Frequently Asked Questions

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:
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 should I do if I allow the lawn to go dormant, but the dry weather persists through the entire summer?
Answer:

Dormant lawns are in jeopardy of dying if dry conditions persist over an extended period. It's best to water the lawn if the turfgrass has been dormant for 4 to 6 weeks. Apply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water in a single application. This will not...

Question:
If I decide to water my lawn during prolonged dry conditions, how and when should it be watered?
Answer:

The appearance of the turfgrass is the best way to determine when to water the lawn. The ideal time to water a lawn is at the first signs of water stress. Turfgrasses that have adequate supplies of water are normally dark green in color. For cool...

Question:
I just seeded my yard, can I spray for broadleaf weeds?
Answer:

Most broadleaf herbicides should not be sprayed on newly seeded turfgrass until after the area has been mowed twice. You can start mowing a newly seeded area once the yard has grown to three inches tall, and you can mow it at 2 to 2.5 inches...

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...

Question:
How can mulches be used to control weeds?
Answer:

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, prevent...

Question:
How do I control weeds using mechanical means, such as cultivation or hand pulling?
Answer:

Cultivation and hand pulling effectively control most annual weeds. It is very important to destroy these weeds while they are small, before they produce thousands of seeds, guaranteeing a weed problem for many years in the future. Like annual...

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

Keeping ahead of weeds and controlling them when they are small is essential for good weed management. This requires persistence throughout the entire growing season to remove weeds as they emerge. There are essentially two types of weeds in our...

Question:
How do I care for a jade plant?
Answer:

Place the jade plant (Crassula argentea) in a sunny window where it receives at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.  The jade plant is a succulent which stores water in its foliage and stems.  Overwatering (watering too...

Question:
How do I care for an umbrella tree?
Answer:

The umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is native to rainforests in Australia and New Guinea.  In the home, place the umbrella tree in bright, indirect light near an east, west, or south window.  Allow the potting soil to...

Question:
When should you harvest Asian pears?
Answer:

Asian pears (sometimes referred to as apple pears because of their round shape and crisp, firm texture) can be successfully grown in the southern half of Iowa.  Popular cultivars include ‘Chojuro,’ ‘Hosui,’ and ‘Shinseiki.’  

...

Question:
How do I control crabgrass in my flower bed?
Answer:

Crabgrass is an annual weed.  In flower and vegetable gardens, hoeing and hand pulling are the best control options.  When cultivating the garden, avoid deep tillage.  The roots of many vegetables and flowers grow near the soil...

Question:
Should garden phlox be deadheaded?
Answer:

Deadheading is the removal of spent or faded flowers.  There are several benefits to deadheading garden phlox.  Deadheading improves the appearance of plants, may encourage a second flush of bloom, and prevents self-seeding.  (...

Question:
My squash plants are blooming heavily, but aren’t producing many fruit. Why?
Answer:

Squash and other vine crops are monoecious.  Monoecious plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant.  Male and female flowers are similar in appearance.  However, female flowers have small, immature fruits at...

Pages