By Shari Thomas
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County
Q: We fertilized our lawn last fall. Do we need to do it again this spring?A: Yes, now is the time to apply the first application of fertilizer to your lawn for spring. Grass is a cool season crop and needs adequate food to begin growing. It is also a good idea to aerate the lawn at the same time, just be sure to water well before aerating. Aerating will allow fertilizer and water to penetrate the soil, as well as improving compacted soils. Most plant problems begin in the soil and it’s the same with lawns. When the lawn needs mowing, mow to a height of 3 inches and never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at one time.
Q: Should I prune my roses now? How about other plants that look dead? A: You can prune roses now. Pruning in the fall when we still have warm days sometimes confuses the plant into thinking it is time to put on more growth, so spring is the best time. Cut all dead wood (brown, dry canes) to the ground. Also, remove older, weaker canes and those that rub against each other. You can also divide perennials now, such as daylilies, phlox and daisies. Prune lilacs after flowering, since blossoms form on new growth in the spring.
Q: My crabapple tree leaves look dry and almost burned. Does the tree have a disease?A: Most likely you are observing frost injury. When we had those really warm days in mid-March, some trees put out leaves a bit too early. Then we had some very cold, windy days and the leaves got a bit of “frost bite!” The tree should be fine and will probably put out a second flush of growth to compensate. If the frost occurred just as the tree was forming flower buds, those buds may have been injured and the tree may not have as many flowers this season.
Larimer County is a county-based outreach of Colorado State University Extension providing information you can trust to deal with current issues in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and food safety, 4-H, small acreage, money management and parenting. For more information about CSU Extension in Larimer County, telephone (970) 498-6000 or visit www.Larimer.org/ext.
The author has received training through Colorado State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and is a Master Gardener volunteer for Larimer County.