May Showers Bring...
So, do you think it could rain anymore? Now there's a pretty
silly question. Of course it is going to rain again and we will
most likely see that rainfall sometime later this week. I am
feeling a bit waterlogged and so is the garden.
Mushrooms are everywhere
and I have already
had to spray my roses for black spot. I
don't remember May being this wet. Now April is
another story. You know the old
saying, "April showers bring May flowers." Of course I am not
sure about what showers for the entire month of May will bring.
I guess we will find out soon enough.
I have had
several people ask me about whether or not I will be taking any
plants out of the garden when we move. The answer in short is
no. Kevin and I have worked exactly 11 years to create the
garden we love. To remove a piece of it would be an injustice. I
have explained to most of my friends that creating a garden is
like creating any other type of art. You start with a blank
canvas and work with the colors, textures and tones until you
are completely satisfied. And that I am. The gardens are not
overgrown but are at a stage where everything is growing in
harmony. I only hope that the new owner of this home will also
enjoy the fruits of our labor and continue to keep the gardens
alive adding their own special touches. After all, to call a
garden your own you have to put your hands in the soil.
Prevent Black Spot...
With all this wet weather you will need to
establish a preventive spray program for your roses if
they have been subject to black spot in the past. The problem
with fungal diseases is that they have to be prevented - a
fungicide isn't as effective once the problem is noticed. As
always, it is better to buy only roses that are disease
It's Not Too Late!
Do you feel like spring is slipping away from you? Just
a few weeks ago it seemed like we had all the time in the world
to plant. If you're like us, hectic
schedules can make prime planting time slip away. Don't panic!
There's still plenty to do. In fact if you hurry you can still
sneak in the following: lettuce, onions, spinach, beets, chard,
carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, shallots, chives and
that soil temperatures are up it's also a great time to get your
tomatoes and peppers in the ground if you haven't already done
When selecting tomato transplants, choose healthy plants without
any blooms. If the tomato plants have blooms or, worse, fruit
before you transplant, pinch off the flowers or fruit. If
tomatoes set fruit before the plant gets large enough - that is,
produces enough leaves - the fruit is small and tasteless.
Removing flowers or premature fruit allows the plant to produce
more leaves that will make larger tomatoes throughout the growing
season. The formula for successful tomato production is quite
simple: Healthy leaves equal tasty fruit.
Tip Top Tools...
Here's a great way to keep your gardening hand tools clean
and free from rust. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with play sand.
Moisten the sand with mineral oil or even motor oil. Plunging
your tools into the sand/oil mix several times before storing
them will remove the dirt and leave a protective coating of oil
on the metal surface.
Getting Rid Of Girdles...
Remember to remove old stakes, ties, and labels from
your trees and shrubs.
Stems and trunks grow in diameter this
time of year and it is important to remove any constrictions
that exist around them.
Even a thin wire can
completely girdle a branch causing it
to eventually die. While it's true that
tree trunks may grow around wire, nails, or ties, they
will forever have a structural defect that may
be unsightly and is likely prone to storm damage.
The Right Height...
To prevent weed germination in lawns, mow
frequently at the tallest recommended mowing height. Weeds
germinate rapidly when turf is scalped by mowing too short or
when it is not mowed frequently enough. Both mistakes decrease
turf density and cause an open canopy that favors weeds. Experts
recommend a range of mowing heights to meet specific turf
activities. Lower mowing heights require more frequent mowing.
Annual grassy weeds -- such as crabgrass -- are especially a
problem on turfs that lack density as a result of poor mowing.
mowing heights for grass types:
Kentucky bluegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
Tall fescue - 3.0 to 4.0 inches.
Fescue/bluegrass - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.
Bluegrass/ryegrass - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
Perennial ryegrasses - 2.5 to 3.5 inches.
Creeping red fescues - 3.0 to 3.5 inches.
Wait For Grub
Grub control products are currently being displayed in the
center aisles of retail department and discount stores and are
advertised on the radio as providing season-long grub control
when applied in early May. Certain insecticides, including
imidacloprid (Merit) and halofenozide (Mach 2) do have a very
long residual in the soil. However, they should not be applied to
lawns until later in the summer by both homeowners and
professionals and here’s why:
- The goal of white
grub insecticides is to prevent turf damage, not eradicate
grubs. Grub damage in the spring is very minimal and only seen
in the driest of years. The chance of
significant grub damage
is limited this time of year.
- Grubs found in
the turfgrass right now are very mature and extremely difficult
to kill. Insecticides applied now will not be very
- Even if you could
control grubs now, it will have no effect on the population of
grubs come August when the really damaging generation
applied now will biodegrade over time and may not remain in the
soil at high enough concentrations to be effective in August
when we really need them. Certainly, they will be more
effective if applied closer to the egg hatch date (early
generally better off waiting until mid-July through
mid-August to apply white grub insecticides and then only apply
if your lawn has experienced perennial damage from grubs or if
you find more than five grubs per square foot.
"Each moment of the
year has its own beauty."
Ralph Waldo Emerson