Apply pre-emergent herbicide now for your summer lawns

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Cut down on weeds in your summer lawn by applying a pre-emergent herbicide now. This will prevent seed of annual weeds from germinating in the next few weeks. Pests such as crabgrass and goosegrass can easily be eliminated from your summer lawn by putting out a pre-emerge prior to their seed germination.

Read the label before applying any herbicide. Make sure that the pre-emerge you select is appropriate for use on your type of lawn. Use caution when applying any herbicide near flower beds. A pre-emergent will inhibit the germination of all seed including any sunflower or cockscomb that is directly sown into the spring or summer garden.

Leggy nandina will benefit from pruning this time of year. Cutting up to one-third of the oldest canes back will promote a more full appearance. Staggering the heights of pruned canes will help promote dense foliage from top to bottom.

Email newsletter signup

Make sure to do any pruning of nandina before flower buds are formed in early spring. Unfortunately, trimming anytime afterward will eliminate potential berries for the next holiday season.

Rose bushes may be set out now in a sunny location with well drained soil. Raised beds are perfect. With so many types of roses available there is certain to be at least one suitable for your garden. Combine shrub roses and climbers with perennials for long lasting beauty. Miniature roses are ideal for clay pots and window boxes.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service recommends that roses should be pruned each year between Feb. 20 and March 15. Begin by removing all dead or diseased canes. Follow by cutting out other weak branches and those facing inward.

Select the three to six strongest canes on hybrid teas and grandifloras. Prune these to a height of 12 to 18 inches. Floribundas are pruned in a similar fashion although canes should only be cut back between 24 and 36 inches.

Most ‘old roses’ don’t require such severe pruning methods. Light pruning should be done with the idea of maintaining the natural growth habit of each particular variety. Climbing roses should be pruned lightly after they bloom.

This is the time to prepare garden soil for early spring planting. Turn the soil over with a sharp shovel. If breaking the soil up is rather difficult this may indicate that you need to incorporate some organic material into the ground. Compost from your own garden is ideal for this situation. Peat moss, pine bark or manure are other options.

A small, well-designed tiller is another great way to break up garden soil, even in tight spots. Don’t hesitate to lift perennials from beds before tilling. Set clumps aside until you’ve raked the newly tilled soil into place.

Resetting perennials into freshly mixed soil will definitely give plants an added boost this year.

Warm afternoons are perfect for reintroducing tropical plants or houseplants to the outdoors. Set plants out in a shady area for a few hours. A thorough soaking of the soil and rinsing of the foliage will be appreciated by plants that have been cooped up indoors for too long.

Have a great gardening weekend!

Traci Maier

can be reached at