What should you be doing to your yard and landscape now?
Anything you shouldn’t do to your lawn when spot seeding?
When does crabgrass germinate?
Q. My neighbor told me to do something to my lawn when Forsythia is blooming. What is it?
A. Crabgrass germinates in the spring at the same time blossoms are falling off of Forsythia (when the soil reaches 50-degrees F. or 10 C). Therefore, the bright yellow flowers should remind you it’s last call for getting crabgrass control applied to your lawn. This is what’s technically known as a “plant phenological indicator.” Another phenological indicator is the hatch of Gypsy Moth caterpillar eggs when Serviceberry trees are in full bloom. MORE: Flowering tree photos
Q. What are the first ‘Spring yard projects’ to focus on?
A. Lawns will benefit from a light leaf raking to remove any remaining fall leaves which may have matted down. Lawn areas showing signs of snow mold (matted down grass) should be raked more vigorously to loosen and open-up the flattened-out grass. Ornamental grasses (like Maiden Grass) and perennials that were not cutback in the Fall should be cutback early in the growing season. This is also a good time to sharpen your lawnmower blade, and ensure your lawnmower starts after sitting all winter. If fuel stabilizer was not added to the gasoline in the fall, your fuel system may be clogged, requiring service. VIDEO: Spot-seeding your Lawn
Q. Should I worry about my daffodils with more cold weather coming?
A. Gardeners are often concerned when daffodils poke their heads up before the weather seems warm enough. Not to worry, daffodils are a hardy bunch (pun intended) and the worst that can happen is some burnt leaf tips from a cold snap, which will have no detrimental effect on their blossoms. Want to have some fun this year? Try mixing some red (or blue or green) food coloring in with the water in the vase for your cut daffodils, and watch what happens over the next week!
Q. I always thought Spring was the best time for lawn seeding and improvement, but someone told me Fall is the best time. Which is it?
A. Spring and Fall are both good, but Fall is the best.
This is true in regards to seeding since 1) there is less weed competition in fall plantings, and 2) the young grass has two cool growing seasons before facing the heat of summer. It also applies to controlling broadleaf weeds, since weeds are starting to store reserves for winter and herbicides tend to be more effective. However, do not attempt to seed and control weeds at the same time — in most cases the herbicide will adversely affect the young grass. With Spring plantings, it is best not to apply crabgrass controls and seed a lawn — most pre-emergent chemicals also inhibit grass seed germination. Be sure to read the entire label of any herbicide you use!
Q. Now that Spring is near, newspaper ads say Zoysia grass is the greatest thing going. Their photos look beautiful! Why don’t more people plant Zoysia?
A. In the midst of all that great advertising is the key objection — Zoysia completely loses its green color after a hard frost and doesn’t green-up again until warm weather returns. In Pennsylvania, this translates into a pale, straw-colored eyesore 6 months out of the year! Most of our clients wanted to get rid of Zoysia… now! We’ve also seen problems develop between neighbors when the highly invasive zoysia grass crosses a property line… then both neighbors want to get rid of it! VIDEO: Best Rx for your lawn