In the Garden

Making the most of your lawn
Take a look at your lawn and think about next spring. If you want a healthy, beautiful green lawn next spring, you need to start planning for it soon. The next several weeks are the time to take a soil test, develop a liming and fertilizer plan, and learn more about seeding and weed control.

By September it’s time to begin renovating existing cool-season turfgrass lawns or establishing new ones.

Cool-season turf grass such as tall fescue is the most commonly used grass in the Richmond area. It looks good in the spring, early summer, and fall but can go dormant in the heat of summer unless irrigated.

The Henrico Extension office has two programs coming up soon that can help. “Establishing a New Lawn, Renovating an Old One” will be the topic of an evening seminar offered Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Henrico Extension Office at 8600 Dixon Powers Drive. And on Saturday, Aug. 11, a SMART Lawn Care Field Day will be held at the Extension office from 8:30 a.m. to noon with vendors demonstrating lawn-care rental equipment and products followed by a comprehensive seminar on year-round lawn care. Registration for both free programs is requested at 501-5160.

“Cool season grasses grow best when temperatures are cooler and rainfall is more reliable,” explains Henrico Extension Agent Karen Carter. “That makes the period between mid-September and the end of October an excellent window of opportunity for the successful establishment of new grass.”

“You can go outside the window,” she adds “but you’re taking the chance that conditions are not going to be as good.”

Plus seeding by the first part of October helps ensure that new grass is well-enough established to tolerate weed control products that get applied in late October and November.

Start with a soil test. “You need the information provided by a soil test to match fertilizer and lime to the needs of your grass,” says Carter.

Aerating your lawn is also a good idea in the fall. A core-aerating machine pulls plugs of soil out of the ground and deposits them on top of the lawn. The process relieves soil compaction and improves water infiltration and air exchange for the roots.

“Aerating is a good idea every year, even if you aren’t putting down new seed,” says Carter, “and it’s a must if you’re going to overseed.”

Follow the SON rule when it comes to fertilizing your lawn and add one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in September, October, and November. Your soil test will tell you if phosphate and potash are also needed.

For more help, consider registering for the SMART Lawns program, available until the beginning of September. Under the program, specially trained Henrico Master Gardeners perform a soil test on your lawn and provide you with a Nutrient Management Plan. They’ll also measure your lawn to aid you in applying the right amount of fertilizer and other lawn care products that have application rates specified as “per thousand square feet.”

The registration form for the SMART Lawns program is online, and the cost is $20.

Patient First to offer free Halloween candy x-rays

Patient First will offer free digital X-ray imaging of Halloween candy at all neighborhood medical centers from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29 through Oct. 31.

While an adult should always inspect candy before allowing a child to enjoy their trick-or-treating rewards, the free X-ray offer gives parents an additional precaution to consider and to provide peace of mind. X-rays may detect objects such as glass, metal or plastic; however, parents still need to provide supervision, since some foreign materials may not appear in x-rays. > Read more.

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Theme for this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter announced

The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.

This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.


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The Eastern Henrico Ruritan Club will host a Spaghetti Luncheon from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 3812 Nine Mile Rd. behind Dabbs House Museum. Enjoy all-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad, bread, drinks and homemade desserts. Adults are $8 and children under 12 are $4. Full text

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