Mid-Atlantic

February, 2008
Regional Report

Apply Preemergent to Control Goutweed

Invasive, persistent goutweed is a perennial with white lacy flowers that turn to black seeds in late summer. The leaves are divided into three groups of three leaflets. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to irradicate without systemic herbicide. We can do preventive control by apply a nontoxic or less toxic preemergent product that keeps seeds from germinating. Nontoxic corn gluten or traditional preemergent herbicides are best sprinkled on the soil in early spring before seeds sprout. Even if you start to see small, shiny goutweed leaves unfurling, don't despair. Apply preemergent to that area while thinking of the yet unsprouted seeds you'll be stopping.

Fundraise with Flower Power

Looking for a fun, beautiful, and enviro-conscious fundraiser for your school, band, scout troup, church or other nonprofit group? Flower Power Fundraising offers 50 percent profit on every flowering bulb and plant (from Dutch Gardens) you sell. Gladiolas, daffies, freesias, Montbretias, Oriental lilies, coneflowers, dahlias, Stella d'oro daylilies, and more in $10 to $15 packages. Free shipping. Orders/purchases by April 4 delivered April 9 to 17. For details, go to: http://www.flowerpowerfundraising.com/home.asp.

Celebrate National Agriculture Day

National Agriculture Day on March 20 and National Agriculture Week from March 16 to 22 honor agriculture for providing safe, abundant and affordable products, a strong economy, a source of renewable energy, and a world of job opportunities. Start in Washington, DC, on March 11 with a Meet-and-Mingle reception luncheon with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) at the Hart Senate Office Building hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. For more information, call (913) 491-1895, or go to: http://www.agday.org.

Clean Up Leaves Around Plants

If you're inspired and eager to garden or want to enjoy a few minutes outdoors, here are a couple of tasks okay to do now. Prune off dead and damaged hellebore and coral bells (heuchera) leaves to better enjoy their early-blooming flowers and encourage new growth). Pull away and compost winter leaves that have accumulated under azaleas, spireas, and other trees and shrubs. I mean all leaves touching branches, stems, and trunks, especially the hard-to-reach leaf bits entangled where shrub branches meet soil.

Consider Early Spring Spraying of Invasives

Because invasives do such extensive ecological damage, in their presence I have to rethink my reluctance to use herbicides. How can any environmentally concerned gardener handle this dilemma? The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council hosted an informative program called Invasive Plants: Perspectives, Prescriptions & Partnerships. Prevention through planting appropriate natives is the first and best defense. Where invasives have a foothold, using foliar herbicide now maximizes control and minimizes collateral damage, explained David Pro, Delaware Nature Society property manager. Many invasive perennials, vines, and shrubs sprout or bud earlier and have a longer growing season than native plants. In woodlands and open areas, Pro selectively sprays glyphosate on tender and vulnerable goutweed, lesser celandine, ground ivy, garlic mustard, and other invasives. In your garden, be sure not to spray anywhere near perennials with green leaves or shoots such as iris, columbines, heuchera, and hellebores.

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