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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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

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.
> Read more.

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.
> Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

May 2017
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The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks and Senior Connections will once again sponsor Senior Party in the Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. There will be health screenings, vendors, carnival games, entertainment and music. For ages 50+. Admission is free. For details, call 652-1408 or visit http://www.henrico.us/rec. Full text

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