April 7, 2010

The weather has hit an early warm period. Let’s hope this bodes well for the future.

In the last few days, the forsythia bushes have come into bloom. With the warm temperatures, they may not stay in flower long. As the forsythia goes by flower, the crabgrass seed that over-wintered on your lawn will begin to germinate. This means that it will be time to apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control to your lawn to kill that over-wintered crabgrass seed. Keep in mind that if you sowed grass seed last fall or if you plan to seed your lawn this spring, you must not use the commonly available crabgrass preventer. This type of control contains an herbicide that will kill the grass seed and can kill any of the newly seeded areas from last fall. You will need to use a crabgrass control that contains Siduron. The chemical is more expensive, but if you use a conventional control, you will have to wait 14 weeks before you can seed. With a Siduron product, you can sow grass seed immediately.

There is also an organic crabgrass control that you can use. It is called corn gluten. This is a by-product of the processing of corn. It will control any germinating seed for about 4 weeks. As with the chemical crabgrass control methods, the timing of the application should be around the time the forsythia is done blooming.

Unlike broadleaf weed control methods, crabgrass control methods need to be watered to release the active ingredient.

Many of you spent this past weekend planting pansies in your window boxes and flowerbeds. Keep in mind that pansies will continue to flower if you deadhead the old flowers. Deadheading is the removal of the old flowers. You should remove the flower and its stem. By removing the old flowers, you will be encouraging new flowers to form. For continued flower production, you should also fertilize pansies on a regular schedule. If you apply a water-soluble fertilizer with a 20-20-20 analysis every 10 to 14 days, your pansies should last well into June.

We have received our first of many shipments of trees and shrubs. A question that always comes up this time of the year concerns the temperature. Some people will ask if it is too cold to plant or if cold night time temperatures will kill newly-planted trees and shrubs. Most plants will thrive if planted early in the season. The cooler days allow the plants to get a root system out into the soil. If nighttime temperatures get into the lower 20’s some new leaf growth may be nipped. However, new growth will appear again. All in all, April is a good month for planting trees and shrubs.

If you haven’t gotten around to removing the winter mulch from around your rose bushes, do so ASAP. Rose bushes are beginning to put out new growth. Rose bushes should also be fertilized at this time of the year. You should also be applying fertilizer to your summer flowering shrubs too. Spring flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, rhododendrons, azalea, andromeda,and mountain laurel should be fertilized after they are done flowering. Once these shrubs are done flowering is also the correct time of the year to be pruning back these spring flowering shrubs.

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

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