By Pat Greenwell


Pat Greenwell recommends looking at the roots of a plant before purchasing, avoiding brown roots explaining they are unhealthy.

It seems like every week I talked about spring being here. How we are over the last chance of a killing frost or freeze. Well the past few days have once again shown me that old man winter has one more trick up its sleeve. Well the good news about this is that if we have another round of cold weather. We will have perhaps set a new record if it happens. I think that spring is here to stay, as of this past week.

I have been seeing several pairs of Barn Swallows the past few days. It seems that they are usually really good about coming back once spring is finally here. Then when they leave in the fall, the weather starts to change to cooler fall weather.

Now, this week has seen some below normal morning temperatures. The days aren’t as warm as I would like to see them. It is April and the days will be getting warmer. There are several things that you can be doing in your yard this time of year. I am sure that many of you have been mowing your yards over the past few weeks. So, you will be seeing some things that need to be done in your yard.


When picking out a plant, look for roots that are bright white and alive. This will make an easier transition when being replanted.

If you can, you should aerify your yard. This can be done by pulling a corer or raking your yard. This helps to verticut and dethatch the old grass that you haven’t been able to get when you are mowing. You also should have been doing some general cleanup of sticks, leaves and other debris. Once you get this done you can move on to sowing the new grass seed if needing too. To get started go and rake the area you want to sow new grass seed in. If you haven’t done it already. This helps to remove old leaves, grass, sticks and other debris on the yard. This also opens up the soil to allow the new grass seed to get into contact with the soil. It will germinate faster.

The next step includes putting down the new seed. If you want to put on fertilizer this spring, now would be a good time to do it to. Having the yard soil raked and opened up with loose soil, that will also help the fertilizer get into the soil.

This time of year, we should be getting some rain every few days. Hopefully once you have sowed your grass seed and put on some fertilizer there will be some rain. The rain will help melt the loose yard soil that you created when you rake the yard. If you don’t get any rain within a few days, you will need to rake the area. That you sowed the new grass seed and fertilizer.

The new grass seed should start to germinate and grow. If you are applying fertilizer you need to use only fertilizer. Not a weed and feed fertilizer that has any herbicide in it. If you do want to use herbicide on your yard, don’t plan on sowing any grass seed for at least 90 days. This includes using a liquid form of herbicide like 2-4D. I realize that many you like to spray for weeds early in the year. But you might want to hold off until more flowers have bloomed. Not killing these early flowering weeds will help the new pollinators get off to a Great start.

You should be able to treat the weeds in your yard in a few weeks, once other flowers, shrubs and trees start to bloom. I will talk more about lawn care in future Hort. Reports. I got a question from someone the other day about buying vegetable and flowers to put in their gardens and flowerbeds. I told them that I like to buy plants that have bright white hairy roots. Good stems and at least 6 to 8 good leaves. I have always told people to check out the roots on plants before they buy them. I would tell them that with brown roots the plant was under a lot of stress. This would take several days for the plant to get over the stress it is under.

Once you get it into the garden or flowerbed. Thus allow the roots to spread out and get to growing larger. To me if you have a bad looking root system you shouldn’t buy the plant. Then tell other people to use a fertilizer with a high amount of (P) Phosphorus. Phosphorus helps build up the root, reproductive, flowering and fruit producing parts of the plant. I know that many plants look green and healthy. But if the roots aren’t bright you should buy a different plant. This is why I like to tell people to buy and use a fertilizer high in Phosphorous like Bloom & Root.

If you have any questions about picking out plants or taking care of your yard. Please contact me at 573-588-2040. Or come and see me at Shelby County Implement in Shelbina. I really appreciate all your questions in the past and really look forward to them in the future. So keep them coming. Hopefully the past few days haven’t been too hard on any of the flowers, trees and shrubs that have been blooming. So enjoy them as they continue to bloom and flower. Also hoping you have enjoyed this issue of the Hort. Report.      

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