These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.
Yard & Garden Resolutions for 2000
December 30, 1999
With the year 2000 just about here, celebrations, resolutions, and Y2K bug worries fill the air. While probably not high on your list amongst the hype of the year 2000, why not consider a few yard and garden resolutions for the first growing season of the new century?
One major resolution that crosses all areas of gardening is to plan before you plant. Regardless if the plant is a shade tree, shrub, lawn, flower, fruit, or vegetable, make sure it is a good fit for the location and use intended. Double check to assure it is hardy for our climate, tolerant of the site conditions (soils, sun or shade), matches the rest of the landscape, and will provide the features desired. Also make sure you know what kind of care it needs.
Another resolution should be to think before you spray when pest problems arise. Start by identifying the pest or problem correctly. Then review management options, which usually include both chemical and nonchemical methods. Many times there are ways to solve plant problems without the need to spray.
If pesticides are to be used, resolve to read and understand the label before making an application. Make sure the material not only controls the pest but also can be used on the plant or crop involved. Use the correct application rate. Follow directions on how to apply the material, and if re-applications can be made, what time intervals are involved. Pesticide labels are actually legal documents, so read them before doing anything with the product.
Based on problems I have seen and some simple solutions, here are a few vary basic guidelines to consider as resolutions for specific areas of the yard and garden. For trees, avoiding damage to the trunk and root system will prevent many stresses and problems trees face. Keep this in mind when mowing, digging, using equipment, or applying chemicals near trees.
For lawns, mowing higher (2 1/2 to 3 inch range) helps avoid many problems
and keeps the lawn looking better. For flowers and groundcovers, good
soil drainage and use of mulches goes a long way to having attractive
and problem-free plantings. For vegetables, good soil drainage is the
key, along with providing adequate sunlight. For fruit crops, make sure
they are hardy and have a pest management plan ready.
These are just a few ideas to prepare for the year 2000 in the yard and
garden. Stay tuned to this column for more on yard and garden plantings.
Have a Happy New Year, and may your Y2K bugs be confined to the garden