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Weed and feed fertilizers on Southern lawns

February 18, 2012

Fertilizer granules provide a simple and easy carrier to distribute pre-emerge herbicides that must be applied to our lawns prior to weed seed germination if the herbicide is to be effective.
However, there is a downside to using many of these weed and feed fertilizers in the spring for our Southern lawns. Some of these fertilizers products containing pre-emerge herbicides only are formulated with high nitrogen contents for cool season turf species that can utilize the nitrogen at this time of the year.
These fertilizers put on our dormant warm season turf species lawns now will most likely feed existing winter weeds that will compete for space as our lawns begin their flush of spring growth unless a post-emerge herbicide is also applied. With too early high nitrogen fertilization you may also be setting your lawn up for cold injury from a late season freeze.
Therefore, my suggestion is if you use a weed and feed fertilizer as a carrier for your pre-emerge herbicide try to find a fertilizer formulation that is low in nitrogen or one that the nitrogen source is in a slow release form. Most Southern lawns can wait until they have gone through spring transition and have been mowed at least twice before applying spring nitrogen fertilization.
 
Tips on caring for Valentine cut flowers
 
For the fortunate who receive a beautiful bouquet of roses or other cut flowers from our valentines the following tips will ensure that your flowers last, maybe not as long as true love, but at least a few weeks. First, recut the stems. Use a sharp knife and cut at a 45-degree angle, so there will be maximum surface area for the stems to drink water through. Some florist’s advise doing the recutting while holding the stems underwater.
To improve the vase life of cut flowers and to keep them fresh longer, immerse their stems in warm water immediately after cutting. Be sure and strip off any leaves that would otherwise be immersed in the vase water. Condition these flowers for several hours or overnight, so that they can draw up plenty of water before you arrange them in their final decorative vase or container. Add a packet of flower preservative to the water in your decorative container. You can purchase these from a florist or from the floral sections of some discount stores. If you do not have or cannot find the floral preservative packets, change the water daily in the vase.
Try not to display the bouquet in a hot room or in direct sunlight. One trick to really make your bouquet last even longer is to put the whole thing, if it will fit, into the fridge every night before you go to bed and then take it out in the morning. Putting the bouquet in a cooler part of the house will work to some degree as well. Last but not least, don’t forget to take a picture of you and your bouquet so the memories will last long after the flowers have faded.
Cold came the weekend before Valentine’s Day and froze a lot of blooms and buds to death. Many pear trees, some blueberries and early flowering shrubs were in full bloom and flowers were damaged by the cold. The low temperature did not last long enough to damage the plants, but the flowers may be sparse the rest of the season. To check the viability of your fruit tree buds, cut a few of them in half. The interior should be white or pale green. If the interior of the bud is brown there will probably be no fruit this year.
Mustard and turnip greens were also damaged by the cold. Check the growing point at the top of the stem to see if it is still green. It may be better to plow in those damaged greens and plant a new patch.
Everyone growing their tomato and pepper transplants should have seed ordered by now. Even the California growers need a three to four week old transplant and most of us use a 6-week-old one. Growers on the coast should have their tomato and pepper seeded. It is much easier to hold a transplant in the tray if the weather is unusually cold at planting than to create cool winds when the pollination occurs. Remember last spring.
Fava beans are not often attempted in Mississippi. One reason is their photoperiodism. One grower recently showed me his fava beans that had been planted 90 days and asked why there were no beans. I showed him the buds and just opening blooms and explained the days had just gotten long enough to trigger flowering.

Nagel and Wells are affiliated with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by the Oktibbeha County Extension Service; for more information call 662-323-5916.

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