Good Growing FAQs
What can I do about the mess in my back yard from my dog?
Take a pitch fork and punch holes in the dead spots. It is not the urine that causes problems but the salt in the urine therefore water by hand with a hose to drive the salts down. It may take a couple of times to drive the salts deep enough so that you can grow grass.
Sprinkle topsoil/sand/compost mixture and rake into the holes and leave 1/4 inch or 63.5 mm on top for a seed bed. Beware of purchasing the quick fixes, these products have a type of seed called perennial ryegrass which only survives one out of four years in our climate. Try to find a seed mixture that has mostly fescue grass seed (e.g. chewings fescue, sheeps fescue, tall fescue, fine fescue, hard fescue, creeping red fescue). Different fescues have different properties. Some are good for salt damage (e.g. dog urine on our boulevards), some are good for shade, and others are more drought resistant. The more varieties of fescue you have the better it will be able to grow in all the different conditions.
How do you get rid of fairy ring?
Ultimately you do not, all you can do is control the spread. Fairy ring has mycelium that wants to create an anaerobic situation. This means without air. Some of the old wives tails about punching holes in the dead spots then putting sunlight soap down the holes is true, but only because of the holes not the sunlight soap.When you introduce air (punch a bunch of holes) this creates a situation they mycelium does not like so it tries to repair itself. Try to do this at least once a week.
The dark green that indicates fairy ring is a by product of the digestive process. This produces nitrogen so the grass immediately beside the ring is a darker color and grows better.
Mushrooms are a way for fairy rings to reproduce so pick the mushrooms and throw away - do not eat and do not put into your composter. If you use your pitch fork for another purpose be sure to wash it thoroughly with a 10 per cent bleach solution to prevent the spread of fairy ring.
What kind of seed should I use?
Most of the sod in this region has between 85 per cent to 90 per cent Kentucky Bluegrass. Of all the seed varieties Kentucky Bluegrass requires the most water (more than 1 inch of water per week), the most fertilizer (minimum once a month), and needs to be mowed two or three times a week.
Most homeowners do not have the time to maintain Kentucky Bluegrass like golf courses and irrigated sports fields. One of the other popular seed types is perennial ryegrass which only survives one out of four years in our climate. Most companies put perennial ryegrass as a cover crop because under ideal conditions it can germinate and provide cover in five to eight days.
While this is desirable try to find a seed mixture that has mostly fescue grass seed. There are numerous kinds of fescue (e.g. chewings fescue, sheeps fescue, tall fescue, fine fescue, hard fescue, creeping red fescue). Different fescues have different properties. Some are good for salt damage (e.g. dog urine or on our boulevards), some are good for shade or full sun, most are more drought resistant (so less irrigation required). The more varieties of fescue you have the better it will grow in all the different conditions.
Some grass species cause problems such as out compete native grass seed, get stuck in animals throats, etc. Avoid planting Smooth Brome, Timothy, Foxtail Barley or Crested Wheatgrass. Different mixes can be purchased from:
- Brett Young Seeds at 1-800-359-5503
- Pickseed at 1-800-265-3925 or through UFA
- Hannas Seed at 1-800-661-1529
Last updated: Friday, February 19, 2010
Page ID: 2670