April, 2013
Regional Report

Rake Away Dead Rose Foliage

Clean up dead rose foliage that's gathered under the shrubs over winter as it may contain overwintered fungal diseases. Rake up and dispose of it as yard debris for community composting operations. Don't put it in your home compost pile. The heat of commercial composting processes will kill the fungus. Most home compost piles don't get hot enough to do that.

Weed Ornamental Beds

Pull or dig out weeds while they're small and easy to remove from your gardens. Begone, thistle, creeping Charlie, quickweed, velvet leaf, wild violet, pigweed, knotweed, pokeweed, black nightshade, black medic, henbit, quackgrass, dock, fleabane, chickweed, ragweed!

Get a Headstart with Mulch

Yes, you've weeded and the beds are tidy - for now. Do yourself the biggest favor of the year and mulch now. A generous 3 inches of organic mulch -- shredded hardwood bark, licorice root, shredded leaves -- will keep most weed seeds in the soil from sprouting and seeds that sprout on the surface of the mulch from taking quick root. Three inches will compress to about 2 inches. Keep mulch about three inches away from perennial crowns, the bases of shrubs, and tree trunks.

Clip Off Dead Lilac Flowers

Make way for this year's blooms. Clip off the now empty, twiggy clusters that held last year's lilac flowers.

Beware Poison Ivy

Leaves of three, let them be! Poison ivy can take several forms, growing as a shrub, vine, or groundcover. Young leaves are shiny red. Mature green leaves may or may not be notched. Sometimes the stems are red, have a reddish cast, or have red nodes. Come autumn, poison ivy leaves turn orange or red. Toxicodendron radicans is a North American native plant. Its leaves, stems and roots contain urushiol, which causes dermatitis in 85 percent of people who touch it.

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