Sod vs Seed & White Fuzzy Stuff On Pines

Question:

We’re going to redo our front yard. It’s going to include a small lawn. I know the cost of seed is less expensive than sod. But, what are the other positive and/or negatives between them? 

Answer:

With sod, you’re buying time and that is the biggest differential between it and seed.
  • With sod, you're laying down a five-month-old turf versus starting from scratch with seed. There is less labor involved in sowing seed; however, seeded lawns requires more attention and time to establish.
  • Grass seed germinates in ten to twenty-one days depending on the variety. Both the sun and the wind will have a drying effect on the germinating grass. Hence, the seed will require sprinkling four or more times a day depending on the temperature. If the seed dries out, you'll have to reseed again.
    • After the third mowing, the unwanted weeds are removed and you’ll reseed any bare spots. Sod requires little care other than water after the installation. It's an instant and mature lawn. Another key consideration is how soon you'll need to utilize the area
  •  A sodded lawn tolerates light traffic within hours of being installed. It should be rooted into the soil within two weeks. After a month, it can withstand normal use.
  • With a seeded lawn, it is six weeks or longer before it's mature enough for moderate traffic. One thing that doesn’t change is the soil preparation, as it’s the same for both.
  • Personally, I'd never seed a new lawn. The babysitting required to establish one is not very appealing to me. Sod is very convenience along with providing instant gratification and is well worth the additional expense.

Question:

We bought a five-gallon pine tree last Christmas. It has quite a bit of new growth but there is one thing that concerns me. It has been getting patches of white fuzzy stuff that looks like little cotton balls. 

Answer:

The white cottony material is Mealybug and it’s an insect found on the mature growth.
  • It’s controlled with Insecticidal Soap or Horticultural Oil. If the white, stuff is on the new growth, I wouldn't worry about it. It is normal for pines to produce a waxy, resin-like material with the new or  'candle growth.’
  • Pine trees used as a living Christmas trees will not stay small. Depending on the species, they can reach a height of fifty to eighty feet. You can control the size of pines for a while by trimming the 'candle growth.' The 'candle growth' is the long, very upright shoots of the immature needles that extend above the existing growth.
    • With a pair of hand shears, cut the new growth off where it meets the old needles. Transplanting into a larger container is suggested but eventually, it will need to be planted in the ground.
  • And that raises the question of whether or not your yard can support a large tree and that is another discussion.

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