Horticulture in Season

Expert and unbiased answers to frequently asked questions about lawns and gardens.


Tom Fowler - Horticulturist

University of Missouri Extension

Buchanan County, Missouri


Questions categorized by topic and month


January        February        March        April        May        June        July

August        September        October        November        December


The summer heat was hard on my lawn.  It looks like there are a lot of dead spots in it.  What can I do?

Answer: The month of September is an excellent time to re-seed the dead areas in your lawn.  If you have more than 50% desirable grass plants just work up the areas that are dead with a garden rake.  Remove any excess plant debris and seed.  Rake in the seed to get good seed/soil contact.  You can use some straw and mulch the spots.  To get the grass going fast, keep the seeded areas moist until the grass seed starts growing good.  Once it is up and growing it does not require as much watering.  If you have less than 50% desirable grass plants should probably do a total renovation of the lawn.  Kill out what is there; work up the soil and seed.  For more detailed information see the MU guide 6700.

Relevant Guide Sheets:  MU guide 6700; MU Guide 6705

 What is the best time to control dandelions?

Answer:  Dandelions are best controlled in the fall.  But if you missed fall control the second best time is during or soon after they first start to flower in the spring.  A three-way product, one that contains 2, 4-D, MCPP and dicamba works well.  Some examples are Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, Weed Out, Weed Free Zone and others.   Use a spot treatment if there only a few dandelions.  Many ornamentals (especially redbuds, tomatoes and grapes) are sensitive to this type of herbicides so be careful.  For more information on lawn weed controls see MU Extension guide 6705. 

Relevant guidesheets MU guide 6705

 I’ve mowed my lawn and now my grass looks whitish.  What happened?

Answer: A dull mower blade will give the lawn a whitish cast.  A dull blade will not make a clean cut.  The shredded ends of the grass will dry out and look white.  As the grass grows the blades will thicken and a sharp blade is even more important to prevent shredded plants.  With normal use a mower blade should be sharpened about every 10 hours.  For more information on mowing and lawn maintenance see MU Extension guide 6705. 

Relevant guidesheets MU guide 6705

Return to Northwest Missouri Horticulture Page

University of Missouri Extension

 Horticulture for Northwest Missouri
University of Missouri Extension
Updated 02/18/13

Find a University of Missouri Extension Office

Tim Baker
Horticulture Specialist
102 N Main, Suite 1,
Gallatin, MO 64640

Tom Fowler
Horticulture Specialist
4125 Mitchell  Ave.,
St. Joseph, MO 64507