Horticultural Tips

William Hogan  |  12/22/2011 2:56:19 AM

People tend to give poinsettias and holiday cactus for Christmas gifts.

Amaryllis can be transplanted into the garden in a protected area.

There are a lot of little plants that grow in our lawns.

Holiday Plant Care

People tend to give plants for Christmas gifts. Usually these are what we have come to know as “seasonal plants." Poinsettias, holiday cactus and even Amaryllis fall into this category. None of these were originally “seasonal plants." Over the years they have been hybridized or culturally manipulated to fit into the Christmas season.

All three of these can be grown outdoors. Poinsettias and Amaryllis can be transplanted into the garden in a protected area. With mild winters, they may grow for multiple years. Holiday cactus will live indoors, but will prosper and bloom much better if moved to a location with morning sun after spring arrives. Be sure to bring the cactus inside next fall when the temperatures fall into the 40s.

After Christmas, keep all three plants in an area that is warm and draft free. Allow the soil in their containers to dry; then water thoroughly. Give each the light from a bright window.

Next spring transplant the Poinsettia and Amaryllis into a protected area of the garden. Be sure to not plant the Amaryllis deeper that the sprouted leaflets. Move the holiday cactus to the porch or patio where it has access to morning sun.

Sticker Weeds in the Yard

There are a lot of little plants that grow in our lawns. Some have a tendency to stick our bare feet in the spring. The problem with most is that by the time they develop the stickers, it is too late to control them. The number one culprit is a plant known as “lawn bur weed." Others include bur clover and a stinging nettle known locally as “fire grass” or “burning grass."

One or more applications of post emergence herbicide during the winter months will often kill these plants while they are immature. Killed at this stage, they never develop the stickers or thorns. Most summer lawns are completely dormant December through February. An application of a labeled herbicide at this time will not harm the lawn grass. It will also be more effective on the young sticker weeds. Continue to check your lawn regularly throughout the late winter. Control the weed before it becomes a problem.

Atrazine herbicide is very effective against sticker weeds, but should have been applied in late October through November. It is only effective if the sticker weeds have not emerged. Atrazine can also be harmful to trees and ornamental plants growing in the lawn. Don’t use atrazine within the root zone of these plants.

Post emergence herbicides containing 2,4-D and other broadleaf weed killers work best on sticker weeds that have emerged. Apply to young weeds from now through early March. Best activity occurs if the temperature is over 60 degrees F. Always use only herbicides that are labeled for use on your species of grass. Always read the label and follow all directions and restrictions when using any pesticide.

I wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2012!

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