~ April 16, 2008 ~
How about last weekend's weather? When I saw the snow falling on Saturday I
thought I was in the midst of a bad dream. I really could not believe what I was
seeing. To add to my anxiety the meteorologists in town were talking about a low
Sunday morning of 27. It was déjà vu all over again. Last year's late Easter
freeze was weighing heavy on my mind. I hope everyone received our frost alert
and covered tulips, daffodils and anything else you might have felt was in
danger. It looks as if we escaped a repeat of last year's freeze. I would like to
think that we have dodged the last really cold weather bullet. Here's hoping.
I mowed the lawn today. Yep, I was pretty excited. I really like to mow. Our
oldest son Noah is starting to learn the importance of the ever loving dollar so
he has asked to take over the chore of mowing the lawn. Being the particular
gardener that I am, I have explained to him about how exactly it should be done.
He has a sense of humor about the whole thing, nods his head letting me know
that he is kindly listening. He will do his best and I will allow him to without
trying to micro-manage his efforts. I should be grateful that he wants to
take on such a task. I guess that will free up more time for one my many other
What a blustery day! The wind has been howling for the past
couple of days. Maybe some rain tonight and into tomorrow. It looks as if we are
in for a great weekend. A time to be outside getting things done. Garden on!
This last round of warm weather
seems to have accelerated most of the area's flowering spring
bulbs. Our daffodils and tulips took a bow over the weekend and,
like most others in Kansas City, won't be seen again until next
spring. If you want to get the most
out of them next spring you need to help them a little right
their foliage to acquire and transport nutrients necessary for
future growth. If you cut or remove the foliage too early you
will starve the bulb and consequently reduce its chances for
strong growth next spring. Cut the stems back as you would if
you were cutting them for a vase. Leave the foliage alone until
it has withered on its own. Only then should you clear it from
You can trim pachysandra and other low groundcovers by mowing
them with your lawnmower
(video). Set the mowing height at around three
to four inches. This will thicken the groundcover and help
prevent weeds. Be sure to remove the clippings by gently raking.
Boston ivy, English ivy, purple winter creeper, and cranberry
cotoneaster all benefit from springtime trimming.
A Clean Break...
When transplanting flowers and veggies to the garden make
sure you break off the rims of your peat pots just below ground
level. Any portion of the peat pot sticking up above the soil
surface will wick away moisture and deprive your plants of much
needed water. That would be a shame considering how hard you
worked getting them this far!
The most serious disease of clematis is commonly called
clematis wilt - a stem rot/leaf
spot disease caused by the fungus, Ascochyta clematidina, which
mainly affects large-flowered clematis hybrids. The symptoms are
very defining and include sudden stem collapse, often just as
the flower buds are about to open. Within just a few days the
stems and its leaves turn black. Leaf
veins often develop a purple coloration. One or more stems of
the diseased plant may be affected or all aboveground parts of
the plant can be killed down to just below the soil level.
Often, an affected plant will recover after a year or two.
Of course, prevention is the best medicine. Here's how:
- Choose a favorable planting site with 6 or more hours of
sun daily, rich, well‑drained soil with pH about 7.0, and be
relatively open to ensure good air circulation.
- Select the most resistant plants. Species clematis
and/or small‑flowered hybrids seem to be more resistant than
- Keep the clematis area free of plant debris on a
year‑round basis. Take special care to avoid injury to stem
and roots since the wilt fungus requires a wound to begin
its deadly work.
- Avoid damaging the roots. Do not cultivate the soil
around clematis plants and maintain good mulch.
- Give good culture. Maintain good growing conditions to
keep all clematis plants as stress‑free as possible.
- In the event that plants become infected, cut diseased
stems just below ground level and destroy them. Spray any
remaining, healthy parts of the plant and surrounding soil
with a protective fungicide such as myclobutanil.
Just Like Starting Over...
This time of year we are asked by
many gardeners why their forsythia or lilacs
look so bad. Many claim that some of their
flowering branches look great while
other branches of the same plant have
virtually no flowers at all. This is actually a very common
problem with forsythia, lilacs and
other flowering shrubs. Basically they have become too "woody"
and need rejuvenation. Simply cut the tired branches to a point
just above ground level. Next year's growth will include many
To stay on top of this process Savvygardeners will rejuvenate
one-third of the flowering shrub every year. That way none of the
branches are ever any older than three years.
Lawn Mowing Safety...
Gas-powered lawn mowers may be the most
dangerous tool regularly used around the home. They create hot
exhaust fumes. Their blades spin 2,000 to 4,000 times per minute
and can turn small toys and garden debris into deadly missiles.
K-State University Research and Extension, U.S. safety
experts estimate lawn mower accidents severely injure 75,000
people every year. The minor accidents could easily number in
Here are two very good safety tips to follow:
- Before mowing, search the yard
- every time. Look for small objects that may be hidden from obvious view. Most
lawn mower blades run at 100 to 200 miles per hour. So, if
one hits a rock, wire, acorn or stick, that object can
become deadly: both airborne and fast as the wink of an eye.
- Do not mow when anyone else is in the vicinity of the
mower itself and any projectiles it may create.
mower safety tips
can be found here...
Dealing With Dandelions...
We're getting lots of e-mail asking about weeds (especially
dandelions) in lawns. Keep in mind two things:
healthy turf is the most effective weed control. Proper
mowing, fertilization, and irrigation will go a long way in
Fall is the best time to control weeds.
said, you can spot-apply broad spectrum herbicides to lawn
weeds. Just be careful where you spray. Drifting herbicides
are going to damage or kill the plants they touch.
"I have seen the lady April bringing
Bringing the springing grass and the
soft warm April rain."
~ John Masefield