Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
How can I use preemergent herbicides to control weeds?
Answer:

Preemergent herbicides are used to prevent weeds from growing. They interrupt the growing process of a newly germinating plant, preventing that plant from becoming established.  Preemergent herbicides will not impact mature or established...

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 propage 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.   Be careful to not splash or burn yourself with the boiling water and remember the boiling water will kill both weeds and desirable...

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.  While planting a new tree in the exact same spot as a tree that was removed is possible, it is not advised.  If any of the the old tree's roots are still in the ground, the newly planted...

Question:
Why is my lilac blooming in fall, instead of spring?
Answer:

Occasionally, spring blooming shrubs and trees, like lilac, crabapple, or forsythia, will bloom out of season during the fall months.  This out-of-season bloom is usually triggered by stressful environmental conditions during the summer...

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 fall planted cool-season annuals when winter 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....

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....

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:
How should I prepare woody trees and shrubs for winter?
Answer:

While it may seem tempting, do not prune woody trees and shrubs in the fall. Pruning encourages new growth and when done in the fall, the new growth that develops will not be well hardened off for winter leading to more potential for winter...

Question:
How should I prepare my annual beds and containers for winter?
Answer:

Good fall clean-up is beneficial for containers and garden beds where annuals are grown to help prevent disease and pest issues as well as reduce unwanted reseeding of some annual species in future growing seasons. Consider planting cool-season...

Question:
How and when do I bring my houseplants back indoors after spending the summer outside before winter?
Answer:

Many of our houseplants enjoy a “summer vacation” spending the warm summer months outside in a full or part shade location. If you placed some of your indoor plants outside for the summer, it’s now time to think about moving them back indoors...

Question:
Can I use woodchips from 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 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 organic options exist for controlling weeds in my vegetable garden?
Answer:

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

Pouring boiling water on...

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

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

Water plants directly by hand or using soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems.  Unlike overhead watering with a...

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:

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 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...

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