Landscape Improvements Now Will Bring Big Dividends Next Spring

Krista Harding
District Extension Agent, Horticulture
Southwind Extension District
111 S. Butler
Erie, KS 66733
Office: 620-244-3826
Cell: 620-496-8786

 

Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. Finally, some cooler temperatures have arrived and it is actually feeling more like fall! I encourage you to get outside and enjoy the fall season. It is the perfect time to do some tasks around your landscape that will help next spring.

First, let’s talk lawn weeds. I know, they are probably the last thing on your mind since we are winding down the mowing season. Believe it or not, it is the ideal time to tackle those weeds. Not next spring when you fire the mower up again!

Cool season broadleaf weeds such as henbit, dandelions and chick weed all germinate in the cool moist periods of September and October. They overwinter as small plants, barely visible unless you get down close to the ground to look. Once warm weather arrives in the spring, the plants grow rapidly and flower.

Fall control is ideal for these cool season broadleaf weeds. The weeds are storing food in their roots and will send a leaf applied herbicide to their roots as well. The herbicides will translocate to the roots and will kill the plants from the roots up. These plants are also small and easily controlled right now.

There are several products on the market that are effective on these fall germinating weeds. Herbicides such as 2,4-D or combination products that contain 2,4-D, MCCP and Dicamba, sold under the trade names of Trimec, Weed-B-Gon, or Weed-Out, can be used. A product called Weed Free Zone is also an option. It contains the three active ingredients mentioned above plus carfentrazone.

Newly planted lawns should not be treated with any herbicide until the new grass seedlings have been mowed two or three times depending on the product. Read and follow the label directions closely.

Next, let’s talk flower bulbs. Bulbs are a good addition to any landscape or garden because they offer a variety of bloom color, flowering time, plant height, and shape. Now is the time to get those bulbs in the ground!

Bulbs can be planted in a variety of locations including around house foundations, under deciduous shrubs and trees, along borders, in perennial beds, and rock gardens. You can also plant them in containers and even on steep slopes.

When planted along a foundation, bulbs will add color in the early spring if planted in a grouping of twelve or more bulbs. If you have evergreen shrubs planted along a foundation, they will provide a nice background for planting of bulbs. Bulbs will “pop” with color in contrast to the green of the shrubs.

A border of bulbs planted along the edge of the lawn will add a splash of color to the lawn area. Or consider planting low growing bulbs around the edge of a flower bed to add interest. You can add them directly into a perennial bed. The bulbs will bloom in March, April and May before perennials start to grow. Make sure to locate the bulbs so the dying foliage will not be noticed.

Both spring and summer bulbs can be planted in portable containers. The nice thing about container plantings is their versatility. For spring bulbs, once bloom is past, the container can be moved to a location out of sight while the foliage matures. Summer bulbs will add color all summer long to areas such as a patio or deck.

Keep in mind that planting bulbs of one variety or color in mass will have greater visual impact. This will provide uniform color and texture that is pleasing to the eye. With bulbs such as tulips or daffodils, plant at least twelve bulbs of one variety in a grouping. Smaller bulbs should be planted in groups of fifty to have visual impact.

Take action now to have a beautiful, weed-free, colorful lawn next spring!

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension Agricultural agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at kharding@ksu.edu or 620-244-3826.

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