Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keeping Up with Spring

Thank goodness for the rain! But we are this spring is so much drier than usual keep an eye out for signs of drought stress in your garden. Many broadleaf evergreens (Rhododendrons, Pieris, etc.) have die back, browning or yellowing of flowers or leaves from this drought stress. Also, some perennials or deciduous plants are wilting again from the dry soil. Supplemental watering for these plants is recommended. Here are some tips to get your garden underway:
If you have dense clumps of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) which did not bloom this spring, gently dig them up while their leaves are still visible, divide and replant giving them more room. Also, take pictures of your clumps of daffodils (Narcissus) and Tulips now so that come fall when they are dormant, you can remember the areas of your garden where you want to add more bulbs or relocate your bulbs.
Consider increasing your shrub border and reducing lawn area.  A well-designed shrub border can provide 4-season interest with less maintenance and less water us than a typical lawn.
Start your vegetable garden with spinach, lettuce, carrots and radish seeds. If you have not grown vegetables before, consider growing your vegetables in containers, which can be more easily monitored and work your way up to an in-ground plot.
The best way to keep weeds out of your lawn is to keep your lawn grass healthy. Tune up your mower (sharpen the blades so they don’t tear the grass), rake, fertilize and apply limestone every three years. Add some limestone to your Lilacs (Syringa) and Lavendar (Lavandula) too.
Saturday, April 28 is Dedham Civic Pride “Clean Up Day” check their website for more details
The best way to keep weeds out of your lawn is to keep your lawn grass healthy. Tune up your mower (sharpen the blades so they don’t tear the grass), rake, lime and fertilize. And if you are looking for an organic way to green your lawn and protect its roots from disease causing fungi I have seen excellent results with Actino-Iron.
Brunnera "Mr. Morse" - very similar to B. "Jack Frost"
Arbor Day is April 27 – Plant a tree this month in honor of Arbor Day! I usually talk about flowering trees but there are lots of wonderful shade trees too.
Perennial Plant of the year is Brunnera “Jack Frost” a great shade plant.
Check your Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis and Tsuga caroliniana) for the wooly adelgid.  Look along the underside of branches for fluffy white matter.  These are the eggs.  If you find some on your trees you can treat with Horticultural oils (which are safe for humans and wildlife) on dry days when the weather is over 45’, or consult a certified arborist.

Viburnum x pragense - this genus of shrubs seems largely unaffected by the Wintermoth caterpillar.
The Wintermoth caterpillar is active again, and munching away at the leaves of Maples, Crabapples, Cherries and other trees. This destructive little green caterpillar, which looks very much like an inchworm, can defoliate your trees in a very short period of time.  If you suspect your trees are infested or you had trouble with them last year, contact your arborist or landscape professional for assistance. There are organic treatments to control this non-native pest.