I am planning to reseed my front lawn in September. Should I use one type of grass seed, or would it be better to use a seed mixture?
Some argue that planting one variety of seed produces a more consistent lawn with good even color and uniform growth. While this is true, the uniformity can create some other problems. For example, if the variety you plant is susceptible to a particular disease or insect pest, the entire lawn can be damaged or killed when it is attacked. On the other hand, if you plant a mixture of three or more grasses, a few of them will likely be resistant to the disease or insect and will survive any attack. The surviving grasses will keep your lawn green while it recovers from the damage or until you can repair it.
In most instances, I recommend planting a turf-type tall fescue mixture. The mixture should contain varieties that have shown resistance to common turf diseases and insect pests. You might also consider mixing in a small amount of Kentucky bluegrass. The bluegrass will grow better than tall fescue in partially shaded areas, and it will recover better when it is damaged. I would not plant bluegrass in hot, dry, sunny locations.
1. Order bulbs through mail-order suppliers for fall planting. Bulbs can be planted in October and November.
2. Start planting mums for a fall display. Select healthy plants that have an abundance of unopened buds.
3. Don't let the hot, sultry, end of summer weather get you down -- keep weeding and watering. Your garden will look better this fall when the weather cools.
Dennis Bishop is an urban horticulture educator for the Baltimore office of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Services. If you have a gardening or pest problem, you can call the Home and Garden Information Center hot line (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at 800-342-2507. You can also e-mail questions, order publications and diagnose plant problems by visiting the Web site www.hgic. umd.edu.