit to crack. Therefore, even, consistent watering can help with cracking. Mulching will also help because it moderates moisture levels in the soil. However, you can do everything right and still have problems with cracking in some years.

We have evaluated varieties for cracking during our tomato trials at K-State. It takes several years worth of data to get a good feel for crack-resistant varieties but we have found some real differences. Some varieties crack under about any condition and others are much more resistant. The difference seems to be pliability of skin rather than thickness — the more pliable the skin the more resistance to cracking.
The old variety Jet Star has been the most crack resistant of any we have tested including the newer types. Unfortunately, Jet Star is an indeterminate variety that puts out rampant growth.Newer varieties with more controlled growth are often more attractive to gardeners. MountainSpring, Mountain Pride, Mountain Fresh, Floralina and Sun Leaper are smaller-vined types thathave shown good resistance to cracking. (Ward Upham)

Tomato Sunscald

Extreme heat and bright sunlight can sunscald tomato fruit, leaving a light yellow to white
sunken spot that resembles a blister. Eventually this area may allow black mold in invade and cause the tomato to rot.

Sunscald most often happens to fruit that is exposed to full sun after losing foliage to disease, hail or tomato hornworms. Exposed fruit may be shaded with cheesecloth to prevent injury. Fruit can also be harvested as the tomato starts to turn color so they can ripen inside. Tomatoes picked at this stage will be just as sweet as those left to ripen on the vine. Remove affected fruit to encourage more fruit set.
Sunburned fruit are rarely usable if the damage is extensive. Tomatoes with little damage can be used if sunscalded areas are cut out. (Ward Upham)


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Back to School, With the Masters

You have a chance to learn about a special flower…get the details.



*Meetings are held in the Dreher Building located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper, Lawrence, KS.  All General Business meetings will begin at 9am and Advanced Education programs will be from 10:00-11:00am unless otherwise noted. All programs are Free and  Open to the Public.

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The Summer is Sailing…

My apologies for not posting for awhile…a busy summer schedule and my “old guy” health is a challenge. BUT, I’m back and ready to share some good stuff! OK, here goes.











With July heat and limited moisture, watering trees is important. Here’s a helpful video on just that subject.  Video link;

Much of our landscape planting is put in as a xeriscaping planting which means very little water use. But sometimes the trees benefit from some extra water. This is a buried line that we placed barely underneath the mulch. It has in-line emitters. You can see the whole on this line, and there is a hole every foot on the line. You can buy these at your garden center or hardware store.

On this tree that’s about six inches in diameter, we’ve set the line about three feet out from the trunk. If it’s a younger tree, we’d have the line closer to the trunk – perhaps 1 ½ feet away. And as the tree grows, you can dig it up and set the line out further.

You’ll only need to water during drought stressed times of the summer. If you want to install drip irrigation, you can do it yourself. You don’t have to call a plumber or hire a gardener. It’s very easy to do with some basic tools such as a pair of hand pruners.

If this were a small tree that was just recently planted, you’ll need to wrap the line around so that it’s about 1 ½ feet away from the tree all the way around. Snip the line, and splice it together with a T. Imagine that there is a supply line coming up to the tree that’s buried underground. Just attach the line to the T, and the other end is just hooked up to your hydrant. Turn it on, and you’ve got water. Make sure you bury the line under the mulch.

This is a very easy way of watering. Turn it on for about 4-5 hours once a week during drought type weather. If it’s raining, you can leave it alone. If the trees are showing some stress, give them some extra water. It’s the Water Wise way of maintaining young trees.

This feature story prepared with Bob Neier, retired Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at Trees can benefit from water during times of drought. An easy way to water trees is by installing a drip irrigation line. This segment covers the basics onstalling your own system.

Thanks to Bob Neier, Extension Agent

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