From Across the Field – In Bloom

Every now and then I get asked about how I come up with some of the topics that I write about each week. The answer is usually simple I either write about what I see or what I know is going be happening next as the year progresses. Whether for the farmer or the home gardener, being as current as possible allows for any potential management decisions by you the readers, to be made. Other than that, from time to time I try to mix in a bit about what is happening in my world to further connect with you the audience.

As for I have seen in the past week, about 3 things, stand out in my mind; poor alfalfa, dandelions, and blossoming flowers.

As I made my loop around the county on Sunday, there is no doubting that this past winter was extremely tough on forage fields. Some fields are a loss due to the lack of snow cover during those coldest days of the winter. Entering 2019 with below average hay inventory across the state has already been a challenge for livestock producers and projects to be so going into 2020 as well.

Farmers that need forage can interseed grasses into their existing alfalfa stands to make up some yield. It is not recommended to interseed additional alfalfa or to reseed with continuous alfalfa due to autotoxicity of the plant to new seedlings.

I guess that dandelions and blossoming flowers kind of go together as they are signs of warmer weather. Dandelions are a perennial weed, and if not controlled each plant’s crown and root system will remain alive after the leaves have died in fall. The ideal time to control perennial weeds is fall, bloom time in early spring is the second-best time of year for control. When weed numbers are high, post-emergent herbicides can be broadcast over the entire yard. Usually these herbicides are formulated in combination with fertilizer. For small populations spot treatment is sufficient.

To insure adequate leaf surface and herbicide absorption, don’t mow the lawn 2 or 3 days before treatment. After treatment, allow another 2 or 3 days to pass before mowing. This allows enough time for the herbicide to be translocated to the plant’s roots.

As for the more aesthetically pleasing flowers that are in bloom, the cooler weather has seemed to extend the bloom period for some of the perennial “Easter time” flowers. I have also seen a few lilac bushes that are about mid bloom.

A favorite of my mother, lilacs are flowering shrub that grows best in full sun. It can grow up to 10′ tall and 15′ wide. While common lilac flowers are often darker colored when not fully expanded, the mature flowers may be white, lavender, violet, magenta, pink, purple or blue, and may also be single or double flowered. The old fashioned lilac is not as common in the landscape as it used to be due to its susceptibility to powdery mildew disease but mine are still doing well. Since the flowers of common lilac are very fragrant, many gardeners still like these lilacs despite this disease problem.  I’ll end this week with a quote from Helen Hayes: “Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.” Have a great week.

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