April Gardening in Ohio

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April is when our Ohio weather normally turns itself around.  We finally can spend some time outside and there is a lot of work to be done this month in our lawns and landscaping.

• Clean up hanging containers, garden ornaments and flower pots,
• Clean, repair and refurbish birdhouses and feeders,
• Pick up sticks and other debris from flower beds,
• Reset and secure stones in walls, terraces and walks that may have been moved by the freeze-and-thaw cycles over the winter,
• When the soil dries out a little, clean up your flower beds. Pull out the weeds, dead plants and pick up winter debris,
• Divide overgrown clumps of plants,
• Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over bare soil under and around shrubs,
• Prune spring-blooming shrubs soon after they flower to shape or renew them,
• Prune Butterfly Bushes back to within 4-6 inches of soil level,
• When the soil is dry enough to be easily worked, prepare your flower beds; dig and turn the soil.

The best thing that you can do for your lawn this month is to have your mower blade sharpened! For thin, bare areas of your lawn, seed as early as the weather will allow this month. Cutting height for your grass should be 2½-3 inches. Always mow with a sharp blade and only when the grass is dry. The # 1 mistake that homeowners and lawn companies make is overfeeding the lawn in April. Feed your lawn with a fertilizer that puts no more than ½ lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. Too much nitrogen causes fast growing blades but weak roots.

Weeds are now responding to spring weather. Watch for young sprouts and pull them as soon as they are large enough to grasp. They will come up easily if the soil is moist. A pre-emergent, like Preen, can be applied to garden beds to prevent new weed growth for up to 3 months.

Ohio celebrates Arbor Day in April; observe this occasion by planting a tree! This is a good time to prune vertical suckers and water sprouts from the branches of fruit trees, Magnolias, Crabapples and other trees that produce them.

Roses need your attention this month. A good rule of thumb is: “Prune when the Daffodils bloom.” Remove winter protection from roots and add fresh mulch…but do not allow it to touch the plant. Sprinkle a granular, slow-acting rose fertilizer on the surrounding soil.

Cut off faded Tulip and Daffodil flowers as soon as they are finished blooming and their petals drop. Cut back the stems (only) to where the leaves begin, leaving as much foliage as possible. Daffodils can be divided while “green”. Rather than waiting until the fall when you may forget or cannot find them, do the job as soon as they are done blooming.

Now that you have worked hard and have gotten your lawn and beds in great shape, do yourself a favor and plant some Pansies among your Daffodils, Tulips and other bulbs. Don’t forget to add them to containers and in your window boxes. They will brighten up your landscape and help bring color to those remaining gray days we will have yet this month in Ohio!

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. Sheri is a wife and mother who loves to work in her flower gardens.        http://www.anotheryouerrands.com     937-416-2207

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Summertime and the Living is Easy in Your Yard

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What’s going on in your lawn and landscaping in August?  Late summer in Ohio is known for hot, humid days.  As I write this, I am out enjoying a beautiful 80 degree, sunny morning with very low humidity out on my deck.  Rare for late July in my home town.

Blooms:  Many of your perennials like the Black Eyed Susan, Coneflower and Shasta Daisy will self-sow their seed.  If you leave the seed-heads on this will mean more beautiful blooms for next year and will provide food for your birds.  You should draw finches of all sort to Black Eyed Susan and Coneflowers.  A variety of Roses may get a second wind this month.  By late August you can think about planting landscape shrub roses.  Some of your annuals will continue to bloom in August while others will look worn and tired.  Fall will be here before you know it so it is a great time replace the  tired looking ones with annuals that are richer in color.  I tend to pick reds, oranges, and yellows so they will blend in nicely with my Harvest decorations and Mums later in the fall.

Bulbs:  Late August is the perfect time to move or divide bulbs that have become too crowded.  If the center clumps of your Iris look “woody” dig them up, separate the bulbs and replant all around your yard.

Lawns:  August lawns in Ohio are normally water deprived and brown.  As long as your lawn is not diseased, allowing the grass to go dormant will be better for the lawn and save water.  Put your sprinklers away unless we have had no rain for two weeks; then water deeply.  As soon as rainfall returns, the grass will green back up in a couple of days.  No fertilizer this month.

Shrubs and Trees:  There is not much to do except enjoy your shrubs and trees this month.  Nice shade trees are in demand in August in Ohio.  Take some time to retreat to them and relax in the cool shade that they provide.  Watch the birds and butterflies and listen to the buzzing bees and lonely sounding cicadas.

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.              http://www.anotheryouerrands.com                      937-416-2207

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Lawn and Flower Garden: July in Ohio

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July is normally hot, dry, and humid here in Ohio. There is not much to do in your lawn/flower gardens now that summer is here.

It is a good time to have your mower blade sharpened again. Grass will begin to get stressed by now so do not aerate or fertilize your lawn this month.  You should set your mower at 3 inches and make sure that you water your lawn deeply; soak down 6-8 inches every 10-14 days.

Be sure to give your perennials (flowers that return each year) a good soak every 7-10 days (1-2 inches). There is not much else to do with your flowers in July other than keep them watered and weeded. Be sure to deadhead to encourage new blooms. Continue to pinch Mums back this month.

Japanese beetles appear in July. Pick them off your roses, shrubs and other plants and destroy them in a jar of soapy water. Remove any bagworms, caterpillars, and other pests from your shrubs and trees.

Watch out for poison ivy and oak this month. Remember “Leaves of 3–Let it Be”. Paint the stems and lower foliage with Roundup which will kill the roots.

After your Clematis blooms in June you can cut back the stems 1/2 way in July to stimulate a possible repeat bloom later in the summer.  Mine never re-bloom but I have read where some do!l!

Since there is not a lot to do in your yard this month, enjoy our summer and take some time to visit the pool, have cookouts with family and friends, and take long naps under your favorite shade tree.

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

Ohio Flower Gardening in June

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You can really beautify your yard this month with annuals (plants that only last 1 season). When it gets hot, those Pansies that you planted early in the season may start to look a little worn. Replace them with some showy annuals. The Poppies, Bleeding Heart and Virginia Bluebells will die all the way back and leave bare spaces. Fill those, and any other areas where you need color, with containers of long-lasting annuals. Your annuals have shallow roots, so they will need watered more regularly than your perennials (those plants that come back each year). In the hot, Ohio summer, your pots and containers made need daily watering. Just check the soil by poking your finger in it.  If it comes out clean-time to water! Make sure to deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

Grass should need less mowing in June due to the warmer temperatures. Make sure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per week. Move your mower blade to 2.5-3 inches so the grass will not brown out in the summer sun. Alternate your mowing pattern (vertical, horizontal, diagonal) each time you mow to minimize wear. So that beetle larvae will not feed on your lawn later in the summer, June is a good time to apply an environmentally friendly pesticide such as Merit or Mach ll.

If you fill your flower beds with perennials, you will save yourself time and money next season. Plant your perennials soon after purchase and be sure to read the plant markers. Pay attention to how much sun they need and any other care that may be necessary. If you did not divide your existing perennials last month you can do so early in June; just make sure they are well-watered for a couple of days after division. Mulching around your flowers will help with weeds and water retention. Established perennials need about 1 inch of water per week. Pinch back the stems of your Mums by 1/2 to encourage a more bushy plant with lots of blooms in the fall. Do this on a regular basis until mid-July so that your Mums do not bloom too early and you will have beautiful, fall color in October. To control other late summer or fall blooming plants such as Aster, Beebalm and Goldenrod, cut back the new stems about half way once they grow to 10-12 inches tall.

To prolong the life of cut Roses cut them in the early morning or at dusk. Cut only the flowers that are in the late bud stage. Use sharp pruners (and gloves!) and cut at a 45 degree angle. Immediately immerse the stems in fresh, tepid water and set them in a cool place for a few hours. Re-cut the ends and arrange them in a vase with water and preservative (I hear vodka works well).

Happy June Gardening!

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

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March Gardening in Ohio

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This is the month to start thinking seriously about beginning outdoor work in the yard and flower gardens.  Get outside and rejoice that the color has returned to our landscapes!

 Pansies, Johnny-Jump-Ups and Violas can handle the March chill so plant them in containers or window boxes.  Tulips and Daffodils will begin their show this month.  As you enjoy their blooms, think about planting more bulbs in the fall.  Make sure to take pictures of your flower beds now so you will know where to plant later in the year. 

 The best thing you can do for your lawn in March is to service your mower and get the blade sharpened. 

  1. Remove and throw away the spark-plug,
  2. Uncover the engine and clean off any gunk and grass clippings from all parts,
  3. If you did not empty the gas tank before winter, empty it now.  Leave it empty to tip it over to get to the blade.
  4. Remove blade to get it sharpened or install a new one,
  5. Replace the fuel filter and clean or replace the air filter,
  6. Drain the oil and refill it with fresh,
  7. Fill the gas tank with fresh gasoline (and oil if it is a 2-cycle engine), and
  8. Install a new spark-plug.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

You can plant Roses this month wherever the soil has thawed and it is not to wet to be worked.  Remember to “Prune when the Daffodils Bloom”.  Cut out all the dead and diseased canes.  Cut canes that show winter-kill back to live wood; cut as low as you need to.

 March is the month that you cut back all your ornamental grasses.  The easiest way to do this is to tie the grass tightly about a foot from the ground and cut it straight across with hedge shearers.  If you notice a hole in the middle of your grasses, this signals they that need to be divided; do this after cutting them back.

 It is time to get serious about new shrubs for the yard.  You can plant after the soil thaws.  This is also a good time for cosmetic pruning of spring-flowering shrubs but be sure to only remove dead or injured twigs.  If you have older shrubs that need to be rejuvenated do so this month.  Cut back the oldest, thickest, woodiest stems to 4-6 inches above the soil level.  Cut out about 1/3 of the total branches.  Cut back another 1/3 next year and the remaining 1/3 the year after. 

 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. ~Margaret Atwood

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207