Around the Home and Farm: Your lawn

By Jerry Mahan

This summer has brought some old problems to our lawns caused by weather and now is a good time to deal with these problems in many cases. First we have our rusty looking shoes and dog legs which appeared in late August and are a normal occurrence especially in lawns containing perennial ryegrass but also can affect bluegrass and fescue lawns.

Your shoes and your dog’s paws may get a yellow-orange appearance when this fungus disease is present on the grass. Do not be worried as the disease is not harmful to people or pets.

This disease is brought on by cool nights, dew and dry soils. The recent rainfall should minimize this problem and conditions including fall fertilization should help the grass grow out of this nuisance disease. Fungicides are not commonly recommended as a control measure.

A far more serious problem is gray leaf spot or Blast which was first noticed in early August. The symptoms include areas of brown turf which appear to be burned out with a flamethrower. As the disease progresses some of the plants may take on a gray appearance before they die thus the name of the disease. The plants in many cases die leaving bare areas in your lawn and may leave twisted plants in its’ wake. This fungus disease affects perennial ryegrass but may impact differently varieties of perennial ryegrass as well as bluegrass and fine fescue.

To help minimize this disease do not over fertilize in the summer and avoid quick release nitrogen fertilizers. Replace damaged areas in your lawn with resistant varieties of perennial ryegrass or other grasses. Chemical control is possible but must be done at the first sight of the disease by a lawn care company in most cases.

For more information on these diseases log on to: Click on the column titled “Fact Sheets” shown at the top of the page and scroll down to the disease in question.

One final thought on lawns needing to be reseeded. Now is the time to do this and remember to get good seed to soil contact as opposed to just broadcasting seed on top of the ground. Getting the seed in the soil along with some starter fertilizer will do wonders for your success! Finally buy good quality perennial seed appropriate for the area to be seeded i.e. shade vs sun etc.

The fall is an excellent time as well to control those perennial weeds like dandelions, plantain, thistles etc. The timing is good for several reasons including cost of product and effectiveness of a good kill related to the stage of growth of the weed(s) being controlled. Check the pesticide label for directions and safety suggestions. This control is true for pastures, hayfields and, fencerows as well.

Well health

Yes, if you get your drinking water from a well on your property do not pass up the opportunity to get your water tested free in most cases 5-7 p.m. Thursday Sept. 27 in the Greene County Fairgrounds Assembly Building.

The first 140 people will get free water testing for nitrate, nitrite, arsenic, iron, lead and manganese. In addition the first 100 people can receive materials for a free soil test for those with five acres or less.

Stop by the Greene Soil and Water Conservation Office located at 1363 Burnett Drive in Xenia for a water sample bottle and instructions. One can bring your own container but be sure it is clean and holds at least 17 ounces of water (about a pint).

You can also log on to their website at for details as well on how to collect your water sample. It is recommended to have your well water checked yearly. Other tests will be offered for sale including bacteria which costs $20.

Money workshop

This is your opportunity to learn how to do some estate planning from some local experts. The “It’s My Money, My Stuff and My Life” five-week course provides an opportunity to start or continue your planning. No matter your age or level of financial resources, this course can jump-start your plan.

We cannot plan for every what if, but we can educate ourselves and make important decisions that will give us some peace of mind & answer nagging questions such as:

– Will settling my estate be a burden for my family?

– How should my property be titled?

– Should I update my will and other documents?

– Will insurance cover nursing home care?

– If I leave a young family, will their future be secure?

This program is presented with the cooperation of local professionals volunteering their time and expertise so we can all have the needed tools to plan for our future and the future of our families. For information log on to the Greene County Council on Aging website or call 937-376-5486.

The program will be held on consecutive Tuesdays 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 2-30 in the Xenia Community Center, 1265 W. Second St. Cost is $40 per household and please register by Sept. 24.

By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired agriculture educator for Greene County. He can be reached by email at:

Jerry Mahan is a retired agriculture educator for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: