This Week's Gardening Tips from the Savvygardener
Missouri Organic Mulch, Compost, Bulk Soil
In This Issue
~ Hot Topic - Invasives ~ Ants In Your... ~ The Turfgrass Two-Step
~ Oh Say Can You Sow? ~ Cutworms Collared ~ This Week's Photos
~ Why Lilacs Don't Bloom ~ Ugh, Slugs ~ Inspiration
Visit Our Website
Previous Issues


the Savvygardener Community
~ Gardening Forums, Blogs, Photos, Events and more...


Feature Articles

~ All About Composting
~ All About Mulch
~ Worm Composting
~ Houseplant Care
~ When to Start
Seeds Indoors
~ Seed Starting Indoors
~ Vegetable Garden Calendar
~ Seed Starting Tomatoes


Shrub Pruning Calendar
~ Pruning Clematis 
~ Gardening in the Shade
~ Summer-Flowering Bulb Care
~ Drought-Tolerant Flowers for KC
~ Preparing for a Soil Test
~ Changing the pH of Your Soil
~ Growing Herbs
~ When to Harvest Vegetables
~ Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
~ Organic Pesticides & Biopesticides
~ Cold Frames & Hot Beds
~ When to Divide Perennials
~ Dividing Spring Blooming Perennials
~ Forcing Bulbs Indoors
~ Overseeding A Lawn
~ Pruning Trees
~ Pruning Shrubs
~ Planting Trees
~ Deer Resistant Plants
~ Trees that Survived the Storm
~ Stump Removal Options for the Homeowner
~ More...
Local Sponsors
~ Family Tree Nursery
~ Ryan Lawn & Tree
Privacy Pledge





This Week's Photos

~ April 29, 2009 ~

Spring Fever, Hay Fever...
Eww... I hate the way pollen covers everything this time of year. I truly dislike the powdery green film that is on everything you touch. It makes me cringe and it also makes my eyes water and nose itch. Allergies are prevalent at this house so keeping the windows closed is what we do. We have already turned on the air conditioning (sadness) but really have no other option. If we were to open the windows the pollen would be inside, covering everything and making us all miserable. Spring is a great time of year but there are portions of the season that we find difficult to get through.

Great news! After 10 years of publishing we have just reached our 7,000th subscriber! Kevin and I are thrilled and have to thank all of you for telling everyone you know about us. If you still have friends who don't know about us it is not too late. It is the perfect time of the year to let all of your gardening friends know about our newsletter as well as the Savvygardener Community. Timely, gardening advice. Who doesn't need that?

OK, this needs to be said. We have had plenty of rain, so why in the world would anyone be watering? You might be surprised that I would mention such a thing but I am totally shocked when I drive around watching people water after receiving almost 2 inches of rain just three days ago. Now, if you own a irrigation system and you have had it turned on, great. You will certainly need it later. However if someone has turned it on for you and has set it to run on certain days, you need to learn how to manually turn it off. We are supposed to get rain for the next couple of days which will be more than enough for our gardens and lawns this time of the year. We need to remember that water is a precious resource and we cannot be wasting it! Oh, I feel so much better :)

~ Shelly   

Hot Topic - Invasives
This week we started a new discussion forum on the Savvygardener Community. It's called Across the Fence - Hot Topics in Gardening. This week's topic is invasive plants.

Some invasive plants are worse than others. Many invasive plants continue to be admired by gardeners who may not be aware of their weedy nature. Others are recognized as weeds but property owners fail to do their part in preventing their spread. Some do not even become invasive until they are neglected for a long time. Invasive plants are not all equally invasive. Some only colonize small areas and do not do so aggressively. Others may spread and come to dominate large areas in just a few years.

Which invasives should we worry about?

What are a gardener's responsibilities when it comes to invasives?

Who decides what's an invasive and what's a unique garden plant?

Please join the discussion on these and related questions Across the Fence...

Oh Say Can You Sow?
Gardeners all across the metro will be out this weekend buying bedding plants, vegetable seedlings, and all manner of transplants for the garden.  Keep in mind that some plants actually prefer to have their seeds sown directly in the garden.

  • Among vegetables these include: beans, beets, carrots, celery, peas, squash, and turnips.
  • Among flowers: alyssum, aster, bachelor's button, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, sunflower, sweet pea, and zinnia.

Buy the seeds, read the directions, watch them grow!

Why Lilacs Don't Bloom...
There's nothing quite as frustrating as an otherwise healthy lilac bush that just won't bloom. It's a common problem and here's a rundown of the most common reasons:

  • Shade
    Excess shade is the most likely culprit when lilacs fail to bloom well. Lilacs bloom best in full sunlight, or at least a half day sun. Anything less will mean fewer flowers developing. When they're in a location that's shaded all day, lilacs rarely bloom at all.
  • Pruning
    Any pruning should be done right after the flowers fade in spring. If you wait until mid- to late summer to do it, you may not see many flowers the following year. That's because the flower buds for the following year are set shortly after the plant is through blooming.
  • Nutrients
    Lilacs don't need fertilizer to make them bloom. In fact, an abundance of nutrients, especially nitrogen, encourages the lilac to make a lot of leafy, vegetative growth which may come at the expense of flower bud development.
  • Moisture
    Lilacs grow best in well-drained soil. While wet, poorly-drained soil isn't directly associated with lack of blooms, it is associated with plants that develop roots or generally fail to thrive. If you have a young lilac in a low lying moist location, transplant it to a more favorable site if at all possible.


Ants In Your...
Not your pants, but your peonies! If you have peonies you no doubt have noticed a proliferation of ants scurrying to and fro across the flower buds. Those ants are the source of many "old gardener's tales" that have been handed down over the ages. Here's the deal: The ants are there because of the nectar-like substance secreted by the peony. Chances are that the ants you see on your peonies are already living in your garden - the peonies just draw them out of the soil and make them more visible. In other words, peonies are not increasing your local ant population (which creepily number in the hundreds of thousands or more). Some say that the ants actually help peonies bloom. Most experts disagree but since they do no harm it's best to just let them enjoy your peonies as much as you do.

Cutworms Collared...
Cutworms can be a real problem for gardeners setting out transplants. Protect your newly transplanted plants with collars. Simply cut strips of cardboard 2-inches wide by 8-inches long and staple them into a band. Place this collar around the plant stem and press it about 1-inch into the soil. Simple and very effective!

Ugh, Slugs...
There's nothing quite as refreshing as the feeling of walking barefoot on a dew-covered lawn first thing in the morning. Nothing will ruin that feeling faster than stepping on a big ol' slimy slug. Aesthetically these guys have no redeeming properties at all. They can wreak havoc on your garden as well. Young slugs will damage your plants by rasping away the surface of plant leaves for food. They can eat 30 to 40 times their weight every day! The adults chew holes in leaves and leave slime trails on your precious plants. If you don't already have a favorite and effective way to control slugs try these tricks:

  • Slugs like the dark and damp. Place a board over damp ground for a hiding place during the day. Check each morning and destroy any slugs that have gathered on the bottom of the board.
  • Slugs are attracted to and drown in shallow dishes containing beer. Set the top edges of the dish at ground level and cover loosely with a board so slugs can easily get into the brew.
  • If you don't like the idea of killing slugs you can try physical barriers, Slugs will not cross rough surfaces. Sprinkle ashes or special slug barriers around the perimeter of the garden. Stay on top of this method however. If rain, wind, or anything else sweeps the barrier away you can count on the slugs exploiting the breach in your defenses.

The Turfgrass Two-Step...
Most of us are creatures of habit. When it comes to mowing your lawn you probably follow the same back and forth pattern every time you cut the grass. Unfortunately this regular practice will eventually wear ruts in the lawn where the mower wheels repeatedly follow the same path. To avoid this problem try a four-way rotation of cutting patterns. Picture your lawn as a sheet of paper and try these patterns. Next week - tango lessons:

  1. Horizontal - left-to-right, turn, right-to-left across the lawn.
  2. Vertical - top-to-bottom, turn, bottom-to-top across the lawn.
  3. Diagonal 1 - bottom-left to top-right, turn, top-right to bottom-left. Work toward corners.
  4. Diagonal 2 - bottom-right to top-left, turn, top-left to bottom-right. Work toward corners.

"The flower-arranger who is not a gardener should never be let loose with a knife or scissors out of doors, particularly near shrubs."

~ Maureen and Bridget Boland



 1999-2009 Inc. All rights reserved.  If you wish to copy, transmit, or otherwise duplicate any of the material from our website please ask us first.  Thank you.