Some Recent Questions

Some questions from colleagues at work who are aware of my horticultural obsession and study…

“I have these round seed balls in my yard and I don’t know what they are.” Upon inspection, I quickly determined that his seeds were actually oak leaf galls of some kinds. The galls are formed when they plant’s hormones interact with the growth regulating chemicals from some insects or mites, or something like that. Anyway, they don’t really cause any damage to the tree, and they are definitely not seeds.

“When should I lay down sod?” Uh, never, if you want my opinion. I think a good seed lawn beats a sod lawn in the long term, every time. Unless you have a slope where erosion is a problem, I always recommend seeding with a good seed mixture from a good garden center where presumably there is someone there who knows something about grass seed. And if you have a slope where erosion is a problem, you should ask yourself if you really want to mow that slope. Consider terracing it or doing something else.

“What is this weed?” Tall fescue, in this case. It’s actually a lawn grass and some seed mixtures include tall fescue, especially cheap seed mixtures. See above about good lawn seed! I don’t know of a good way to get rid of it. Keep mowing high is about the only advice I have. (Some people choose to plant tall fescue. It’s quite durable and if you have a lot of pets, kids playing ball, or other extreme traffic in the lawn, it might be something to consider. But think long and hard and be sure you want tall fescue before you knowingly plant it.)

“How high should I mow?” I keep my mower set on the next to the highest setting. The highest setting is then available if I should end up not being able to mow the lawn sometime, and the grass gets too tall. I know others who follow this same practice, and I find that most, like me, haven’t had to use that setting. I suppose that people who are thinking there is a possibility of needing a higher setting and planning for it, are pretty diligent about mowing their lawns, anyway.

“When are you getting your 11th hoe?” I was a bit surprised by this question, as the person asking wasn’t someone I normally talk to much at work. I guess he found the hoe collection online or someone told him about it. The answer of when am I getting my 11th hoes is “soon”. I ordered it last weekend and I am expecting it any day now! I’ll post a picture of it as soon as I get it!


  1. Carol - good advice on the lawn. We didn't sod and even though it took 3 years, we now have a really good lawn....including the slope areas that Alan seeded - and seeded - and seeded....after every rain. The grass is certainly thick at the bottom of the slopes!

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