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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of April 23, 2018
  • Placing human hair, dogs’ hair, cats’ hair, or any hair for that matter at the bottom of the hole when planting beans is an old wives’ tale.  It is said that hair is full of valuable mineral and chemical properties and will supply trace elements not otherwise easily available in the soil.  What do you think?
  • When choosing annuals for containers this year, consider the Flowering Maple or sometimes referred to as the Chinese Lantern (Abutilon) for a sunny spot.  Visit your favorite nursery or garden center and look for Abutilon X hybridum.  They are available in an array of colors and are best suited to containers or baskets due to their size.  Look for the Bella Hybrids or Abutilon theophrasti, known as velvet leaf.
  • The American Smoketree (Cotinus obovatus) is a southern native growing only 20’-30’ tall and wide.  Because of its size, it does not require an expansive landscape.  Hardy in zones 4-8, the American Smoketree shows off in the summer with a display of fluffy mauve-pink panicles of flowers and its bluish foliage turns shades of apricot, red, yellow and purple in the fall.  It is a drought tolerant and very adaptable tree.
  • Moss is a great choice as a ground cover in a problem spot.  It will do well in compacted soil, shade to part sun and poor drainage.  It does not require watering as it takes up its moisture through its leaves.  If it becomes too dry, it will go dormant.  It will not do well in full, hot sun.
  • Once you have harvested some fruit from your garden, you can create a delicious dressing for fruit salads.  Combine ½ cup of plain or vanilla yogurt, 1-2 teaspoons of honey, 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom, and 2 teaspoons of finely shredded coconut.  Enjoy!
  • Fertilize pear and apple trees.
  • Overseed or reseed lawns.  Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control when the yellow forsythia are in bloom.  Do not apply the pre-emergent if you are planting grass seed.
  • Prune out dead wood and cross stems of roses.
  • If you saved last year’s dahlia tubers, you can plant them indoors now to get a head start on this year’s flowers.  Tubers can be divided with a sharp knife as long as each remains attached to a piece of stem.  Water just once and store in a warm, dark place until they sprout.  Once they sprout, you may continue watering and plant outdoors in late May.

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