Spring is for yard maintenance. Pruning and weeds are major concerns.
Q. Would you tell me when it is optimal time to trim Knock Out roses and lilacs? I planted the roses last year. Lilacs have been planted about five years. J.R., Lynchburg
A. March is the time to trim Knock Out and most other modern roses, just as their new leaves are beginning to appear. Knock Outs go through several blooming cycles during the growing season, and after each one there are clusters of dead flowers to prune out. This deadheading will encourage heavy flowering, and it is the only pruning your young rose bushes should need. Lilacs are pruned right after they finish flowering. May is the perfect time to prune because it allows lilacs several months to produce flower buds for next year.
Q. I want to find another weed killer other than Roundup to control the wild onions and wiregrass in my yard. Do you have a suggestion and where to buy it? Are you familiar with a product called Re-conn? This may be misspelled but our veterinarian uses it and says it is much safer than Roundup. However, I can't find it at our stores. L.S., Lynchburg
A. Lots of products are safer than Roundup Grass and Weed Killer, but they do not affect the roots or rhizomes of wiregrass. Its active ingredient, glyphosate, is widely used in many herbicide products because it moves downward in plants to destroy roots and other underground structures. No other weed killer actually eliminates wiregrass. I am not familiar with Re-conn. Wild onions grow in distinct clumps and you can easily pull them up after a heavy rain soaks the soil. That is much easier than treating your lawn multiple times in fall and late winter with products like Speed Zone and Trimec.
Q. I'm back again with some questions about my Otto Luyken laurel hedge. As you can see from the photos, there are several plants that seem to be affected by the "shot hole" bacterial disease. I have had some problems with this in the past in small areas, but last summer it became a different story with all the rain. Many leaves have had the shot holes, and in some cases individual leaves and those on whole branches exhibited the holes or were completely brown and dead. The problem seems considerably worse on the sides as opposed to the plants' tops.
So the questions: What do you recommend as a treatment to deal with this? I am thinking about pruning the entire affected areas back 12 inches or to the bare branches inside the bush envelope. Thinking about pruning at the end of March. B.G., Lynchburg
A. This is an ideal time to prune laurel, before it grows a new set of leaves. Removing selected branches to thin out the plant and open up gaps where air can circulate will be helpful in controlling shot hole. Also rake up and dispose of dead laurel leaves if possible.