by Connie Oswald Stofko
Some gardening tasks have a small window of opportunity. Here are four things you should do in your garden now.
Stop weeds before they pop out of the ground
Pre-emergent herbicides stop weeds before they even pop out of the ground– they act on seeds at the germination stage.
The optimal time to use pre-emergent herbicides is early in the spring, just before the forsythias bloom or while they are in bloom.
Corn gluten meal is an organic pre-emergent herbicide. There are synthetic pre-emergent herbicides, too.
Pounce on lesser celandine now!
Lesser celandine is an invasive weed that can take over your gardens and entire lawn. Seriously.
You have to take action now. Dig up lesser celandine before it blooms. If it is already in bloom in your neighborhood, dig faster.
If you ignore it, lesser celandine will die back, making you think it has gone away.
But no! Next year you will have twice as much! And the following year, twice as much again! Seriously!
Take a look at this previous article for tips on getting rid of this invasive plant.
Prevent gypsy moths (spongy moths)
Spongy moth is the new common name of Lymantria dispar dispar, formerly known as the gypsy moth. The name was changed by the Entomological Society of America (ESA)– gypsy is a derogatory term for the Romani people.
Last year was a boom year for the caterpillars of these moths in Western New York, resulting in lots of damage to leaves on trees.
If you want to decrease the number of spongy moth caterpillars this year, destroy the egg masses now.
Egg masses contain 600-700 eggs each and will hatch around May, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you find them now, you can scrape them off trees or buildings and drop them into a container of detergent to prevent the eggs from hatching. The egg masses will appear fuzzy and tan.
Spongy moths are non-native, but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around. Their numbers spike roughly every 10-15 years, but outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as predators and disease.
Removing their egg masses is not a cure for spongy moth infestations, but it is a small step you can take to help protect trees in your neighborhood.
Learn more about this species and management efforts throughout the year.
Prune roses when forsythia blooms
Don’t prune or plant roses too soon. Wait until you see forsythia blooming in your neighborhood. When you see those yellow blossoms, you will know it’s the perfect time to start planting and pruning your roses.
But don’t cut back your climbing roses. See more here.
Also see this article for some tips on how to prune.