52 March 3, 2007

On those days when it isn’t  windy, it is so nice to be outside in the sun. Even on the cold days, the sun is strong enough to melt the snow. Spring may arrive just as the groundhog said it would!

I figured I’d take the time to answer a few more questions that pop up all the time once people get back into gardening.
There is always confusion on when to prune flowering trees and shrubs.  If the plant blooms in the spring, then you prune back the plant as soon as it is done flowering. Plants that fall into this category would include forsythia, lilac, rhododendron and azalea. If the plants bloom in the summer, then the plants are pruned back in the early spring. Plants in this group include rose of Sharon, butterfly bush, clethra and the summer flowering spireas. I won’t even attempt to tell you about pruning back hydrangeas. People always seem to get that one wrong. Stop into the store in the spring and I will go over it with you.

Potting soil or topsoil? Which should I use? The question always pops up at planting time. If the soil is being used in containers, use potting soil. Containers would include window boxes, hanging baskets, flower pots, clay pots etc.  If you are planting something into the ground, then you will use top soil.

Do I lime in the spring or fall? Which time is better? Either time of the year is good as long as you understand that lime takes about 6 months to do its job. If you are just putting down a maintenance amount of lime, then applying it in the fall is best. By applying it in the fall, by spring, the Ph has changed a lot and the plants will grow better during the spring and summer. However, if you do a Ph test in the spring and the Ph shows very acid soil, you should apply the lime in the spring. Each day that goes by will  mean that the soil is just a little bit less acidic.

Well, there are a few of the common questions. I’ll rack the old brain and see if I can come up with a few more for next week.
I’ll talk to you again next week.

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