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FAQs

Q. “When is the best time to put down pre-emergent?”

A. Crabgrass germination is triggered by the ground temperature in your area.  This means, in our area, that application of a pre-emerg needs to take place BEFORE the crabgrass has a chance to take off and start growing!

In our area – a good indicator for homeowners is to watch for “hints” from Mother Nature.  The easy one that has been used for years is to watch for the yellow flowered Forsynthia bush to bloom.  It is a bright yellow…… can’t miss it.  This typically blooms somewhere around April 1st-April 15th. Again, this depends on the ground temps.

Believe it or not, master gardeners have been using this Old Farmers’ Almanac trick for years!

Q. “When is the best time to cut back roses?

A. This is a question we get a lot from folks who have planted shrub roses in the Omaha/Elkhorn and metro areas.

Everyone seems confused as to when they should prune their shrub roses.  Interestingly enough……. most seem to feel it should revolve around man-made calendar dates like October 15th or April 15th!  Neither of these is technically correct.

Here’s why the timing does matter.  Pruning too soon may stimulate tender new growth during a warm spell that could be killed later by a freeze.  You NEVER want to prune shrub roses too late in the fall. This stresses the plants terribly.  Prune too late and you won’t get that great spring bloom.  You have stressed the plants!

So what is the best time to prune so you don’t cause plant stress?

MOTHER NATURE KNOWS BEST- Prune when the Forsythia begins to bloom.  In our growing region, the Forsythia is the bright “canary yellow” shrub that is one of the first to bloom. In the Omaha/Elkhorn and metro areas, it is typically on or around April 1st-April 15th in a normal year.

When you see the Forsythia bloom, it means the GROUND TEMPERATURE is warm enough to trim.  (Hint- That means its also time to put down your pre-emergent herbicide)

Nature is telling us when it’s time to prune.  The plants know.  If it’s a long winter they will bloom later.  During a short winter they bloom sooner (Like 2012).  So keep an eye out for the Forsythia and when they start to bloom it’s time to get our your sharp shears!

Q. “If a tree trunk is damaged from weather, animals, etc. is it able to be saved?”

A. This is a little bit of a loaded question.  It depends.   How severe is the wound, how deep is it, and what caused the accident?

To be honest, typically I would tell a customer “its only a matter of time” before the tree will struggle and not survive.  A majority of the time, it will be insects penetrating the tree’s vascular system, not the actual wound itself that will cause the tree to die.

The outer bark is part of the xylem and phloem vascular system that keeps the tree alive.  It would be like you and me losing an artery or vein that’s really important.  Can you survive, YES.  Will it possibly cause other “issues”… YES

Q. “When is the time to trim back my ornamental grasses?”

A. The answer is “It’s time!” Ornamental grasses are dormant right now, because they are considered a “warm season” grass.  With this in mind, the dead foliage can be removed starting about 4″ from the ground.  Make sure to wear gloves, and use a good cutting utensil because some grasses are TOUGH, and some grass blades very sharp on your hands. Have fun!

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