Harvey County

Tag: Horticulture

Why do weeds invade your lawn!

Weeds are opportunist! Meaning they grow when the conditions (opportunity) is right for them. Too dry, too wet, poor soil drainage, compacted soil, temperature, etcetera, weeds will find a way! Why do weeds invade your lawn?

Improper mowing.
Mowing too low and too infrequently thins the turf, allowing weeds to get started.

Improper watering.
Frequent watering encourages weed seed germination, disease, thatch, and a shallow-rooted turf that is less competitive with weeds for soil moisture and nutrients. Continue reading “Why do weeds invade your lawn!”

Beet/Swiss Chard

Beets, beets, beets!  We ate lots of beets growing up because dad grew them and mom canned them!  I still do like them and grow them each year mainly to eat in salads.  Beets are a popular vegetable and can be grown as a spring or fall crop in Kansas.

Tops can be used as a cooked green rich in vitamin A, and roots are a good source of vitamin C. Roots may be canned or pickled and are served diced, sliced, whole, and in strips. Beet juice is the basic ingredient of borscht. Swiss chard is a close relative of the beet and produces foliage rather than an enlarged root. Nutritional value and uses are similar to those for beets. Continue reading “Beet/Swiss Chard”

Strawberries

There is nothing like fresh fruit from your own backyard!  If you have a little bit of space, you should try to raise strawberries to eat yourself and share with the neighbors.  Of course, if you are growing them your will have to take care of them.  This includes fertilizing at the right time for optimum production.   I have written many soil test recommendations over the years and have found that basically most garden soils in Harvey County have adequate levels of all nutrients other than nitrogen IF the area has been fertilized in the past.

However, it is recommended that a soil test be done to be sure of the nutrient needs of your fruit planting. If the soil test recommends phosphorus and potassium, use a 10-10-10 fertilizer instead of what is recommended below but triple the rate. For example, instead of ½ cup per 10 feet of row, use 1.5 cups per 10 feet of row. Continue reading “Strawberries”

Trees and Drought

I hope to never see summers like 2011 and 2012.  Dry and hot!  These conditions are not good for any living plant of any kind.  Drought is a common occurrence affecting the health of trees in south-central Kansas. Property owners who notice wilting and scorched leaves (below) may wonder if trees will survive. Drought alone rarely kills well-established trees. But effects of extended drought, combined with other stressors, can be serious and irreversible. Lack of water limits a tree’s ability to absorb nutrients, weakens natural defenses and leaves it vulnerable to heat, cold, insects, and pathogens. In some cases, the tree may die.

All trees have natural protection from ordinary seasonal drought, and some species are known for their ability to withstand severe, prolonged drought conditions. Even for trees that are not particularly drought-tolerant, a healthy and robust root system is remarkably efficient at extracting soil moisture for survival. Problems arise when the root system is compromised by poor soil quality, inadequate soil volume or compaction, or paved surfaces. Poor horticultural practices render even the most drought-tolerant tree helpless when soil moisture is insufficient. It is impossible to control the weather, but you can drought-proof your landscape by following good horticultural practices when selecting your next tree. Continue reading “Trees and Drought”

Weeds are Opportunist

Weeds are opportunist!  They grow when the conditions are just right for them to germinate and thrive.  Some germinate in cool weather some in warm weather.  Some weeds just grow no matter what, period.  The plant with the little purple flowers that have been showing up in home lawns is called henbit. If you are not sure this is what you have, check the stems. If they are square rather than round, you have henbit. A plant that also is low growing but has round stems and tiny white flowers is chickweed.

Both these plants are winter annuals and start to grow in the fall. They spend the winter as small plants and so most people do not pay much attention to them until they start to flower in the spring. Trying to kill either one at this late stage with a herbicide usually is a waste of time and money. Though plants may be burned back, they will rarely be killed. So what should you do?

Remember, these are winter annuals that will die as soon as the weather turns hot. Keep the lawn mowed until nature takes its course. However, you can do something next fall that will help next spring. Henbit and chickweed usually germinate about mid-October. Spraying with 2,4-D, Weed-B-Gon, Weed Free Zone, Weed Out, or Trimec in late October to early November can go a long way toward eliminating these plants as they are small and relatively easy to control. Choose a day that is at least 50 degrees F so the young plants are actively growing and will take up the chemical.

Spot treating will probably be needed in the spring (March) to catch the few plants that germinate late. Use Weed Free Zone, Speed Zone, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon, Trimec, or one of the special henbit herbicides early in the spring before they have put on much growth.

Grant Writing Workshop

Harvey County, Kansas:  This column is not about trees, shrubs or vegetables, but it could be!  If you would like to start a project but need funding this may be a great way to learn how to find funds.  Strengthening communities: Grant writing workshop planned.

Do you know how that community garden was started or how the playground equipment at the park down the street was purchased? Or the new sign leading visitors to a local landmark? How about initial money for a festival? In any community, chances are that someone, or a group of individuals, wrote a grant proposal and received funding to help with the project.

Individuals and community groups can learn more about writing successful grant proposals at a workshop planned in Newton on April 17, 2018. The workshop is presented by Nancy Daniels, a community vitality specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the author of many grant proposals. The training will be at the Harvey County Courthouse Community Room from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes lunch. The cost to attend is $30.00.  You must register to attend this workshop. Continue reading “Grant Writing Workshop”

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