Lime needs time to sink into soil

Garden Q&A

December 07, 1997

I just got my soil test results back from the University of Maryland, and it seems I need to apply lime to my lawn. Should I wait until spring?

Fall is the season for lime applications, so time is running out. An application now gives the lime time before the growing season to be carried by rainfall and gravity down to the root zone of your turf grass. It usually takes several months for the lime to raise the soil pH, so the sooner you get it down the better.

I have a number of rose bushes that I never touch. Now they're getting a little overgrown, and I'm wondering if I can prune them this time of year.

It's fine to prune them now. It's a good idea to cut back hybrid tea and floribunda roses to a height of 30 to 36 inches. This will keep the plants from being damaged by whipping winds. In March, at bud break, you should prune out damaged and diseased canes by cutting the plant back to healthy tissue.

I have a south-facing hedge of boxwood that always looks terrible in the spring. What can I do to protect it from winter weather?

The problem is winter burn caused by cold winds. The southern exposure worsens the problem because the sun beats down on your plants, drying the leaves at a time when the ground is frozen and water is unavailable. Try protecting your hedge with a wind screen made of burlap or muslin (as high as your hedge). Erect the screen on the south-southwest side of your hedge.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507 or visit its Web site at http: //www.agnr.umd.edu/hgic.

Checklist

* Drain pumps, statuary and other plastic or concrete pond features and store in a dry location for the winter.

* Clean the dirt, rust and debris off garden tools. Rub vegetable oil on the metal parts of tools and linseed oil on wooden parts.

* Protect strawberry crowns by covering plants with 6 to 8 inches of shredded leaves or straw.

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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