When To Apply Spring Pre-Emergent

Broadleaf Plantain1 When To Apply Spring Pre Emergent

Seasonal weed seeds begin sprouting in late February and early March when the rest of the lawn is still dormant.  If you are a lawn purist the appearance of these seasonal weeds can be a little depressing right at the beginning of the season, but remember that with careful planning, and a schedule of treatment, you can get control of your lawn before the heat of the summer sets in.

Use:

The best time to lay pre-emergent is in March and April, although it depends on your climate and altitude.  Pre-emergent by it’s definition is designed to be applied to the lawn as it is just waking up from winter dormancy.  Once it is applied to the lawn it forms a 30 day plus chemical barrier on the soil line that prevents the germination of weed seeds, or lawn and flower seeds.  It must be applied as the soil is warming up to be the most useful.  Pre-emergent does not kill weeds that have already emerged, or those that have already put down roots and established themselves.  Pre-emergent also will prevent the growth of grass seed at the soil line, so it is best used to control weeds several weeks before you intend to patch the lawn with grass seed.

When to Apply:

If your zone thaws and begins showing fresh grass growth in March and April, then you should apply Pre-emergent in March.  If you see new growth in April and May, then you should apply Pre-emergent in April.  Always try to stay one step ahead of the weeds in your yard, and and earlier application is usually best as opposed to one that is applied when the weeds seeds are already emerging. Don’t waste the chemical by applying before the ground is fully thawed, or when frost is still a common occurrence, the only effect you will achieve here is expensive rain run-off out of your yard, and into the sewage system.

Photo Courtesy of: Shandchem

Container Gardening Idea; Dusty Miller, Pansies, Gaillardia, Petunias and Violas

IMG 2517 Container Gardening Idea; Dusty Miller, Pansies, Gaillardia, Petunias and Violas

I was at the garden center the other day with a friend and saw this adorable container garden filled with a mixture of spring and summer flowers.  I think this would make a cheerful display on the deck or front porch, and it’s ingredients are all garden center staples you can find easily at your local big box store.

If you want to create your own reproduction here’s what you need: Dusty Miller, Pansies, Violas, Petunias, and Gaillardia.

[Read more...]

Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

IMG 2515 1024x1024 Spring Container Garden Idea: The Three P’s

Spring’s on-again, off-again weather fluctuations can cause problems when you are looking for a reliable set of plants that can take the chilly nights and sunny days. The three “P’s” in this cool weather spring themed container are Pansies, Prim Roses and Purple Spider Osteospermum.

The Purple Spider Osteospermum, and Pansies are annuals, and the Prim Roses are perennials and self spreaders. All of these work well in a partially sunny, or fully sunny area, and the Osteospermum will help stretch the flowering of the design until the summer.  Once the Pansies drop their flowers and die back, replace them with a summer annual, or your favorite flowering perennial.

For a loose free feel, choose uneven numbers of each variety of plant, and fill the pot to the brim with a variety of colors

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Purple Spider Osteospermum, Prim Rose, and Pansy

When To Complete Spring Mulching

IMG 0057 When To Complete Spring Mulching

Does it matter when you mulch the garden in the spring?  Actually it does!

Mulch is a great organic weed blocker, but it can also be a sun blocker in the spring – which is something you don’t want!  Applying mulch to your garden before the soil has a chance to really warm up from the winter months can slow the development of your garden plants, and prevent the germination of seeds.

What we love about mulch in the summer (cooling the soil, trapping the moisture, blocking the weeds)  has the same effect in the spring, just when you don’t want to sabotage the your future crops, and flowers.

Allow several weeks of progressively warmer weather to thaw and warm the layers of soil that have been deeply frozen through the winter.  In cool climates do not apply mulch until late spring, once all danger of frost has been eliminated. Let the sun hit larger expanses of darker soil, and last year’s decomposing mulch to warm everything up and speed up the growth process.  Instead of early mulching, turn over the soil in the beds with a fork, or garden weasel instead, to get oxygen to the root systems, and work in any decomposing material. In most northern areas May is the perfect month to begin mulching.

Three Knockout Trees Full Of Spring Blooms

Spring blooming trees make a huge impact on defeating the winter blues, and in a competitive house market promise to lure potential buyers straight to your door.

When you want a cool weather focal piece in your yard, but are ready to steer toward something more unusual than the common Cherry Tree, here are three knockout choices sure to please.

IMG 2442 768x1024 Three Knockout Trees Full Of Spring BloomsIMG 2438 768x1024 Three Knockout Trees Full Of Spring BloomsIMG 2437 768x1024 Three Knockout Trees Full Of Spring Blooms

The Saucer Magnolia

This bloomer produces blossoms the size of a woman’s hand, and covers the tree in bright purple and white tipped flowers. Tight buds appear beginning in February or mid-March at the latest, and this magnolia has a reputation as one of the earliest blooming trees you can buy.  This variety is the ‘Alexandrina Dark Clone,’ which has the distinction of 10 inch wide open blossoms, and white interior petals with purple exteriors.

The wood of this tree is soft like many ornamentals, and this tree can be prone to sooty mold and scale.  The Saucer Magnolia can be grown with success across coastal areas, and in all but the coldest and windiest climates since it is prone to snap under the weight of heavy snows and wind. It will not do well in open prairie developments, and is healthiest in habitats similar to its home environment, Japan. Its ideal growing conditions are in moist well mulched beds, with filtered sunlight, and it looks particularly good mixed in with a shrub border. It tops out at 20 to 30 feet in height. [Read more...]

Fruits And Veggies You Can Safely Plant In Your Yard In Early Spring

Rhubarb Fruits And Veggies You Can Safely Plant In Your Yard In Early Spring3712121307 4907200bec m 150x150 Fruits And Veggies You Can Safely Plant In Your Yard In Early SpringAsparagus 150x150 Fruits And Veggies You Can Safely Plant In Your Yard In Early SpringStrawberry 150x150 Fruits And Veggies You Can Safely Plant In Your Yard In Early Spring

A little cold weather won’t bother these toughies!  To get  jump start on your fruit and vegetable garden move young or indoor grown seedlings of Rhubarb, Blackberry, Asparagus, and Strawberry plants outside in March.   These plants can thrive outdoors in the fickle temperatures of early Spring, and be ready for harvest quickly.

Quick Tips:

  • Rhubarb grown in colder climates will be harvest ready in April or May, or in the Fall if planted later.  When grown in the southern areas of the USA or in the Southern Hemisphere it can be grown year round for pies and jellies.
  • Blackberries, and Strawberries will be harvest ready in the June through October window with regular picking.  As with most berries, picking off a few fruits or flower buds before maturation will reduce the competition between the ovaries, and provide you with fewer, but much larger fruit.
  • Asparagus doesn’t take up much room during the planting and harvesting stage, but from mid to late summer when it needs to be allowed to fill out and produce berries, it can be a total garden hog!  Make sure to plant this delicious beast somewhere where its loose fern shape won’t offend your garden scheme, or impede pathways.  Garden centers advise that a three year old plant is the most reliable producer, so don’t  plan on instant gratification with this favorite gourmet veggie.  For long term success, it’s best to leave the plant alone for a few years to allow it to really take to root in your veggie patch.
Photo’s Courtesy of:  cygnus921, Rob Ireton, ^riza^

Sowing A Harvest Of Trout

img 1366 300x199 Sowing A Harvest Of Trout

I grew up watching the Disney Sunday Movie, and the classic cartoons that proceeded them each week, and was reminded of an old “Humphrey The Bear” cartoon Thursday, when I spent a few minutes with a trout farmer who came to deliver his load of fish to stock one of my large corporate ponds.

The original cartoon involved a hapless bear’s efforts to fish successfully, but the part that I loved as a child was the forest rangers method of sowing fish seeds in giant water troughs for the beginning of fishing season.  If only trout were as easy aquire as the cartoon made them look – sprouting in eager rows in the fish hatchery! Fortunately my spring pond stocking is almost that easy, and a Virginia trout farmer was able to deliver about 260 golden and rainbow trout right to my door, and down into into the pond on a special chute.

It’s not plant related, but pond stimg 1364 2 150x150 Sowing A Harvest Of Troutocking is just one more sign that spring is here. Go in peace little Trout!

Roses: When To Begin Spring Pruning


img 0050 225x300 Roses: When To Begin Spring PruningEarly spring is the perfect time to do large scale cut backs on your rose bushes to encourage new growth, and a bush full of blooms!

The key to spring pruning is to trim just as the plant is budding and waking up from its winter dormancy. A bush that has grown “leggy” over the course of several years can be trimmed all the way back to about 8 inches in height at this time safely to encourage a fuller plant. The best way to identify your spring window of opportunity is to watch the blooming of the Forsythia plants for your cue.

Rose breeders recommend trimming your roses when Forsythias are blooming, usually at the end of March. Although roses will bloom through the summer and fall, the heaviest pruning and shaping of the plant should be done at the beginning of the growing season, when the cool temperatures, and lack of insects make pruning wounds easy to recover from. 

Successful Pruning

When considering your rose bush  for pruning, identify any “woody” stems on the plant that are giving the plant height, but reduced bloom production, and place these on the top of you list for pruning. Even an aging plant with dead sections can benefit from strong pruning in the spring to encourage new shoots to emerge from the roots.  

Most roses can benefit from a heavier pruning every few years to encourage blooming, and to keep the plant full and pliable. If your roses have had more bare stems than fruitful branches with leaves and buds in the past few years, your bush is ripe for a spring pruning. If you are hesitant to trim the whole plant at once, select a few feeder stems and prune them heavily to within 6-10 inches of the ground.

Spring thinning and pruning will rejuvenate your plants and soon have you reaping the benefits of a far healthier plant.