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Master Gardener Sue Morris: Mid-June is a good time to make repairs to lawn still showing effects of drought

Patches of dead grass from the drought last summer are likely to fill in on their own if they are smaller than 6 inches. It is good to fertilize by mid-June to thicken the grass, shade weeds and add nutrients for roots and shoots.

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If your lawn is still showing patches of dead grass from the drought last summer, early to mid-June is a good time to make repairs.

We have heard that we had less than half the average rainfall between Memorial and Labor day last year. Who knows what we will experience in 2022?

Nature abhors a vacuum so weeds love bare spots. If the bare spots on your lawn are 6 inches or less, grass typically fills in on its own. It is recommended that it is good to fertilize by mid-June to thicken the grass, shade weeds and add nutrients for roots and shoots.

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Remember to just apply a third of your total nitrogen treatment for the year. The University of Minnesota suggests using a fertilizer with a grade as close to 24-0-12 as you can find.

Kim Sullivan, Extension Master Gardener from Anoka County, provides some guidelines for repairing these bare spots:

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  • If the open spots are larger than 6 inches, remove weeds by hand and then re-seed.
  • Prepare the soil by raking with a heavy garden rake or using a vertical mower and raking off most of the debris. Make sure to expose the soil.
  • Add your seed by hand for small spots or with a drop spreader for larger ones.
  • Lightly rake with a leaf rake for good seed-to-soil contact.
  • Top dress with a new seed starter fertilizer.
  • Keep the seeds moist by watering several times a day for short periods of time. After the seeds germinate, slowly decrease the amount of watering.

This time of year, we need to be watching for plum curculio on apples, plums and apricots. The female attempts to lay eggs in the fruit, leaving crescent-shaped scars on the skin.
If an egg develops into larvae, it feeds on the inside of the fruit causing internal damage and some of the fruit to drop. The damaged fruit is still edible — just cut out damaged parts before eating.

Another pest showing up at this time is the codling moth. It lays eggs on developing apples in June.

Larvae hatch and tunnel through the fruit, often ending up in the core. Look for brown or black residue on the calyx (bottom) of the apple. This is often where they enter. Infested fruit are edible, but watch out for the larvae and their tunnels of frass, which is debris or excrement produced by insects.

If you discover you have problems with either of these insects and wish to control them with spray, wear personal protective gear like a mask, glasses, pants and gloves and do not spray directly over your head.

For plum curculio, look for products that contain acetamiprid, carbaryl, permethrin, pyrethrins or Spinosad.

For codling moth, an effective insecticide would contain spinosyn, carbaryl, or malathion. Be sure to read and follow instructions on any insecticide you choose to use.

Sevin is a suggested insecticide to prevent apple maggot but do not apply before the first of July as it will promote apple drop.

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Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing this column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.

Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing a column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi County.
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