Plant Spring Bulbs Now in Lakes Region NH Gardens

If you want this in the spring…

spring flowering bulbs, daffodils

 

You need to get busy planting now!

 

CHOOSING A SITE

There are two key things to consider when choosing a site for your bulbs.

The first is sunlight. Most bulbs need several hours of sunshine to bloom well next spring and to store up the energy they need to flower the following year.

The second thing to consider when choosing your planting site is drainage. All bulbs need good drainage. Bulbs that are planted in areas that tend to remain wet will in most likely rot leaving you extremely disappointed come spring. A heavy clay soil can be improved by digging in an organic matter like composted manure or compost.

 

HOW TO PLANT

There are basically two options for planting bulbs. Depending on how many bulbs you are planting (hopefully hundreds!), you can either plant a large area at one time or plant bulbs individually. If you have enough bulbs to cover a fairly large area, it may be smart to excavate the area to be planted and loosen the soil to the recommended depth (usually 6-8”) for the type of bulbs you have. Set the bulbs in the bed with the point facing up, grouped by color or randomly placed and gently replace the soil. If the soil is very dry as it has been here in the Lakes Region this fall, water it thoroughly.

The other option is to plant each bulb individually by digging each hole with a trowel or bulb planter. Again, loosen the soil to the correct depth, put one bulb in each hole, cover gently and water. This is an option – if we could twist your arm, we would make you plant bulbs in groups though. The impact is much better than a bulb here and a bulb there!

 

WHEN TO PLANT

Most bulbs come with instructions for a best-case scenario planting schedule. We usually miss that and go ahead and plant them anyway! You should, too! The ideal time for planting most bulbs is at least six weeks before a solid, ground-freezing frost. Planting too early may leave bulbs vulnerable to rot or fungus and planting too late may not give them enough time to root and establish themselves for blooming in the spring. A lot of what you read about ideal planting time for zones 4 and 5 will tell you late September through early October is the best time. IGNORE this rule most years! Successful spring flower displays require bulbs to be planted once we have had at least 2 weeks of 40-45 degree nights. At that point, soil temperature here in the Lakes Region should be just perfect for planting bulbs.

 

WATERING

This part is easy! Water thoroughly after planting if the soil is dry. After that, forget about it, at least here in New Hampshire. Supplemental watering in the spring, especially after bulbs bloom, may cause them to rot.

 

FERTILIZING

Bulbs that you purchase to plant this fall already have next year’s flowers set inside them, so there is no need to fertilize at planting time. You can generally do without fertilizer entirely as most bulbs are not heavy feeders, but if you amend your soil with an organic supplement like compost or manure in the spring, it certainly won’t hurt the bulbs.

 

CARING FOR BULBS AFTER THEY BLOOM

This bit of info may help you decide where you plant your bulbs in the first place. You can deadhead the flower of the tulip once it fades, but bulbs get the energy they need to bloom the following year from their foliage. For this reason you need to let the foliage die back naturally. This can take quite a while and often looks unsightly as you plan your late spring garden. Short cuts like braiding, tying up or burying foliage before it has died back, impedes the natural process the bulb needs to go through in order to bloom again the following year. For this reason, a lot of gardeners simply cut back foliage, dig out bulbs and start over again with new ones in the fall, or dedicate an area exclusively to bulbs. That way the bulbs don’t interfere with annual and perennial plantings.

 

BULB EATING CRITTERS

Unfortunately, your bulb display could fall victim to hungry squirrels or deer before they ever get a chance to bloom. Tulips apparently make a nice meal. One way to avoid losing your spring display is to lay chicken wire across the planting zone. Light and water can get through and so can the flower when it grows in the spring. There are a few bulbs that are truly deer and rodent proof. They are members of the Amaryllis family, which includes daffodils. They have a toxic alkaloid called lycorine that mammals can detect and won’t eat. Other bulbs such as Allium and Fritillaria are also known to be unpleasant to smell and eat. Plant some of these in and around the more appetizing varieties and you may just be OK!

 

 

Our Hardiness Zone In Moultonborough, NH

USDA Hardiness Zones

The record warm temperatures that we are currently having in Moultonborough and the Lakes Region in general, may have you thinking about your garden instead of more traditional winter activities that should be happening now. Have you spent some time browsing through plant catalogs or garden design websites? Well, before you type in your credit card number and hit the “purchase” button on your keyboard hoping that the gorgeous blooms in those pictures will pop up in your garden this year, be sure you have read all of the fine print associated with the plant of your dreams. Most important of all of the information is the hardiness zone for each plant. What is our “zone” here in Moultonborough, NH and why does it matter when it comes to your garden?

The US Department of Agriculture produces a map for gardeners based on the average of low temperature readings taken from weather stations throughout the United States. The idea is to give the garden industry a way to communicate the cold hardiness of landscape plants. On the tags found on most plants, trees and shrubs, you will often see “hardy to zone ___”.

This is a great clue as to whether or not the plant is likely to survive in our area. In Moultonborough and most of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire we are somewhere between a zone 4 and 5. Your zone will have the USDA number and either an ‘a’ or a ‘b’ attached, with ‘a’ meaning that you are on the colder end of the zone and ‘b’ indicating that you are in slightly milder territory. The more protected and sunny a spot is, the more likely it is that a zone 5 plant will survive. And conversely, in a more exposed area it would be a safer bet to stick to zone 4 materials.

Winter is always slow to let go here in the Northeast. It may even still be snowing in April in some corners of the Lakes Region, but a good start to the gardening season involves getting your flowers early and acclimating them to spring’s uncertain temperatures so they are ready to explode into color as soon as possible. The last frost date varies from April 15 to May 15, but the number of nights below freezing will become fewer and fewer as April proceeds. Gardeners are often notorious for “pushing the zone” and trying a plant that isn’t necessarily hardy for their zone. Sometimes you get lucky and find the perfect spot where an unlikely plant just thrives! When our green thumbs start to itch early in the season we often start with container plants so that if Mother Nature sends a late season frost, we can easily move our plantings under cover. If you just can’t control yourself and dare to put them in the ground, just be aware that you may need to cover them if very cold temperatures are predicted.

Here is a list of some of the annuals we often start with that will generally tolerate spring’s cold and still flower all summer!

 Plant List

  1. Supertunia® Picasso in Pink® Petunia
  2. Superbena® Sparkling Ruby Verbena
  3. Superbells® Frostfire Calibrachoa
  4. Snow Princess® Lobularia
  5. Butterfly and Vanilla Butterfly® Argyranthemum
  6. Surefire® Red & Rose Begonia
  7. Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
  8. Señorita Blanca® Cleome
  9. Flirtation® Pink Diascia
  10. Illusion® series Ipomoea

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/InteractiveMap.aspx

 

 

Controlling Crabgrass in your Lakes Region Lawn

Mother Nature has been teasing us with some beautiful spring like weather for a month or so now here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and here’s hoping we are headed in the right direction. With the warmer temperatures and lack of snow it’s a great time to think about what we can do to get the lush green lawns we’ve been dreaming about and there’s no room in the dream for crabgrass! Crabgrass control starts with good practices that encourage the growth and health of desirable lawn grasses, as crabgrass will not invade vigorous, healthy turf. Good management is the best means of crabgrass control, and often least expensive as it will also help control other weeds and diseases.

Crabgrass

One of the first things on the list for a healthy lawn is an application of a pre-emergent weed control just after completing a spring clean up. If your lawn tends to be spotted with yellow dandelions and crabgrass, pre-emergent weed prevention is for you. Timing is everything however; so don’t get ahead of yourself before your lawn is ready. Pre-emergent crabgrass preventer can wear off before crabgrass actually germinates if you put it down too early. Crabgrass germinates based on soil temperatures, generally around 56 to 64 degrees at the earliest.

Many professionals watch for a colorful sign in the landscape as an indicator that soil temperatures are within an adequate range for crabgrass to germinate. The sunny golden yellow of forsythia in bloom is a sure sign to move forward with your pre-emergent crabgrass control application, as they will be in full bloom just prior to crabgrass germination. Keep in mind that the herbicide will not be effective after the crabgrass is out of the ground and actively growing so keep this window in mind.

Applied in spring along with your much needed spring fertilizer, pre-emergents work by stopping weeds and crabgrass before the plants have an opportunity to germinate and grow. They work by forming a barrier over the surface where they are applied leaving the roots of established plants (such as perennials, shrubs and trees) unaffected. Be sure to keep pre-emergents away from garden beds where you may be planting seeds. You need to activate the herbicide by watering the lawn after the application. Most products call for a half-inch of irrigation (or rain) within 21 days of application.

Your lawn will grown green and healthy if it doesn’t have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. Apply a pre-emergent yourself or leave your weeds in the experienced hands of the “Lawn Enforcement Officers” at Miracle Farms. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for this service and any other lawn and landscape needs we can help with.

For the Lakes Region in NH, call us at 603-253-9292

Spring! Bring it on or Bring it in!

donald wyman crabappleThe mild weather we are experiencing here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire will surely turn your thoughts to the warmer more colorful days ahead. Forcing branches to flower indoors is a great way to get in to a spring state of mind.

A tall vase of blooming forsythia branches can chase away the winter blahs. Bring a bit of spring indoors by gathering branches of flowering deciduous shrubs and trees and forcing them to bloom or leaf out early in your home.

Early native bloomers are particularly suited for indoor early forcing such as forsythia, witchhazel, and pussy willows. The closer to the actual bloom time you prune the shrub or tree branch for forcing, the faster it will bloom indoors. In late March or early April, later bloomers such as cherry, crabapple, flowering pear and dogwoods are great choices.

Follow these easy steps for success:

 

  • Select a branch with many large, round flower buds on it. Leaf buds tend to be smaller and flatter, and lie closer to the branch. Cut the branch to about 6 to 18 inches long. Split the cut end with sharp shears or a knife. Remove any buds that would be under water.
  • Once indoors, recut the stems and place them in cold water overnight to take up water and acclimate.
  • Place the vase in a 60-65 degree room, out of direct sunlight. Once the buds start to show color, move to a sunnier spot and enjoy.

When To Apply Pre-emergent Weed Control To Your Lakes Region Lawn

Crabgrass

crabgrass control

dandelion

weed control

Feels like we’ve been waiting for spring to arrive forever and dreaming about that lush green lawn from last season. One of the first things on the list for a healthy lawn is an application of a pre-emergent weed control just after completing a spring clean up. If your lawn tends to be spotted with yellow dandelions and crabgrass pre-emergent weed prevention is for you. Timing is everything however; so don’t get ahead of yourself before your lawn is ready.   Pre-emergent crabgrass preventer can wear off before crabgrass actually germinates if you put it down too early. Crabgrass actually germinates based on soil temperatures, generally around 56 to 64 degrees at the earliest. With the late start of spring here in the Lakes Region air temperatures in that range are just starting to take hold.

Many professionals watch for a colorful sign in the landscape as an indicator that soil temperatures are within an adequate range for crabgrass to germinate. The sunny golden yellow of forsythia in bloom is a sure sign to move forward with your pre-emergent crabgrass control application, as they will be in full bloom just prior to crabgrass germination.

Applied in spring along with your much needed spring fertilizer, pre-emergents work by stopping weeds and crabgrass before the plants have an opportunity to germinate and grow.  They work by forming a barrier over the surface where they are applied leaving the roots of established plants (such as perennials, shrubs and trees) unaffected. Be sure to keep pre-emergents away from garden beds where you may be planting seeds. You need to activate the herbicide by watering the lawn after the application. Most products call for a half-inch of irrigation (or rain) within 21 days of application.

Your lawn will grown green and healthy if it doesn’t have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. Apply a pre-emergent yourself or leave your weeds in the experienced hands of the “Lawn Enforcement Officers” at Miracle Farms. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for this service and any other lawn and landscape needs we can help with.

For the Lakes Region in NH, call us at 603-253-9292

Nice Winter We’re Having This Spring!

Here comes the snow, here comes the plow truck, here comes the sander… there goes the lawn.  Very shortly here in the beautiful Lakes R egion of NH, the snow will be gone, (fingers crossed behind my back).  That lush green lawn you tended so lovingly last year has most likely taken a beating under this long lasting carpet of white.  The longer, sunny days ahead will reawaken your lawn – The part that’s not still buried that is. Piles from plowing and shoveling cover parts of the lawn adding weeks to the time that grass has access to sunlight. You can help this process along by breaking up large piles and removing snow from the edge of driveways and walkways and placing it on the drive or walk where it will melt faster.  This will expose the grass to the sun and allow it to start warming the soil.  Removing the sand and gravel deposited by the plow allows for air circulation around the grass and stimulates plant healing.  This is most easily done with a rake and/or a backpack blower.  Adding a starter fertilizer and some “organic amendments” like good compost, or peat will give your grass a much-needed boost.

As the snow melts away you may start to see unusual pink or whitish-grey web-like spots on the grass.  This creeping crud, better known as snow mold, can cause some damage if the area stays wet and you don’t remove it.  The disease is generally only affecting the grass blade at this point.  A good spring fertilizer will help push new growth and your lawn will “outgrow” the disease. Gently rake the patches away once the grass is dry and dispose of the debris in the trash NOT in your compost pile. Give your rake a rinse as well to prevent spreading the spores around.  If damage is very visible you can apply compost or fertilizer and a little seed as well.  The good news is that snow mold fungus, for the most part, is a cosmetic issue.

Call the professional Lawn Enforcement Officers at Miracle Farms to help take care of your post-winter lawn care woes.

snowmold 2 snowmold 1