Mid-Atlantic

April, 2004
Regional Report

Stop Crabgrass

If crabgrass has been a problem for you in the past, now is the time to apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control, such as corn gluten meal. Since it must be applied early in the season before the crabgrass seeds germinate, the rule of thumb is to apply it when the forsythia blooms in your area. Always read and follow all label instructions for best results.

Prune Summer Shrubs

Summer-blooming shrubs that bloom on new wood can be pruned now. This includes rose of Sharon, caryopteris, butterfly bush, and crape myrtle. (Exception: do not prune Hydrangea macrophylla, the big-leaf hydrangeas with pink or blue flowers.) Remove any winter damaged, dead, or broken branches. Then prune as needed to thin or to control shape or size.

Lighten Up

If you are starting seedlings inside for transplanting into your garden, make sure they receive ample light. Our cloudy springs may not be bright enough to keep them healthy on a windowsill. To prevent weak and leggy seedlings, provide supplemental light. An ordinary fluorescent shop light with warm and/or cool bulbs will work fine for this purpose.

Make Raised Beds

Raised beds can be a great way to provide specialized soil conditions for plants with special needs, or to overcome local soil problems. To build a raised bed, simply heap soil and any needed amendments and shape to the dimensions required. You may leave the vertical edge bare or install edging material, such as wooden boards, recycled plastic boards, stones, or concrete blocks.

Plant a Tree

A tree is a gift to future generations, so plant wisely. Measure the area available for both roots and branch spread, and research your choices in terms of mature size, pest and disease resistance, and suitability to the climate and soil conditions. Also consider how its overall shape and form will blend in with your landscape and buildings.

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