March 24, 1995
The unseasonably warm weather the past few days has drawn many home gardeners outdoors. While late March is an excellent time to clean up the yard and garden, prune trees, and purchase seeds and other supplies, it is too early to remove the mulch from strawberries and apply a preemergence herbicide for crabgrass control.
Application of Preemergence Herbicides
Young or newly-planted trees require special care to ensure their establishment and rapid growth. Young trees must be protected from the careless operation of lawn mowers and weed- trimmers, from vandals and from harmful construction activities. They also must be given appropriate amounts of water and essential mineral elements (fertilizer) and may benefit from staking, trunk wrapping and mulching. But pruning may be the most important post-plant maintenance task to perform on young trees if they are to live up to our expectations.
We just received from Woodbury County our first sample of termite swarmers of the year. Swarming by termites is a mostly- futile act of colony reproduction in which winged males and females leave a well-established colony and fly off to mate and start a new colony. If and when termites swarm is regulated by several factors, including colony size and strength, and environmental temperature and humidity. Very few swarmers ever actually start a new colony, but hundreds of them leave the old colony to try.
A question that is frequently asked by persons purchasing a tree is "how fast will it grow?" This is a difficult question to answer because the growth rate of any plant depends on site conditions and maintenance. In most cases, the growth rate given for a particular plant is based on optimal conditions. Quite frequently, however, our landscapes are less than optimal.
Commercial fertilizers and manures are applied to supplement a soil's natural fertility. The rate of material to apply varies according to crop grown, soil type, and other factors. The following are general fertilizer recommendations for established tree and small fruits in the home garden.