Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

April 15, 2013

PLATEAU GARDENING: Spring at last!

The springtime temperatures Plateau gardeners have been waiting for are here. By this time in our state, the sun is high enough and daylight hours are sufficiently long to sustain warmer ground and water temperatures despite a day or two with frosty air temperatures.

After 20 years of gardening in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland region, I’ve learned that after a string of six days or more in April with highs from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and overnight lows at or above 40 degrees (such as we have had), installing new plant material is much less risky. However, it is still wise to keep coverings handy to protect cold-sensitive greenery purchases should frosts be predicted.

The hanging pot of trailing pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) I got at a garden center last week is naturally cold hardy. However, the plant tag on a three-plant combo pot (Trixi mix Twinkle Star) I bought to add instant spring color at our sun room entrance calls for protection when temperatures dip below 40 degrees. I like the cheerful contrasting floral colors (bright yellow along with light- and dark-purple flowers) as well as the ease of simply popping the unit out of the purchase pot and into a planter. The mix promises to spread out (up to 24 inches high and 18 inches wide) and give season-long interest. Email MGardenerRae@frontiernet.net about your favorite garden center or nursery plant selections. 

Local University of Tennessee Extension offices and their online publication website are good places to go for free yard and garden information. Staff (and, in some locations, Master Gardener volunteers) there help residents. Bring samples and photos for diagnosis of plant problems/diseases or when you need assistance identifying a weed or insect pest and the best treatment options. They also test soil. (Call 484-6743 to learn the fee per sample). The amount of fertilizer and/or lime required to create the proper environment for the plants to be grown at that site will be included in the soil test report.

April reminders: Lawn treatment options and their timing hinge on whether your turf is a cool-season variety (fescues, Kentucky bluegrass, rye grass) or a warm-season species (Bermudagrass, Zoysia). Fertilizer should be applied when turf is actively growing. Cool-season varieties thrive at 65 to 75 degrees (in early spring and in autumn). Time has run out for cool-season spring lawn fertilization. Warm-season species grow well at temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The feeding schedule for warm-season turf is just starting. Feed that type of grass April 15, June 1, July 15 and on Sept. 1.

Broadleaf lawn weeds are now green and growing. They can be controlled with selective herbicides formulated to kill weeds while leaving grass unharmed. However, weed controls containing active ingredients 2,4,D and Dicamba can hurt very young grass seedlings. Proper watering techniques and cutting grass blades at an appropriate height (not too short) are important for maintaining a healthy lawn.

Need pruning advice? In general, pruning to control tree and shrub size and shape should be done while the plant is dormant in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts. That window of opportunity has passed for many species. Exceptions are trees and shrubs that blossom once each season in springtime. To avoid loss of flowers when these specimens are pruned earlier, homeowners may opt to trim them right after blossoms fade, instead. The booklet “PB1619 Best Management Practices for Pruning Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Ground Covers” is a comprehensive guide available online at utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1619.pdf.

• • •

Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region. Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) for answers to horticulture questions, free publications and how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae, MGardenerRae@frontiernet.net.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seniors honor Drasal for service

    The 127 Senor Center members gathered Friday, April 4, with goodies and chit chat and welcomed some members who returned from their operations, winter excursions and other illness. The members played dominos and bingo, with Arlene Simmons calling the numbers.

    April 8, 2014

  • Marriage licenses (Published April 9, 2014)

    April 8, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide