Gardening columnist Tim Daly answers the following questions from readers:
Question: I am considering re-sodding areas of my lawn with bermudagrass. The grass is dormant now, but could I still install it? If so, will it thrive during the growing season? I occasionally see landscapers putting it in the lawns of new homes. – Bob, Suwanee
Answer: Bob, yes, warm-season grasses, such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass, can be installed in the winter, but doing so is not a good idea.
Since determining the quality of the dormant sod is difficult to determine, you could be getting poor quality material. The grass grows very little during cold weather, thus making it is more challenging to get rooted and established.
When it comes out of dormancy when spring comes, all or part of the sod may be dead, and you will not notice this until it begins to green up. The best course of action is to wait until April or May when the sod is actively growing to install.
Q: I have a bermudagrass lawn that is doing poorly in areas where it thins out and looks unattractive. These sites have some shade. I would also like to replace other parts of my lawn with something else to reduce the amount of turfgrass. What do you recommend?
– Grace, Norcross
A: Grace, good question. Bermudagrass is a tough grass that tolerates many harsh conditions but will deteriorate in the shade. Consider planting groundcovers, both in the d=shaded areas and the other parts of your lawn that you mentioned.
Liriope thrives in both sun and shade and comes in several varieties, including variegated ones. Mondo grass is similar to liriope but considerably smaller with a slower growth rate. Japanese pachysandra grows up to 12 inches in height and has small green leaves. It requires shade and will stress in full sun.
Asiatic and Confederate jasmine is evergreen vines with dark green leathery leaves and white fragrant flowers in the spring. They tolerate different light conditions and thrive once established. Yes, lawns are lovely, but several groundcovers can also perform the same function as lawn grasses with less maintenance.
Q: I have a large pecan tree in my backyard. It bore a large number of pecans last year, but hardly any this year. The tree is healthy and did fine during the growing season, but no pecans? Is there something wrong with it? Should I fertilize the tree? – Tom, Buford.
A: Tom, your pecan tree produced a bumper crop of pecans last year, and that is why it has a few this year. Though the tree is healthy, it is rebuilding its energy reserves for another large crop of nuts next year or the one after, which is referred to as alternate bearing.
Some oaks are the same with a large number of acorns one year and little the following year. Apply four pounds of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 for each inch of trunk diameter (measured four feet above soil level), up to a maximum of 25 pounds per tree when they begin to leaf out in the spring. Zinc nutrition is essential for pecans. Apply three to five pounds of zinc sulfate to the trees in the early spring.
For your garden plants to have optimal health, proper pruning is essential. UGA Extension Gwinnett is offering two programs on pruning: the first one will be held on Feb. 18, noon to 1 p.m., in the second-floor conference room of the Gwinnett County Government Annex Building, 750 South Perry St. Lawrenceville, GA 30046.
The second will be on Feb. 19, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the One-Stop Center in Centerville, located at 3025 Bethany Church Rd, Snellville, GA 30039. The programs are free, but registration is required. Please contact the UGA Extension Gwinnett Office to register.
The 2020 Annual Gwinnett County Extension Plant Sale offers a variety of high-quality plants at affordable prices. To obtain a brochure and an order form, go to www.ugaextension.org/gwinnett, and click events and classes on the left side of the page, or call the Extension office can mail one to you.