April 29, 2009
After this weekend, I would guess we could say spring is here. Why is it that we always seem to go from temperatures in the 50’s to temperatures in the 80’s?
Let’s start off this week’s column with a list of do’s and don’ts for this coming week.
The forsythia is in bloom. This means that it is time for you to have your crabgrass preventer applied to your lawn. The warm weather will speed up the germination of the crabgrass seed. Once the crabgrass preventer is applied, make sure to apply water to activate the product.
Some of you will still be having problems with grubs in your lawn. In many cases, the damage is not noticed until the grass begins to try to grow. The damage from grubs feeding on grass roots will cause the grass to die after an initial spurt of growth. At this time of the year, you do not want to apply a season long grub control to stop an active problem with grubs. You should apply a 24-hour grub control to stop the grubs from feeding. If you wait much longer to apply grub control, the grubs will be too large and any grub control product will not work that well.
Even though we have had some warm weather, be cautious about putting out tender annual flowers and warm weather vegetable plants. May is a month notorious for temperature extremes. All it takes is one night with temperatures below freezing and you will have lost all of that hard work and your monetary investment too. The last average frost around here is May 10th. We have had a frost as late as Memorial Day. We usually get a frost around the time of the full moon. The full moon in May is the 9th. Just be careful to not get ahead of the planting season. Remember, if you plant tender annuals too early, you may be a repeat customer at your favorite gardening store.
Many of you will find that your broadleaf evergreen will have suffered from winter wind damage. This usually shows up as black spots on the leaves of rhododendrons and holly. Azaleas and boxwood may have light green leaves. Before you pull out the shrubs, take your fingernail and scratch the bark on a few sections of plant stems. If there is green under the bark, those plants are still alive. An application of fertilizer may be the answer to getting the plants to spring back to life. We have also gone a relatively long time without rain. Broadleaf evergreens will need some water to get them growing and to get those all-important flower buds to open. Fertilizer won’t work as effectively without some water to help to wash the fertilizer down to the roots. If your broadleaf evergreens are healthy, you don’t need to fertilize them until they have gone by flower.
Once your tulip and daffodil bulbs are done flowering, they do need some very specific care if you want them to flower again next year. Once the flowering is done, be sure to cut off only the flower stalks. The leaves must remain on the plant. The leaves help to make the food that is stored in the bulb. The stored food is the source of the flowers in 2010. Tulips, in particular, need lots of fertilizer to help the leaves to produce the food that is stored in the bulb. As soon as the bulbs are done flowering, you must begin your program of fertilizing the bulbs. Leaves of spring flowering bulbs should not be removed until they have turned yellow. This may take until June. If you cut the leaves off too early, the bulbs will not have produced enough food to flower again next spring.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.