March 21, 2012
The warm weather over the weekend brought many gardeners out to shop. Some people wanted to plant grass seed, be we told them that the soil temperatures were still too cool for seed to sprout. Give it a few more weeks and when the grass in your yard is actively growing, it is then time to put down the grass seed. Just make sure that you don’t put the crabgrass preventer down where you want to seed. It will kill the grass seed as well as the crabgrass seed. There is a special crabgrass seed preventer that you can use if you are going to seed your lawn.
There has been a lot of talk about the number of ticks that survived the mild winter. The deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are getting active at this time of the year. You can use a product called Damminix to help to control those deer ticks. This product is made up of a cardboard tube filled with cotton balls. The cotton balls are treated with an insecticide. The mice will pick up the cotton balls that are in the tube and carry the cotton balls back to their nest. The insecticide coats the fur of the mouse. The insecticide does not harm the mouse but the insecticide kills the ticks that try to feed on the mouse. Damminix has had very good results at reducing the deer tick population. The product comes in several sizes. We carry 2 sizes in our store.
We received our first shipment of pansies this week. The flowers smell so good and the colors are so cheery. Pansies are extremely hardy. You can plant them now and if you keep up with fertilizing and watering the plants, they will produce flowers well into June. Pansies do need to be deadheaded. This means that you have to remove the dying flowers if you want to keep the flowers coming along. If you are not sure how to do this, stop by the store and we will show you how to deadhead the plants. If you have a little extra time on your hands, we will allow you deadhead as many plants as you want!
Even though the winter wasn’t too harsh, you should put gypsum on your lawn areas that could have been exposed to road salt. The gypsum will neutralize the salt and prevent the salt from killing the grass. I have had many people ask over the years if they can break up wallboard and use that instead of using horticultural gypsum. The wallboard won’t work but it will do a good job of smothering the grass and making the problem worse.
Now is the time to lime your lawn and your flowerbeds. The rain we get makes the soil acidic. If you don’t neutralize the acidity, your flowers and vegetable plants will not grow very well at all. By putting down lime now, you will be helping to neutralizing the acidity before you are ready to plant in your gardens.
If you have not begun to remove the winter mulch from your plants, now is the time to do so. The sun can warm the soil faster if that heavy layer of mulch is removed. The same goes for mulching plants now. I have seen some plantings that have newly applied mulch. This is going to slow down the warming of the soil.
Why is it that people continue to mound mulch up onto the trunks of trees? This is going to eventually kill the bark on these trees. Mulch should never, never ever come into contact with the trunk or stem of any plant. Mulch is applied to cover the roots of the plant. This helps to cool the roots in hot weather, protect the roots in cold weather and to help to hold moisture in the soil. Please people; stop mounding mulch up onto the tree trunks. You will eventually kill those trees. If you are a landscaper doing this type of mulching, shame on you.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.