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When to stamp out crabgrass

Q: I want to have my yard aerated. I’ve had a small problem with crabgrass and want to apply a pre-emergent weed-killer to help prevent growth. Do I apply it before or after the aeration process?

A: It’ll be best to apply the pre-emergent to your lawn after the aeration. The less the lawn is disturbed after the pre-emergent application, the better it’ll do its job. Remember, too, that you’ll be unable to do any seeding in the treated area for at least six weeks after the application.

Consider applying the pre-emergent over any rock landscaping to keep blown-in seed from growing.

Aerate first, then treat with your pre-emergent to keep those pesky weeds and weedy grasses at bay.

Q: I’ve had a lot of trouble with a bug called a “leaf hopper” in the past. What is the best way to help prevent these bugs?

A: The best way to try to keep ahead of these wretched bitty bugs is cleanliness!

All around the perimeter of your property, you must eliminate any weeds you can find. Leaf hoppers really like living in weeds, especially the wild mustard that grows so well in these parts, so if you have any weeds growing near or in your landscaping, you’re inviting the hoppers.


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Another thing you can do is fluff your mulch. By turning and re-working the mulch, you allow the eggs to be brought to the surface. That movement will expose the eggs to more varied temperature extremes, hopefully killing them.

One more suggestion would be administering an application of dormant oil to your plantings. Established trees, shrubs, roses and still-sleeping perennial plants would certainly benefit from a spraying this time of year. If you have plants that are in full bloom, consider waiting until that flush of flower has begun to fade if you want to spray with the oil. That will ensure your early flowering plants have the chance to be pollinated, guaranteeing their continued success.

Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send your garden-related questions to Digging In, Rio West, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103.