[Masthead] Fair ~ 51°F  
High: 79°F ~ Low: 49°F
Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Garden Chores

With the recent warm weather, I'm going to take a chance to discuss spring garden chores. Some important springtime chores include applying preemergence herbicides to lawns, dividing perennials, pruning roses, and many others.

Applying Preemergence Herbicide to Lawn: The key to successful control of crabgrass in lawns is the correct timing of the preemergence herbicide application. Crabgrass seeds begin to germinate when soil temperatures reach 55 to 60 F and continue to germinate over several weeks from spring into summer. If the material is applied too early, crabgrass seeds that germinate late in the season will not be controlled. Normally, preemergence herbicides should be applied in late April to early May in this part of the state. The timing of the preemergence herbicide application will vary somewhat from year to year because of weather conditions. However, events in nature generally occur in a natural sequence. Preemergence herbicides should be applied when the forsythia blossoms start dropping or when redbud trees reach full bloom. Crabgrass seed germination typically begins after these events.

Dividing Perennials: Early spring is an excellent time to divide asters, mums, hostas, daylilies, garden phlox and many other perennials. Dig up the perennials in early spring just as new growth begins to appear. Divide each plant clump into sections with a sharp knife. Each division should contain several shoots and a portion of the root system. Replant the divisions immediately. Keep the newly divided perennials well watered through spring and summer. Most newly divided perennials do not bloom well until their second growing season.

Pruning Roses: The upper portions of modern roses, such as hybrid teas, floribundas and grandilfloras, typically winterkill due to exposure to low winter temperatures and drastic temperature changes. When the winter protection is removed from these roses in early to mid-April, gardeners should prune out the dead wood. Pruning roses is relatively easy. Live wood is green and has plump, healthy buds. When pruned, the center of the stem (pith) should be white. Dead wood is brown, has no live buds and has brown or gray pith. When pruning roses, make the cuts at least 1 inch below the dead, brown-colored areas. Make slanting cuts about 1/4 inch above healthy, plump, outward facing buds; the slant being in the same direction as the bud. Remove the entire cane if there is no sign of life. Also, remove any diseased wood. Because of our severe winter weather, modern roses often suffer a great deal of winter injury. Normally, the primary objective is to remove all dead and diseased wood and to save as much of the live tissue as possible. If the roses overwinter well, gardeners can prune out weak, spindly canes in the center.

After a long winter of shoveling snow and removing ice from the sidewalk and driveway, working in the yard over the next several weeks is going to be a welcome chore. If you need any other tips, stop by our office at 209 Centennial Dr. Suite A, Cherokee, IA 51012. You can always call us with questions at 225-6196. We would also encourage you to call our horticulture hotline number at 515-294-3108.





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