Burnett: Frost nips the magnolia blossoms; tips on turf

If you want to learn more about the maintenance and installation of turf grass you should attend my free seminar on Saturday.

Just when we are experiencing the best colour show in years for this time of year, old Nature has to go and mess things up a bit. In particular it’s the fabulous show of magnolia blossoms that got hit by the frosty night time temperatures of late. This happens every few years especially when the weather turns warm a bit early.

The blossoms of many flowering shrubs and trees are immune to these temperatures; forsythia, early viburnum and many flowering plums among them.

Even though there has been some damage to the magnolias it is as I said before a great spring for colour. With the blossoms coming a bit earlier this year the weather is still cool enough to prolong them because when the days get real warm and sunny the blossoms don’t last as long.

If the bees are doing their job it looks like there may be a bumper crop of apricots and peaches this year as these trees are blooming their heads off and at this point it doesn’t look like there has been any damage to them from the night time frosts.

My advice to gardeners and homeowners looking for ideas as to what would work in their garden for colour is to take a drive around town and take in all that beauty. If you have trouble identifying the plants you might take a picture and send it to me or just knock on the homeowner’s door and ask, although you might be surprised at how many people don’t actually know what they have in their garden.

Without doing too much, in many cases our lawns are coming to life, and for most of us the first cut has been executed. For many homeowners, however, they are pondering what to do with their less than stellar turf with large patches refusing to green up with the rest.

Over the course of a season I look at many lawns to troubleshoot problems and figure out a program of recovery. In many situations the lawn has been neglected and it is simply a matter of due diligence to bring it back; however, in many cases it boils down to a poor installation to begin with and this poses a more difficult situation. If the lawn was installed on a clay surface with only a smidgeon or no top soil there is not a lot that can be done without pressing the restart button; in other words stripping out the clay and replacing it with a good sandy loam. This seems a bit over the top but sometimes it is the only way to get the job done.

If you want to learn more about the maintenance and installation of turf grass you should attend my free seminar at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 11, at Byland’s Garden Centre. If you are having problems with your turf, bring along a sample 6”x6” and 3”deep for me to look at. From that I can tell several things about your lawn and perhaps give some recommendations as to what can be done to fix it.


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