Video of the Week:
Planting Bulbs for Spring Color
December 1, 2 & 3, 2015
Kansas Expocentre, Topeka
For more information, go to http://www.kansasturfgrassfoundation.com/
Great Plains Growers Conference
January 7, 8 & 9, 2016
St. Joseph, MO
February 4, 2016
Why Late Lawn Seedings Often Fail
The problem with late plantings is not that the seed will not come up or that young grass plants are sensitive to cold. Most often, the problem is with rooting. Unless the young grass plants have a fairly extensive root system, the freezing and thawing that takes place during winter heaves plants out of the ground, and they dry out and die.
Regardless of when planted, be sure the new lawn is kept watered through the fall. More mature lawns will need less frequent watering but all should go into the winter with moist soil. (Ward Upham)
Winter Storage of Summer Bulbs
All of these plants should be dug after frost has browned the foliage. Then, allow them to dry for about a week in a shady, well-ventilated site such as a garage or tool shed. Remove any excess soil and pack them in peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite. Make sure the bulbs don’t touch so that if one decays, the rot doesn’t spread. Dusting them with fungicide before storage will help prevent them from rotting.
Caladium should be stored between 50 and 60 degrees F. The other bulbs mentioned should be stored near 40 degrees F. Finding a good spot to store the bulbs may be difficult. Some people place them against a basement wall farthest from the furnace and insulate them so the wall keeps them cool. (Ward Upham)
Nurseries and Garden Centers Marketing Initiatives Survey
Ever wonder if all the time you have spent on marketing initiatives is worth your time? Here’s an opportunity for you to get some answers about marketing efforts by participating in a research project with investigators at Kansas State University. Questions in the survey will focus on marketing practices, their effectiveness, and their economic impact. Results of the survey (available to participants who submit their email address) will benefit nurseries and garden
centers across the country by learning how to reach customers more effectively.
We invite you to participate in the survey. In addition to helping our industry, there are personal incentives (two chances to win a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate)! Click on the link below ]or copy and paste the URL above into your internet browser[ to get started (works on mobile devices as well). https://kstate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_7PXxQRJ56RxLIUt&source=002 (Cheryl Boyer)
Fall is a Good Time for Soil Testing
Begin by taking a representative sample from several locations in the garden or lawn. Each sample should contain soil from the surface to about 6 to 8 inches deep. This is most easily done with a soil sampler. Many K-State Research and Extension offices have such samplers available for checkout. If you don’t have a sampler, use a shovel to dig straight down into the soil. Then shave a small layer off the back of the hole for your sample. Mix the samples together in a clean plastic container and select about 1 to 1.5 cups of soil. This can be placed in a plastic container such as a resealable plastic bag.
Take the soil to your county extension office to have tests done for a small charge at the K-State soil-testing laboratory. A soil test determines fertility problems, not other conditions that may exist such as poor drainage, poor soil structure, soil borne diseases or insects, chemical contaminants or damage, or shade with root competition from other plants. All of these conditions may reduce plant performance but cannot be evaluated by a soil test. (Ward Upham)
Work Garden Soil in the Fall
Insects often hide in garden debris. If that debris is worked into the soil, insects will be less likely to survive the winter. Diseases are also less likely to overwinter if old plants are worked under. Also, garden debris will increase the organic matter content of the soil. Working the debris into the soil is easier if you mow the old vegetable plants several times to reduce the size of the debris.
Fall is also an excellent time to add organic matter. Not only are organic materials usually more available in the fall (leaves, rotten hay or silage, grass clippings) but fresher materials can be added in the fall than in the spring because there is more time for them to break down before planting. As a general rule, add 2 inches of organic material to the surface of the soil and till it in. Be careful not to over till. You should end up with particles the size of grape nuts or larger. If you work garden soil into the consistency of flour, you have destroyed the soil structure. (Ward Upham)
Amending Soils with Sand
This is the same principle used to make concrete and the result is somewhat the same. You end up making a bad situation worse. So how much sand does it take for it to be effective? Normally, we consider about 80 percent sand to be sufficient. In most cases this makes the use of sand impractical. The addition of organic matter is a much better choice. (Ward Upham)
Contributors: Cheryl Boyer, Nursery Specialist; Ward Upham, Extension Associate
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