Here are some answers for some common questions we’ve been asked.


 

WHAT ARE THE THREE KEY INGREDIENTS TO HEALTHY PLANTS?

Water, water, water. Yes! Believe it or not, unless you plant your flowers in a hole or in clay, it is very difficult to overwater plants. Of course proper light is necessary too, depending on the type of plant.

WHEN SHOULD I TRIM THE PLANTS, SHRUBS OR HEDGES?

A flowering or deciduous shrub needs to be trimmed when it is dormant. This means trimming in either late fall or early spring. Trimming preserves the plant or tree’s ability to bloom. The consequence of trimming in either late spring or early summer is the plant will not bloom.

For evergreens, such as junipers and cedars, they can be trimmed in the spring.

For perennials, trim them in the spring. It is okay to trim them in the fall, but the advantage of waiting is that the leaves create another layer of protection, which is particularly useful in our region.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TRIM?

The rule of thumb we go by is 1/3 (one-third) of the plant. If you trim more than that, it could be too stressful for the tree.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TRIM?

As necessary! Trimming helps the flowering shrubs bloom better, while it gives a nice shape to the deciduous ones.

WHAT DO I DO WITH WEEPY EVERGREENS?

If you have weepy evergreens, call a local nursery and they can give you direction on how to seal them.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN PLANTS DIE?

Plants are dormant in the winter, and if they are not tended to, die in the spring.

WHEN SHOULD I FERTILIZE?

Fall is a good time to fertilize because it strengthens the root systems for winter. Spring is fine, too, and during the summer it’s okay to give an application when necessary.

WHAT KIND OF FERTILIZER SHOULD I USE?

It depends on what nutrients are depleted from the soil. The best way to determine which fertilizer to use, is to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed. In the Lake of the Woods Area, you can submit a soil sample to the Northern Farmers Cooperative Exchange in Williams, MN.

Please note that the use of lawn fertilizer containing phosphorous is now illegal in Minnesota. Read the link to learn more: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/fertilizers/~/media/Files/chemicals/fertilizers/phosphorusfreelawncare.ashx

HOW DO I COLLECT A SOIL SAMPLE?

Take about a tablespoon of soil from a variety of locations throughout your yard until you have about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dirt and collect it all into one sample. The soil analysis will average out for one overview of what your yard needs.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SPRAY FOR WEEDS?

Fall is the best time to spray for weeds. The optimal time is to spray right after the first frost.

HOW HIGH SHOULD I CUT THE GRASS?

The best height is between 2 1/2 – 3″. At this height, the lawn retains moisture better and the root system stays stronger. If the grass is cut too short, weeds can seed themselves more easily. If the grass is too long, you’ve created an ideal burrow for mice, snakes, and ticks!

HOW DO I GET MY SOD TO LOOK NICE?

It’s really important to water sod well. Until it’s really taken root, the watering will help prevent gaps from forming between the individual pieces. If you’re doing your sod project in the heat of summer, lay it the day you get it, so you can start watering it as soon as possible. It can also be a good idea to overseed a couple of years after the sod has been laid.


LINKS

Here is a great site showing tips and how to’s on pruning trees:

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_prune/prun001.htm

Link to UM extension for Yard and Garden:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/ConsumerHort/

Trees and Shrubs U of M:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/topics.html?topic=5&subtopic=156

Trees and Shrubs Insect and Disease UM:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/topics.html?topic=5&subtopic=166

DNR Forestry Insect and Disease Newsletter:
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fid/index.html

DNR Forestry Backyard Tree Care:
This has multiple links for many subjects
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/index.html

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