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Jennifer Carr - KSRE
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Good morning again.  With the warm, windy days we have been having the past week or two I am sure everyone has gardening and yard work on the mind. Well I have a short to do list that you can consider for March.
If you are a vegetable gardener it is time to prepare soil for spring planting, this includes soil testing, tilling and adding amendments such as compost. It is also time to remove mulch from those strawberry beds.
For you lawn aficionados you will need to be on the lookout to spot spray for dandelions, henbit and chickweed, please follow labels carefully to prevent harm to people, animals or the environment. Many people mow their grass ½ inch lower than normal to remove winter debris, I call this scalping. Late March is the right time to apply crabgrass preventer, this works as a pre-emergent to halt the germination of weed seeds that are present in your turf, primarily in thinning parts of the yard. If you are putting down new seed you will want to avoid this step as it is not discriminatory between grass seed and weed seed.
For you flower gardeners you should be in the process of cleaning up your perennial beds, and your ornamental grasses should be cut back within 3-5 inches of the ground. If you are considering putting in a new bed this year we have a publication titled perennial flower bed design that outlines utilizing perennial and native species such as Echinacea, coreopsis and asters to create a showy bed for spring to fall color. The best thing is that it is perennial so you do not have to replant each year.
Native prairie species in the home landscape are a growing trend, this would only be reasonable since we are in the middle of the prairie. Some good varieties are Maximillian Sunflower which is a prolific bloomer in September with 5-10 small yellow flowers per plant. Little bluestem and Switch grass are also great alternatives for ornamental grasses that are used in the landscape and besides the summer foliage they provide great fall and winter interest to the area while being adapted to the climate.
We also have a publication titled Prairie Star Annual Flowers which are varieties that have been tested by K-State for the prairie climate. So you can stop by the office and pick up either of these publications to get ideas for this next year and as always we will try to answer any questions that you have.