Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
How do I manage annual weeds?
Answer:

Annual weeds grow rapidly, flower, set seed and die in a single season. New annual weeds, such as crabgrass, velvetleaf, purslane, knotweed, lambsquarter and foxtail, germinate from seeds each year. Before they die, most annual weeds produce...

Question:
How can flame weeding be used to control weeds?
Answer:

Flame weeding is the use of intense heat, usually produced by a propane torch or other fuel-burning device, to kill weeds.  This organic option for weeding causes the water and sap inside the plant cell to boil and expand rupturing the cell...

Question:
Can I manage weeds with boiling water?
Answer:

Pouring boiling water on weeds can be used especially in situations where other plants are not nearby, such as in cracks in patios or sidewalks.   Boiling water will act as a contact "herbicide", killing only the portion of the plant it...

Question:
Can I replant a new tree in the same spot after an old tree has been removed?
Answer:

A new planting site is best for any new tree. 

The site of a removed tree is not ideal for planting a new tree

While planting a new tree in the exact same spot as a tree that was removed is possible, it is not advised. ...

Question:
How do I know if a plant is a weed?
Answer:

A weed is simply a plant out of place.   By this definition, any plant could be a weed if growing in a location where it is not wanted.  

There are some species of plants, such as thistle and poison ivy, that are rarely...

Question:
What do I do with early spring planted cool-season annuals when summer arrives?
Answer:

Cool-season annuals are annual plants that prefer cool temperatures, growing best in spring or fall. Many are tolerant of a light frost often surviving down to 28°F or sometimes even 25°F with little damage to flowers or leaves.

Since...

Question:
Certain cool-season annuals, like mums, are also sometimes grown as perennials. Can I expect these plants to come back year after year?
Answer:

Cool-season annuals are annual plants that prefer cool temperatures, growing best in spring or fall. Many are tolerant of a light frost often surviving down to 28°F or sometimes even 25°F with little damage to flowers or leaves.

Plants...

Question:
When should I plant cool-season annuals?
Answer:

Cool-season annuals are annual plants that prefer cool temperatures, growing best in spring or fall. Many are tolerant of a light frost often surviving down to 28°F or sometimes even 25°F with little damage to flowers or leaves. They are great...

Question:
What cool-season annuals do well in Iowa?
Answer:

Cool-season annuals are annual plants that prefer cool temperatures, growing best in spring or fall. Many are tolerant of a light frost often surviving down to 28°F or sometimes even 25°F with little damage to flowers or leaves. They are great...

Question:
What are cool-season annuals?
Answer:

Annuals are a great way to add variety and color to the landscape and containers. As temperatures cool in late summer into fall, many of the summer annuals like marigolds, coleus and impatiens are looking “tired”. These annuals can be replaced by...

Question:
Can I use woodchips from black walnut as mulch in my landscape?
Answer:

Black Walnut is a common woodland and landscape tree in the Midwest that produces juglone which causes an allelopathic response (inhibition of growth) in other plants. When plants produce a chemical that prevents the growth of other plants, it is...

Question:
How long does juglone last in the landscape after the removal of a black walnut?
Answer:

Juglone is a chemical that inhibits the growth of certain plant species.  When plants produce a chemical that prevents the growth of other plants, it is called allelopathy.  Black Walnut is a common woodland and landscape tree in the...

Question:
What plants are sensitive to the juglone produced by black walnuts?
Answer:

Juglone is a chemical that inhibits the growth of certain plant species.  When plants produce a chemical that prevents the growth of other plants, it is called allelopathy.  Black Walnut is a common woodland and landscape tree in the...

Question:
What cultural methods can be used to control weeds in the vegetable garden?
Answer:

There are several cultural or management techniques the gardener can use to reduce weeds in the vegetable garden. 

Watering Directly

Water plants directly by hand or using soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems.  Unlike...

Question:
What herbicides can I use in the vegetable garden?
Answer:

Many home gardeners choose to avoid the use of herbicides in vegetable gardens since they are growing edible crops.  Several factors limit the usefulness of herbicides in the vegetable garden. Most vegetable gardens contain a variety of...

Question:
What mulches work well for weed suppression in the vegetable garden?
Answer:

Mulch

Mulches control weeds by preventing the germination of weed seeds. Established weeds should be destroyed prior to the application of the mulch. In addition to weed control, mulches help conserve soil moisture, reduce soil erosion,...

Question:
How do I control weeds in my vegetable garden?
Answer:

Control of weeds in the vegetable garden is important. These unwanted plants are strong competitors for available water, nutrients, and sunlight and can reduce yields when not controlled.  Reduced air circulation created by tall weeds...

Question:
What is the difference between cool season and warm season vegetables?
Answer:

Cool season vegetables prefer cool daytime temperatures, while warm season vegetables prefer warmer daytime temperatures.  Cool season vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and lettuce will tolerate light frost whereas warm season...

Question:
What are some easy to grow vegetables?
Answer:

There are a number of vegetables that are relatively easy to grow.  Peppers, bush beans, leafy greens, and even tomatoes often make the easy to grow vegetable lists.  Be sure to select vegetables that you are most likely to eat as you...

Question:
What if I don’t have enough space for a large vegetable garden? Can I grow vegetables in smaller plots or containers?
Answer:

Yes, many vegetables can be grown in small plots or in containers.  Consider selecting more compact or dwarf varieties of vegetables for these situations. 

Vegetables That Can Be Successfully Grown in Containers or Small Plots...

Question:
Do I need to kill the grass or till the soil before starting a raised bed?
Answer:

Before filling raised beds, remove the grass sod, if possible, and work up the existing soil with a rototiller or spade.  Add a few inches of the soil mix, then incorporate it into the existing soil.  Continue to add and incorporate...

Question:
How do I construct a raised bed? What is a good size for a raised bed planter?
Answer:

Raised beds may be permanent or temporary structures. Temporary raised beds are shallow beds (6 inches or less in height) constructed within the existing garden. After the garden is tilled in the spring, the loose soil is raked into raised beds....

Question:
What are some pros and cons to growing vegetables in raised beds?
Answer:

Raised beds provide several advantages over conventional garden areas. Wet, poorly drained sites can be improved by constructing raised beds. A properly prepared raised bed increases drainage, thereby promoting plant growth and increasing crop...

Question:
What organic options exist for controlling weeds in my vegetable garden or landscape?
Answer:

Hand Pulling

Mechanical control of weeds through hand pulling and cultivation as well as the use of mulches to suppress weed growth are effective organic options for weed management. 

Using Boiling Water

Pouring...

Question:
How and when should herbicides be used for weed control?
Answer:

In certain situations, a gardener can use herbicides to supplement other weed control strategies. Several factors limit the usefulness of herbicides in the home garden. Most home gardens contain a variety of plants in a small area. This restricts...

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