Give cool-season grasses a boost

September is here and that means it is prime time to fertilize your tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass lawns. If you could only fertilize your cool-season grasses once per year, this would be the best time to do it.

These grasses are entering their fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate (especially at night). Cool-season grasses naturally thicken up in the fall by tillering (forming new shoots at the base of existing plants) and, for bluegrass, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes.

Consequently, September is the most important time to fertilize these grasses.

Apply one to one and a half pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The settings recommended on lawn fertilizer bags usually result in about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. We recommend a quick-release source of nitrogen at this time. Most fertilizers sold in garden centers and department stores contain either quick-release nitrogen or a mixture of quick- and slow-release. Usually only lawn fertilizers recommended for summer use contain slow-release nitrogen. Any of the others should be quick-release.

The second most important fertilization of cool-season grasses also occurs during the fall. A November fertilizer application will help the grass green up earlier next spring and provide the nutrients needed until summer. It also should be quick-release applied at the rate of 1-pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Tomato: How long from flower to mature fruit?

This is an important question for those who are wondering if tomatoes that are setting now have enough time to mature before frost.

The first two to three weeks after the new tomato forms, growth is slow with tomatoes reaching about the size of a golf ball for slicer type tomatoes. More rapid growth occurs for the next three to six weeks resulting in a tomato that is mature size but still green. It takes several more days for the tomato to reach the mature color. So, from flower to green, mature tomato can take from five to nine weeks.

Tomatoes picked at the green, mature stage are not ready to eat but will ripen inside with little to no loss in quality. Just a few more days will be required for the tomato to go from green mature to fully ripe regardless of whether it is ripened inside or on the vine.

Cherry tomatoes will take less time to develop than slicers and weather certainly makes a difference.

Matt Young47 Posts

Matt Young is the Brown County Extension District director, as well as an agent in the area of agriculture and natural resources.

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