I found some fat grubs in my flower bed. Is it too late to put grub control on my lawn?
Oddly enough, it's good to have a few grubs. They keep around the diseases and predators that kill grubs. Fat spring grubs don't eat roots. Unless you saw 12 or so grubs per square foot in your lawn last August or September, you don't need grub-control products now. Grub-control products are somewhat toxic to other soil organisms and should not be applied unless you had a true grub problem the year before.
I have a volunteer chrysanthemum that spreads but never blooms. Will pinching make it bloom?
It's likely that your free mum is mugwort, a sneaky weed often introduced into gardens with purchased plants. Because the leaves resemble mums, it may enjoy free rein until its true identity is exposed. Cutting it encourages spread. In May or August use a glyphosate herbicide. Protect your desirable plants with a shield of cardboard or plastic, because glyphosate is a vegetation killer.
Mow 'em high and let 'em lie. Grass clippings settle between grass blades to decompose, cushion and even shade the soil to conserve moisture. They do not create thatch.
Prune back plants at least 1 foot from your house to help keep moisture and insects away.
Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hot line" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.