Q and A: Warm weather gardening

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2011

March is here and it’s the transition month when people inquire about their gardening problems.
Warm weather has created many gardening opportunities as well as questions. The most efficient method of communicating is email, with pictures of insects or diseases attached to help determine your problem and provide solutions. Below are questions similar to those you may have.
Q: What is type of forsythia blooms very early? There was one that bloomed three weeks ago and mine is just now blooming.
A: That was most likely winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum). It’s a completely different type of shrub than forsythia. It has green stems and blooms two-three weeks earlier with a cascading branching habit.
Q: What is that purple weed in my yard and how do I control it?
A: The weed either henbit or deadnettle, both related to each other. Post emergence herbicides such as Trimec or Weed-B-Gon will control the weed, but during flowering, the weed is difficult to kill.
Q: I sprayed my weeds last week and they are not dying. What is the problem?
A: Blooming broadleaf winter annuals are difficult and may be impossible to kill because they are in the process of producing seed and not growing and therefore not adsorbing herbicides. Weeds should look distorted and withered a few days after application. Two applications of broad leafed herbicides 10 days apart is an effective solution. Blooming annuals now will be dead in a few weeks as the temperature increases.
Q: Is now the best time to over-seed my lawn?
A: Fescue can be over-seeded now, especially bare spots. Don’t wait too late in the spring. September is the optimum time to reseed with fescue.
Q: My gardenias and other shrubs have dead leaves from the winter. What, if anything, can I do for them?
A: Many evergreen shrubs were damaged by the severe cold temperatures in September. With the recent warming trend, many are starting to show the damage. There is really little you can do now. The damaged leaves will fall and be replaced with new leaves later this spring on some. Others may have been killed outright. Later in the summer you may see more serious damage. The stems will be cracked and damaged. Cut them back when you observe this type of damage and they should recover.
Q: Is it too late to mow my liriope?
A: No, liriope is a lily and a turf plant. Cold weather has damaged the plant. Make sure your mower blade is sharp for clean crisp cuts.
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 on Facebook or website at www.rowanextension.com or e-mail at darrell_blackwelder@ ncsu.edu