Holly and mistletoe tips

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2009

Generally, December is a slow month for Cooperative Extension. However, many have called with questions and concerns about holiday plants and other items. Below are a few questions Cooperative Extension has received over the past few weeks.
Q: I want my poinsettias to look good through the holiday season, but the small yellow flower buds in the center always drop off. What causes this and how can I make them stay pretty all season long?
A: Most likely, stress has caused the buds to drop off the plants. Lack of water or over watering is generally the problem. Place the plants in a bright room, away from drafts or heat vents. Poinsettias usually last longer in cooler locations.
Q: My wife wants to use berries from our holly to decorate. Will it hurt the plant? Can I just go ahead and give them a good pruning while I’m there?
A: Light pruning of holly and other berry-producing plants will not cause any problems, but I would refrain from pruning heavily now and wait until later in the spring.
Q: I have a newly seeded fescue lawn and it looks very good with all the rain and warm weather. But I have weeds coming up in the lawn. Can I spray and kill them now and not hurt my newly seeded fescue?
A: Newly seeded lawns can be sprayed with post emergence herbicides for broad-leafed weeds if the turf has been mowed at least three times. Now, while the weeds are young and tender, is a good time to kill the weeds, but avoid spraying when the temperatures are freezing.
Q: My newly seeded lawn has grown thick and lush, but the top has turned yellow. Do I need to fertilize the lawn again?
A: Lower temperatures and frost on tender turf will make the tops turn yellow. January will take its toll on lush green lawns, but in late February and March, the grass will begin to grow and when mowed, the turf will return to its normal green color.
Q: Is mistletoe really poisonous and will it kill trees?
A: The berries are poisonous so I would consider the entire plant poisonous. The parasite generally does not kill trees in our area, but in other areas and countries it is a major detriment to timber and forest trees.
Q: I really want to take the Master Gardener class. Are you having a class next spring?
A: Unfortunately, I will not be able to teach a Master Gardener class this spring. Serving as interim Extension director, time is limited and I will be unable to teach a class in 2010.
Contact Darrell Blackwelder at 704-216-8970.