March 2020 Newsletter
NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- Let’s Get Outdoors And Have Some Fun!
TIME FOR FIRST STEP OF LAWN CARE
If you use our Soil Service Lawn Care program, this is a reminder that it’s time to apply STEP 1 for a light nutrient feed with crabgrass 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. They’re really quite simple, fun and personally rewarding when you have a great lawn that YOU made happen!
FLOWERS COMING IN!!!!
FLOWER/GARDEN BED TO- DO LIST
LET’S GET THE SPRING GARDEN PARTY STARTED! If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to cut off old stems of herbaceous perennials and remove dead material and leaves that always gather in beds in winter. Simply chop dead stems, rake debris and, if you have a compost bin, toss them in. However, some plants that can introduce fungal and bacterial diseases should not be composted. Peonies, iris, phlox, roses and lilacs are examples of this so throw their debris away vs. composting.
If you missed the fall months to renovate flower/garden beds then this is your down-to-crunch time reminder.
This time of year it’s easy to get in a big hurry putting in plants, and we end up working soils that are either too wet or dry. Doing this is not a good thing. Digging in 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
We all know our native heavy clay soils easily compact, which squeezes out oxygen that plant roots need to thrive. Soil amendments are widely used in KC 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 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, neglected gardens, or ground that has been waterlogged or compacted by construction equipment.
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 learned how to make products with this naturally occurring fungus that is now routinely used by the landscape/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 these amazing organisms, here’s a short version of the mycorrhizae story.
TRANSPLANT ROSES AND SHRUBS
March is a great time to transplant roses, other shrubs and even small trees. Shrubs transplanted in March before they break dormancy tend to have higher success. Even early spring blooming plants like forsythia and lilacs can be transplanted now. Always remember to use Ferti-lome Root Stimulator when transplanting, and adding mycorrhizae when backfilling is highly cost-effective insurance for success. Drop by Soil Service Nursery for transplanting tips. 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 them.
TRANSPLANTS NEED ROOT GROWTH HELP
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. Commonly used by professional landscape contractors, Ferti-lome Root Stimulatorcontains this hormone and we highly recommend using it at planting and for the first 2-3 waterings. Simply add 3 ½ tablespoons of Root Stimulator to a gallon of water and water normally.
You may hear that you should mow your fescue or bluegrass lawn as short as possible for the first spring mowing. This is not good advice.
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 spring 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 so removing those leaves 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. Just leave it alone and the lawn will gradually and naturally green up over time. Second and most importantly, scalping the lawn opens the lawn 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!
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