Msu-extension-brand_medium Michigan State University Extension

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.

(This group currently has 5 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

Fertilizer burn

On August 22, my husband fertilized the yard with a new spreader and had the spreader on "drop" instead of spread. On our previously established lawn, we now have a winding yellow brick road. In the one foot path twisting throughout our yard, the grass is completely dead, so I've raked up most of it. Now we have a dirt winding path that I'd like to reseed this fall. Since the majority of the grass did not really receive fertilizer, should we re-fertilize the yard for fall? Should I re-seed before re-fertilizer or after? Additionally, in a large portion of our yard (about an acre) we have newly planted Rye grass. Surprisingly, when he fertilized that area, it initially made the new grass area fertilizer path turn to dirt with very sparse grass, and then within a few weeks, those areas are a beautiful dark green and much thicker. He definitely fertilized that new grass way too soon, but since it does look so nice, I'm wondering if we can re-fertilize the new grass areas as well. The new grass is about 6-8 weeks old. I included a pic of the lawn a few days after the initial fertilizer fiasco.

Ottawa County Michigan Posted about 12 hours ago

Soil or ants?

Last year my garden areas were struck with something that caused the leaves to die from the bottom up eventually killing the plant. I thought maybe there was something in our soil even though it was in every garden area spread throughout the property. The same thing happened this year except we put raised beds in and had soil and compost delivered to fill them so it seems it couldn’t be the soil. The only thing that has been a constant is ants. We have very sandy soil and we have a plague of ants everywhere from the lawn to the raised beds to the vegetable garden, everywhere. My sunflowers ended up all drooping over after the leaves died to a certain point and when I snapped off the stalk ants came pouring out of it. I have read ants can carry a fungus but I’m not sure if they can do that much damage and if it is them I have no idea how to get rid of them. I used borax and sugar in one area and that helped for a few days but then others just moved in. I’ve tried triazathon in the lawn and a spray killer in the rocks bordering all the beds but it’s the same thing where others just move in. Do you have any thoughts on why things are dying a D what I can do about it. Since it’s been going on to some degree for years and seems to be getting worse I need to do something. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day Dawn Stamm Battle Creek

Calhoun County Michigan insects gardening aabi Posted about 15 hours ago

Intrusive grass

I have a fine blade grass growing in my yard and this broad blade grass is over taking it. It is courser than the other grass, grows faster, and appears in clumps. Makes the yard look horrible two days after it’s mowed. Can you identify it from the pictures ? Is it deep rooted species? Any way to get rid of it?

Kent County Michigan lawns and turf gardening aabi Posted about 17 hours ago

Bent Grass

We have struggled with Bent Grass infiltrating our lawn (Kentucky Blue Grass) for 40 years. 2 year ago, we had our lawn killed and slit seeded. Last year the grass looked great, but this year patches of Bent grass have returned. Our neighbors' adjoining lawn has it, of course. We are trying to decide what to do. We had an irrigation system put in two years ago also, so we have thousands of dollars invested in this lawn. Is it unrealistic to get rid of the bent grass permanently, especially with the adjoining lawn infected with it. What would you recommend? Laurie Stirling

Eaton County Michigan lawns and turf weed issues gardening aabi Posted about 18 hours ago

Elimination of Bent Grass

We have had an ongoing problem with Bent grass in our lawn (40 years). 2 years ago we had the grass killed by Pure Green (using Veg All) and slit seeded. We had an irrigation system installed at that time. The Kentucky Blue Grass came in beautifully and so for one year, we had very decent grass. This year we saw concerning patches of Bent grass coming in again. I will attach a photo. Our neighbors have bent grass and their lawn adjoins ours so that may be causing the problem. We were going to kill the patches and reseed the areas but would like advice from you, the experts. Are we fighting a losing battle? What do you recommend? We have THOUSANDS of dollars invested now and hate to give up but don't want to throw bad money after good if it is not realistic to eliminate it. What would you recommend?

Eaton County Michigan gardening lawn and turf aabi Posted about 18 hours ago

fall fertilizing of fruit trees

What type of fall fertilizer should I be putting on my one year old apple, pear, peach trees, and my grape vines. Thanks so much

Livingston County Michigan fruit trees soil and fertility issues aabi Posted about 19 hours ago

contaminated soil.

I think I need to have my soil tested for heavy metals. I have chickens that have been sick for a long time and are not responding to antibiotics or supportive treatments. Also, when I run a magnetic roller over the soil after a construction project, I pick up many little black flecks. I am on the right track?

Livingston County Michigan soil contamination poultry health Posted about 19 hours ago

Two unidentified 'volunteers'

We have two volunteer plants in our flower beds. Could you tell me what these are? The flower heads on the first photo are kind of small, but they are 'velvety' buds. Both plants are about 15"-18" tall. Thanks so much.

Mecosta County Michigan gardening weed identification aabi Posted about 19 hours ago

holes in hibiscus leafs

what is eating holes in our hibiscus leafs , leafs look like lace sometimes the whole bush( leafs) are eaten.

Saginaw County Michigan Posted about 21 hours ago

White or Purple Grapes?

Hello, we have a grape vine in our back yard. It has a lot of grapes this year, and we would like to make jelly. However, we have no idea when grapes are ripe, or if these are white or purple grapes. I've noticed that any grapes that make it to a purple color either are rotten, or become just a husk/shell, or disappear. The ones that are white/green, you can push on them and they have give but do not disintegrate. The seeds inside the green/white ones are slightly brown/tan. Should the seeds be black? Are they ready to pick? How can I go about ID'ing these grapes? Thank you!

Calhoun County Michigan grapes gardening small fruits aabi Posted about 21 hours ago