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Ron Calhoun

MSU turf grass expert Ron Calhoun offers springtime lawn care tips

Ron Calhoun talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR and WDBM

Ron Calhoun is an environmental turf grass specialist at Michigan State University.  He tells Kirk Heinze about MSU's turf grass program in China.

"This spring we'll be graduating our fourth group of undergraduates who will have their Chinese university's name and MSU's name on their diploma," Calhoun says.  "It's a unique program in that MSU did not build any buildings in China.

"We use their facilities over there and do some things online.  We actually have more undergrads in our turf grass program in China than we do in East Lansing, and we've doubled the number of trained turf grass professionals in China in the last 5 or 6 years we've had the program going."

Calhoun says MSU was in on the ground floor with the program, "so we can indoctrinate the students with our philosophy, which happens to coincide well with the holistic approach that's prevalent in the Chinese culture already," says Calhoun.

Calhoun details some new legislation in Michigan that bans phosphorous in most lawn fertilizers; it was passed in December 2010 that takes effect in January 2012.

The ban will exclude farms, which are working with the state Department of Agriculture to reduce phosphorus use, according to Calhoun. Also exempt are golf courses, new lawns and homes whose owners can prove through soil tests that their lawns need phosphorus, a naturally occurring soil nutrient that helps grow strong plant roots.

Calhoun offers his timely advise for those ready to start getting their lawns ready for spring and summer.

"I recommend that people take a breath and just enjoy the nice days," Calhoun says.  "If you feel like you really have to do something, then just get your yard cleaned up.  There isn't a lot you can do coming right out of winter; you need to let your grass start to grow a bit and see where you are before you do much."

Calhoun says one of the best things you can do to insure a healthy lawn is to make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp.

"Particularly if you took our advice last fall and chopped up some leaves to recycle some nitrogen and organic matter back into your lawn, your mower will perform better if you sharpen your blade at least once a year."

Click on the arrow above to hear Calhoun's Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Sunday evenings at 9 on News/Talk 760 WJR and Friday evenings at 7 on MSU's Impact Radio.

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