Posted by
Gardeners and farmers have had a chance to catch up on planting (finally). As I was traveling south, then east, before coming back north, I saw a lot of the state over the last week, and it showed just how behind planting corn and soybeans has been, with many fields just now being worked and planted.

Gardeners now have been able to work the garden soil and edge landscape beds with proper soil moisture. Earlier attempts to plant and prepare the soil left the surface to crust over badly with half-inch cracks. Summer bulbs and transplants are likely OK, yet many seeds are having a hard time getting to the surface. It will be hard to work that soil and not damage what already has been planted. One remedy is to cover the soil with a good compost or other form of organic matter for the rest of the season. The organic matter will condition the soil over the summer and that crusty soil will break down easier later this summer or fall when preparing the garden for the winter.

Lawns have begun to slow down, making it easier to keep up with mowing and following the one-third rule of only removing one-third of the grass blade at any mowing. Keep the lawn looking good by keeping the mower blade sharp. Plan to touch up that blade edge in late June or early July and again in late September or early October. While our desirable lawn grasses have enjoyed the cool temperatures and water, so have the lawn weeds. Right now, the turf has been competing fairly well with the weeds. Later as summer weather gets here, our cool season grasses will really slow down and without adequate water, go dormant. Our weeds will not, and that is why mowing the lawn as tall as you can will make a big difference to help grass compete with the weeds. That can mean using the second tallest setting on a lot of walk behind mowers.

There has not been a lot of change in the condition of landscape plants damaged by the winter weather. The drier conditions will challenge plants that have more damage than originally thought. If winter damage made its way into stems, twigs and even trunks, then the ability to get soil moisture up and into the above ground parts right up and into the upper most plant parts becomes the concern.

If you are replacing plants, do so as soon as possible to give them a good chance of getting established before winter gets here. Monitor and water as needed this summer. You may not see a lot of growth above ground in 2019, yet your watering allows for good growth below ground. That makes a great difference in how well the plants do in your landscape their first winter.