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Happy Spring - April News

Spring on the Front Range means we may have snow one day and wear shorts the next! I do hope you had a good winter and have been able to enjoy the spring sunshine when it appears. 
My Spring Planting Service for container gardens begins on May 13th this year - weather permitting. When the weather is nice (like it is today) we often get antsy to get the flowers in our containers but I implore you to wait until mid to late May. Just like keeping a chick in the incubator, it's best keep your little plants at the greenhouse for as long as possible.The nursery provides an ideal climate for young plants ensuring they will grow to be big and beautiful!

This year I'm offering two opportunities to get a discount on your service:
  1. Refer a friend to Patio Plants Unlimited or for a Landscape Design and receive a $25 discount.
  2. Schedule your planting service before next Monday, April 21st and receive a $5 discount. Don't miss this offer - call or text me at (970) 988-3808 or e-mail me today!
I continue to offer Landscape Design Services specifically for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Save money by doing the work yourself and enjoy that sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. Whether you have a new house and need to plan the entire yard or would just like to fix up a trouble spot, contact me to get your plan started!
2014 Newsletter Topic
You may recall that last year's newsletters were all about insects. I heard lots of comments that it was useful information. If you find an usual bug in your yard, you can refer to the past newsletters in the archive on my website.

This year, I'm tackling another subject of annoyance in the yard: weeds and wildflowers. In the urban landscape, a weed is any plant which is growing where you don't want it which means that some plants can be hard to classify as weeds or wildflowers. Except in the case of agriculturally noxious weeds, that classification is often simply up to the gardener.
Weed: Crabgrass
Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) is a wide-blade annual grass. It sprouts from seed in the spring, competes with turf grass, and then dies in the fall. The plant is clump-forming; radiating out horizontally from the center spreading by rooting along the stems. Because it sprouts from seed, patches of crabgrass quickly grow in bare spots in the lawn. There are many types of weedy, wide blade grasses in turf lawns which are often confused for Crabgrass. Remember, Crabgrass is an annual – so if that undesirable clump of grass has been there all winter and is now greening up, it is not Crabgrass. Control this weed by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring and by composting over and reseeding bare spots with turf grass seed in the fall. “Pre-emergent” herbicides work by disrupting an enzyme in the seed and is ineffective after the seedling has rooted. A good rule-of-thumb is to apply Crabgrass Preventer at the same time Forsythia (that yellow-flowered shrub) is blooming (now).
Wildflower: Clover
Clover is common in turf-grass areas and many people consider it a weed. There are actually several different plants commonly called Clover including Trifolium, Medicago, and Melilotus species. Generally, clover are low-growing, deep green plants with distinct 3-lobed leaves. Clover belong to the legume/pea family (Fabaceae), a family of plants which has the unique ability to use atmospheric nitrogen for photosynthesis and deposit excess nitrogen into the soil. Clover is sometimes even included in turf grass mixes because the grass may then receive nitrogen from the clover and thus require less fertilizer. Clover produces white, purple, or occasionally yellow puff-ball flowers which are an important nectar source for bees. With all the potential benefits of Clover, I would rather classify it as a wildflower rather than a weed. If you are not bothered by the variation in texture in your turf grass, Clover provides a nice, green color and is not damaging nor competing with turf grass. It rarely grows tall enough to be cut by the lawn mower; however, mowing may remove the flowers which can help to prevent the plant from reseeding. There are many broad-leaf herbicides available if you wish to remove this plant, but the popular 2,4-D isn’t particularly effective on Clover. 

Want to know more about weeds? Here are my sources:
Gift, Nancy, and Sheila Rodgers. Good Weed, Bad Weed: Who's Who, What to Do, and Why Some Deserve a Second Chance (all You Need to Know about the Weeds in Your Yard). Pittsburgh, PA: St. Lynns, 2011. Print.
 Whitson, Tom D., and L. C. Burrill. Weeds of the West. Laramie, WY: Western Society of Weed Science in Cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services and the University of Wyoming, 2009. Print.

Smith, R., D.W. Cudney, and C.L. Elmore. "How to Manage Pests." Clover Management Guidelines--UC IPM. N.p., 1 Oct. 2007. Web. 15 Apr.2014.