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ISSUE 1   May 4, 2000

EARLY SEASON HORTICULTURAL TIDBITS

* Wait until the grass reaches a height of 2 to 3 inches before mowing it the first time. Then set the height of your mower to remove just 1/3 of the blades. As the season warms, raise the mowing height to 3 inches to minimize need for water and pesticides. Do no apply fertilizer to your lawn until mid May if a late season application was made last fall.

* Check grub numbers first before applying chemical controls to lawns. Grubs are actively feeding now, but unless you find more than 4 grubs per square foot (lift a sample of one square foot of grass to check), applying controls may be a waste. Also, feeding by skunks and birds may have already reduced the population to tolerable levels.

* Forget about applying dormant oil spray on fruit trees and woody ornamental plants that have already leafed out. Instead, use horticultural oil at summer rates for control of aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. Be sure to read the label of horticultural oils (and all pesticides!) for information on rates.

* It is important to repair winter damaged plants immediately since spring growth will be taking place and the healing of wounds and pruning cuts will occur quickly. Waiting until later in the year to do the repairs will slow healing of wounds and increase opportunities for invasion of plant pests and diseases.

* At this writing, the forsythia are in bloom across most of the region. This is a good indicator plant for the start of cabbage root maggot fly activity. Be prepared to protect cabbage and related crops from maggots by covering plantings with row covers. Maggots are more of a problem in cool, wet soils.

Ronald C. Smith, Ph.D.
Extension Horticulturist and Turfgrass Specialist
ronsmith@ndsuext.nodak.edu


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