Horticulture & Chemicals

Dwarf-fescue maintenance Is the proper maintenance of dwarf and double-dwarf fescues any different than regular fescue?-California Standard fescue-maintenance guidelines apply to dwarf varieties as well. Mow at 1.5 to 2 inches, apply about 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year (the bulk of it during spring and fall) and avoid excessive watering and fertilization, especially in summer. In general, dwarf fescues should reduce clippings by one-fourth to one-half during peak spring growth (compared to the latest standard-fescue varieties), but this does not necessarily dictate any different practices. It simply reduces clipping production and may enable you to extend your mowing intervals during some times of the year (but probably not much during peak growth periods).

Zenon Lis, marketing manager for Burlingham Seeds, notes that no accepted standard using measurable characteristics exists for labeling varieties "dwarf" or "double dwarf." Dwarf fescues are varieties that simply grow more slowly than standard tall fescues, and if a producer wishes to call a variety "double dwarf" (or some other similar term) rather than simply "dwarf," they can do so. This is not meant to question the validity of the claims made by seed suppliers, or that some varieties are "dwarfer" than others. However, Lis suggests not reading too much into such terms. Rather, he says, you should rely on variety trials and the experiences of other turf managers in your area when deciding on a dwarf fescue.

Home remedies A customer wants me to apply natural pest controls, such as boric-acid bait and cayenne pepper. Can I get in trouble for making and applying my own preparations?-Address unknown (via the internet) Technically, yes. By charging a fee for applying such materials, you are, by definition, a commercial applicator. Commercial applicators must not apply any pest-control product without labeling that supports the specific use. Obviously, no EPA-approved label exists for homemade pesticides, so applying them commercially is forbidden. If you can find a commercial preparation of these materials with EPA labeling for the specific site and use, then you are covered. Homeowners, by contrast, are allowed to mix and apply such materials for their own use.

You might be tempted to go ahead and apply such seemingly innocuous products for your client anyway, but avoid the temptation. Regulatory officials readily cite applicators for technical violations even if no harm has resulted.

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