Lunes, Pebrero 28, 2011


Q: Why so many acorns this year? Did the drought have anything to do with it?
Answer: It's been a big acorn year in my area, too. I think your theory is good -many trees produce a heavy seed crop when they are under stress to produce offspring.
There are a couple other theories, too. Oaks normally have alternating heavy and light acorn seasons. When we have a lot of rain during the spring bloom period, more oak blooms get pollinated so more acorns are produced. Remember, this past spring was very wet for the Richmond area.
Also, since oak blossoms are produced from buds formed the previous year, drought or other stress can affect acorn production the following year. So the good news is, next year's crop should be smaller.
Q: I like to fertilize in September, October and December. I'm not sure what type of fertilizer I should get for the December treatment. What do you suggest?
Answer: Don't wait until December. Apply that final dose of fertilizer this weekend. Though we rarely have frozen ground in December, if we did, lawn fertilizer could run off and get into sensitive water systems.
Most fertilizer companies put out something they call winterizer for the year's final treatment. The last number on the bag represents potash, which gives plants winter hardiness and is good for overall plant health. Look for something with a higher last number in the analysis.
Q: We've done a lot of work on our lawn and it looks great. We have a weed, though, that I call thistle grass coming up in patches. This thistle grass has a thin blade and is a lighter shade of green than the other grass. It also puts out a burr or thistlelike seed. I've used lawn weed killer, and it did nothing. Do you know what it is and how I can get rid of it?
Answer: The thistle grass you describe sounds like nutsedge or nut grass. It is a grass, which explains why your lawn weed killer didn't work.
There is a selective herbicide called halosulfuron-methyl and commonly sold as SedgeHammer which will help manage it and not hurt the fescue.
It is more effective if used during the active growing season between June and August, while the nut grass is actively growing. It can be applied right over the top of established fescue.
Q: I had a grass in my lawn this fall that had an unusual seed head. I took it to a garden center and was told it might be poa annua, but the man wasn't sure.
The cold weather seems to have killed it, but I understand poa annua will come back in the spring. If that's what it was, what can I do about it now?
Answer: It definitely wasn't poa annua, because you saw the seed head in the fall. Poa annua germinates in the fall, and its seed heads don't appear until late winter or early spring.
My guess is you had goosegrass. This is a summer annual that grows all summer long, just like your other grass, but produces its seed in the late summer and fall.
Once the frost kills it, it will never return. All of the seeds it produced, however, will germinate next spring. You don't need to do anything about it now. In early March, be sure to use a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer that is also listed to control goosegrass.

Winter gardening: Things to do

While Mother Nature insists on covering everything with white and making it too cold to even want to go outside, there are still things you can do to enjoy "gardening." I've put together my own short list of activities to keep myself tuned to gardening. I find I'm a little more prepared in the spring when it's time to break out the gardening spades if I take the time to enjoy this activity.
When the wind is howling and the snow is blowing, create a 'garden book.' You may want to buy a scrapbook to compile your ideas, however dollar stores have other less expensive alternatives. Dig out all those old garden magazines that have 'a couple of good ideas' and start snipping. You'll end up with those good ideas all in one place and then you can toss out the magazines that have been taking up space.
How you compile them and categorize them is up to you, however, you may want to consider grouping them into "sunny, part sun/shade, and shady" categories first and height/colour segments second. This book will be something you can refer to for planning purposes this spring. You will want to print out pictures you've taken all year long, from your own digital files. Those pictures will end up being the most important part of a garden scrapbook as they will hopefully have been taken at each stage of growth. Adding tips for fertilizing, light and water requirements will make it a "gardening at a glance" reference.
Making a garden book will remind you to track your plant sources and place your order before spring. Make sure to leave enough space on each page for notes as well.
Another source of information, of course, is the Internet. If there are plants you want to add to your garden and you don't have the information available, find that info online and print it out with pictures. All of the Lazy Gardener info is online as well on my blog and you can search through the archives there for any of the back articles from this column. Feel free to use any of the photos from the blog as they are all for public use. Next week we are going to look at things to do in the month of February to get ready for the gardening season, so, toodles for now.

BRIEF: Senior center hosts gardening clinic

gardening clinic at 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at Twin Falls Senior Center, 530 Shoshone St. W.
Forsythe will discuss gardening to benefit those whose living circumstances have changed or are changing. She will feature container gardening, gardening for one or two, small-space gardening, new seed hybrids and germination of old seeds.
The clinic is free and open to the public.
Credit: The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho
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The Eastern Iowa Community College District issued the following news release:
Muscatine Community College's Continuing Education Department is again offering its popular Art of Gardening daylong seminar. This year's seminar will be held Saturday, March 19, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the college's Strahan Hall, 152 Colorado Street.
The seminar traditionally covers a wide spectrum of topics including florals, gardening, landscaping and more.
Evelyn Hadden, one of nine members of the new national Lawn Reform Coalition, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. She has been writing about ecological gardening, lawn alternatives and ideas for shrinking lawns since 2001 when she started the informational website She gardens in Minnesota and travels across the country speaking to other gardeners.
Hadden has authored two books and is working on a third. Her recent book, Shrink Your Lawn: Design Ideas for any Landscape, won a silver medal from Independent Publisher's 2009 Living Now Book Awards.
A total of 23 breakout sessions are scheduled for the day as well as vendor exhibits. A partial list of the session is below.
Art of Gardening
Cost for the seminar is $40. A registration form and complete list of activities can be found in the Art of Gardening Brochure (just click on the link to the right.)
For more information, contact Kayla Holst ( in Muscatine Community College's Continuing Education Department, 563-288-6161 or toll free 1-888-351-4669.
Partial List of Sessions (click on Art of Gardening Brochure link for more)
* Veggie Container Gardening
* Daylilies: The Perfect Perennial
* Let's Get Landscaping
* The Hosta Garden "Birthplace of Hostaholics"
* Solving Garden Crimes
* Iowa's Native Plant Communities
* Ornamental Grasses & Complimentary Plants
* The Art of Fairy Gardening
* Eco-Friendly Gardens

Gardening for the health of it

Aside from giving you fresh produce, gardening is an excellent way to stay physically fit. An hour of gardening can burn as many calories as a brisk 3-1/2 mile walk. Moreover, gardening requires strength, flexibility, and agility. But if you don't prepare adequately, it can take a toll on your body. Here's how you can get in good gardening shape.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka).