49 May 5, 2010

The weather seems to be warming up faster than we would see in a “normal” month of May. Come to think of it, the word normal and the word May should probably not be used in the same sentence. The month of May can be so unpredictable when it comes to the weather.

Let’s take some time to talk about a few gardening chores.

As your spring flowering bulbs begin to go by flower, you should be cutting back the flower stalks. The leaves need to remain so that they can make food to store in the bulb. The stored food will help the bulb to bloom next year. The bulbs will need to have some fertilizer applied to the soil. You can use granular bulb fertilizer. Tulips do require higher amounts of fertilizer. You may find that by applying water soluble fertilizer to the soil near tulips will be the best way to get the higher amounts of fertilizer to the bulbs. Once the leaves begin to turn yellow in early summer, you can cut the leaves off as well.

Broadleaf weeds are quickly showing up in our lawns. If you applied your first application of fertilizer more than 4 weeks ago, you should be able to apply a weed and feed type of fertilizer. If you fertilized your lawn less than 4 weeks ago, you should use just a broadleaf weed killer. This is generally applied as a spray on product. It is mixed with water and applied directly to the weeds. Many people have asked about using an organic broadleaf weed control. There are organic weed control products. These products are classified as non-selective weed control. They will kill the weed but they will also kill the grass. If you use one of these products, you have to very specifically target the spray onto the weed. You may get some die back of the surrounding grass if you get the spray on the grass. You will be able to quickly re-seed those areas and you will be able to get the grass growing before we hit the summer’s heat.

Many of you have planted blueberry bushes in the last few years. Once the blueberry bushes have finished flowering, you should cover the plants with netting. The netting protects the blueberries from the birds. The birds will eat the blueberries as the berries ripen.

Many of your plants have lots of new growth. New leaves and new flower buds are prime areas for plant diseases and for attacks by insects. You should be walking around the gardens every few days and taking the time to check the plants for signs of insects and diseases. If you can catch the problems early enough and apply an appropriate insect or disease control product you can minimize the damage to your plants.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. This is traditionally a time to give flowers. Over the years, we have sold many flowering-hanging baskets as gifts. If this were something you plan to give to Mom, it would be a good idea to include some plant food with the gift. Hanging baskets require lots of plant food to keep those flowers going strong all summer. If the plants are not fertilized regularly, the plants may die. If you plan on giving the flowers, be they annuals, perennials or hanging baskets, make sure to include some plant food with the gift.

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

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