~ March 11, 2009 ~
A Fond Farewell...
We had to have a large Ash tree in our front yard taken down on Monday
(photos). Mission Hills
city Arborist, George Eib came by to take a look at the fungus growing on the outside of
the tree. He told me it was time. The fungus was slowly destroying the tree. My friend
Mark Bartlow with Ryan Lawn & Tree had told me a year or so ago that it was diseased and
would eventually have to come down. I always hate to see a tree go. They add so much to
the landscape - shade, beauty, height. All things important to any landscape. Now that
the tree is gone our front lawn looks naked. Another tree will have to be planted. Mr.
Eib suggested a Red Oak and it looks as if that is the direction we are headed. A new
tree will be nice but it won't be as big as the one taken down. I am afraid that we will
have to wait many years to appreciate the beauty of the newly planted tree.
Don't forget about our gardening friends in Leavenworth. This weekend is their "No Place Like
Home" Home and Garden Show. For more information about times and location
follow this link...
It looks as if this crazy colder weather will be hanging around for a few days so it is a perfect
time to be inside with warm, sunny ideas.
A hard working group of dads at Shawnee Mission South, involved in a group called Father's Connection,
are putting together their spring fund raiser. Buy crabgrass control, weed and feed and cypress mulch
from this organization and help support Shawnee Mission South. For more information on how you can
help these dads make a difference
Pre-order and make it easy!
Spring Lawns: To Seed or Not to Seed...
As spring approaches you will no doubt start inspecting your
lawn only to re-discover that it is less than perfect. Most of
us have bare spots or entire areas that are begging for new seed.
Reliable sources will tell you that spring is the second best
time of year to plant grass seed (the best time being fall).
What they don't tell you is that in this case second best may
not be good enough at all. We'll try to explain...
Fall is the best time to plant because seeds get the
double benefit of warm soil and cooler air temperatures. Fall
planted grass also establishes a strong root system even after
the grass blades have stopped growing for the season. By contrast
spring sown grass seed gets cool air temperatures but not
warm soil - making it tougher to germinate. In many cases the grass
is not established well enough to take the heat imposed on it by
the typical Kansas City summer. More often than not, your new grass
is toast by mid-July.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't plant new grass in the spring. You
just need to be aware of the risks. At our house we try to limit spring
grass seeding to small bare patches and hope for the best. For bigger
jobs consider contacting a professional lawn care company
(we use Ryan Lawn & Tree) to improve your
Thankfully most catalogs don't deliver your plant orders until it's
time to plant them. Unfortunately sometimes local conditions are
different than "usual" and your plants arrive a bit early for planting.
Don't panic, but don't ignore them either! Your mail-order plants do
need some care in the time between their arrival and your ability to
plant them. Unwrap them immediately and check for specific directions
on early care. Lacking this just keep them cool and moist in a protected
area until you can safely get them in the ground.
Plant By The Rules...
Planning on planting a tree (or two or three) this spring? Make sure you
do it right. That tree is supposed to be around for a long time. Our friends
at K-State Research & Extension recently published 10 Rules for Planting
Trees. Check it out here...
St. Pat's and Potatoes...
While it's traditional to plant potatoes on St. Patrick's
Day Savvygardeners should be aware of two assumptions made in
setting this date. First, that your soil is consistently 45º
or higher. The recent warm-up means sunny locations may be ready.
The second assumption is that the soil is dry enough to be
worked. Working in overly moist soil can make a mess that will
be hard to correct later. How can you tell? Grab a handful of soil
and squeeze. If it holds together like clay it's too wet. If it
crumbles like a cupcake it's ready for planting.
Watch the weather and your soil closely. You really want to get those
'taters planted between now and the end of March.
Vegetable Gardening Without A Garden...
If your outdoor space is limited, consider gardening without a garden.
Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and many other vegetables do well when grown
in containers. Barrels, window boxes, cut-off milk jugs, almost any
container that provides good drainage will do as long as it is deep
enough to support the plant. Minimum depths for some container-grown
- 4 inches - lettuce, radishes, beets, low-growing herbs
- 6 inches - chard, turnips, short-rooted carrots
- 8 inches - eggplant, peppers, bush cucumbers
- 10 inches - cauliflower, broccoli
- 12 inches - tomatoes, long-rooted carrots
Healthy Lawn Diet...
Though advertising for lawn fertilizers is at its yearly high, most lawns don’t
really need fertilizer now. Do not apply high rates of nitrogen (more than
0.75 lbs N/1000 sq. ft.) to your lawn from March through early May. Too much
nitrogen at this time of the year will lead to problems later this summer such
as poor root growth and disease. Additionally, since spring rains play havoc with
mowing schedules, nitrogen fertilization can further complicate your mowing schedule
by causing grass plants to grow too fast. Instead of applying fertilizer now, it
is better to wait until mid-to late-May and apply up to ¾ lbs N/1000 sq. ft.
with a fertilizer that contains mostly slow-release nitrogen.
The Old Heave Ho...
Temperatures have been jumping around a bit lately but a well deserved thaw in the
soil may be a permanent thing soon. Scout around your garden for signs of recent
heaving - the forcing of shallow-rooted plants out of the soil due to the
freezing and thawing of the ground. Don't tamp the plants or the surrounding soil
as this may overly compact the soil. Simply give them a gentle push back into place.
"Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each."
~ Henry David Thoreau