NDSU Extension - Ramsey County

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April 19, 2010 Horticulture Column

Howdy!!!

What a beautiful weekend!!!  We got most all of our yard work done.  Potatoes planted (with the help of Hudson) and even the water pond running.  Hudson thought he should be fishing but grandma had to explain that it was much too cold for these fish to live in, just yet.  So, he was content throwing rocks until he decided to play in the sand box.  He also helped Grandpa mow and clean Christine’s yard and Grandma Becker’s yard.  He was a real mess and looked like he rolled in the dirt.  I know that moisture needs dirt particles to adhere the water to fall as precipitation; however, it sure makes the lawn very dirty in the spring.  Hudson did get to take a prom picture (dirt and all) with his 2nd cousins (Megan and Kyle).  It sure brought back old memories. 

I talk about these different things to remind us that is it spring and things are really growing.  Perennials are hustling along, some roses are budding, apple trees are also well into budding and we did get our water feature is running.  My yard really took a hit from snow mold this spring.  I have spent three different days raking (to aerate the soil) the lawn and see I have the area loosened up pretty good now.  The area’s will still have to be planted with some extra grass seed and fertilized but should perk back up, before long.

Another topic that was hot over the weekend is “when and how should I prune my trees and shrubs.  Shrubs are very vigorous and could be trimmed most anytime however early spring is the best time for that procedure.  I was also asked how ruff can you be in trimming.  Most all shrubs can be hacked off at ground level but if you are unsure of shrub type you should call and ask, as some do not like a short hair cut.

One last topic is doggy spots in the lawn.  We all know what those look like however you might still want to make sure that is what the problem is.  Snow mold can also give the same appearance as doggy spots but can be remedied much easier.  Doggy spots create a problem for grass as dog urine is real acidic and added to our high saline soil type makes getting new grass started, difficult.  There are things you can try to include taking a water hose and watering those areas very good.  A large amount of water can actually move the salt content down into the soil structure to the point that new grass might get started.  Hopefully once the grass has started it will consume enough moisture to not allow the salt to move back to the soil surface.  The other option is to remove those areas and refill back in with new soil and then replant.  Either way it becomes very challenging to get those areas recouped. 

Until next time, keep a happy hoe and watch the new plants start to emerge.  

 

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