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Tips for spring gardening, lawn care

By submitted, 04/5/18 10:34 AM

GARDEN5

PRESCOTT – The February flood and the March pollen kept a lot of us out of the yard and behind in our gardening chores. Right now is the time to catch up. After all the pruning is done, replenish your beds with compost. Your flower beds really need that extra lift and too often we just keep planting in the same soil without amendments only to be disappointed. When things don’t grow well, we usually add more compost, but beds need 5 percent organic matter too. The average soil in Arkansas has 1.25 percent organic matter. Too much compost results in high nitrogen levels which will make the green part of the plant grow, but provide very little fruit.

If you aren’t sure about your soil and want to know its contents, you can obtain a soil container at the extension office. Soil testing will give you an estimate of the supply of plant food elements in the soil and whether it has the correct pH range (too acid or too alkaline). The soil test will give recommendations for plant food needed at time of planting and whether lime is needed to offset harmful soil acidity. Sample soil around shrubs separately from turf. Sample crop fields to depth of six inches. Take samples in pastures, gardens, around shrubs to a depth of four inches and mature fruit trees at a depth of 12 inches. At each sample site, place a small core or strip of soil in a clean bucket or bag. Mix soil thoroughly and discard rocks, roots, and gravel. Allow the soil to air dry before filling the container. You can spread the sample out on a table on a clean surface to let air dry before filling the container box.

Then, take your samples to the agent’s office where the samples will be sent to the laboratory. Be prepared for the agent to help you decipher the charted results. The report was revised in 2006 with additional information to help the user understand the meaning of the numbers in the report.

Mid-April is the best time for starting your lawn care fertilization program that will help your warm season lawn look its best during those hottest times this summer. Continue fertilizing every 30-45 days through September. A fertilizer 13-13-13 will keep your lawn in top shape. A little extra nitrogen on occasion will keep the grass a pretty green during the hot summer.

Help us celebrate our 10 year anniversary by attending our annual seminar coming up on April 14 with Chris Olsen as our guest speaker at the Stokes Center located at the Central Baptist Church. Don’t miss our large plant sale at low prices and the many vendors that will be on hand. Pay $20 at the door if you missed the registration deadline. Call 870-887-5312 for more information.