Timely Tips for May

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

LAWNS. Fairy rings are unsightly circles that form on the lawn, usually caused by fungi growing on old tree roots deep below. Fertilize the lawn regularly and mow it high to mask the rings or disturb them manually. Or poke em’ and soak ‘em: use a rod to poke holes in the fairy ring at 3” intervals and then pour soapy water into the holes. PERENNIALS AND ORNAMENTAL GRASSES. Iris flowers will set seed in heavy pods that can be very attractive for decorating and flower arrangements. Cut the old flower and stem off if you don’t want them for arts and crafts. ROSES. Perfectly healthy roses are covered with flowers and buds one evening but they disappear by breakfast. If nothing else is damaged, suspect deer. • Tall fencing where it is practical • Deer repellant sprays • Motion activated lights and loud music • Soap on a rope hanging on plants • Bleach and baby diapers • Larger mammal theory SHRUBS. Pollen can be a huge problem! Serious allergy sufferers clip off flower clusters as soon as they are formed to avert the problem on plants like ligustrum that are just coming into bloom now. TREES. Gray lichen looks like old-fashioned gathered lace growing on tree and shrub branches that tells you the plant is not growing as well as it could. Prune out the lichen and shape the branches to compensate. Put the tree on a regular program of water and fertilizer to restart its growth. VINES AND GROUNDCOVERS. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) teaches children how sweet nectar tastes when they dissect the flowers. Sadly, it’s a seriously invasive plant! Cut Japanese honeysuckle vines at ground level now and when the first two leaves sprout from the base, spray or paint them with herbicide.

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