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How to cut down on weeding

Now that the garden soils have warmed up, put down some mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing. Some people use several layers of newspaper and cover that with grass clippings several inches thick to reduce their weeding and watering requirements. Of course, if you can find some straw or grass hay, this will also work as long as it is four or more inches thick. It is amazing how this will help cut down on the weeding needed in the garden and also help show off your plants.

Conversations taking place around the state indicate Mother Nature was hard on people as well as plants this past winter. Stories of winterkill or damage are coming from all four corners of the state. Many trees are showing bud damage with the leaves smaller than normal or of leaves starting to emerge and then die. Don't be in a hurry to remove these branches as another set of buds may develop and produce leaves on the branch. I have also seen a lot of dead wood in many shrubs this spring. Pruning the dead wood out will help the plant look better and encourage new buds to develop and fill in the weak spots.

A number of recent phone calls would have me believe that our evergreens have suffered through the winter. I think a lot of needles were killed; in part due to the dry conditions of last fall that occurred in many parts of West Central Minnesota. My trees seem to have survived without much needle loss, but then I had laid a hose around the trees and let it run all day. It must have been enough moisture to keep them healthy. I don't know how they survived when we had 40 mile an hour winds for a day or two during the winter. That had to take a lot of moisture out of the tree. The one good thing about this dry spring is we do not have anthracnose disease around this year. Our trees needed a break from that problem.

Many people like to move some of their house plants outside during the summer. Make sure you put them in a shady area so that they can adjust to the bright hot sun gradually. The leaves will easily sunburn if they are not acclimatized. Potted plants may need to be watered twice a day in order to survive the hot summer days. Also, be aware that many plants will pick up insect problems when outdoors. Scales and spider mites are common problems that can occur and are difficult to control once on the plant. Make sure you check the plants thoroughly before bringing them back in next fall.

As the summer progresses and the heat builds, consider raising the height of your mower. I encourage you to move the mowing height to three inches during the heat of the summer. It will have a number of advantages for both you and the grass.

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The bare truth in the news doesn't always get proper coverage.