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Transplanting questions are common in the Spring, especially on iris, peonies, rhubarb and asparagus. Spring is an excellent time to transplant, divide or start new asparagus beds, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb; however, it is about the worst time to transplant peonies. Peonies and iris are just beginning to grow and peonies have especially brittle shoots that can easily be broken during transplanting. Delay moving your iris, until after they have bloomed, generally around the first of August. Peonies are best moved in late August to mid-September. If iris or peonies have to be moved this Spring, you can, but will suffer a lot more damage at this time of year. If you have iris roots that have not broken, you can plant them at this time.

Fixing Dog Urine Spots in Lawns:
If dog urine spots are showing up in the lawns, here is what to do. The spots happen when the dog urinates in one spot and the salts in the urine kill the grass. To get rid of the spots, heavily water those spots to leach out the salts in the soil. Then if the spot is larger than 6", you will want to dig that spot up and reseed it. If it is smaller than 6" you can leave it and it might fill in by itself or you can dig it and also replant it. You can also purchase a Dog Patch product for quick repair also. After you get it re-seeded, fertilize your lawn so that you will not get the dark green ring from the nitrates that were in the urine.

Dandelions will be showing up this Spring. If you see a few this early Spring with some warm temperatures, the flower should be taking off. As the temperatures warm up, be watching to make sure you spray them at the right stage. You want to spray or use a Weed and Feed product in the rosette stage. As the dandelion starts to bloom it becomes much tougher to control. Controlling these pesky weeds is not too difficult. There are liquid sprays that will do a very good job. Those sprays will contain 2, 4-D and dicamba mixture. You can also use the Weed and Feed granular to help control them. This must be put on when there is dew so that the granular will stay on the leaves, as the plant must absorb the chemical for it to be effective. Once the dandelions are with us, you will get better treatment the earlier you can control them. However, the temperatures need to warm up. Fall treatment is still the best as far as control is concerned. Good fall treatment will mean a smaller spring problem.

Fire blight:
When the temperatures warm, be watching for this as it can kill an apple tree if
let go for a couple of years. The symptoms are your leaves at the end of the
branch start to turn brown and the bark becomes discolored or turns black or
dark. It is important that you get this pruned out as quickly as possible or it
will continue to move down the branch. When pruning, you will want to prune
out at least 8 inches below the infection and then disinfect your pruning
tool between each cut to keep from spreading it. Dip the pruning tool into
a 10% Clorox solution between cuts and when you're done, rinse the tool as
Clorox will corrode. Be watching for this because if you leave it go, it will
take the whole tree. Prune out as quickly as you see it.

Anthracnose in Ash and Maple Trees:
The symptoms of the disease are large, irregular, and tan to brown lesions on the leaves, especially along the margins. The leaves may also become distorted. The one symptom that most see is the premature dropping of the green leaves. In some cases it looks as though fall has come early. Sometimes the entire tree is affected, other times only the lower 2/3's of the canopy. This disease "pops" every time we experience a cool, wet spring. The recommended treatment is (chlorothalonil) applied when the leaves begin to expand and then two more treatments spaced 10 days apart. Defoliation, while alarming in appearance, will not harm healthy trees. As the temperatures start to warm-up, the leaf drop will start to slow down. You can spray for it now, which will help, but it won't stop the leaf drop that has already been infected. Spraying now can stop it from
going further, but it won't cure what has been infected. As temperatures
warm up, it will slow down.
Mulching the Garden:
Usually in June, we will be mulching our gardens and flower beds to keep them cooler and help keep the weeds out. However, keep the mulch off the gardens for a while until the soil temperatures get warmer. You need some warmer soil temperatures to get good root growth and to help with the growth of warmer season plants. Once we can get and sustain some warm temperatures, the soils will warm up, and then you can mulch your gardens and flower beds. There are several advantages to mulching. First, it will help hold the moisture in the soil for a more consistent profile. Second, it will help control most of the weeds that you may have had trouble with in the past. Third, it will help with some of the diseases that will splash up from the soil and on to the plants during watering and rain. This is especially true when you are talking about Septoria Leaf Spot on tomatoes. It may not stop it, but it can help reduce the problem. One problem, however, if you have had problems with slugs, they like the residue as it gives them a place to hide during the hot days of summer. By mulching you keep the soil moisture and temperature at a more consistent level. You will have less Blossom End rot on the first tomatoes that you want to harvest.
How to control apple scab:
Apple scab attacks apples and crabapple. The best treatment is to apply Captan
when the buds are just beginning to expand, which is called bud break or green tip. There should be less than 1/2” of the new leaves showing. Continue with 2-3 more applications at 10-14-day intervals.
Apple Maggot:
The maggot will normally come from the soil as it turns into a fly towards the end of June, and could start to infect the apples that are forming. The question is, "Should I treat for them and what are my alternatives"? First of all, if you are going to treat for them with a commercial sprayer, it could get very expensive. You must start to treat them as the fly starts to emerge in late June and treat them every 7 to 10 days through August. If you would miss one spraying, that could be the time that some of your apples will become infected.
One method that I have found is to get a round styrofoam ball or other round object, paint it red, cover with some clear wrap and smear it with Tanglefoot (which is a sticky substance). It is good to cover the sphere shaped object with some type of clear wrap so that you can change the Tanglefoot occasionally. When you use this method, check it every day to see if there are any tiny flies on it, which is what the Apple Maggot is. By hanging one in each tree, you can tell when to spray. If you hang about five in each tree, many times this will take care of spraying, but it is not 100 percent foolproof. But when you’re dealing with this pest, nothing is foolproof. The other method besides a chemical treatment is hanging a gallon jug in the tree with vinegar, molasses, banana peels and whatever else you want to put in it. This will draw every moth and fly in the neighborhood and will collect a lot of different insects. This is non-selective and will also catch many of the beneficial insects as well. How well this works is difficult to say. Different varieties of apples are
affected differently. Some varieties seem to pull the maggot flies in, while
it doesn't seem to bother another tree in the same yard. Whatever the case or
whatever the method that you use, keep the apples that fall off the tree picked up. Most of the time when an apple falls off it is infected with the
maggot. This maggot will then crawl out of the apple. It will over-winter, go into the soil and will emerge as a fly next summer.

We will be seeing them in the yards late Spring. There isn't anything you can do to rid of the mushrooms without taking out what is causing them. Usually it is either a tree trunk or some organic matter that is down lower in the ground. You may have to dig everything out down to 4 feet or sometimes even deeper to get rid of your problem. Its best to rake them off and as the temperatures warm up and things dry up, you will not have the problem.

Planting Roses:
Many times we have trouble getting roses to survive on the North or West side of the houses. This method might be worth trying as how you plant roses is vitally important for winter survival. Dig a hole large enough to hold the entire root system of wither the bare root or potted plants are not crowded and deep enough so the graft (a distinct knobby joint on the stem between the branches and root) is 1 ½ to 2 inches below the soil surface. Plant at this depth is very important in cold climates like South Dakota. However, DO NOT use this rule when planting trees as you want the graft 1 ½ inches above the ground with those.

Protecting Roses For Winter:
You need to protect your roses from the winter temperatures, temperature fluctuations and winter winds. The most important thing to protecting roses is what you have already done in the growing season- keeping them healthy. Roses that have been sprayed for disease control, properly nourished and watered are more likely to escape winter injury. After the first frost, thoroughly water the soil around the roses. Once the ground freezes, roses have to fend for themselves. For sanitation, remove all fallen rose leaves to prevent disease and insects from over wintering.

Once the leaves have dropped and before the ground is completely frozen, mound 8 to 10 inches of compost or soil (not clay) around the crown of the plant to protect the roots. Do not use soil from around the rose bush as mulch, bring in additional soil. Using soil next to the rose plant could expose and /or disturb the roots.

After Christmas, place twiggy bough from your Christmas tree over the top of bushes to aid in snow accumulation and air circulation. In a mild winter, you could also encircle the rose bush with chicken wire and stuff the cage with dried grass clippings leaves or mulch. Waiting until this time to add additional mulch will minimize the chances of mice using the mulch as a home.

If you feel better using a commercial Styrofoam cone, use it with an open top only. Put the cones in place when the roses are completely dormant which is usually after Thanksgiving or two hard freezes. Tie the canes together, slip the cone over the rosebush and fill the open topped cone with mulch of corncobs, leaves, straw or perlite. Cut the tops of the canes even with the cone top.

Although winterizing your roses seems like a lot of work, just think about next spring and summer when you can enjoy the beauty of the roses.

Planting Trees:
Spring is a great time to be planting trees wether it is a potted tree or a bare root tree. When you plant a tree, make sure you do not plant them to deep. There is a knob on the lower trunk where they grafted the tree on the root. Find this area and keep it around an 1 ½ above the ground level. Many trees die because they are planted too deep. Be sure to compensate for settling.

When planting a bare root tree, dig the hole big enough so that you do not have to wrap the roots around the hole. This can cause a problem about 10-15 years down the road. If you have a long root that will not fit in the hole you can clip it off and not injure the tree. Do not pack the dirt, but fill the hole about 1/3 to ½ full of dirt and run some water in the hole so that the dirt will fill in any gaps between the roots. Put some more dirt in it and do the same until the hole is filled. If you are in a windy area, you may want to stake the tree, but don't stake it too tight so there is no movement. By giving the tree some movement, it will encourage it to root and anchor itself quicker. Be sure to keep the roots wet when planting, as letting them lay in the sun on a 70 degree day for several minutes can kill some roots. Keep them in the shade, wet and covered until you plant.

Septoria Leaf Spot:
Be watching the tomatoes for Septoria Leaf Spot. Unmulched soil favors the establishment and spread of the disease. The fungi over winters on infected plant debris in the soil from previous years. Splashing water on the soil throws the spores up onto lower leaves where it forms small dark circular spots on the leaves that may increase in size or merge to cover large areas of the leaves. The leaves will then turn yellowish. It keeps moving up the plant until the whole plant turns brown and dies, unless something is done. When you see this starting, pick the leaves that are affected and destroy them. Disease spread may be rapid in wet weather. Mulching the tomatoes to keep the spores from splashing on the leaves and staking the tomatoes to allow air movement between the tomatoes will help prevent the disease.

Also, do not water over the top of the plants, as you will have more of a problem, It is important to keep the leaves as dry as you can to keep the disease out. If you do find it on the plants in the early stages, removal of the infected leaves and treatment with Daconil (chlorothalonil) is effective. More that one treatment may be necessary.

Leaf Gall:
Galls are caused by the feeding or egg- laying activity of insects and mites. These galls are little growths that are growing on the leaves of several different trees. The small bumps, are often in colors ranging from green to red to black. Maples will have maple bladder gall where they are all different colors. Hackberry has a green nipple gall that you can notice as well as on other trees. There is nothing you can do with them now as they are psyllids and do very little damage to the tree. Control is not necessary; they just don't look very well. The tree will survive. Even raking up fallen leaves does nothing to reduce the population because by the time the leave shave drop, the adults are already gone.

Chlorosis on Birch and Maple:
Chlorosis is due to a microelement deficiency is also common on silver maples. Symptoms are yellowing of leaf tissue in between the veins. Many times some of the yellow leaves will fall off. The new leaves are usually more affected than the older ones. Deficiency of iron is the most common cause for chlorosis. Though manganese can also be a problem in states further east. The problem is not the lack of iron in an insoluble form so the tree can not utilize it. It happens on too high of pH soils. Merely adding iron will not help instead use a chelated (key-late- ed) iron after Labor Day when the weather cools and precipitation usually returns. You will not see any benefit from the application this year but next spring the leaves should appear green and remain so for several years before the treatment needs to be applied again.

Blossom End Rot-Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants:
This is when your tomatoes get the dry rot on the bottom of the fruit. It is very frustrating as it usually happens on the first fruit. It will get better as the year goes on. This is not a disease but a disorder caused by calcium deficiency brought on by fluctuations in soil moisture stress. Excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium) and root pruning (when you cultivate around your plants) may also contribute to blossom end rot. Blossom end rot can be minimized by: keeping plants uniformly supplied with water avoid wide cycles of wet and dry. Try not to water everyday. But instead every few days. If the top couple inches aren't drying out, you are watering too often. Use mulch as this will help provide a more uniform moisture supply. This will also help to keep the temperatures in the soil more form also.

By minimizing excessive nitrogen fertilization, planting indeterminate varieties (those that produce fruit throughout the season rather than in a short flush) typically have less of a problem with blossom end rot because they have less water demand in a short period of time and protecting the roots from injury by avoiding cultivating too close to the plant. Usually the first tomatoes will be worse than those that follow. So there should be less showing.

Rabbits feeding on Bark:
In Spring homeowners are noticing rabbit feeding damage on their trees now that the snow is melting. The general rule-of-thumb is that if more than 2/3's of the bark has been removed from around the lower stem, that stem will die since food produced by the leaves will not be able to reach the roots. If the damage is less than 1/3 the way around, most likely the tree will survive. A good reminder is to not remove your winter protection from rabbits, wraps and trunk tubes, as rabbits will still feed on young stems until the grass begins to green and other vegetation is available (such as your garden). However, once the weather warms and plants begin to grow, the trunk tubes and wrap must be removed to prevent damaging the stems.

Pruning Trees:
Early Spring is the time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs. The best time to prune them this spring is prior to leafing out. It is better if you can get them done prior to bud swelling. The trees or shrub uses most of their stored energy to leaf out. If you prune the trees after they have leafed out, it will be more difficult for the tree to re-supply its food source because of the reduced leaf area. So by pruning them prior to leafing, the plant will not have to expend that extra energy and will be able to put it back into the plant. When making the cut, cut at the collar which is the raised area by the branch or trunk. You do not need to put a sealer or coat over the cut if cut at the collar, because it will heal itself. They have found that in many cases, decay will be worse by sealing the cut. Fruit trees can also be trimmed now, but again it must be before the leaf buds open. So sharpen up the shears and enjoy.

Seeding Lawns:
When the soil temperatures warm up, you will be able to start seeding new lawns if you are planning on putting them in this spring. We usually recommend some time between April 15 and May 15. Planting between these times will allow the grasses to get enough roots to help them survive the usual hot, windy temperatures of mid-June and early July. You should be seeding about 3 pounds of grass seed per 1000 square feet.

When seeding, you want a very firm seedbed. The firmer the seedbed is the better soil to seed contact. This is important for two reasons: First, the grass seed is very small and there is very little surface area and it needs to be in contact with as many soil particles as possible to germinate. The second is there are three things that make up soils- solids, water and air. By having your soil firm, you will reduce the amount of air in the soil, which will give you a better soil to seed contact and will also keep the soil from drying out as quickly. It is important to keep the seed as wet as long and often as you can as it germinates. Seeds do not have an enormous amount of energy in them so it is important that you can get them out of the soil and get them rooted as soon as possible. Just make sure you don't pack it too hard so that the roots won't have a tough time penetrating it.

With firm soil, it also limits the depth that you can put your seed. You only want your grass seed to be ¼ of an inch deep. The most common reason that the seed doesn't grow is because it is too deep or the soil is too loose. After the grass is seeded, keep it wet. You should water it twice a day if possible, so you may want to wait a while until you can get your sprinkler systems turned on. If you don't have one, you can seed as soon as the conditions allow taking advantage of the rains we get.

Control the weeds prior to planting as much as possible. Using a Roundup solution is that you need the weeds up and growing. Right now, if you have brome or quack grass in the area that you want your lawn, wait until they get a little more growth and spray them with a Roundup solution. Leave it for 5 to 7 days before digging. If you are not planning on doing any digging, spray it and let it set for a couple of days and seed right into it. Roundup has no soil residual.

Lawn Renovation:
Lawn renovation time is August 15 to September 15 is considered the best time of year to start a new lawn or renovate an old one by either seeding or sodding. The first step is to kill existing vegetation. One the easiest ways to do this is to use a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate, sold as RoundUp and a number of other trade names. Follow label instructions for treatment recommendations. The old grass and weeds should be actively growing and have several inches. Do not mow for a couple weeks to encourage more growth. If a soil test has not been done in the area for several years, now is also a great time to gain some important information that could allow you to correct a problem that could cause reduced grass establishment or stand in the future. Once the old vegetation has been killed, you are ready to begin reworking the soil and adding any amendments that may have been recommended from the soil analysis. Be sure to select an appropriate lawn grass or mixture for your yard. Make sure to get good seed to soil contact when seeding. Be prepared to supply supplemental irrigation during establishment, keeping the seedbed moist for at least 3 weeks.

White Grubs in the Lawn:
White grubs can be showing up in some lawns this summer so you may want to keep an eye on that. If you find some small brown spots in the lawn this could be your culprit. If you have them you should be able to pull up the brown grass, as the grub will have cut off the roots just under the ground. This may not always be the case if you are watering as some of the roots may still be trying to root down. You should be able to find some of the grubs under the soil if you dig down or your lawn in search of the grubs. The grubs are large white larva with a brown head. If you have some grubs, get an insecticide that has grubs on the label and after you put them on, water it in to do the best job. There are several pesticides out there, all work good. Just follow the label directions.

If you see that something was digging small round holes in the lawn which is probably a raccoon or there have been some lawns getting ripped up which looks like you could have rotor-tilled it, this is probably a skunk. Whichever it is, the culprit is trying to get the grubs. So treating to get rid of the grubs will reduce those problems.

Powdery Mildew:
It has been seen on lilac, dogwoods and other susceptible plants. This fungal disease most commonly infects plants that are growing in shady and humid areas and is more severe in situations where plants are closely spaced and overcrowded. The disease causes a whitish powdery growth on the leaves and stems. Later, tiny black spots may be seen in the white areas. Improve air circulation and thin cover grown plants to reduce the problem. Most ornamental plants can be treated with a fungicide for control. As it gets drier we should see less of this, however, if your sprinkler system gets on some of these shrubs that are protected or shaded and will stay wet for an extended period of time, you could still get it if the hotter drier weather is here.