In the Garden

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.
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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May 2017
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The 7th annual Heroes Art Ball, to benefit Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund, will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Science Museum of Virginia. There will be food, cocktails, craft beer, a silent auction of items for trips, services and gifts, and a live auction featuring dozens of pieces of art created by Richmond’s top artists with Hero children. Tickets are $125 per person. For details, visit http://501auctions.com/heroesartball. Full text

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