20 Aug 2014
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Should You Start Planting, Lawn Care?

Trees are blossoming and lawns are turning green in this summery weather; should you mow, water or buy petunias? A garden center and landscaper tell what NOT to do.

Should You Start Planting, Lawn Care?


With tree buds opening, daffodils blooming and grass turning a cheerful green, a visitor might be excused for thinking the calendar had flipped from March to May.

You might be tempted to plant a garden or mow the lawn. But two local experts assess what the freaky weather means. Jim Meinke, co-owner of tells exactly what you can plant. And Chris Zalinski of has three words of warning: watering, pests and disease.

Winter not cold enough to kill pests

The warm March temperatures--with Wednesday the eighth straight day of record highs--mean anything planted this spring will have to really be watered, Zalinski said. Homeowners will have to guard against plants drying out. 

And because winter wasn't as cold as usual for as long as usual, that brings another problem.

"Because it was very warm, pests and diseases that might normally be frozen out and killed--that did not happen," Zalinski said. 

Problems that could crop up include fungus, sod web worms, Japanese beetle grubs and moths.

Normally, he tries not to use chemicals, but this year's problems could require treatment.

"It's weird," he said of the hot weather burst, adding that since recorded temperatures haven't been this high before, no one knows quite what effect they'll have. 

What's Safe To Plant

If you're dreaming of having flowers, Meinke recommends primrose, pansies, ranunculus and linaria.

"Remember we've had frost as late as the third week in May," he reminds, poking a hole in the summer-like mirage we've all been living in and stressing the need for plants that can resist cold spring weather.


They'll provide color in front of your house for about two months, but they won't survive once the heat of June kicks in. You'll have to replant at that time.

For those who want to plant vegetables now, he recommends those which can handle the cold--onion sets, cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprouts, seed radishes, sweet peas, strawberries and spearmint.

"We're not recommending planting summer plants yet, but there are people who insist on buying a few tomatoes. We just warn them of the risks," he said.

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