Kick off your lawn care program with a pre-emergent

This is the best time to treat your lawn with a pre-emergent weed killer or weed and feed product to control crabgrass and other weeds in your lawn. It is easier to control crabgrass and summer weeds with a pre-emergent herbicide that keeps the seeds of these undesirable weeds from ever sprouting or germinating. The pre-emergent must be applied before the seeds germinate to achieve control.  There are many types of  pre-emergent crabgrass and weed control products including active ingredients like Treflan, Balan, Team, Simazine, Gallery, Surflan or three of the newer products are Barricade,  Dimension and Sulfentrazone.  I prefer the products with Barricade, Dimension or Sulfentrazone as they appear to offer the broadest control of crabgrass and summer weeds.  You can get any of these products in a granular form that you can spread with a fertilizer spreader across your lawn and several of these products are also available in a liquid form you can spray on the lawn.  You can get these products in an herbicide only form or packaged with a basic fertilizer to make a weed and feed type product to kill the weeds while you  fertilize your lawn. These weed and feed products are the most popular way to kick off your annual lawn care program and now is the time to get it applied for best results.

We have been blessed with some weather that really feels like spring including several beautiful near perfect days, some very windy days and even our first warnings of  spring storms  and tornadoes, I’ve seem the first crocus flowers popping from the ground and flashing their bright colors to welcome spring. With the arrival of March we have a great variety of garden projects that are now ready to tackle.  This is a great time for soil preparation for both your vegetable and flower gardens.  Work your existing or new beds to spade depth and add a 2 to 3” layer of sphagnum peat moss, fine processed bark, composted organic material or mix in last years top cover mulch of bark and cottonseed hulls to enrich the soil, lower the PH and improve the air and moisture movement in your soil.  This is a good time to take a soil test in your flowerbed and in your lawn so you can do a better job of fertilizing your garden and lawn with the proper nutrition and not wasting expensive fertilizer or over-feeding and polluting our environment.  Collect about a pint of soil collected from several spots about six inches deep and then take the sample to your country extension office for a very reasonably priced soil test.  After you have tilled or spaded your planting area, now is the time to get your vegetable garden growing by planting potatoes, onions, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb and the entire spectrum of cool season vegetables.  We need to wait a few more weeks to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and the other warm season crops until after the last average frost in mid April.  You can go ahead and plant grapes and other berry crops and all kinds of bareroot or container grown trees and shrubs on any of our nice spring days.

Our Sunday School lesson Sunday was very timely as it spoke about the principles of pruning grapes and while I suspect Christ was using the story to help us think about pruning or shaping our behavior in our personal lives the description is still appropriate for describing pruning to our grapes, trees and shrubs. The Bible story says we should prune out the dead wood and prune back the productive wood to encourage more branches and a bigger harvest. That is as good a description of the reason we prune as you can give. Now is the time to prune out the dead wood on your trees, evergreen shrubs, summer flowering shrubs, grapes and berries. We really like to wait to prune roses and summer flowering shrubs until the middle two weeks of March and you can prune spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, quince and lilacs after they bloom this spring. After you prune out the dead wood you should prune back the good wood and remember that new branches will sprout from the buds just below where you prune. Select a few gardening projects and get outside and enjoy our pretty spring weather, brighter sun and longer days as you assist Mother Nature to get the new growing season off to a good start.

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