Be thoughtful when choosing herbicides

This time of year, I look forward to gardening again, but I dread spring weed growth. Many people elect to apply herbicides to prevent weed growth. It is important to understand the difference between preemergence herbicides, post-emergence herbicides and soil sterilants. Preemergence herbicides kill germinating seeds. These products are applied …

Choosing seeds for next spring

The holidays are over. Now your mailbox is full of seed catalogs, and your local nursery is displaying racks and racks of seeds. It’s time to start planning the garden for next spring! But the seed packets and catalogs have terms you’ve never heard of before. What do the terms …

Mistakes to avoid when applying preemergence herbicides

Fall is a good time to get a head start on weed control by applying preemergence herbicides. Herbicides are chemicals that kill plants. Preemergence herbicides target plant seeds, providing a chemical barrier. As the seeds begin to sprout, they encounter this chemical barrier, and cell division in the young root …

Fall is great for adding organic matter to your garden

Many of us add compost and till our vegetable garden beds in the spring. This is a time-honored practice. But did you know fall is also an excellent time to add organic matter? Soils are made up of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. Good, productive soils contain 5 percent …

Protect your vegetable garden from contamination

Reports of food-borne illnesses are increasingly frequent in the news. Most foodborne illnesses are caused by consuming raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated by pathogens. Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses. Many people do not realize that home gardens are not free from pathogens. Many fruits …

Don’t apply pesticides in the heat of summer

A client recently came into the Master Gardener office with a problem in his landscape. He noticed that the lower branches of several trees bordering his lawn were showing damage. The leaves were curling and the margins of the leaves looked burnt. He wondered what disease was causing this damage. …

Spurges and pigweeds are problem weeds right now

You diligently pulled all those early spring weeds and your landscape was looking pretty nice. But where did all these new weeds come from? Now is the time of year when the summer annual weeds can become a real nuisance. The seeds of these weeds were waiting for the soil …

Beneficial insects in the vegetable garden: your free workforce

The vegetable garden is planted and growing well, and you are starting to scout for insect pests. While you’re scouting for pests, scout for beneficial insects too. Many people think all insects are bad, but the truth is, less than 1 percent of insects are pests. Most insects don’t harm …

Start scouting now for spring weeds

So far, we’ve had a mild, dry winter. Just a little rain or snow and a little increase in temperature could help initiate weed growth. This time last year, the wet weather gave us a bumper crop of weeds. If last year’s weed crop got away from you and produced …

Got ground squirrels? Here are ways to get rid of them

Next Friday, Feb. 2, is Groundhog Day. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t see its shadow, then there will be an early spring. Do we have groundhogs, also known as …