The master gardeners’ hotline has been busy with calls this week. Here are some of the questions they fielded:
Is it now time to prune roses?
Usually we wait until April, but with the early spring and the warm temperatures, go ahead and prune. Start by removing dead canes and small spindly branches. Go ahead and fertilize too.
How far can you cut back Knockout roses?
These bloom best if cut back some. Take them back to a size of shrub that you desire. Shearing off the top six inches or cutting them back to six inches from the ground will result in new growth and great blooming.
How do you safely remove henbit from flower beds?
Some thin lawns and flower beds have been a sea of purple flowers from henbit this spring. The herbicides that we use in lawns would also kill your flowers and shrubs, so avoid using products containing dicamba or carfentrazone (great for lawns) in your flower and shrub beds. Carefully remove the henbit by hand pulling or with a hoe. You can carefully spray open areas between plants with products containing glyphosate. Just be sure that you do not get this spray on your desired plants. The good news is that henbit is a winter annual and will die in June.
When are native grasses planted for a prairie look?
Most of the natives are warm-season grasses, so wait until early May to plant from seed. If you are using container-grown plants, they can be planted from now through July.
Can you save dead pine wood for firewood?
On trees that died in the past year, the tree should be cut down and destroyed before April 1 to keep the pine sawyer beetle from emerging and spreading the deadly pinewood nematode.
Destroy these trees by burning, burying or chipping the trunk and branches. Trees dead more than one year have already seen the beetles emerge and spread the disease, thus they are no longer a threat and can be saved for firewood.