45April 19, 2012 I

It is nice to see some warm days in the middle of April. I think a lot of people thought that the warm weather in March would mean a cold April.

We had a bit of scattered rain on early Monday morning. It wasn’t really enough to make a lot of difference but at this point we will take any rain that we can get. The soil is very dry and many plants will soon show signs of stress if they don’t get some water. If you haven’t started to water your trees and shrubs you should start doing so now. The heat that we had on Patriot’s day will do damage to many plants that are already in leaf. The leaves will have lost moisture to the strong sun but the lack of moisture in the soil will mean that it will be hard for the plants to get moisture back to those leaves. If you are not watering your plants, there will soon be damage showing up on your plants.

Warming weather will mean that you are looking at your last chance to apply a preventative crabgrass control to your lawn. Try to get it done this week.

Many of your forsythia bushes will soon be going past their flowering time. Once they are done flowering, you can and should prune them back. Pruning them back will help to force out some new growth and will help to control the size of the plant. It will also help to add some fertilizer to the soil and to add a bit of lime around the forsythia. These shrubs set their flower buds for next year on the growth that happens this spring and early summer. Keep in mind that many of your early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned back when they are done flowering. If you prune them back in late summer or in the fall, you will be pruning out the flower buds that have formed for next year.
Many of you will be seeing the blooming of the dandelions in your lawn. If you recently applied your crabgrass control with lawn fertilizer, you do not want to use one of the weed and feed products to control the dandelions or any of the other broadleaf weeds. This would be applying too much fertilizer to your lawn in too short of a time frame. Instead, you can apply a granular broadleaf weed control product that does not have any fertilizer added to the product. There are also liquid products that you can spray onto the weeds to control the weeds. There are also some liquid organic products that you can apply that will kill the weeds. You do need to keep in mind that these organic products are weed and grass controls. They will kill the weed but they will also kill the grass in your lawn if you get it onto the grass. The good news is that you can re-seed any dead spots shortly after the weeds are dead. The point I am making is that you do not want to spray these organic weed control products all over your lawn unless you are in the mood to re-seed your entire lawn.

Despite the warm weather, do not succumb to the temptation to plant your tomato plants or any of your annual flowers. It is still very likely that we will get a killing frost. Generally speaking, the last frost occurs around the time of the full moon in May. The full moon in May is on the 6th. That being said, we have had frost up until the last week in May. This has been an odd growing season so far this year. You may get away with planting earlier in the season but you have been forewarned about the danger in doing so.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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