March 2018 Newsletter
NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- It’s Go Time!!!
FLOWERS ARE HERE!!!!
TIME TO PRUNE ROSES
We get a lot of calls this time of year from customers asking about pruning roses. Please see the enclosed information from Kansas State that explains how and when to prune.
K-State pruning info by Dennis Patton
Pruning Easy Care Roses 3-7-16
IMPROVING FLOWER/GARDEN BEDS
If you missed the fall months to renovate flower/garden beds then you’re down to crunch time.
One spring pitfall is we can get frantic to put plants in the ground and end up working soils that are either too wet or dry. Doing this is not a good thing.
Renovating overly wet or dry soils ruins soil structure that takes years to recover. If the soil is too dry simply wait for rain or hand water a day or two before digging. If too wet, wait a few days to let it dry some before grabbing the shovel. After you add soil amendments and do the rough digging, 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 broken up 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 soil amendments 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 CONDITIONER. This increasingly popular amendment comes in a 3 cubic foot bale and includes slow release organic plant nutrients and beneficial mycorrhizae fungi (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.
Mycorrhizae (my-co-rye’-za) are literally one of the most important fungi in the world. 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.
TRANSPLANTS NEED 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 hair growth that minimizes transplant shock and gets plants 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.
WATCH OUT FOR THESE EARLY WEEDS– 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). 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 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 Turf and Ornamental Weed and Grass Stopper (containing Dimension) that has an expanded use label. Unlike Preen, the Hi-Yield Turf and Ornamental Weed and Grass Stopper (containing 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.
DO NOT SCALP FESCUE OR BLUEGRASS LAWNS IN EARLY SPRING!
Some people will tell you to set your mower as low as you can for the first fescue or bluegrass mowing. This misguided reasoning is that it removes brown leaves and helps the soil warm more quickly resulting in quicker greenup. First off, the grass does not green up more quickly. The brown leaves are just hiding green leaves below them so removing the brown leaf tissue is strictly cosmetic. Some years the brown is on the leaf tips so lowering the mowing height by one notch is OK assuming the normal and correct mowing height is 3-4 inches. This year though, the leaves are brown almost to the soil line so just leave them alone and the lawn will gradually and naturally green up over time. Second and most importantly, scalping the lawn does not appreciably warm the soil but does open it up to more weeds because there is less cover to compete against germinating weed seeds. Also, mowing too short a little too late causes a hormonal effect on the grass. The end result is season long stress and increased susceptibility to heat/drought and diseases problems. SO- DON’T SCALP FESCUE/BLUEGRASS LAWNS IN SPRING!!!!!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
COME SEE US AND LET’S KEEP GROWING