Questions come in as blooming begins

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

Even though we’re experiencing a taste of warm weather, it is important to remember there may be a chance of frost over the next few weeks; so, keep a close eye on the weather. The last frost-free date for our area is April 15. Whatever the weather, many are moving ahead with their outdoor projects. Home gardeners have posed questions that may be of interest. Below are a few questions recently posed:

Question: I have masses of small, bright, colorful flowers spotted in our lawn. Most of the flowers are vivid white, but some are light shades of purple. What are these flowers and how can I control them?

Answer: The flowers, spring star flower or star of Bethlehem (Ipheion uniflorum) are scattered as weeds in some lawns and landscapes while in other landscapes the appear as a formal planting. Spring star flower is a member of the onion family with blooms lasting from 2-3 weeks. The flowering bulb is tough, surviving annually in mowed lawns and one of a few species of plants that can survive living under black walnut trees. Many regard them as weeds while others openly allow them to naturalize freely in their lawn as a welcome addition to their landscape. Physically removing by digging them up is the best method of control.

Question: I sprayed my weeds in my lawn last week and they are not dying. Did I do something wrong?

Answer: Broadleaf winter annual weeds in bloom are difficult to kill because they are in the process of producing seed and will not readily adsorb herbicides. Broadleaf weeds often become distorted and withered within a few days after application. Multiple applications of broad-leafed herbicides a few weeks apart is an effect solution for your winter weed problem.

Question: Can I overseed my fescue lawn now? I have some bare areas that still need to be overseeded.

Answer: Fescue can be overseeded now. However, do not wait too late this spring. The quicker the grass becomes established the better its survival during the warm summer months. Unfortunately, lawns seeded in the spring will probably need to be seeded again in the fall. Hot, summer weather is not conducive for newly seeded cool season fescue in the spring.

Question: I was driving past Hurley Park along Mahaley Drive in Salisbury and noticed an unusual tree blooming with bright yellow blooms. The tree full of small, yellow blooms in the park. What is this tree?

Answer: It is a Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas). The small yellow blooms also produce small red fruit in mid-summer. This early flowering tree does best in full sun to partial shade and adapts to most soil types in our area. Go to for more detailed information about this interesting dogwood.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at