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Growin’ Green

February – Valentines And Weed Control

By Brent Gray

February is always a busy month of celebrating special events such as Ground Hog Day, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and in my case, my wife’s birthday as well. Special event days can also be great reminder dates for some specific lawn chores too.
For effective  lawn weed management, February is also the month to take action in controlling existing winter weeds such as clovers, lawn burweed, wild garlic, henbit,  chickweed, etc. with post emerge herbicides. Also, it is the month for applying pre-emerge herbicides to prevent annual weeds such as crabgrass, goose grass, spurges, etc. from infesting the lawn through spring and summer.
Pre-emerge herbicides must be applied prior to weed seed germination, therefore, the Super Bowl should be a reminder to get your pre-emerge herbicide purchased and Valentine Day generally provides the perfect timing for applying it. This is also an ideal time to apply post-emerge herbicides since most warm-season turf species are somewhat dormant and less likely to be injured by the herbicides. The winter weeds are actively growing, and have not been mowed so there is ample leaf area to absorb the herbicides for effective control.  Some efficiency can also be gained since the pre-emerge and post-emerge herbicides can be applied in the same application at this time.
With any pesticide you should always READ THE LABEL carefully and completely before applying. The herbicide label will provide a list of where it can safely be applied and the weed species the active ingredient will control and at what rate.
For more detailed information on specific weeds and herbicides for turf applications refer to the turf section of Extension publication #1532 “Weed Control Guidelines for Mississippi” which can be downloaded from the web.
Still working on your New Year’s resolutions list?  Don’t forget to include one of the most important resolutions—spend more time in the garden!  The health benefits really go without saying. Garden activities like pruning, digging, raking, hoeing, will all help you stay fit. To make the activity easier and less tiresome, make sure you have all the right tools to best fit the job and your needs.  Working in the garden will also help you shed any unwanted pounds that accumulated during the holiday feasting.

Enjoy The View
I can just about guarantee that spending time in the garden will raise your spirits as well. Physical activity is good, but do take time to relax and sit on that garden bench, preferably with a loved one, and enjoy the view. We all seem to live faster these days and quiet time becomes even more important to recharge our batteries and clear our minds. I can’t think of a better place to do than sitting in a garden.  
A fun way to start out the New Year is to keep a garden journal of daily or weekly activities and observations.  Besides being fun for you, it will provide a valuable reference for planning next year’s garden.
If you haven’t been feeding the birds, it’s never too late to start.  Set out your feeder this month, keeping it well-stocked and clean.  You’ll have a parade of migratory birds passing through your garden all spring.
If the ground becomes dry around your evergreens and severe cold weather is forecast, water thoroughly before the ground freezes. The roots are not able to take up moisture when the soil is frozen.
Schemes for having the first ripe tomato in the neighborhood are always entertaining and frequently successful. Regardless of the method of keeping the plant and flowers warm the key temperature to remember is fifty five degrees  F or about twelve degrees C. Temperatures below that number do not support rapid growth of the plant nor allow successful pollen germination and will not produce good fruit. Most successful schemes involve using transplants in protective structures. The easiest is to put the normal tomato cage around the transplant and cover the cage with kitchen plastic wrap.  Water filled transparent containers placed around the plant serve as a heat reservoir. The commercialized form is called Walls o’ Water.  
Cold frames, row covers, and clear or black plastic mulch are all used to maintain higher temperatures to keep the plant growing. One problem with protective structures is too much heat can damage the plant. Sunny days may mean temporarily removing the structure. All of these will work and you may have tomatoes two or three weeks earlier than your neighbors who just wait for warmer temperatures and transplant  into bare soil. 
January has been a wet month. Composting is slow in cold, wet months. You should take the next sunny afternoon and poke a hole into your compost pile  to feel if it is warm. three weeks earlier than your neighbors who just wait for warmer temperatures and transplant  into bare soil.
January has been a wet month. Composting is slow in cold, wet months. You should take the next sunny afternoon and poke a hole into your compost pile to feel if it is warm.

Horticulture Tips – Wayne Wells, Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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