~ March 19, 2008 ~
Is It Spring Yet?
When I got out of bed on Saturday and saw snow falling I thought I was going to
have to go back to bed. Our oldest son Noah said, "Snow, you have got to be
kidding!" Everyone in the Marsh house is fed up with the cold weather. We
have begun to drive each other crazy. Kevin and I are still fighting off this
flu bug and the kids have been basically left to fend for themselves. Let's
just say that the arrival of spring could not happen soon enough. It has been
a long winter and we are all tired of being cooped up.
It is hard to believe that Easter is so early this year. This probably sounds
silly but don't forget about the late freeze we had last year. It is hard to
remember when the planting bug hits but make sure that you are planting things that can
handle 30 degree temperatures. If you are dying to plant something plant pansies. They will
perk up any pot or window box and will hold up well under cold morning temperatures.
Ready, Set, Wait...
With that heavy rain earlier this week
garden soils are going to be wet, and time is rapidly approaching for spring
planting. Although you may be tempted to work wet soil, remember
that there are some serious consequences. Soil structure can be
destroyed, forming large clods that take weeks or months to break
up with natural weathering. Use of a rototiller is especially
damaging in soils that are too wet. A gentle spading will cause
the least soil damage but is still a risky proposition. It is
better to delay planting a few days or weeks than to try to till
Clematis can be a confusing group of plants to prune, since
they are not all pruned the same way. In fact there are three
methods that can be applied to major groups depending on the time
of year the plant flowers. The earliest flowering clematis bloom
on old wood, while later flowering types must produce new growth
in order for flower buds to form. Prune carefully, since vines
are usually well entangled. The complete directions are a bit
long to fit in this space so we published them in our
section. Check out
Relief For The Root-Bound...
Judging when a houseplant needs a new, larger pot is mostly a
matter of roots, according to
University Research and Extension horticulturist Chip Miller.
Many container-grown plants need a new home every year. But some
grow so slowly that relocating every two or three years can be
enough. "To check whether plants are becoming root-bound, you
need to knock them out of their pot. If you water several hours
before trying this, you'll be able to remove the plant more
easily," Miller said.
two approaches to this dislocation:
For plants in pots
that are 8 inches wide or smaller, place one hand over the top
of the pot with the plant's stem passing between two fingers.
Turn pot and plant upside down, and rap the edge of the pot
against a table. The root ball should come away from the pot
and into your hand.
- For larger
combinations, place the pot on its side and rap its edge with a
rubber mallet. Roll the pot a few degrees and repeat the
rapping. Continue the procedure until the root ball "releases"
and you can slide the pot down.
"If you then
see a clear network of roots, the plant needs to be moved into a
larger pot," Miller said. "The new pot should be just 1 inch
wider if the plant was small enough to remove into your hand. It
can be 2 inches wider if the plant's old container was at least
10 inches wide."
Rosy Days Ahead...
Now that we are well past mid-March it's time to start thinking about roses.
Actually we can start doing something too! Now is a good
time to plant bare-root roses and give existing roses some TLC.
Got roses? Read
Getting Started on the Growing Season in our special
Do Not Disturb...
All around Kansas City, bulbs are popping up everywhere. I'll bet yours are too! Look
closely at your bulb beds. Are there weeds popping up as well?
If so remove the weeds by gentle hand pulling. Removal with a
cultivator or other weeding tool may disturb the bulbs
Well Oiled Fruit Trees...
Savvygardeners with fruit trees will soon be applying
horticultural oils to fruit trees to reduce certain pests. These
oils are not poisons. Instead, the thin film of oil covers the
target insect or mite and plugs the spiracles or pores through
which it breathes. Pine needle scale, oystershell scale,
euonymus scale, aphids, spider mites and small pine sawfly larvae
are all effectively controlled by this method.
Proper timing is critical for success when using oils. Dormant oils
should be applied in late March or April before leaves or flowers
show signs of breaking dormancy. A common mistake is to apply
'dormant' oil sprays too early (on the first warm day in February
or March) before insects are actively respiring and susceptible
to the oil's suffocating effects. Wait until as close to bud
break as possible before applying oil sprays. Also make sure
temperatures will be above 40į for at least 24 hours.
Whether it's lawn seed, fertilizer, or weed killer chances
are you're going to use a spreader for the job eventually. But
what kind? Drop or broadcast? Well, there's several things to
keep in mind before you pick one. Generally if both spreaders
are of equal quality, a drop spreader usually will provide better
accuracy. However, a high-quality rotary will be more accurate
than a lower-quality drop spreader. There are these differences
to consider as well:
meter out the fertilizer and drop it directly on the lawn. A
drop spreader is best if:
- You have a small
- Doing the job as
precisely as possible is most important to you.
- You donít mind
taking a bit longer to apply products to your lawn.
meter out the fertilizer and throw the granules in a swath up to
several feet wide. A rotary spreader is best if:
- You have a very
- You like to get
the job done as quickly as possible.
- You do not have
flower beds or gardens in the middle of your lawn.
"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke