Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2013
SALISBURY — With the freeze last week, many outdoor projects have intensified due to the killing frost and falling leaves. Many have questions as to what should be done to maintain their lawns and landscape. Below are a few questions received over the past few days that may relate to your situation.
Question: Can I still fertilize and seed my lawn now?
Answer: Yes, but germination will be slow with the cooler weather. Be sure to keep the seeded areas irrigated. It’s also important to keep leaves off of both newly seeded and established fescue lawns.
Question: Is your office still taking orders for small fruit plants?
Answer: Yes. Cooperative Extension is selling grape vines, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry plants as well as fig trees as a fundraiser for ongoing programs. The last day to order plants is Nov. 7. Delivery is on Thursday, Nov. 14. Call Cooperative Extension at 704-216-8970 for more information or to place an order.
Question: My begonias are burnt back from the recent frost. Can I move them indoors or should I just eliminate them and plant fall plants?
Answer: Go ahead and yank them out and replace with other plants like snapdragons, pansies, mums or dianthus. They will survive cold temperatures through most of early winter.
Question: Our newly seeded lawn also has weeds popping up in the lawn with the fescue. Can I use a herbicide to control the weeds and not hurt the newly emerging grass?
Answer: Yes, you can use broadleaf herbicides for lawns, but you need to make sure the grass is established and healthy. Generally after the lawn has been mowed at least three times, the turf is established well enough to survive herbicide over-sprays.
Question: My azaleas are turning a pale yellow color. The underneath side of the leaves have black splotches and are speckled. What is the problem?
Answer: The azaleas have lace bugs. The insect caused the plants to have a bleached-out effect. The bug itself is very small with clear wings. Control with systemic insecticides. Go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/shrubs/ort039e/ort039e.htm for more detailed information.
Question: Can I still plant pansies?
Answer: Pansies, violas and other fall bedding plants can still be planted. Make sure that the plant beds are deeply tilled with ample soil amendments. Mulch newly set plants with a layer of fine bark. Dead head spent blooms throughout the fall and winter to allow maximum root growth. Fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer when temperatures fall below 60 degrees. Avoid fertilization during unseasonably warm temperatures. Warm fall temperatures over-stimulate the plants, resulting in weak plants that tend to stretch.
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.