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Focus on Your Lawn and Landscape at Bridge Gardens

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October 24, 2017

By Kathleen Kennedy

If you haven’t visited Bridge Gardens yet, you need to stop in soon. The 5-acre gardens, donated to the Trust by Harry Neyens and Jim Kilpatric in 2008, flourish under the skillful hands of Garden Manager Rick Bogusch, and feature low impact lawn and gardening workshops that can be implemented by everyone -– from novice to skilled gardeners.

These workshops are often offered in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Perfect Earth Project, Peconic Estuary Program, Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons, Summerhill Landscapes, Jackson Dodds, and others. While programming covers everything from composting and growing food to the benefits of native plants and pollinators, a highlight is the season-long organic lawn care series with Paul Wagner, in partnership with the Perfect Earth Project.  

A lawn and landscape professional who owns Greener Pastures Organics, Paul has provided free lawn care advice weekly to homeowners and professional landscapers at Bridge Gardens since 2014. In addition, Paul presented a three-part organic lawn care series and a three-part organic rose care series this year. Topics included controlling crabgrass, selecting and planting the best grass seed, controlling insect and fungus in the lawn, lawn renovation strategies, as well as guidance on growing and maintaining roses organically.

If you missed this year’s workshops with Paul, here are a few tips from the season:

  • Generally, the best grass seed blend for Long Island is 90% tall fescue and 10% bluegrass.
  • Annual spring seeding of the lawn improves density and helps combat weeds in your lawn.
  • The best grub control is to use beneficial nematodes, and the right time to apply nematodes is in September.
  • Roses can be grown and managed organically, using organic fertilizers, Epsom salts for magnesium, and insecticidal soap for mite and aphid control.
  • Plant Rosa Rugosa near your roses to attract ladybugs, beneficial insects that are voracious eaters of aphids.
  • Black spot and powdery mildew on roses can be effectively controlled without heavy inorganic fungicides. Organic products, like Serenade or Rhapsody, have bacteria that help outcompete diseases, and there are soaps and oils that can provide curative control. 

When asked about his connection to the Gardens, Paul said, “Being involved at Bridge Gardens is very rewarding because of all the people that I interact with there. People that come to learn along with Rick and the team at the Trust all love plants, gardening and protecting the environment. I feel like I am really able to make a difference. ”

Thank you Paul, and thank you to Perfect Earth Project and Cornell Cooperative Extension for your support and guidance in our organic lawn practices!