NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- Flowers, Dirty Work, Early Weeds and More!
FIRST FLOWERS COMING IN- SPRING IS HERE!!!!
CRUNCH TIME TO PREPARE FLOWER/GARDEN BEDS
If you missed the fall months to renovate flower/garden beds then we may as well grab the shovel
DIGGING IN THE DIRT
One of the spring pitfalls is we rush to get plants in the ground and work soils that are either too dry or wet. Either action can ruin soil structure. If the soil is too dry simply wait for rain or hand water a day or two before digging. Renovating soils that are too wet can wreak havoc on soil structure that can take years for it to recover. Either way, check the soil moisture first to decide if it’s ready to work. After you add soil amendments and do the rough digging with a shovel, the Garden Weasel is a fantastic tool to break up larger dirt clods and finish grade the bed. Simply go back and forth with the weasel until it’s finished to your satisfaction.
SOIL AMENDMENTS A MUST FOR KANSAS CITY GARDENS
Kansas City native soils tend to be high in clay and easily compact. Compacted soils squeeze out oxygen that plant roots need to thrive, and this is why we need soil amendments to improve soil tilth and oxygen levels. Cotton burr compost is a very good soil amendment for our clay soils; but not the only one. Another amendment is HAPPY FROG SOIL MIX. This increasingly popular amendment is a 3 cubic foot bale and includes slow release organic plant nutrients and mycorrhizae (more on mycorrhizae in this newsletter). Happy Frog is an especially good choice for new or raised beds. We have both products on hand and if you would like to compare them.
TRANSPLANTS LOVE A ROOT GROWTH SPURT
When a plant is taken out of a container or dug up and moved, physical handling causes microscopic root hairs to slough off, which leads to transplant shock and slower recovery after moving. Using a root stimulant at planting means less transplant babysitting.
WHY WE USE ROOT STIMULANTS
A natural hormone, Indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) initiates new root hairs to minimize transplant shock and get the plant off to a happy, healthy start. Routinely used by professional landscape contractors, Ferti-lome Root Stimulator contains this hormone and we highly recommend using it at planting and the first 2-3 waterings. Simply add 3 ½ tablespoons of Root Stimulator to a gallon of water and water normally.
Mycorrhizae (my-co-rye’-za) are literally one of the most important fungi in the world. Mushrooms are a type of mycorrhizae. Around the mid 1990’s the plant care industry figured out how to make products with this naturally occurring fungus and they are now routinely used by the landscape/turf/nursery and forestry industry. Every year we have more and more customers who understand its benefits and use it at planting. If you are new to our newsletters or not yet familiar with this amazing organism, here’s a short version of the mycorrhizae story.
MYCORRHIZAE INFO SHEET
TIME TO WATCH OUT FOR THESE EARLY WEEDS
CHICKWEED HENBIT WILD ONION/GARLIC
Unlike most weeds, chickweed and henbit are winter annuals that germinate in the fall and are hard to see until now when their growth begins to take off. Wild onions and garlic are also coming up. They all grow early and fast in spring before we get in “control the weed mode”. The bad news is this weed train has left the station if you wait until late spring or early summer to control them. The good news is they can all be controlled now when they are small using Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone for your lawn. Your choice in the garden is either hand digging or using glyphosate (Ferti-lome Killz-all). Your Soil Service Garden Center stocks several types and sizes of sprayers. Please come see us sooner vs. later for the best way to control these and other troublesome weeds.
LAWN AND GARDEN PRE-EMERGENT WEED CONTROL
If you use our Soil Service Lawn Care program this is just a quick reminder that it’s time to apply STEP 1 for a light nutrient feed with pre-emergent weed control. If you are not on our program but need help with your lawn, please come see us now to learn about our “do-it-yourselfer” and $$$ saving programs. It can be fun, personally rewarding and not really all that difficult.
Most everyone is familiar with Preen pre-emergent (trifluralin) for flower beds. It’s an excellent product and the label has recently expanded to include many garden veggies. We also have Hi-Yield Dimension that has an expanded use label. Unlike Preen, Dimension does not need to be quickly worked in the soil and can wait up to a week to be worked in by lightly raking or rainfall. So if hand weeding is not your thing, come see us for the right product for your needs.
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COME SEE US AND LET’S GET GROWING