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Q & A with Our Experts

Q.I see summer flowering bulbs are now available at garden centers even though it is still very cold. Is it safe to plant these bulbs in the ground now?

A.The bulbs on sale in garden centers at this time of the year are not the same types you plant in the fall for spring blooming. The spring-planted bulbs are for plants that bloom only in warm weather, starting in late spring. Many of them are repeat bloomers and will bloom almost continuously until the fall frost in November. However, they can be killed off by a hard freeze (temperatures well below freezing) should the soil temperature drop to those levels. These are the bulbs that are “lifted” from the soil and stored indoors in a cool, dark and dry location to hibernate until next spring, when they can be planted in the garden again.

Q.I have heard that March is the month to apply pre-emergent weed killers. Does this mean these products won’t work if applied these products after March?

A.The lawn weed preventers must be in place in the surface layer of the lawn’s soil before the seedlings germinate and break through to the sun. Normally, if you apply the crabgrass and weed preventers, which include the chemical preemergent products and the organic in March, the ground is still cold enough that this will not yet happen. These products DO NOT HAVE ANY EFFECT on any crabgrass or weed seedlings that have broken through (emerged). This is why it may not be as effective in getting the majority of the weeds if it applied in April or later when the soil is warm enough and many weeds have already emerged.

Q.I already have weeds coming up in my lawn, but am told that lawn weed killers will not work this early in spring because the weather is too cool. Are there any weed killers that WILL work now?

A.The magic number is 45 degrees F. or higher. These are the temperatures at which all plants, including weeds, begin to become active and their sap transporting systems are fully flowing. This is necessary for the systemic herbicides such as 2-4-D and Dicamba to be able to reach the roots where the killing action occurs. The only product that we stock that CAN work on weeds in soil temperatures down to 40 degrees is the Bonide Weed Beater ULTRA. This product contains an agent that allows the herbicides to reach the roots when similar products cannot.

Q.Should I apply fertilizer to my flowering shrubs that will bloom this spring now or should I wait until they finish blooming?

A.Wait until all the blooms have finished blooming. This is when new growth starts and the plants will be actively taking up food to build green leaves and new branches.

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