Chuck's Tips

We will share some of our weekly tips here that we broadcast on WSGW each Friday during the spring and summer months. You can listen to the broadcast or just read what we talked about — enjoy!

April 13th

Even though the weather is not fully cooperating yet for gardening there are still things we can do to prepare landscape beds for the upcoming season.

Weeds are always something we battle every year and now is the time to get down an application of a pre-emergent weed preventer.  An old standby that has been around for years is Preen made by Greenview, and it works very well. You apply Preen when plants and soil are dry to the soil surface.  Lightly water or rake it in and it will form a 1-2 inch control barrier in the soil preventing weed seeds from germinating. You will want to re-apply every 9-12 weeks or during periods of heavy rain or humidity as weeds tend to flourish in those conditions.  Preen can also be applied to existing mulched beds as weed seeds can be present or introduced in the mulch. Apply on top of the mulch and water in or rake into the mulch for best results.

While applying Preen be sure to keep away from the base of trees and shrubs and limit walking on the treated area as soil disturbance will result in erratic weed prevention.  Be sure to read the product label as there are some plants that Preen cannot be applied around. Please call us with any questions you may have regarding the use of Preen and we will be happy to help you!

 April 7th

Spring Deer Damage to the Landscape

This weather the last week or so has set us all back as far as our yard projects go but it won’t be long and we will all be back at it getting ready for the upcoming gardening season.

One thing we can do now is assess any deer damage we have had to our landscape plants and also mole and vole damage from the winter on the lawn and come up with a plan to control.

With the hard winter, we had an above average snowfall, deer had a hard time looking for food. Now that snow is melting off they are looking for things to eat. Evergreens and small deciduous trees and shrubs are prime targets for deer as branches are tender this time of year. One way to control is with Bonide Shot Gun Repels All Granules. This is very easily applied around the base of the plant or perimeter of the bed where plant or plants are located. The product causes a mild irritation to the animal’s nasal passages triggering a natural instinct to leave or avoid the area. This product lasts up to 2 months and can be easily reapplied.

Moles and voles are something that are popping up right now in the lawn as well. One way to control these two lawn pests is with a repellent. Bonide Molemax works well for this. It is a repellent that is easily applied with a fertilizer spreader or by hand. A light watering or rain after application speeds up the release of the material. It can be used safely around pets and children. It will effectively control burrowing animals in the lawn. The more you apply this the better the results as you build up residual in the soil.


2017, October 28th

Chuck talks about taking care of the falling leaves, and cutting back perennials.

October Garden Tips

Pruning Trees and Shrubs:

We have been receiving many calls on pruning trees and shrubs — people asking when is the best time to do this task? Probably the best time from the standpoint of the health of the plant is late winter to early spring, just before new growth resumes for the year. However there are a few exceptions to this, depending on when the plant flowers, that may require pruning at other times of the season. An example of this is pruning spirea’s or lilacs. The best time to prune these is right after they bloom. This gives the plant time to still set its bud heads for spring. Trimming these types of plants early in the spring could destroy any flowers for that season.

When you prune, make your cut near to where a branch originates on the main limb. Never leave a stub of a branch. Try to remove as many of the branches that are going back to the center of the plant as they will criss cross and hurt other branches. Remove any dead or diseased branches. Seal any pruning cuts over 1 inch in diameter with pruning paint.

Call or email us with any of your pruning questions!

Fall Lawn Care:

Even though your lawn grows slower in the fall, it is a very important time in regards to your lawn’s health.   A lawn that is maintained well in the fall will produce results come springtime.

Start to decrease your mowing height gradually so you are mowing shorter each time during the month of October. You will want to get to the point where you are mowing at 1.5” towards the end of the month. By mowing shorter each time you are getting more sunlight to the crown of the grass plant and will have less browning later on. This is essential to your lawns health going into the winter.

Take care of those last few weeds such as dandelions or clover that you may have in your lawn. The best way to do this is with a spray herbicide or weed and feed on a cool day. Weeds become more aggressive as your lawn becomes less active and growth slows down. Controlling weeds now will decrease the chances of them coming back in the spring.

It’s a little early to apply a winterizer fertilizer but there is still time to get one last fall feeding on the lawn. Choose a fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen than you may have used this summer.

You want to encourage root growth in your lawn right now and give it the nutrients it needs to make it through the winter months.   Stop in and see us and we can show you the many options we have for fall fertilizers.

Mulching Beds and Planting:

October is a great month for planting. New plants are going dormant so planting now reduces transplant shock and with soil temperatures still on the warm side new plantings will adapt well and thrive. When planting, dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball and half again as deep as root ball. Backfill with a good compost soil such as Dairy Doo Tree and Shrub Mix. Make sure you water new plantings and keep them moist. It is important to mulch new plantings with a 3” or so layer of mulch to protect roots from freezing this winter. A new layer of mulch on existing planting beds will also help protect existing plants from frost damage this winter as well.


September 30th

Chuck talks about putting your garden to bed for the winter with Dairy Doo and Healthy Garden by Morgan Composting.


September 9th

Chuck lets us know that fall is a great time for the roots of new plants to get established. It is also a good time for planting bulbs for the spring.

August 26th

Chuck discusses dealing with grubs now to avoid problems in the spring.

August 12th

Chuck talks about the lack of rain and the stress this has put on trees and shrubs, not only newly planted but those that are 2 or 3 years old as well, and a solution to this:

July 29th

This week Chuck discusses the pests known as Japanese Beetles, and the methods to try to eradicate them.

July 15th

Chuck talks about some of the stress issues that trees suffer when they haven’t gotten enough water.

July 8th

This week Chuck discussed that even though there has been a bit of rain, it really hasn’t been enough. So continue to water your shrubs and plants. And you can now trim those flowering shrubs, as the flowers have finished blooming.

We have had lots of calls from people asking for suggestions on how to treat aphids on rose bushes. We do have products in the store to help with this.  We also have tips and product for grub control. Contact us for more information.

July 1st

With the limited rain we have had it’s important now to water newly planted trees and shrubs. Do this preferably in the early morning or late in day to avoid water loss from evaporation.

Keep an eye on your annual flower pots and baskets — warm windy days will dehydrate them. Watering twice a day will be necessary to keep them in good shape for the summer months. Fertilize them to encourage good blooming through-out the summer.

It is also time to spray roses for insects. Make sure you spray both the top and bottom of leaf. Spray later in day to avoid any leaf burn that may occur when spraying in heat of the day.

Freshen up flower beds with a layer of your favorite compost. It will enrich the soil for the summer months.

Time to deadhead annuals such as petunias to encourage more blooms for the summer.

May 30th – June 3

Chuck talks about applying fertilizer with weed control in his radio broadcast:

 May 16th – May 20th

The warm weather has finally arrived and the planting season has officially begun.

At the garden center we get asked “How do I plant?” It’s more than just digging a hole and dropping it in.

Here’s some suggestions on how to be successful with a new planting:

Dig the hole three times as wide as the root ball and 1.5 times as deep as the root ball is tall. Add a soil conditioner such as peat moss or an organic Dairy Doo planting mixture such as Dairy Doo Tree and Shrub mix, or Planting mix 301 to the bottom of the hole.

Set the root ball in the hole and fill with the soil conditioner mixed with 50% of the original soil removed from the hole. Be sure to add a plant starter such as Bonide Root and Grow all around the root ball before you fill the hole.

Cover the root ball completely including the top of the root ball. Form a donut-like ring of soil about 3 inches high at the edge of the planting hole. This will create a basin and it will allow the water to get down to the roots of the plant without draining away.

Add a ring of mulch around the base of the plant to keep weeds down and help retain moisture, remembering to keep the mulch about an inch away from the base stem of the plant. Keep new planting watered as needed being careful not to overwater.

May 9th – May 13th

The first wave of dandelions as well as many other types weeds are in full bloom now.

Spring, of course, is the best time of the year to control weeds. Our best recommendation for control is Bayer advanced Season Long Weed Control. When you spray weeds this time of year you stand a better chance of getting more weed killer to the root system of the weed than you will later on.

Moss is also appearing in lawns right now. The easiest way to control is with either a granular or liquid product. We recommend Bonide Moss Max in either the spray or granular form. Both will kill moss. Once you control the moss you will want to test the PH in the soil as you may have an acidic condition that is killing off the grass and allowing the moss to establish.

Now is also a great time to feed trees and shrubs and also the perfect time to turn soil in your garden and planting beds and top dress with a form of organic matter. Organics such as “Dairy Doo” compost, which we recommend feed microbes in the soil rather than inhabit the soil like synthetic fertilizers do.

With the cool weather and rain we have had lately its perfect time to re-seed areas in the lawn.

Make sure you don’t use weed killers or preventers in the area you are going to re-seed.

May 1st – May 7th

Lawns are thin right now and it’s time to get them in shape for the upcoming season.

Core aeration or power raking right now will get rid of dead grass from winter and also last year’s thatch buildup. It will also insure that water and air are readily available to the grass roots.

Fertilize your lawn with a pre-emergent crabgrass control or a slow release fertilizer. Remember if you are reseeding areas in your lawn, wait at least 10 days before you reseed if you are using a product with pre-emergent.

It is also time to finish cutting back any dead tops on perennials and any dead or broken branches on roses and other shrubs.

Empty and fill your patio pots and containers with fresh soil. We recommend Dairy Doo 201 potting soil. It has all the basic elements including Dairy Doo and worm castings to keep your plants healthy and beautiful. It also includes good microbiology to continually feed your plants.

Listen to our weekly garden tips every Friday at 11:50 a.m as Chuck talks with Terry Henne on the Farm Show on 790 WSGW.

From May 1st:

Remember Mom with gifts from Maple Hill Nursery!