How about a list of late spring yardening tips for the weekend?
Prune your non-ornamental deciduous shrubs back before new growth starts. Flowering shrubs should be pruned back soon after their own flowering period, like lilacs.
If the top of your fruit trees are dead, you may see sprouts growing from the trunk. Nearly every fruit tree is grafted, so growth from the stump is NOT the apple or cherry tree you wanted, but just the rootstock. Get rid of it.
So far this year rain has been scarce. Water if you can, don’t let your shrubs and trees, especially the young plants, suffer. Apply one inch of water per week if no rain falls, get them off to a good start. Your trees and shrubs are your most expensive plants, take care of them.
Best not to “tip prune” the new growth on your evergreens like Spruce, let them be natural. Otherwise, in 15 years you’ll have a compacted mess at the top and loose au natural on the bottom. Happens every time...
Any trees that were “girdled” (bark chewed off all the way around) from the cute little rabbits, should be replaced.
The tree may not be totally dead the first year after damage, but over time it likely will be. Why wait three more years, start a new one now?
Remove any plastic rings from around tree trunks before they outgrow them. Plastic rings can become embedded right into the tree, not good. Also, remove any paper or protective wrap you put on last fall. Insects love to hide under the wrap and can damage the bark. A couple of years back, I had a dog leash hanging in a tree so I could use the clip on it for a wasp trap. Not so clever of an idea!
In one season — just one — the leash became embedded in a branch crotch of my second favorite Autumn Blaze Maple. The blue leash remains there today!
Gently rake the spring lawn. Do your tougher, ‘shoulders in to it’ raking in the fall when the grass is fully grown and tough. Hard spring raking rips up tender new grass plants. If your lawn feels squishy after a hard rain (can’t really find out this year) then you made need to dethatch. You can buy a de-thatcher tool that fits on a lawn mower blade. Be prepared to rake afterwards as it will pile up all the dead stuff for you.
For spraying weeds that are close to desirable plants, use a barrier to prevent overspray and drift. You can simply create a barrier by cutting off the bottom of a 2-gallon nursery container, plastic pail or the bottom of a cardboard box. Hopefully your plants are larger than the weeds, so place the barrier over the weeds, spray inside the cylinder and let the excess run off for a minute before moving to the next spot.
When perennials are small and weeds a plenty, you can do the reverse. Put the barrier over the good plants for protection, and spray around them. When covering the good plants, you can also use a solid pail or box. This spring, I only sprayed the dandelions in my garden beds leaving those in the lawn (if I can call it that) for the bees. Before spraying, I picked off the flower heads so honey bees wouldn’t have a reason to visit that plant after it was sprayed. Dandelion flower heads will still mature after picking them off, so don’t just toss them aside, get rid of them.
Visit us at the Mankato Farmers’ Market at Best Buy’s parking lot from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays; 3:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting June.
Stop by and get local grown plants, honey, syrup, soaps, textiles, baked goods, crafts, woodworking, pies, hot coffee, jams, local raised meats and eggs. Follow my Facebook business page at Market Bakery.
Please do the following if you plan to shop: Stay home if you’re sick, keep a 6-foot distance from others, make a shopping list, wash hands often (stations will be set up), no onsite consumption of food and shop with your eyes — vendors will handle items.