Time to start fertilizing lawn, applying crabgrass killer

Here are some questions that came my way recently.

Q: When do I fertilize my lawn and control crabgrass?

A: Now. This feeding builds up heat resistance for that lush, green appearance.

Tie your feeding with applying crabgrass killer. Your nursery sells products that have both fertilizer and crabgrass killer mixed together. Gardeners fail to follow directions and then complain crabgrass killer doesn’t work. Crabgrass herbicides create a barrier that prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating. If you rake, aerate or dig into the lawn it reduces the product’s effectiveness. Thatch also ties up the chemical, rendering it ineffective.

Q: We are moving into a rundown foreclosed home and want to relandscape with some colorful drought-tolerant plants. Where do we start?

A: Please go to the Southern Nevada Water Authority website www.snwa.com/html/land_designs.html, where you’ll find many plants under different settings that will create a color explosion in your yard.

Since you want lots of color in your yard, it will be well worth your time to visit the Springs Preserve Gardens, located at 333 S. Valley View Blvd. There are hundreds of plants on display.

Q: Every two years, I dig a trench around my vegetable garden to cut off the mulberry roots. Will those severed roots take on a life of their own?

A: Some tree roots do, especially mulberry roots. Hoe them out as they come up until you dissipate the stored energy left in the severed roots.

During the next digging, place a “root barrier” vertically in the trench and refill the trench. This barrier prevents roots entering into your garden area.

Q: Are there any perennials we can consider? I hate planting annuals two to three times a year.

A: I’ll say there is. I can’t see why more people don’t use them over the annuals. Here are some to consider: autumn sage, bearded iris, black-eyed Susan, brittle bush, bush morning glory, candytuft, mum, columbine, daylily, dusty miller, four o’clock, gaillardia, geranium, globe mallow, lantana, lavender, liriope, marguerite daisy, Mexican honeysuckle, penstemon, Peruvian verbena, potentilla, autumn joy, shasta daisy, snow-in-summer, sunray, red hot poker and rosemary. This list is from “Beginning Desert Gardening,” a booklet published by Nevada Cooperative Extension. It is loaded with tidbits for newcomers to the valley. Call at 257-5555 and for a free booklet.

Q: Why are my lemon tree’s leaves drying up and falling off?

A: It’s frost damage. Jack Frost is still lingering, so wait until the mid-March to remove the damaged wood. Right now, the damaged tissue is acting as insulation in case we get other freezes. With these frosts, don’t expect much fruit next winter. That is one reason why I hesitate to recommend citrus, but my neighbor’s loaded lemon tree makes a liar out of me often.

Q: When do I divide daylilies? They’ve been in the ground for five years and don’t bloom much.

A: Divide them every three to four years and it isn’t hard to do: Thoroughly water the surrounding soil and dig out the entire clump. This is the hard part. Using a sharp shovel, cut the clump in half. If the halves are extra large, cut them in half again. Remove the dead, tattered top growth and tidy up the clump. Work some slow-release fertilizer or compost in with the on-site soil and return a clump to its original hole. Make sure your clump is placed at the same level as you found it in the yard. Water often until established. If you have several clumps left over, give them to friends.


The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has a busy gardening calendar of events taking place. For more information, go to Morrisr@unce.unr.edu or call 257-5555.

Grape Day at Extension Orchard: This workshop is at 8 a.m. Saturday at 4700 Horse Drive in North Las Vegas to help you grow and care for grapes for both fresh and wine consumption.

Veggies and herbs available: Now is your chance to select from more than 70 varieties of locally grown vegetables and herbs transplants tested at the university orchard and by a master gardener for their high quality. They’re available Saturday, March 12 and 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orchard.

What Went Wrong in Small Place Gardening? This workshop is at 8 a.m. March 19 at 8050 S. Paradise Road. The purpose of the workshop is to help you through problems you may encounter during the growing season. With seating limited, call early.

Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at linn.mills@ springspreserve.org or call him at 822-7754.

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