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Frequently Asked Questions - Spring 2017

(in order from Early Spring to Late Spring)

Is this a good time to cut things back?
Some of my plants look scorched on the tips of the leaves. Should I just ignore it?
I had my garden mulched in the fall, should I re-mulch?
When and how should I fertilize?
When is the best time to divide my perennials?
I've seen daffodils blooming in my neighborhood. Can I plant those now?
Is it too soon to plant? What is the best time to plant?
What can I do to get rid of the Stink Bugs?
My crapemyrtle doesn't have any leaves yet. Is it dead?
What are the trees I see on the roadsides, in the woods with the pinkish flowers?
I want to buy some trees and plant them myself. Can you tell me how to do it?

Is this a good time to cut things back?

Late winter to early spring is the best time of year to cut back perennials, and clean up winter damaged foliage. It's also a great time to prune many plants. A general rule is to "Prune after bloom" for plants that flower in the spring. Azaleas, Rhododendron, and Pieris are just a few. Plants that bloom in the summer, such as Butterfly Bush can be pruned now. There are some anomalies such as hydrangea. Some hydrangea bloom on old wood only and will not bloom this summer if they are pruned in the spring. The best rule is to leave it alone if there is any question, and look into that particular plant.

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When is the best time to divide my perennials?

Spring is a great time to divide perennials. As they begin to break dormancy (show up), in most cases, the entire plant can be dug and divided. Some plants will pull apart easily as little separate plants. Others, such as hosta & daylilies, will have to be cut into separate plants. Just make sure that there are roots on all pieces. Any perennial that has a tight crown and tap root, usually cannot be divided. If you have questions on particular plants, just give us a call.

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Some of my plants look scorched on the tips of the leaves. Should I just ignore it?

The cold temperatures and high winds really can do a number on broadleaf evergreens by the end of March. The best thing to do is trim off the brown bits and new growth will appear as the weather warms up. Nandina are especially vulnerable to the winds, and can be pruned back quite a bit without damaging the plant. You will be amazed a how quickly they rebound!

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I had my garden mulched in the fall, should I re-mulch?

Once a year should be enough; clean up any limbs, leaves and debris, loosen the mulch with a heavy garden rake or a pitchfork, as it may be compacted from all the snow. Make sure the mulch is not piled around the trunks/stems of plants. You may want to apply some pre-emergent weed control over the mulch to keep down any seeds that may want to germinate; many weeds can be prevented this way, but weeding as you go along helps tremendously.

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When and how should I fertilize?

A good time-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote can be put down when you plant or applied to existing plants, in March. You can also use Holly-Tone for azaleas, rhododendron, hollies, and other acid loving plants. Evergreens such as Leyland cypress and Green Giant arborvitae can also be fertilized now, with food specifically targeted for evergreens.

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I've seen daffodils blooming in my neighborhood. Can I plant those now?

Unfortunately, they cannot be planted in the spring. Spring blooming bulbs must be planted by late fall, as they require an extended cold period to develop. We do, however, have a good supply of summer blooming bulbs that can be planted now, for beautiful flowers in the summer.

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Is it too soon to plant? What is the best time to plant?

Spring is a great time to plant. Usually by mid-March, the soil is warmed enough to work easily and it is more comfortable for you. A good rule of thumb for annuals and vegetables is after the last frost, usually late in April. If there is a threat of frost, cover the new plants at night. In Maryland, we generally say the time for tomatoes is around Mother's Day. The end of spring is not the end of the planting season. Warm soil in the summer help the roots to grow. It will be necessary to water your plants regularly whether planting spring, summer, or fall.

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What can I do to get rid of the Stink Bugs?

We agree that they are a nuisance. Please refer to the University of Maryland Home and Garden web site at www.hgic.umd.edu/content/BrownMarmoratedStinkBug.cfm. There is an article there with good information. We also sell traps for them in the garden center.

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My crapemyrtle doesn't have any leaves yet. Is it dead?

It's probably just fine. They are the last to leaf out, sometimes not until June. Be extremely patient. We had a mild winter, so most of the Crape Myrtles will not suffer as they have over the past two winters. Unlike many other deciduous trees, scratching a small area on the branch to see if there is green doesn't help you to determine if it is alive. You should be able to see new growth by mid-June.

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What are the trees I see on the roadsides, in the woods with the pinkish flowers?

They are probably Redbud trees. They are native trees. We have them here in several sizes.

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I want to buy some trees and plant them myself. Can you tell me how to do it?

You are in luck, just look to the left side at the top of this screen. There is a button for planting instructions. We can also give you a brochure at the time of purchase to take with you. Our knowledgeable staff can help you with any questions you have.

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