Darrell Blackwelder: Spring blooms with questions

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2019

When I’m out and about people ask me a variety of garden questions. The weather has been unusually wet this spring and with drier and warmer days ahead, many will venture outdoors to work in the landscape. Below are a few questions posed to me over the past few weeks.

Question: The leaves of our daffodils are spent, and they don’t look good in the landscape. Can I mow them now since they’ve already bloomed?

Answer: It’s not a good idea to mow the leaves now while they’re still upright. The leaves are necessary for the bulb to develop next season’s flowers. As it gets warmer, the slender bulb leaves eventually turn yellow and fall over. At this point you can clip or mow them. Bulbs should be fertilized and irrigated to maximize growth for next spring season’s showy blooms.

Question: I sprayed my lawn last week with an herbicide for weeds and they still seem to be healthy and growing, especially the chickweed. I’ve used the recommended herbicide and sprayed the weeds in the lawn twice. Am I doing something wrong?

Answer: Chickweed usually takes about two weeks to completely die after being sprayed with a 2,4-D product. Normally the weeds wilt in few days indicating the herbicide is working. This weed is difficult to control, especially if it’s in full bloom. Herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds are growth regulators, relying on plant growth for adsorption. Blooming winter annuals shut down during bloom and adsorb herbicides at a slower rate. Be patient and persistent when controlling broad leafed weeds in fescue lawns.

Question: Is there anything I can spray to kill English ivy?

Answer: English ivy is somewhat tolerant of common herbicides such as glyphosate (Roundup). Studies at N.C. State University revealed that English ivy was controlled by glyphosate (Roundup) when applied in the spring when the vines are actively growing. The new growth should have at least two to four new leaves sprouting along the vine. Best control will occur if you use a higher rate of glyphosate with a surfactant. A surfactant aids the herbicide’s penetration into the leaf pores for better control. It is very important to have complete leaf coverage of the herbicides. However, be careful to avoid applying herbicides to the point of runoff. It is important to spray in the spring because application in the summer gives less control. Studies have shown that late summer and fall applications to English ivy were virtually ineffective.

Question: I was by Hurley Park this week and noticed a large tree with beautiful yellow blooms. It had blooms like a tulip tree. Is the tree a tulip magnolia?

Answer: Yes, it’s a very nice, late blooming yellow tulip magnolia Magnolia soulangeana. You can see this beautiful blooming tree along with many other magnolias and flowers at the Spring Celebration at Hurley Park. It will be Sunday, April 7, from 2-4 p.m. at 304 Annandale Ave. in Salisbury.