NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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October 15, 2012 Horticulture Column

Gardening in your yard!!!

What a weekend to get things accomplished in our yards.  I was summoned to a tractor on Saturday, so no garden work in my yard; however when I got home that night I found my neighbors were very busy in there yards as my garden was piled high and higher with leaves.  I had given them the go ahead to dump their leaves in my garden for mulching and found mountains of leaves.  That is o.k. as the garden needs good mulching and the leaves really break up over the winter months.  Ironically, I burn’t my leaves as I really did have enough leaves to work with in the garden.  While working in my yard (Sunday) I could not help but notice our big mature spruce tree looking really sick and found something not very inviting.  I showed it to Deb and she agreed that something is up.  Cytospera Canker has been a real issue due to the stress on our spruce trees but this tree does not have any canker.  We did have an application of Magnesium Chloride applied this summer and the main flow of thunderstorm activity does flow through my yard with the water ponding around that tree.  UMMM, wonder it that was the culprit.  Not making any rash judgements at this point but will have to do some soil sampling to make sure.

Remember fall is a great time to give your grass a little treat and apply some Phosphorus for good root development and stabilize the roots during the long winter months ahead.  IT is also a great time to do some mulching on your yard, all of the grass leaves that have fallen will grind up very nicely into very small pieces and would add good mulch to the lawn area.  Lastly make sure you give any trees in your yard a good drink of water this fall as the subsoil is very dry.  I know you might say that we did have a good shower but that rain did not get to the roots of the tree due to the dry conditions over the summer plus the fact that grass uses an inch of water per week not leaving anything for the trees.  Water them good and you will be rewarding by having a much healthier tree next summer.  Got to go but remember to take care of your perennials this fall to protect them over the winter season and will talk more about that next week.

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