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Garden Q&A

Grass seed must to be wet to grow

By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun

2:35 PM EDT, October 4, 2013

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How much watering do I need to do after I put down grass seed? Once a day? Twice? Will dew keep it wet?

Once grass seed absorbs water, it must stay wet until it germinates. If wet seed dries up, it is killed. So the aim of your watering is to keep the seed wet, and how much watering that requires depends several factors. Higher temperatures, low humidity, lack of cloud cover, breeziness and drought will all hasten evaporation and require you to water more frequently. A thin layer of an organic material, such as Leafgro or compost, will hold in some moisture. And a sparse covering of straw gives shade and wind protection. Dew is tricky, because we can have dew even when the soil is bone dry. You'll have to inspect your grass seed once or twice daily at least and water accordingly.

If a dogwood tree is leaning over and has most of its growth on one side, would pruning that side back help balance the growth? It might be leaning to get light.

If it is leaning to reach more sunlight, pruning will not change its growth habit. You could prune back any trees shading it however. On the other hand, if it is unbalanced because it was pushed or fell over or lost branches on one side to storm damage, pruning may stimulate some growth on the less dense side.

University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at extension.umd.edu/hgic.

Plant of the Week

Drift Rose 'Pink Drift'

Rose x 'Meijocos' (Pink Drift)

Roses once had a reputation as so fussy, needy, and high maintenance that gardeners left them out of their landscapes. New roses have come a long way — and not just "Knock-Out" shrub roses. 'Drift' and 'Carpet' roses also flower repeatedly throughout the growing season with improved disease resistance and winter hardiness, plus these low varieties can be ground covers.

Pink Drift grows about 18 inches high and spreads 3 feet wide. Its bright cherry-pink single flowers have white centers and bright yellow anthers. Though each flower is small, they compensate with a profusion of clusters. They flower best in full sun, blooming repeatedly (with short rests to set new buds) until hard frost. Though not necessary, removal of spent blooms makes for a tidier look and speeds the rebudding process. Once established, they are generally carefree, except for pruning them back to about 6 inches in early spring. — Christine McComas