37April 26, 2018

It was so nice to be outside on the sunny and warmer days we have had in the past few days. Now, if we can convince Mother Nature to keep the warm weather coming, we all can get around to some real gardening.

People have asked me if it is too late to apply crabgrass preventer to their lawn. The answer is that it is not too late to apply this product. You will want to do this ASAP because the warming weather will eventually get the crabgrass seed to sprout and then you would only have a few days to get the product applied to your lawn.

If you have peonies in your yard, you will be noticing that the red shoots are poking up through the ground. Now would be the time to place some type of plant support in place to help with holding up the leaves and flower stalks. There are metal supports called peony hoops that are placed over the peonies. As the plant grows, the foliage is allowed to grow through the hoops. As the foliage gets larger, the hoops help to hold up the peonies. The hoops also help to hold up those heavy flowers as the peonies open later in the spring. The peony supports also come in a grid style support that can also be used on many of your other perennials that tend to spread out in the garden.

Speaking of peonies, did you know that applying bark mulch around your peonies might be preventing your peonies from flowering? If you plant a peony plant too deep in the soil it will never flower. The rhizome wants to be only about one to 2 inches below the surface of the soil. The rhizome is that part of the plant that looks like a small sweet potato. Even if you plant the rhizome at the proper depth, adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil can prevent the peony from flowering.

There has been a lot of damage to the leaves of many of the broadleaf evergreens. This would include rhododendron, holly and boxwood. In some cases the leaves dried out due to the strong winter winds. In some cases, these plants will drop those damaged leaves and put out new leaves. If you apply an appropriate fertilizer around the base of the plants, you may be able to get the plant to drop the old leaves and put out new leaves. I have seen this happen in past years and the new leaves did come out. So, before you rip out those shrubs thinking that the shrubs are dead, try fertilizing the shrubs and see if that allows the shrubs to come back to life.

If you mulched your rose bushes for the winter, be sure to pull back that mulch. You may find that some of the canes have died over the winter. Those canes will be black in color. When you are cutting back the canes, make sure to cut off short sections at a time. When you cut and you see green color around the edge of the cut, it means that you have cut back to living tissue. New growth will emerge from that point. You can also prune back healthy plants to allow you to keep the plant smaller. Once you are done with pruning out dead growth or once you are done pruning back the plant to keep it to a manageable size, apply an organic rose fertilizer. The Espoma Company makes a great granular fertilizer called Rose Tone. If you prefer a liquid fertilizer, Gloucester based Neptune’s Harvest makes a great liquid Rose and Flower organic fertilizer. With monthly applications of fertilizer until late August, you should have beautiful rose bushes all summer.

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

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