GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of April 29, 2021 –


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Bachelor’s button, also called cornflower, is among the hardy annuals that can be sown directly outdoors at this time.Search cherry and crabapple trees for the silk tents of Eastern Tent Caterpillar. Warm weather should have spurred the hatching of these voracious leaf eaters. Apply B.t. (Bacillus thuringiensis) as soon as the tents are spotted.The silky tents of Eastern tent caterpillars should become apparent soon, especially on cherry and apple trees.Start seeds of squash, melons, and cucumbers indoors in peat pots or cow pots. This will save some time since seeds of these crops will not germinate when seeded outdoors until soil temperatures are above 60 degrees F.Sharpen mower blades. Dull blades not only shred grass – as opposed to cutting it cleanly – but also increase fuel consumption by 20 percent or more. Also, mowing dry grass reduces fuel consumption when compared to mowing wet grass. On the other hand, fuel consumption need not be a concern if opting for a battery powered mower.Soak the roots of bare root trees, shrubs, and other plants for a few minutes before planting. Most plants purchased through the mail are shipped bare root to save on shipping fees. The roots may be a little dry when plants arrive, so briefly soak them.Trillium is one of the earliest blooming woodland wildflowers.Plant strawberries this month. Set plants about two feet apart in the rows to prevent crowding. Remove the flower buds the first year to promote good root development. If impatient, plant either ‘Surecrop’ or ‘Pocahontas’ in tubs or strawberry barrels. Water and fertilize often and remove all runners. There’ll be berries to enjoy this season.Finish dividing perennials. With soil moisture levels still high, the success rate for establishing re-planted divisions is high.Sow seeds of hardy annual flowers in the garden now. Sweet pea, sweet alyssum, snapdragon, stock, verbena, annual phlox, and bachelor’s button are some that can tolerate cool soils. Plant some in prepared beds for use later as a source of cut flowers.Allow some time for a hike in the woods and enjoy the native wildflowers.May is the perfect time for a hike in the woods to enjoy the beauty of spring woodland wildflowers.        *At some time in history a marriage occurred when Grass met Tree. It proved to be an unhappy marriage, one that continues to this day to torment both partners in this unfortunate union.Grass originated in the open prairies and savannahs of the world where it basked in bright sunlight, and deep – though often dry – soils, rich in organic matter. It couldn’t have been happier.Tree came to life in complex forests in moist climates. It shared that environment with other tall and woody friends, and with an assortment of shade-tolerant plants beneath its canopy. It couldn’t have been happier.Then came man! He saw Grass and Tree in their respective environments and thought that such happy plants ought to be brought together to create the “perfect” union. And so he did.Almost immediately there was trouble in paradise. Roots of Grass and Tree shared the same layers of soil and began competing for water and nutrients. Tree did not fare well in this competitive environment and became stressed. Grass was not happy either, especially with Tree monopolizing most of the sunlight. Grass also became demanding, insisting on constant grooming to maintain a neat and trim appearance. Tree became bothered by the constant wounds and subsequent infections it suffered from careless groomers strutting about with their mowers and string-trimmers tending to the demands of Grass.Friday is National Arbor Day. Celebrate by granting Grass and Tree an annulment. Create a Grass-free zone around Tree. To keep Grass from attempting reconciliation, place 3 inches of organic mulch over the root zone of Tree but be careful not to place it against Tree’s tender trunk.
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