By Darrell Blackwelder
For Farm Carolina
SALISBURY - Frost has finally arrived with cool mornings, but many people still have gardening and landscaping chores. Those working outdoors have called with inquiries about insect pests and maintenance. Some of their questions may be of relevance to your gardening situation.
Q: I have winter weeds such as henbit and chickweed already emerging in my newly seeded lawn. Can I apply an herbicide to kill winter weeds now and not hurt my lawn?
A: Yes, but make sure your lawn is well established. If it has been mowed at least three times, it can withstand a post-emergence herbicide application. Hose-on applications of these weed killers works well on early emerging, tender winter weeds.
Q: Do I still have time to plant pansies?
A: Yes, pansies, violas and other fall flowers can still be planted. Make sure that the plant beds are deeply tilled with ample soil amendments. Keep newly set pansies irrigated and mulch with a layer of fine bark. Dead head the spent blooms throughout the fall and winter to allow maximum root growth. Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer when temperatures fall below 60 degrees. Fertilization during unseasonably warm temperatures causes the plants to stretch and become weak.
Q: What can I do about moss in my lawn? I have a yard that seems to be covered in green moss.
A: Moss appears in lawns as a result of poor growing conditions such as poor drainage, low light, poor fertility and low pH of the soil. Any one or a combination of all of these conditions is conducive for moss development. For example, a fertile, well-drained soil can have moss in areas of the lawn with low light intensities. Clay soils drain very slowly, holding excessive amounts of water, creating the perfect medium for moss establishment. Fill in low areas to allow for proper drainage after excessive rains or irrigation.
Q: The white pine we planted years ago as a Christmas tree died for no apparent reason. Do you know what would have killed the tree?
A: White pines, as Christmas trees, were often planted outside. Unfortunately, white pines have a relatively short life in the Piedmont due to our temperatures and poorly drained soils. Most live 15-20 years before succumbing to these problems.
Q: What is that tree or large shrub in the park near the Norvell Theater? It has small leaves and really interesting clear red berries.
A: This is a large shrub, yaupon (Ilex vomitoria). The shrub is indigenous to the coastal regions of North Carolina. Go to the internet at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/ilex_vomitoria.html for more information.
Darrell Blackwelder is the Rowan County extension director. Call 704-216-8970. www.rowanextension.com