Next 30 days great time to reseed lawn

Farm Forum

Late summer, mid-August to mid-September, is a perfect time to reseed or overseed thin spots in your lawn or establish a new lawn.

After you have prepared the new site, apply a starter fertilizer and then apply the seed uniformly by going in two directions. Incorporate the seed and fertilizer with a rake or light drag. Roll to firm up.

If you are re-seeding or over-seeding an existing lawn, be sure the grass is green before applying any fertilizer. Fertilizing brown or dormant lawns will not help them and may even damage them. If they do want to fertilize, wait until some green up as rains become more prominent in the fall. That will give them stronger crowns as it goes through the winter.

Be sure you water daily until emergence. At that time you will begin watering less often; however when you do water, you will apply more deeply to ensure better root establishment. When your lawns reaches the desired height, go ahead and mow but do not remove more than 1/3 of the blade. Also be sure you do not apply any herbicides prior to a minimum of three mowings.

Since I’ve already mentioned mowing, the same rules apply to an existing lawn when suggesting that you do not cut more than 1/3 of the blade height. It is also not necessary to cut your lawn short for fall, 2-1/2 to 3″ is the recommended height. (Source: University of MN Extension, “Time For Fall Lawn Care,” Beth Berlin, September 2, 2015)

Potato scab

A column I wrote recently let you know when your potatoes were ready to harvest and how to properly store them. I’d like to talk about what you might find when digging up your potatoes.

Potato scab is caused by a bacterium that survives in soil. It can be found in soils with a pH greater than 5.2 or in drought conditions. There are no above-ground symptoms nor will it adversely affect potatoes in storage.

Scab can be identified as dark, scabby, raised lesions; although some lesions can be sunken. It is primarily an aesthetic problems and potatoes can still be eaten safely.

To eliminate the potential of potato scab, you should plant a certified disease-free seed in soils of pH 5.2 or less. Scab tolerant varieties may include Norland, Norgold Russet, or Superior. It is also suggested to not use animal manure or lime in the garden either. Keep your plants well-watered, especially during tuber set.

As you are harvesting, remove and destroy any potato plant debris and tubers. If possible, plant potatoes in the same area of your garden only once every three to four years. (Source: University of MN Extension, “Common Scab on Potato,” P241P, Revised by Chad Behrendt and Crystal Floyd 2000.)


Chlorosis is appearing on maples everywhere. This is fairly common by this time of year. The reason for the yellowing is due to a micronutrient deficiency either iron (most common) or manganese. The problem is not that the soils lack sufficient amounts of these nutrients, but they are not in a form available to the tree due to the alkalinity of the soil. Usually by this time of year the trees have exhausted all the available iron or manganese and cannot obtain any more. The solution is to water the tree during these drought times so the roots continue to grow and absorb what iron or manganese is available. The tree can also be fertilized with a chelated form of iron but only if the tree is being watered. (Pest Update [August 10, 2016], Vol. 14, no. 27, John Ball, Forest Health Specialist SD Department of Agriculture, Extension Forester SD Cooperative Extension)

Canning / preservation questions

If you have questions about canning or preserving your garden vegetables, please contact SDSU Extension’s AnswerLine at 1-888-393-6336. There are some free handouts available at our office if you’d like to stop by and take a look.