Lawn Care Simplified

Priorities for spring should be–#1 weed control, #2 mowing, #3 watering, #4 aerating, #5 insect control, and #6 fertilizing.

Spring is the perfect time for crabgrass and other weed controls.  Please read instructions carefully on your choice of weed control.  To legally use and lawn chemicals, you must follow all directions on the bag. The chemicals work at certain concentrations, so a little more only allows a chemical to run off desired treatment area & pollution occurs.  For actively growing weeds, it is especially critical that you apply when there is moisture on the plants for broad leaf control.  Chemicals must stick to leaves to be effective.  This is easiest to achieve by applying in early morning when there is a heavy coat of dew.  If the grass is not wet, you have most likely wasted your time and money. Continue reading

A Messy Winter Garden Makes Good Wildlife Habitat

You worked hard turning some of your property into wildlife habitat. You planted nectar and host plants for butterflies and pollinators. Trees and bushes offer shelter and habitat for birds, squirrels, and other small creatures. Perhaps this summer, a box turtle took up residence in your back yard or you heard tree frogs singing in your own trees! Now, after all your hard work, why would you destroy that wonderful ecosystem by cleaning it up for winter?

Continue reading

Winter Lawn Fertilization

Many Kentucky lawns can go for a number of years without applications of phosphorous and potash, or even lime. But it is not unusual for a homeowner to apply these amendments annually. A good practice is to find out what is actually needed for good lawn quality in the upcoming months. By testing the soil before deciding to add any of these, gardeners’ dollars can be saved. It is important to keep in mind that application of nutrients when none are needed is hard on the wallet as well as the environment, in the form of both the products applied and the fuel required to spread amendments.

Continue reading

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

Decorating with greenery during the holidays is a time honored tradition. Like the song says, the evergreen most people choose when they “deck the halls” is holly. Holly greenery can sometimes be hard to find and is often expensive. But if your landscape has the space, green thumb gardeners can plant their own holly trees and shrubs for an instant and cheap source of holly boughs. Continue reading

Uninvited Guests for the Holidays

Before the title makes you think of friends and family, let us consider our garden-variety pest that may invade homes throughout the holidays.

By late fall, most outdoor insect home invaders have settled down for a long winters nap, either outdoors or in your home. Yet it is still a good time to seal, caulk and repair cracks, crevices and gaping thresholds as a way to keep pest invaders – and cold winter air – out of your home.   If any spiders, ladybugs, stinkbugs, or flies, appear in your home, they are more nuisance than harmful and vacuuming them up often takes care of the problem. Continue reading

Hydrangeas – Blue or Pink? You Decide.

Hydrangeas grace the landscape with beautiful flowers in the spring and summer. The most colorful hydrangeas are bigleaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla. Their flowers are usually either pink or blue. Flower color depends on the pH of the soil, a measure of soil acidity. Soil pH can be raised by applying lime. Some hydrangeas will respond to a higher pH (between 6.0 and 6.5) with pink flower color. To lower pH, apply aluminum sulfate. A lower pH (between 5.0 and 5.0) often results in blue flower color. A soil test will determine the existing pH and you can change your soil with the appropriate amendment to get the resulting flower color you want. Continue reading