NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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February 22, 2010 Horticulture Column


Well, I am back with another season of horticulture news.  You will this article on the ag page of the Devils Lake Journal and also in the Edmore Herald.  The winter has been a long one for me as I have been very excited to get the garden gloves on and start the battle of trying to decide what new things I am going to try this year.  Every year I get many different seed catalogs like all of you do and every year I keep wondering when they will develop some annual or perennial that will change the landscape design and so far have not found much.  I did get a garden book that has many hosta’s that I have not heard of or seen so have been busy scratching around to find out if they will be o.k. for our northern climate.  My wife tells me no more but how do you say no to something that looks really cool.  I can keep her arm twisted I think I can possibly obtain another half dozen hosta’s.  I do however have one problem, I am running out of a semi shady spot for hostas’.  Well the spring season is soon upon us and we will have to get ourselves prepared for the many activities that spring brings.  The first thing to mind will be thinking about snow mold.  Now I know you are saying why are we jumping from growing plants to snow mold but if we stop to think about snow mold we soon realize that we are growing something but in a different way.  We have the perfect setup for snow mold this spring, a heavy snow pack over lush grass from the past growing season.  EVERYYEAR I have home owners calling about snow mold and how it affects the grass and how they can eliminate the problem but if we knew how snow mold forms we would find that less snow and compacted snow does help out.  The snow insulates the ground service and leaves an area that is conducive to high moisture conditions.  Because grass is not given the chance to air out, mold forms on the surface.  If we think about our own home, if we find mold we generally find moist conditions that do not have a chance to dry out.  Once the snow melts we do need to rake those areas very carefully to not only get rid of any mold looking netting but also to insure of not pulling out any grass roots.  The ground is still very wet at this time and care is required.  I also must admit I have sometimes gotten out a little early and left imprints/tracks.  Remember I am a very big person so a little imprint is not likely.  I had a phone call last year asking what needed to be done about garden tractor tire marks left from raking the lawn.  After looking at the lawn I found there was not an option, either leave it or destroy the lawn and start over.  It was terrible.  ONE THING TO REMEMBER “IF WE DON’T DO NOTHING YOU WILL LIKELY LOOSE THE GRASS THAT IS PRESENTLY GROWING IN THAT AREA REQUIRING YOU TO REPLANT NEW SEED.  One last thing to mention, I like to add about a pound of grass to the area being raked, you will find a much healthier lawn. 

WELL, it is fun being back and hopefully we can expect another great growing season. I also need to add that we are planning a gardening Saturday on March 20.  I am looking for suggestions for topics but I do have a slate of topics to use if I do not hear from any of you soon.  Gardening Saturday will be a day of hands on activities, learning to build a water feature, vineyard startup guidelines and possibly wine making from the best wine maker I know, Steve Sagaser.  I have another ideas but am still considering the direction of the day.     


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