Green Thumb Tips
Echter’s Plant Doctors are available
during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For
accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
Wait until danger of
frost has passed before planting tender plants. Frost
blankets can help protect your plants from unexpected late freezes.
back your annuals at planting to promote stronger, bushier plants and more
More on Planting and Caring
for Annuals and Vegetables
- Annuals, vegetable plants and roses,
selected from inside our
greenhouses should be “hardened off” before planting outdoors. This is
done by exposing the plants to the hot sun and drying winds gradually until
the plants are fully acclimated.
- Summer-blooming bulbs like dahlias, gladioli, cannas and lilies can be planted outside now. If you started these bulbs inside and they are now up and
growing, keep your frost blanket handy to cover them if there
is a hard
- Plant your hanging baskets and
container gardens now to give them a good head start. By June they
should be well established. Keep an eye on the weather and bring
your baskets and containers inside if the weather gets cold.
your outdoor hanging baskets and planters have dried out too quickly in the
past, mix granules
of Soil Moist (a polymer) into the media of your container gardens and hanging baskets
before you plant. This
will help retain water for the plants to use as needed.
We've added polymers to Echter’s
Container Mix so you can reduce the frequency of watering.
Perennials & Roses
- Prune back hybrid tea roses, floribundas and other everblooming roses to 10"
in early May. Also, prune out any dead, diseased or weak
- Do not do a heavy pruning on climbing roses. Prune only those
canes which are
broken or dead.
Deadhead, (cut off the old flowers) on
daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other spring-blooming bulbs, but
don't remove foliage
until after it turns yellow. The foliage is making nutrients for
the bulbs for next year's show of color.
take nutrients from the soil and away from your desirable plants. The
smaller the weed, the easier
it is to remove. Pulling them early will
keep them from producing and spreading seeds.
Put up plant supports now for perennials that need to be
staked, like delphiniums, peonies, yarrow, etc. Before you know it
these plants will be too tall to do it easily.
- Speed up the warming of the soil in your perennial and bulb beds by
removing the mulch from around the plants.
- Before rototilling your garden, be sure the soil is on the dry side. Add
compost and/or peat moss to the garden and work it all in.
the "When is it
safe..." link mentioned above to our Frost Hardiness Chart which will enable you to
judge when to plant your vegetable starts.
- For anything that you plant outside early this month, make sure that
you have a frost blanket handy for those sudden and unexpected cold
- Never cut rhubarb stalks off the plant. Instead, hold the stalk near
the base and give it a slight twist as
you pull it away. Rhubarb
flowers may be pretty, but they take away nutrients from the stalks. As soon
as these flower stalks appear, prune them to the ground.
Those impossible weeds like bindweed, dandelions and thistle in your lawn can
be controlled with
Ferti-lome's Weed Out or Weed Free Zone. These are the most
effective weed killers you can buy.
- Mow your lawn during the day or early evening when the grass is dry. Never
mow when there is moisture
- on the blades. This encourages the spread of
disease and causes the clipping to clump.
- Now is a great time to reseed the bare spots in your lawn. Rake the
areas thoroughly, scatter the grass seed and water it in, so that the
seed can settle into the loose soil. Keep the seed moist until it has
germinated. Fertilize with New Lawn Starter. Do not use a high-nitrogen fertilizer or a
fertilizer with weed preventer in the areas where you have seeded.
Echter's Grass Seed Blends
- If you
had disease problems in your lawn last year, apply Ferti-lome F-Stop or Scotts Lawn Fungus Control as a preventive measure.
Trees & Shrubs
Prune off old lilac flowers just below the flower right after they
bloom. Trim out a couple of the thickest branches all the way to
the base to help keep the lilac full
and well shaped. Prune other
early-flowering shrubs after their blooming time as well.
Did you have worms in
your apples last year? Help prevent these nuisances by spraying your apple
trees with Bonide Fruit Tree Spray. Spray
your fruit trees as soon as the flowers fade to control insects early.
preventive measure is
to rake up weekly all the apples which fall to the ground.
Pines put out a thick shoot, (called a
candle) from the end of the branch each spring. To
control the height of mugo pines and have denser plants, use your fingers
to break (do not cut) the candles in half before they turn green and the
needles begin to separate. Do not remove the whole candle.
- Fertilize your trees and shrubs early in May. There are several ways
- 1) Use a Ross Root Feeder with the appropriate
fertilizer pellet to get the solution right down to the roots. 2) Use
a topical granular around the plants and water in.
- 3) Use slow-release fertilizer and work it into the soil around each plant. This feeds them for several months.
Turn your houseplants a quarter turn
periodically to keep the growth from leaning
toward the window and the light.
Fertilize your indoor plants twice a month with Jack's Classic Houseplant Special. A good fertilizing
program will help your houseplants get their good spurt of new growth
Plant a trumpet
vine or honeysuckle to attract more hummingbirds. Stop by our customer
service desk for
a list of other plants which attract “hummers”.