Warm, moist conditions spreading plants everywhere

  • Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 12:48 a.m.
Darrell Blackwelder/For the Salisbury Post
Mayapple is a native herb common in wooded areas. It produces an apple-like flower.
Darrell Blackwelder/For the Salisbury Post Mayapple is a native herb common in wooded areas. It produces an apple-like flower.

SALISBURY — Warmer than usual weather coupled with abundant rainfall has produced many colorful blooms throughout the county. Many trees and shrubs are almost in full show. Unfortunately, many weeds are also beginning to grow and bloom. Below are a few questions posed to Cooperative Extension over the past few weeks that may be of interest.

Question: Behind my house I have a wooded lot and there seems to be a wild plant spreading across my woods. It forms a really unusual groundcover with a small white flower. Can you tell me what this plant may be?

Answer: Mayapple is a native herb usually in wooded areas. It spreads by rhizomes, forming dense mats in damp, open woods. The common name refers to the bloom of its apple-like flower. More information can be found at http://www.ncwildflower.org/index.php/plants/details/podophyllum-peltatum/

Question: There is a weed of some type in my lawn that has a pretty blue flower. Do you know what type of plant this is?

Answer: This is most likely a type of speedwell (Veronica persica Poir). Persian speedwell is a low-growing winter annual found in turf, nursery crops and non-tended areas. Speedwells will grow in a variety of situations, but are mostly found in shady areas with dry, sandy or rocky soils. The most noticeable characteristics are the small, powder blue flowers. Go to http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/weeds/Speedwell_Veronica.aspx for more detailed information.

Question: This year my lawn is inundated with dandelions. One of my friends told me he heard you could control these by mowing. How should I mow them to keep them from coming back?

Answer: Actually, you cannot control them completely by mowing, but you can reduce the degree of infestation by mowing cool season lawns at least 3-4 inches tall. Studies at N.C. State University have proven that the closer fescue lawns are mowed, the greater the dandelion population. Use lawn herbicides containing 2,4-D and banvel to reduce populations of this and other broadleaf weeds.

Question: I have four redbud trees scattered in my landscape. Most have bloomed this year; however, a few have failed to bloom. Are there male redbud trees that have no bloom?

Answer: No, not really. There are a number of reasons why your trees did not bloom this spring. It could be because of over-pruning, drought, poor soils, lack of light, etc. Redbuds are actually legumes that need ample sunlight to produce profuse blooms.

Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970, Facebook or online at www.rowanextension.com

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