Garden notes

February 2017

This has been the craziest February weather I’ve seen in my life.  It’s certainly nice for spending time outside but what the effects of long stretches of warm winter temperatures have on our plants is a concern and we need to know what we can do about it.  The answer is ‘not much’.  Your emerging flower bulbs will be O.K and will do their own thing.  Our flowering trees including fruit trees may be effected but we won’t know till later on in spring.  Don’t assume that winter is over because our worst weather may be in March or April.  Another downside to the warm temperatures is larger numbers of insects and insect related problems.   This is the year we need to definitely apply our systemic insecticide.   On a positive note, enjoy these warm temperatures, grill out and sit back and enjoy whatever mother nature throws at us.  She is a female and can do whatever she wants!

 

Dormant Grass Seeding

If you didn’t get to over seed those bare areas last fall, dormant seeding is the next best time…. the idea behind dormant seeding is to take advantage of the freezing and thawing of the soil. When frozen, it honeycombs and opens up. Grass seed actually falls into the cracks, and when the soil thaws during the day, the soil closes over the seed…it’s the perfect natural seed bed. And usually mid to late February is the perfect time to experience this. We also need the soil to clear, and not covered with ice or heavy snow when we do this. That’s why we’re playing a waiting game right now for any dormant seeding. Now, I’m no weatherman, but based on past experiences, I would guess the current snow and ice will go away, and the freezing and thawing of the soil will still be happening into early and mid March. And if for some reason you don’t get to dormant seed and take advantage of the freezing and thawing, the next seeding time will be early spring…and then you’ll be needing to use a slice seeder, to get that good seed soil contact.

Fertilizing

Perennials & Shrubs can be fertilized with Espoma Holly-Tone for acid loving plants & Plant-Tone for all others. Ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Food is a great all purpose fertilizer that is user friendly.

Dormant pruning

Whole branch removal, selective pruning on evergreens, pruning of fruit trees, even cutting back those ornamental grasses…all pruning that is done while the plants are dormant.

And if you’re confused about the timing for pruning flowering trees and shrubs, just remember the general golden rule…if it flowers in the spring, prune after it finishes flowering. If it flowers in the summer (after June 1), prune it in the spring. And if you’re getting anxious to prune back those roses, don’t do it. Wait…at least until late March or early April. I’ll let you know when to cut your roses back.

Dormant sprays

Spraying horticultural oil while plants are dormant is a great way to help more…before they ever get started. Oils suffocate and causes cell destruction on these pesky control overwinter insects and their eggs, such as mites, scale, aphids, mealybugs, and insects. Make sure its above 45 degrees and no rain for 24 hours when dormant oil spraying. Scale on euonymus? Have fruit trees? Dormant sprays are for you.

Clean-up

If you have left over dead foliage on perennials and ornamental grasses, cut it off, and get rid of the old foliage. This is important to do now, before the new growth begins to appear. It’s also important as some insects and diseases can over-winter in this stuff, so just get rid of it and get a cleaner start in spring. If you would like help with clean-ups Baeten’s can provide this service.  Please call with any questions.

Repair and Sharpen

Now is a good time to get any repairs done on garden equipment. The repair shops will be slammed in a few weeks. Get ahead of the game.

March 2017

PansiesMarch is a time of year when Mother Nature just can’t make up her mind. We can have snow, rain, sleet or hail in the same week as we have 70 degree temps. So….what to do in the garden? Well if you didn’t or couldn’t get anything done in February do those chores in March. Everyone gets antsy to plant something and when they come into our greenhouses and see flowers I have to smack their hands and say ‘NOT YET’! However there are a few things you can plant earlier such as Pansies in containers & beds for bright spring color. They are cold tolerant & resilient so they’ll survive the ups & downs of early spring weather.

If you are ready to get started in your vegetable garden, planting seeds for garden peas as well as seed potatoes and onion sets is a good place to start. They can soon be followed by planting seeds for early season lettuce, spinach, collards, turnips and other greens. All of these vegetables are cold tolerant, and in the case of peas & spinach they prefer to grow in cool conditions. Check out our Container Gardening page for ideas for veggie and herb containers.

If you’re not ready to plant your garden, but want to get outside consider amending the garden soil by applying peat moss, soil conditioner or composted manure about 1” thick over the area & then tilling it in when you’re ready.

Time to Feed – Protect – Prevent

Feed

Time to put down ferti-lome ‘All Seasons Lawn Food Plus Crabgrass & Weed Preventer’. This application gives your lawn a light feeding and a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass and other weeds. As an easy way to remember this product should be applied by the time the Forsythia finish blooming.

Feed your trees and shrubs with ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Food. Easy to apply and your plants will thank you for it. A feeding now will help prevent plants from being stressed during our crazy summer weather.

Espoma Organic fertilizers, such as Holly-tone, are a great choice for the gardener who wants to use a natural product in their garden.

Many products not only fertilize, they also protect against diseases and insects such as ferti-lome Azalea/Evergreen Food Plus with Systemic.

Protect

Nothing is more disheartening than watching the deer or rabbits eat your pansies you just planted. An application of Deer Scram about every 45 days will keep them from munching on your favorite flowers. Moles are becoming active about this time of year. We have a natural products such as Mole Scram,  Molemax and MoleGo. Applying these products last up to two months.

Prevent

Apply weed preventer such as Preen or Dimension.

Apply ferti-lomeTree and Shrub Systemic Insect Drench. By applying this product now you can prevent insect damage to tree and shrub for a year.