Garden Thyme Podcast – Episode 11 – Fall Lawn Care

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Every summer has a story. We hope that your summer has been filled with wonderful gardening moments. As we hang on to the fleeting moments of long summer days, sun-kissed skin, and seemingly endless carefree moments, we look forward to the days ahead. September is the perfect, and popular, time to be out in the garden and taking care of those essential tasks in cooler weather. In this month’s episode, we are chatting about preparing for the upcoming fall days by planting trees and shrubs, fall lawn care (~7:25), planting cover crops in your garden (~15:25), and preparing your yard for bad weather (~24:25).

We focus on planting tips for trees and shrubs, as well as why you should avoid pruning too soon! Virginia Tech has a wonderful guide for successfully pruning shrubs and a shrub pruning calendar. These guides have been our “go to” handouts for pruning. Did you know that early fall is the best time to seed and start a new lawn in Maryland? Crisp fall days provide grass seeds with the ideal environment for seed germination (warm soil temperatures and cool air temperatures).

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  • Native Plant of the Month: Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) ~27:30
  • Bug of the Month: Royal Walnut Moth also known as hickory horned devils ~29:40
  • Garden Tips of the Month: Garlic, figs, and winter squash ~34:50

The Garden Thyme Podcast is a monthly podcast where we help you get down and dirty in your garden, with timely gardening tips, information about native plants, and more! The Garden Thyme Podcast is brought to you by the University of Maryland Extension. If you have any garden questions, you can email us at For more Hosts are Mikaela Boley- Senior Agent Associate (Talbot County) for Horticulture, Rachel Rhodes- Agent Associate for Horticulture (Queen Anne’s County), and Emily Zobel-Senior Agent Associate for Agriculture (Dorchester County).

Q&A: Japanese Stiltgrass Management and Lawn Fertilization Tips

University of Maryland Lecturer and Turfgrass Management Advisor Geoff Rinehart answers your questions about lawn weeds and fall fertilization.

Q: What is this “grass” and is it possible to eradicate it from our lawn? It has been spreading down the hill from our neighbor’s property. What’s the best way to bring our lawn back to a nice quality grass?

Japanese stiltgrass in a lawn

Answer: Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) is an invasive summer annual grass that is becoming more pervasive in Maryland. While it used to be more limited to just woodland areas, we are getting more reports of it infesting lawn areas in recent summers.

As is the approach with any weeds, practicing good turfgrass cultural practices to encourage a healthy, dense stand of grass is the cornerstone of any lawn management program. Mowing taller (3”-3 ½”), fertilizing based on University of Maryland recommendations, and overseeding annually with improved turfgrass cultivars are three practices that will help create greater density.

This summer has been a particularly difficult one for controlling summer annual grasses like crabgrass, goosegrass, and, of course, Japanese stiltgrass since these weedy grasses are favored by wet, hot conditions like the weather we had in July-September. Since Japanese stiltgrass is a summer annual, it can be deterred by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring at forsythia bloom (which is a similar approach to crabgrass control). When watered-in, pre-emergent herbicides form a soil barrier to seed germination. However, most of these products only last 6-10 weeks (the lower part of this range when it is wet and/or hot, the upper part when it is dry and/or cool). This May was rather rainy, so if you applied a pre-emergent in early April, another should have been applied in June. Usually, two applications are enough to get us to early August and then summer annual weed pressure decreases as early cooler weather is usually a month around the corner.  Continue reading