Monday, April 17, 2017

The Flowers Have Come - Now The Calm Before Mowing Starts

Horticulture Hotline  04 17 17
  Bill Lamson-Scribner

Things To Do In April:

1.  Lawn Mower Maintenance
·         Replace your mower blade – this is the part of the mower that cuts the grass, so you want to make sure this is as sharp as possible.  Sharpening blades can get the blade out of balance and just like tires on a car, something that is out of balance and moving at high speeds could cause further damage to the mower. 
·         Make sure you have a clean air filter so your engine gets the oxygen it needs.
·         New spark plug.  Be sure to get the right size and the right gap for a good spark.
·         Oil change.  The key to longevity of an engine.
·         Check your wheels. Are they level? Worn out?
·         New gas – good fuel. I like ethanol free.
2.  Lawn Care
·         Pick up leaves and debris from the winter
·         Check irrigation for broken heads or heads that need adjusted and adjust timer
·         Watch for Large Patch fungus (formerly known as Brown Patch).  This disease is a soil borne fungus and will reappear year after year in the same spots.
·         Mole crickets are be doing their mating flights.   They are up near the surface tunneling and drying out your grass.  Mole cricket bait will be very effective this time of year.
·         Hold off on fertilizing with a lot of nitrogen, this could encourage disease.  If the plant is not fully out of dormancy, it will not be able to take in the nitrogen anyway.  Consider using Perk and SeaHume instead.  Try to bring the grass slowly out of dormancy and avoid surge growth. Perk and SeaHume will encourage root growth. Root growth is especially important in the spring because warm season grasses slough off their old roots in the spring.
·         If you are using split applications of preemerge, and applied your first application in February, it is time to reapply.
·         Mow your grass lower than normal one time with the bagger and suck up any dead thatch and leaf blades from the winter.
3.  Ornamentals, Shrubs and Trees
·         If scale has been a problem, wrap electrical tape onto itself with the sticky side up on twigs near where you have noticed scale.  In the first part of April, scale is in its crawler stage and most vulnerable to chemical attack.  On black electrical tape, you will be able to see the small crawlers and know when it is time to spray.  Neem or Horticultural oil will do a good job. For persistent problems consider Dominion or Tree And Shrub Drench. Scale is usually persistent.
·         Begin spraying trees that have had a history of bore problems.
·         If you have had a history of powdery mildew on Crepe Myrtles, Dogwoods or Roses, this would be the time to spray for this. Neem Oil, Honor Guard or Fertilome Systemic Fungicide are all good systemic products.
·         If you had a history of leaf spot on Red Tips or Indian Hawthorne, be sure to spray the new growth with Honor Guard or Fertilome Systemic Fungicide.
·         Cut back Azaleas and Camellias as they finish blooming. Fertilize with 17-00-09 or according to a soil test.
·         Re-mulch your beds as the oak leaves have finally stopped dropping.  Consider using Cotton Burr Compost as a mulch, it adds a lot of nutrition and doesn’t tie up nutrients.
·         Redefine your bed lines for another season.

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