Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith shares the following about becoming a master gardener:
Do you like getting your hands dirty and your feet wet? How about digging up dirt? Would you wholeheartedly grovel in the ground with new friends? Are you inquisitive about things flora? Have you ever considered becoming a Master Gardener? From experience, I can say, it’s a great experience. What better way to get in touch with nature than through an educational opportunity provided by Iowa State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and an opportunity to make new friends who willingly share their expertise. The enrollment process is not daunting! If you can demonstrate that you know a little something about gardening; you are enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge; and would eagerly commit to some volunteerism and community betterment, then this program is for you. Sure, some of the Linn County Master Gardeners can spew verbiage about hundreds of issues. Some of us, though, still need to ask questions and do the research. But gardeners of any type and especially Master Gardeners love to share. In fact, our mission statement says, “the purpose of the Master Gardener program is to provide current, research-based home horticultural information and education to the citizens of Iowa through ISU Extension programs and projects.”
What do Master Gardeners do in addition to enjoying their personal gardening passions?
Imagine helping create a children’s garden at Lowe Park in Marion. Learn how fabulous gardens are created by assisting at the annual Garden Walk. Contribute some time at the Winter Gardening Fair where there are outstanding keynote speakers and the opportunity to choose from dozens of classes. Lead or scribe on the Horticulture Line to research answers to any number of telephone and walk in questions. Have privy to updates provided directly to you by ISU plus receive an informative monthly newsletter created by Linn County Master Gardeners.
Applications and further information are available at http://www.mastergardener.iastate.edu or call the Linn County Extension Office at 319-377-9839. Please note that the application and fee are due by Friday, July 17th. Visit the website at www.extension.iastate.edu/linn . Selecting “Yard and Garden” will bring a menu of articles and information about the Master Gardener program. Go ahead, talk to any Master Gardener. They’ll tell you to try it: you’ll like it!
Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith, wrote the following about three of the most frequently asked questions to the Linn County Master Gardener Horticulture Hotline. The HortLine is available to answer questions from 9 am.. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays at (319)447-0647.
One of the commonly asked questions in the spring concerns when to apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer. Master Gardener Susan Long has this response: Typically, the blooming of the forsythia or the redbud is a good indicator of when to apply pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide. Pre-emergents must be applied before the crabgrass germinates. Ground temperatures must be a minimum of 50 degrees. If the material is applied too early, crabgrass seeds that germinate late in the season will not be controlled. If applied too late, some crabgrass will have already germinated. In central Iowa, this is usually mid-April to May 1. However, if the weather warms up early or stays cool longer, then adjustments must be made based on the conditions. Having a thick, healthy lawn that is fertilized, watered and mowed certainly discourages the growth of crabgrass.
Susan also answered a question about arborvitae having brown leaves due to winter burn and whether it will recover and/or should be pruned: Avoid pruning browned, burned areas from evergreen trees and shrubs in the early spring since these branches may still have viable buds that will produce new foliage when growth resumes. The brown will eventually fall off. If the buds did not survive, then prune dead branches back to living tissue. The affected trees and shrubs should look much better by late June or July. There is no need to fertilize affected evergreens. However, if the weather this spring is dry, periodically water evergreens to encourage new growth and speed their recovery.
Another caller wondered what causes a lawn to be torn up at night. Lawns that have grubs attract raccoons, skunks, and crows which turn over large patches of turf in search of the grubs. The best time to treat is early in the summer when insecticides have the best changes of working. The entire lawn may not need to be treated, rather treat grub “hot spots” determined by observation or sampling. Presently trichlorfor (Dylox or Bayer 24-Hour Grub Control) and Sevin are the fastest-acting, most effective homeowner insecticides for curative grub control. These must be watered in completely after application. In many cases it may be preferable to repair the damage through seeding or sodding without treating. If the old, loose sod is still green it may reattach with adequate watering.