Blackwelder answers your garden questions

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2011

Daylight saving time begins Sunday and many people will have more time to garden.
With the recent rains and warm temperatures, gardeners are finding many opportunities.
Below are a few gardening questions posed to Cooperative Extension.
Q: Is it too late to apply pre-emergence herbicides to lawns?
A: No, but these do need to be applied soon. As the soil temperature approaches 58 degrees, crabgrass and goosegrass germinate, rendering some pre-emergence herbicides useless. There are a few preemergence herbicides that will control crabgrass in its early growth stages.
Q: I have a grass that comes up every spring in my shrubs and the edge of my lawns. It is a short, bunching grass that has a lot of seed heads. Can I put something down to kill it?
A: You have Poa annua or annual bluegrass. It is a common weed that germinates in the fall and dies in early summer. There is no effective control for the weed now. Using a pre-emergence herbicide in early fall is the best method of control.
Q: Is now a good time to plant cool season vegetables?
A: Yes, as soon as the soil dries, plant cool season vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, beets, potatoes, onions and other cole crops. Vegetable transplants are now available at retail garden outlets. Keep an eye on the weather. These can tolerate a few days of cold, but will not survive bitter cold temperatures.
Q: Is now the time to prune roses?
A: Yes most rose types need to be pruned in early to mid- March. Make sure your pruners are sharp. Normally, wound dressings aren’t recommended on shrubs, with the exception of rose pruning. Use a wound dressing or Elmer’s glue to seal off the cuts to prevent infestation of borers and other insects.
Q: Is it too late to prune my grape vines? I am late and worried that it may be too late.
A: You can prune your grapes now. The vines will bleed as the daytime temperatures begin to warm, but it will not be detrimental to the plant.
Q: Is it too late to spray dormant oils on fruit trees?
A: No, there is still time to use dormant oils on fruit trees and other plant materials. Avoid spraying when fruit trees are blooming or if weather is warm or extremely cold.
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. or call 704-216-8970.