18November 9, 2011

A few odds and ends to discuss this week. If you wish to give amaryllis as a Christmas gift and you want the plant to be well established with some top growth showing and, if your lucky, some buds forming, then now is the time to pot up the bulbs and get them growing. Amaryllis need warm soil temperatures once they are potted up. This helps the bulb to get its root system established. Once the root system gets established, top growth will soon follow. You can buy the bulbs as a kit, which contains the bulb, soil and a flowerpot. You can also buy the bulbs by themselves. We sell them both ways in the store. The advantage to buying the loose bulbs is that there are many more colors available.

The question always comes up at this time of the year about starting paperwhite bulbs for Christmas. Once you pot up the paperwhite bulbs it takes about 4 to 5 weeks for the bulbs to come into bloom. This would mean that paperwhite bulbs started this week would be in full bloom to going by bloom by the time Christmas arrives. If you check the calendar, you would start the bulbs right around Thanksgiving if you want the bulbs to be in flower for Christmas.

Now onto the outside chores. There is a common misconception that once we have a frost it is too late to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs. It is too late to plant these bulbs once the ground has frozen. The ground will sometimes freeze in early November, sometimes at Thanksgiving and sometimes it doesn’t freeze until well into December. Remember that you must plant these bulbs this time of the year if you want them to flower in the spring.

There is still time to fertilize your lawn. Research has show that lawn fertilizer applied in November is absorbed by the roots and will not force up top growth. Come the spring, this stored fertilizer will make the roots shoot up lots of new growth. This fills in your lawn and helps to get the lawn growing before the weeds have a chance to grow. A rapidly growing lawn will force out weeds saving you the cost of applying weed killers to your lawn.

There is still time to apply lime to your lawn. Lime neutralizes the acidity that is typical in New England soils. Lawns do not grow well in acidic soil. Weeds can easily grow in an acid soil. By not applying enough lime to your lawn, you will have lots of weeds in your lawn and the grass will be thin and have a hard time to grow. Lime can be applied up to the point when the soil freezes. If you haven’t limed you lawn this year, you still have time to do so.

You also want to make sure to get those leaves off the lawn. Wet leaves that sit on your lawn all winter can smother the blades of grass. This can encourage the formation of diseases in the lawn.

You also want to make sure that once the lawn has stopped growing for the season, you should make one final cut on the grass. This mowing should be done so that the grass is about ¾ of an inch high. This will prevent the blades of grass from matting down. Matted blades of grass are the perfect breeding ground for many fungus diseases that pop up just as the snow melts.

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

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