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With recent drought conditions persisting, many South Dakotans are reporting patchy areas of dead grass in their lawns. Many lawns consisting of cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass or fine fescues are turning brown and going dormant.
Now is the time when those pesky weeds are really coming up full force in many gardens around the state, particularly if you have had rain in your area lately or have been sprinkler watering your garden. The easiest time to control them is while they are still young plants.
Sunny flower garden locations are often filled splashes of brightly colored perennial flowers that may grow several feet tall. However, ground covers are an important component of any landscape and are more common than you might think.
The spotted wing fruit fly is a new pest problem that originated in Asia and was only first identified here in the United States in California in 2008. It was first seen in South Dakota in 2013. As of 2016 it was known to exist in nine counties in South Dakota, but populations of the insect can be quite scattered.
Getting grass to grow in the shade is a common complaint of gardeners. In many cases some other kind of ground cover might be the solution. Most ground cover plants will spread out over or in the soil, producing new plants as they grow.
Cantaloupe and honeydew are familiar to most of us, but there are a wide variety of other melons available to gardeners. Seed catalogues offer everything from heirlooms with names we may never have heard of, such as Casaba or Charentais, to new hybrid crosses between the more familiar, such as cantaloupe with honeydew.
There are a number of weeds that pop up very early in the spring and even start flowering before most other plants have shown any signs of growth. Most of these are spring or winter annuals that come back from seed each year. Spring annuals germinate early in the spring while winter annuals actually germinate during the previous fall, overwinter then resume growth the following spring, flower and die. In most cases, these cool season weeds are more prevalent in waste areas, growing on bare soil.
Quackgrass and bromegrass are often two of the worst weeds in perennial flower gardens and in perennial vegetables like asparagus. Kentucky bluegrass and other lawn grasses can also be a problem. Perennial broadleaf weeds are also other common weeds among flowers and perennial vegetables. They are both aggressive plants that can grow among other plants so tightly that it is difficult to get them out. In addition, plants like quackgrass, bromegrass, creeping jenny and others produce creeping, underground stems called rhizomes that allow the plant to spread a foot or more in a season, producing new plants as they grow.
There is always something to do in a garden – some pruning, raking, weeding or just checking on things to see what new is blooming or growing. This is also the time for the uncovering of old plants and planting new ones. Planting using bare root plants is a great way to get plants at an economical price and probably find some of those special plants that are just not available from your local garden center or discount outlet store. Now is the time when all those beautiful plants are on display and available, and you just want to buy one of everything! However, you should do some things before you head off to the garden center.