News Article for February 6, 2012:
Well Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer or all Seers and the Prognosticator of all Prognosticators emerged from his oak stump on Gobbler’s Knob and has seen his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. How does a ground hog know these things?
My grandfather introduced me to Ground Hog Day and sparked my interest as a young boy, but I must confess I have never had much faith in the furry creature, until last year. As you may recall last year we were having one of our coldest winters and first few days of February on record and Phil comes out to predict that he had not seen his shadow and that spring was imminent. I was very sure that he was wrong but little did I know. Turns out that in 2011 we had the coldest first two weeks in the past 80 years and the last two weeks were the second warmest on record. Maybe Phil does know.
If you are going to get ready for spring then there is another important day to remember, Valentines Day. Yes, it would be wise to remember your sweetheart on that special day, but that date also reminds me that it is time to control crabgrass in the lawn.
Mid- February is the time that you can put out a pre-emerge herbicide to prevent crabgrass, which is a summer annual grass that is hard to remove from most warm season grass lawns.
Since the weather has been so warm, many of the warmer season grasses are starting to break out of dormancy but fortunately small crabgrass seedlings can also be controlled with the Valentine’s treatment.
The products to look for are granular materials that have the active ingredient dithiopyr. Retail products that contain this herbicide would include Hi-Yield Dimension, Greenlight Crabgrass Preventer 2 or Sta-Green Crab EX. Follow the directions on the label for rates, but usually the rate is about 4 pounds per 1000 ft². These products have both pre-emerge and post-emerge activity to give us a good margin of error for the volatile timing of spring and therefore volatile timing of the germination of the crabgrass.
You can also use Greenlight’s Crabgrass Preventer and Scott’s Halt but they will only be effective as a pre-emerge control and will not control crabgrass that has already germinated. Scott’s Halt would also be my choice to help prevent goosegrass where that has been a problem.
Another Valentines Day tip is that you need to collect your pecan grafting wood (called scion wood) by about mid- February. Select a desirable variety and cut two year old wood which will be about one half inch in diameter. Take grafting wood from a straight branch with buds evenly spaced every 2 to 3 inches apart.
Dip the ends of your cut scion wood in grafting wax or orange shellac and place in the crisper of your refrigerator inside a plastic bag with a moist paper towel until needed.
Whip grafts can be accomplished around mid-February to early March so you can usually take that scion wood directly from the parent tree and graft it onto the seedling without going into cold storage.
Valentines Day also reminds me of roses, you will need some for someone special!
For more information on these on related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.