This is the Q&A for the Yard and Garden show for April 26, 2019. Yard and Garden Live is a call-in radio show I do on KUTT 99.5 FM from 10-11:30 am and it will run through August 2, 2019. It can also be found on kutt995.com for online listening. If you missed a show or just want to read through the questions, I have written them all in my blog and will continue to do so throughout the season.
Guest Host: Roch Gaussoin, Extension Specialist for UNL Agronomy and Turf
1. The first caller of the show recently applied a Weed-B-Gon product that contained crabgrass control. Now he wants to fertilize, but it is a fertilizer and crabgrass control together. Will it be harmful to put the crabgrass control on twice this spring?
A. That should be fine and you won’t see any injury from applying the crabgrass control twice this spring. You won’t need to apply any additional pesticides for the lawn this year. Next year, it would be better to do a little more planning ahead so you don’t apply the chemical twice so close together. This is just additional pesticides in the environment that are not necessary, so be careful with that in the future.
2. A caller is bringing in topsoil on a new build site. He needs to overseed, but is it getting too late to do that yet this spring?
A. Seeding the lawn will have the best results if done in the fall, but spring can get a good start on a new lawn. The weather will be the problem to lawns seeded too late this year. With the weather as it has been this year, there is likely still a 2-3 week window for overseeding the lawn with fairly good success. It might be a good idea to overseed now and then do another overseeding in the fall to thicken it up. Also, for weed control, it would help to use mesotrione (tenacity) at seeding. There is a starter fertilizer that contains the tenacity to help with start-up of the turf and to keep the weeds down while establishment occurs. It would just help to get some type of cover crop or turf down to reduce the amount of bare soil that weeds can grow into.
3. This caller has henbit. Would it be controlled well with the Tenacity? If so, should he use a stronger dose of the Tenacity because he has tried it with limited success?
A. It is Never a good practice to use pesticides at a higher rate than what is listed on the label. A lot of research went into finding the correct rate for best control of a pest. Henbit is hard to control this time of year, it is best controlled in the fall. It will die as soon as the heat of the summer comes on because it is a winter annual and doesn’t live well in hot weather. Treat in the later fall, October, with a 2,4-D product for best control.
That caller also has a peach tree that just flowered for the first time. It has two 2-inch long cracks on the tree trunk, each on opposite sides. What can be done with this?
A. Unfortunately this tree is not going to live long. There is nothing to do to fix the tree once cracks like this happen. This large of an opening is very damaging to the tree and will not allow the tree to live long. If it is out in the open where it won’t damage anything if it falls, leave it until it dies.
4. A caller has been trying to get a native grass prairie started for a few years now with limited success. He has a mix with Blue Grama, buffalograss, and little bluestem. What can he do to get it to grow better?
A. Don’t give up yet. Be sure to control the weeds with herbicides, 2,4-D won’t harm the grasses but will manage the weeds. After some photos, it shows that there is still some grass in there, but it is very early for these warm-season grasses. Keep mowing to keep the seed heads down for the weeds.
5. Can potatoes still be planted yet this spring?
A. Yes, get the potatoes in soon, and they should be fine yet this year.
What do you do for Pampas grass with a dead center?
A. Dig it up and divide it and replant it. This can still be done this spring.
She has a crabapple that has dead branches in it, can those be cut off now or should they be removed in the fruit tree pruning window of February-March?
A. Remove dead branches anytime of the year that they appear.
6. A caller wants to know when to spray for bagworms?
A. It is weather dependent. Starting in late May, check weekly for the small bags to begin to show up on the trees. When the small bags show up and until they are up to 1/2 inch in length you can spray.
He also wondered when and how to fertilize trees?
A. It really isn’t necessary to fertilize trees in Nebraska. They can get the nutrients they need from the soil naturally.
How do you water trees that were recently planted?
A. water them one time per week with a slow trickle from the hose for about 20 minutes each time they are watered.
When is the best time to prune cedar trees to shape them?
A. Most anytime would be fine with a cedar tree, but the best time is in the late winter to early spring.
7. This caller has Austrian pines that are turning brown on the tips of the branches with short needles. What is causing this and how can it be controlled?
A. This sounds like tip blight. It can be treated now with a copper fungicide. A second application should be made 7-14 days after the first application.
8. What is the best thing to mulch asparagus with?
A. Grass clippings, straw, hay, or wood chip mulch can all be used to mulch asparagus. It would be best to hand pull weeds and then use preen that is labeled for use in asparagus before applying the mulch. If there is a problem with brome grass, use roundup carefully around the asparagus first as well. To carefully get the glyphosate on the brome and not on the asparagus either paint it on with a foam paint brush or use the “glove of death” which is when you wear a chemical-resistant glove and then put a cloth glove over that. Then, dip a few fingers of the gloved hand into Glyphosate and rub those fingers along the stem and leaves of the bindweed to kill it.
9. A caller has been trying to start seedlings of spruce and fir trees for a few years with limited success. He thinks it may be due to root rot because when he pulls them up the roots look rotten. How can he get the trees to grow?
A. After discussion, it seems that he doesn’t overwater the trees and may in fact not be watering them enough. He also said that he can get the trees to grow in another, more neglected, location. It was suggested that he do a soil test to see what is going on with the soil in this desired location. It might be that there is a hard pan underneath these trees that is impeding water movement through the soil causing the roots to rot.
10. This caller has been trying to get grass started and is having difficulties. He has used an aerator, seeder, lawn roller, and then waters the seed well and it is not coming in very good.
A. It seems his practices are good, so he may try a soil sample to see what the nutrient and pH levels are in his soil.
11. The last caller of the day wanted to know what the difference is between a Sycamore and a London Plane tree?
A. These trees are 2 different species of very similar trees.