Peonies About to Pop

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Noble County

Photo: Debra Smith, Fairfield County Master Gardener

A pop of positivity to start your week is here! Peonies are popping across Southeast Ohio!

As I write this article, my peonies are still in bud, but will grace my yard with their gorgeous displays any day now. I can’t wait! My peonies are blooming two weeks later than they did last year. A common thing to see with peonies is a gathering of ants on the buds and blossoms. These ants do not damage the plant at all. They are there because of the sweet nectar that coats the buds. There is no need to treat or disperse the ants, unless you cut the blossoms and wish to bring them indoors. In that case, dip the flower in Continue reading

Want Native Trees In you Landscape? Learn more here…

Do you have a Spring Beauty in Your Landscape?

Source: Jerry Iles, Extension Educator-Fairfield County

The spring of 2020 has not been as good as recent springs when it comes to my Redbud (Cercis canadensis) and Dogwood (Cornus florida) tree blossoms. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got some trees that are flowering very well but overall, the weather pattern has not been ideal and the trees are not quite as showy this year.

Let us look at the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), This is a native tree to much of eastern North America ranging from southern Ontario to northern Florida. It can thrive as far west as California. One of the first trees to bloom each spring and always a welcome site after a long Ohio winter.  The redbud grows well in the understory of my primarily Oak and Hickory forest. My trees receive limited sunlight after the larger Oaks leaf out. If planted in areas where they receive more sunlight, they develop more dense blossoms and foliage.

They prefer Continue reading


DO NOT PLANT THOSE TOMATOES just yet!! WHY NOT?  It is too cold and we still have the potential for frost in Fairfield County.  Tomatoes do best when planted in warm soils and we have lots of 60 plus degree days!!

If you are new to gardening or want to learn more for success in the vegetable is the time to check out the Fairfield County Master Gardener Blog…Gardening 101 at the top of this page has all of the answers you need to get you even features great videos with some of our Master Gardeners on Garden Journaling, Starting Seeds and much more…It is easy to find at

If you want more detailed information on what is happening weekly in the lawn and landscape then check out Buckeye Yard and Garden Line tab ..It is a great source of information from OSU Horticulture Specialist based on observations across the State of Ohio.

Tomatoes like to be planted in warm soils..planting in dry soil after Mother’s Day is your best bet for tomato success


A Gourmet Dinner from the Woods

Spring is here and with it comes my favorite spring outdoor activity. I love to get outdoors and hike in the woods. While I’m at it I hike to spots where I’ve previously found that spring delicacy…morel mushrooms. (Morchella)

Hiking to the right spot at the right time may reward you with tasty Morel mushrooms. Morels have a texture and taste like no other mushroom. I would describe the texture as somewhat meaty and the taste kind of earthy and nutty and of course the way I cook them, buttery.

In the “early season” which varies from year to year depending on temperatures, rainfall etc. I usually find the black variety followed by the yellow morels later in the season. Morels are a little particular concerning Continue reading

Being Lawn Ready

Garth Ruff OSU Extension Henry County

As temperatures (slowly) begin to warm up this is a great time to prepare equipment for mowing lawns.

There are two simple rules that you can follow to maintain a beautiful lawn. The first is to sharpen your mower blades. Having sharp blades will cut leaves rather than tearing them. This will reduce disease pressure and the lawn will look a lot nicer. If your yard is like mine and you have mole hills you may need to sharpen your blades a couple of time throughout the season. Before I mow each time I like to smooth out any mole hills with a gravel rake or garden hoe.

The second rule is to keep the mower deck two to two and a half inches off the ground. Once the seed heads are removed from the grass in May, raise the deck another half Continue reading

Planting When the Soil Tempatures are Right = Success!!

Soil temperature plays an important role in seed germination.

This weekend will no doubt bring lots of gardeners out into the sunshine. The calendar tells us we could be planting early spring crops in the garden but what does the soil thermometer tell us? If you have never thought about the use of the soil thermometer you should! Have you ever had crops that you planted in your garden that just “set” there and did not take off? Perhaps you planted them in wet soils and perhaps you planted them when the soils were just too cold.

Soil temperature plays an important role in seed germination. Adequate soil temperatures for germination range widely for different crops. For example, spinach needs a soil temperature of at least Continue reading

A Great Spring for the Lenten Rose (Heleborus Orientalis)

Note:  Special thanks to Jerry Iles, Extension Educator in Fairfield County for sharing his beautiful spring blooming woodland plantings with us.   

When you live in a hardwood forest setting like I do plants that require full sun are a lost cause. Early season shade tolerant perennials like the Lenten Rose perform just fine. This spring was a great year for our Lenten Rose plants (Helebores). Aptly named for blooming during lent season. There are multiple colors available. We have two color varieties a traditional white and a deep purple. Both performed equally well this year. Along with daffodils these plants provide our first splash of color each spring. If you have a shady area and you want to establish an easy perennial that will “naturalize” plant Lenten Rose. We planted our bulbs in the fall several years ago and have Continue reading

Daffodils . . . Easy and Beautiful

With all of the rain predicted for this final weekend of March, make time to grab your favorite vase and cut a cheerful bouquet of daffodils to enjoy!!!

Daffodils are easy, and will return every spring with little maintenance

I live in a woodland setting so I can’t really grow a garden which I miss, or a lawn, which I don’t miss. One of the first signs of spring in our “natural setting” that we have enhanced with a few plantings is the emergence of our daffodils. We separate plants after they are done flowering in the late spring. We plant new bulbs in clusters throughout our woods in the fall. The burst of beautiful yellow flowers we have had over the last two weeks let’s us know spring is here!

If you want to press the “easy button” and be rewarded every spring . . . plant daffodils. No mulching, no watering and they always look great. One hint my wife has is to Continue reading

The time to prevent crabgrass; Early this year?

Warmer temperatures combined with plenty of precipitation may cause crabgrass to germinate a little early this year

Normally we don’t concern ourselves with applying crabgrass preventer in Fairfield County until early to mid-April. Considering that lawns are now beginning to grow, and tree buds are swelling, it’s apparent that slightly warmer than normal temperatures may cause us to consider moving crabgrass control measures up on this year’s calendar.

Crabgrass is a summer annual grass that will re-establish itself each year from seed that remains near the soil surface from last year’s crabgrass crop. The seed of crabgrass begins to germinate in areas of a lawn where light can penetrate to the soil surface and the soil temperatures warm to nighttime minimum temperatures of 52 – 54 F for at least 5 consecutive nights under conditions of moist soils. The OSU’s CFAES Weather System tells us that on March 20, the average 2 inch depth soil temperature in Columbus was Continue reading

The Phenology Calendar -What is it?

Growing Degree Day Website,

While we are living in a world with cancellations, postponements, and social distancing, the spring season has not been canceled, and as a matter of fact the season is progressing. A great way to track that progression is through Growing Degree Day (GDD) Accumulations and the Plant Phenology Network.

While many of you might be familiar with GDDs and Plant Phenology, this initial alert will serve as an introduction. It might be new-news for some, or a refresher for others. Additional BYGL Alerts will follow as we track the progression of spring, and ultimately summer, in the buckeye state.

GDD are a measurement of the growth and development of plants and insects during the growing season. This development does not Continue reading