42May 4, 2011

A look around your yard will show you that the grass is growing, the perennials are growing quickly and the leaves are forming on the trees. Yes, it must be the month of May.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday.  Many of you will give or receive a hanging flowering basket as a gift. If you wish to keep these plants flowering, you need to keep the plants well fed. You should be fertilizing the plants every 2 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer. You should be using a fertilizer with either a 20-20-20 analysis or a fertilizer called a blossom booster. Either of these fertilizers will provide the high levels of phosphorous needed to keep up with the formation of new flowers.  As a bit of insurance for those who tend to forget to fertilize, you can add a time-release fertilizer that has a 14-14-14 analysis. This fertilizer will release a little bit of fertilizer each time you water. It will release the fertilizer over a 4-month period.

Speaking of plants as gifts, many of you have pots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths or other spring flowering bulbs. Once the flowers have gone by, you should cut off the flower stalks. If you want to save the plants for planting in the garden, it is important to make sure that you keep the leaves on the plant and that you keep those leaves healthy. Once the bulbs are done flowering, the leaves make food to store back into the bulb. If enough food is made and stored in the bulb, the bulbs will flower again next year. To help the leaves to do their job, you should be fertilizing the pots of bulbs every 7 to 10 days. The 20-20-20 fertilizers I mentioned earlier will do a good job of providing the food that the leaves need to accomplish their mission. Once the leaves turn yellow, the leaves have done their job of storing food for next year. Once the leaves have died back, you can cut off the leaves and place the bulbs into a sunny spot in your garden.

A dilemma always seems to crop up at this time of the year. You have recently used a crabgrass control and lawn fertilizer product on your lawn to control the crabgrass. As the weather warms up, the dandelions begin to grow. You would like to control the dandelions, but you are fairly sure you can’t use the second step weed and feed. It would be applying too much fertilizer in a short period of time, resulting in burning your lawn. There are many products available that you can spray onto the weeds to control the weeds. These products do not contain fertilizer. Once they are sprayed onto the weed, it will die quickly. There is a relatively new product from Canada called Clear Choice. It uses a technology that allows them to use about one tenth the active ingredient that is used in other lawn weed killers. You should know that here are many organic weed killers on the market. They will kill the weeds but they can also kill the grass if you get the spray on the grass. As always, if
you need help in selecting a weed killer for your lawn, you can stop by the store and ask Joyce, Kara, Emily or myself what is the best choice for your lawn.

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

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