Not too late to plant perennials for next year


Q. Could I still plant perennials now even though it is late?

A. Absolutely. Keep them watered well, and next year you will be glad you did!

Q. We bought some mums a couple of weeks ago and planted them. They had flower buds on at that time and the lady showed us how to pinch them off. Now they have more buds. How long should we keep pinching them off?

A. Mums are planted mostly for their fall show. If they are allowed to bloom sooner, they don't flower much then in the fall when you really want them. Keep pinching flower buds as they appear until the middle of July.


Q. We planted potatoes last spring and they are doing well. How soon can we start digging some?

A. You can start enjoying potatoes as soon as there are potatoes the size of a nickel under them. When you start seeing the first blossoms dig up a hill and see what is under it. If there is not much there, wait another couple of weeks and try again.

Q. You have recommended pruning Mugho pine in June, cutting the new growth (candles) about in half. The new growth on the ones we planted last year is about six inches long now. If we removed one-half that it will let them grow only about three inches. We would like to see them get larger a little quicker than that. Could we just let them go for a few years and then start pruning?

A. Yes, you could, but remember you cannot make a 4-foot evergreen into a 2-foot evergreen. Better to prune each year to keep your Mugho tight, full, and attractive each and every year even if they are a little smaller than you would like. You will enjoy them for many more years that way.

Q. Hey, I caught a mole -- I actually caught one!! I put him back down in the tunnel as you suggested and stepped down all the tunnels and have not seen any more activity since. And, you are right again -- it is a great feeling. Will they come into my yard again?

A. I am glad you had good luck. Others might now move into your yard or maybe not. Only time will tell. But, likely you will sleep better knowing that if they do, you have confidence now that you can catch them!

Keith Stangler has 36 years experience as a horticulturist. For comment or questions call (507) 285-7739 or (800) 562-1758.

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