Pre-emergent can halt weedy invaders

Spring grows ever closer and there are an increasing number of things we can do in the yard as the temperatures march upward.

If you want to control crabgrass, goatheads, sandburs, and other summer weeds you should apply a pre-emergent weed killer right away to your lawn areas.  We have been warmer than normal and many trees, grasses and even weeds are budding or germinating a couple of weeks earlier than normal.  You need to apply and water in your pre-emergent herbicide soon, but for sure in the next couple of weeks, to make sure it is an active prophylactic ready to kill your crabgrass and weed seeds as they germinate.  Visit with your local nurseryman for help in selecting the right pre-emergent for your lawn grass and the weeds you want to control.  You can apply the pre-emergent alone or in combination with a lawn fertilizer as a weed and feed type product. [Email appas@americanplant.com for a brochure of my pre-emergent recommendations]

We can now plant virtually all of the cool season vegetable crops.  Most of these crops will do better, the quicker they are planted, to allow a full crop before our summer heat arrives.  It is best to have these planted by St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.  Cool season veggies would include plants of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and  onions, onion sets, and seed potatoes.  Early veggie planting could include seeds of beets, carrots, swiss chard, Kohlrabi, the many varieties and colors of leaf and head lettuce, peas, radish, turnips and spinach.  It is a great time to select and plant crowns of asparagus and rhubarb.  Even though some days feel warm, like spring, it is still to early to plant warm season outdoor veggies like tomatoes and peppers as our last average freeze date is around April 7.

There is increasing interest in home grown berries and fruit trees as more people discover the many health benefits of fresh fruit and berries.  Now is the time to plant bareroot strawberries, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blueberries as well as fruit trees.   If you want to plant the less expensive bareroot berries and fruit trees you need to visit your local nursery or garden center in the next couple of weeks and select and plant those right away.  Berries and trees are also available growing in containers that you can plant anytime through the spring, summer and fall.

This is the best time to prune your rose bushes and summer flowering shrubs and to prune and shape your hedges and trees.  This will allow the plants to produce new shoots and branches with their spring growth spurt positioned and shaped where you want the plant to grow.  Prune to just above a bud pointing the direction you want the new growth to go, usually out from the center of the bush or tree.  The new growth will almost always sprout from the first bud below the cut, heading in the direction of that bud.  Have fun pruning, feeding and planting and there will be even more we can do in a couple of weeks.

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