Mother’s Day is this Sunday – Don’t mess this one up!

12 May Mother’s Day is this Sunday – Don’t mess this one up!

Mother’s Day is this Sunday – Don’t mess this one up!

I’m really good at multitasking, or at least I think I am. Most days I can juggle three incoming store phone lines, a store walkie talkie radio with up to thirteen staff members on it and oversee my cash check out. It can get a bit crazy this time of year.  One day several years ago I was channeling my inner garden center owner goddess when all three lines rang at once and I was covering both cash registers during lunch breaks. One incoming call was asking me about Balloon Flowers. Did we have them? How much were they? What colors did they come in? How big are they now? How big will they grow? How many do I have? Finally having satisfied the Balloon Flower inquiry I thanked her for calling and was ending the call. She said the most unusual thing. She ended with “I love you!”.

I love my customers and I try hard every single day to make sure we do the best possible job we can to help everyone. I have had customers send me notes, bring me coffee (black please!), and even bake us pasties (any and all), but I’ve never had one tell me they love me! It was so odd that I told everyone who works with me about the crazy lady who loves me!

At the end of that day my mom stopped in on her way home from where she worked. I met her down at the parking lot and she immediately asked me where those Balloon Flowers she had called about were.

My mom loves me. I know this because she told me so. Granted, I had no idea it was her on the phone, but the fact remains that she does love me. A deed that is amazing given my annual Mother’s Day celebration with her involves showing up at my brother’s house for the barbecue hours late and promptly falling asleep in my chair!

What ever your Mom story is, remember that she is the reason you bloomed! I hope all the Moms reading this have a wonderful weekend!

So now, to the real task at hand. Here is this weeks “what’s going on in the garden”.

Are you tolerant or violent towards Violets in your lawn? Wild violets have pretty flowers, which bloom early and often, and not everyone regards them as a weed! In my own yard of benign neglect I choose to let these wildflowers grow as they will. My brother Russ – not so much tolerance! So Russ, this one’s for you (and stop saying I never give you anything!)

How to Get Rid of Violets
It is difficult to control them. Even if you keep them from going to seed by removing the flowers before they mature, the fact is that they also spread by stolons or rhizomes (roots). Unfortunately, that means if you are committed to killing violets in your lawn, you may well have to resort to using an herbicide. Products that contain triclopyr are the most effective.  Bonide Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis killer is the one I use and sell at the stores. Expect to have to follow up with repeat sprayings. Generally I recommend 3 applications 7 to 10 days apart.

Mushrooms in lawns develop from thatch, buried wood, dead roots, and stumps.  We get lots of calls and visits from customers with mushrooms in their lawns after periods of rainy weather. Mushrooms grow in so many funky sizes and shapes that we have fun coming up with our own names for them. Although you may find them annoying in your lawn or landscape, the fungi that produce these mushrooms are beneficial because they decompose dead plant material on and in the soil, making nutrients available to growing plants.  These mushrooms are harmless to grasses. No weed controls, spray applications nor drenches of fungicides are effective in controlling mushrooms. A simple way to remove mushrooms is to mow the lawn and collect the clippings or by raking them up. In some cases, elimination of excess thatch and aerating the soil to improve water penetration also helps reduce their numbers. If the weather becomes drier, the mushrooms gradually disappear without interventions.

Moss in lawns is also very common question this time of year. For most of us the challenge in trying to get rid of moss in our lawns is that we have less than ideal conditions for growing grass! So this moss weed is not the cause of your problems, but an effect. Moss thrives in areas where grass does not do well. Areas with low soil pH, poor soil nutrients, compact soils with poor drainage and excessive shade are moss friendly.

Many people believe that heavy applications of lime will kill their moss. Unfortunately, it is not that the presence of moss, in and of itself, is necessarily an indicator that your soil’s pH is overly acidic. The issue here is not that a more alkaline soil will kill the moss, but rather that your grass may need a more alkaline soil to compete effectively against moss. Lime is going to make a difference – not to kill the moss, but will help to keep the lawn healthy enough to out compete the moss. Solutions include Improving aeration to create an environment moss does not like. Apply Bonide MossMax to kill the moss and then change the soil texture by adding gypsum and/or Jonathan Green Love your Soil over the next year or two and that will prevent moss from redeveloping. Finally, getting rid of moss in a lawn can simply be a matter of addressing the issue of excessive shade. Thinning out some tree branches and raising canopies to allow more sunlight along with using shade tolerant grass seed blends make for a more permanent solution to a moss problem.

Indeed, as with battling other types of weeds in the lawn, often the best defense is a good offense. As always, we are here to help so stop in to either one of our stores and say “Hello”!


All our best,

Michelle and Team Lakeview