Spring planting can be highly successful. Start with a top-quality seed mix that contains at least 50% of Kentucky bluegrass varieties, and delay planting until soil temperatures warm to above 50 degrees. The first half of May is a good window for lawn seeding.

Better way to beat the weeds

Granular weed-and-feed products that combine fertilizer and herbicide are often not the most effective for either fertilizing or weed control. Most research universities strongly recommend alternative methods, instead of applying these granules. The large number of emails about disappointing weed-and-feed results suggests an alternative.

Why does my lawn look crummy?

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What’s your lawn philosophy? Do you meticulously groom and coddle each grass blade to perfection? Or maybe you only mow the lawn when searching where you left the wheelbarrow. Many of us are somewhere between the two.

Peonies hold the record for being the longest-lived perennial flower in the region. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Peonies hold the record for being the longest-lived perennial flower in the region. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Tips to help peonies

Although it takes peonies about four years from the time of planting until they yield a nice display of flowers, they can last a lifetime. Peonies hold the record for being the longest-lived perennial flower in the region, with century-old plants still blooming profusely on homesteads planted by area pioneers.

Make sure your flowers look their best

Perennials are delightful, and form the backbone of most homeyard flower gardens. Many are flexible enough to use in landscapes mingled with shrubs, in combinations with annual flowers or in beds strictly devoted to perennial types. Here are 14 age-old tips for success with perennial flowers.

Your lawn care calendar

Besides a good lawn mower, a healthy lawn depends on proper timing of tasks like fertilizing, watering and weed control. The when is as important as the how. Lawn maintenance should match seasonal cycles to mesh with the grass’s natural rhythm. A month-by-month lawn calendar will give you the best lawn.

Spring cleaning for perennials

Many perennials can be divided or moved in spring. As a rule of thumb, perennials that bloom after July 1, such as tall garden phlox, hosta, chrysanthemum and monarda, can be divided or moved in spring. Perennials that bloom from early spring through late June are best delayed until late summer or fall for dividing or moving, including peonies, iris and bleeding heart. Daylilies and true lilies can be divided in spring or fall, although fall is preferred.

Hoeing weeds when small is a key to control. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Hoeing weeds when small is a key to control. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Conquering weeds

Weeds can take the fun out of gardening, if we let them get the upper hand in our vegetable gardens, landscapes and flower beds. But we can win the war on weeds, and these 15 tips can help.

Crabgrass is coming

Crabgrass, besides emerging later, tends to be yellow-green, lays flatter and less upright and produces a three-pronged seedhead, nicknamed a “goosefoot” seed structure. Because its seed doesn’t sprout in spring until soil temperatures warm to above 50 degrees, crabgrass doesn’t appear in lawns until late spring or early summer.

How to repair a thin lawn

When a lawn isn’t thick and uniform, the problem is often random bare spots or a thin, lackluster turf across the whole lawn. We can repair each with separate approaches.



If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler, NDSU Extension-Cass County, at donald.kinzler@ndsu.edu. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.