All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"One-Step, Organic, Easy Spring Lawn Care"

In spring each year when people are doing spring cleaning outdoors to get their yards in shape, I’m often asked about an alternative to buying a four-step program for their lawns. They don’t want the hassle of having to do so much work on their lawns to make them look good. Many also say they are unhappy with the results they get from the four-step programs. Also, a growing trend is to not use chemicals on their lawns anymore and instead use natural and organic lawn care products. What’s more, many people want a combination of both organic and easy, one-step all in one product which wasn’t doable until lately.

Each spring I apply my Organic Lawn Weed and Feed, a new lawn care product that’s easy, one step, and 100 percent organic. It’s a two-in-one product that’s all you need. The first part of the two in one is a slow-release organic lawn food that fertilizes the lawn and makes it green up fast without burning it. If your lawn is thin or has bare spots, Organic Lawn Weed and Feed will fill in bare spots so overseeding is unnecessary.

The second part of the two in one is a safe and natural pre-emergent that prevents weed seeds from growing before they even have a chance to sprout so you don’t even see any weeds. It controls all lawn and garden weeds including dandelions, crabgrass, nutsedge, wild violets, ground ivy, clover, quackgrass, barnyardgrass, curly dock, green foxtail, giant foxtail, creeping bentgrass, shattercane, wooly cupgrass, purslane, annual bluegrass, lamb’s quarters, black nightshade, orchardgrass, black medic, redroot pigweed, velvetleaf, catchweed bedstraw, buckhorn, and all other lawn and garden weeds.

This product is safe for people, pets, wildlife, and the environment. What’s also nice is the lawn can be walked on right away after applying it and children and pets can play on the lawn as well.

Organic Lawn Weed and Feed can be used on all types of lawns and grasses. I apply it myself using a spreader and you can use any type of spreader or do it by hand. Apply it anytime now through spring.

As well as being my once-yearly weed and feed for the lawn, I also use it on bare ground or on top of mulch in my flower beds, vegetable gardens, and around trees and shrubs in the landscape. After I’m done applying it to my lawn with my spreader I grab handfuls of it and scatter it throughout all my plantings. It’s safe if it touches the leaves of the plants. With it I no longer have to weed any more or mulch any more.

Click here to order my Organic Lawn Weed and Feed and other organic lawn care products from my Online Store. You can pick up your order free, no shipping charge, at any of my Gardening Workshops or you can have your order shipped.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Garden Can't Compete with Tree's Roots and Shade"

Q. We have recently built a series of raised beds for our vegetable and berry garden. They are in our prior in-ground garden area which is near an oak tree and one of the beds is partially under the drip line of the tree. Some friends who had a similar situation said they had a major problem with invading roots leaching the nutrients and clogging the beds. What can we do to prevent this from happening to ours (other than moving the beds)? We do have a small tractor with a 12-inch back hoe, so could do digging if that would help. Thank you.

A. If you were to do a major digging you could hurt the tree. A tree's drip line is the area on the ground below the outermost edge of the branches and that is where the tree's feeder roots are concentrated because that is where the rain can reach the ground readily.

Another concern is putting too much soil over the surface roots of the tree. To avoid hurting the tree, I recommend not putting more than one inch of soil over the area per year. If your raised bed is small, that may not pose a problem to the tree, but if the raised bed covers a large area that would not be good for the tree.

You mentioned you want to grow vegetables and berries in the area under the tree. Most vegetables and berries grow best in full sun and in that area under the tree they will not be in full sun, and depending on how big the tree is now or in the future, the garden might be shaded so much that the vegetables and berries won't do well. Additionally, as I've already mentioned, there will be significant competition for sun and water and the tree's roots will grow into your garden's soil seeking fertile ground. Any watering and fertilizing you do in that area will also be used by the tree. It's a difficult situation no matter how you look at it.

If you do not want to remove the tree or are unable to transplant it, you might want to consider locating that raised bed to an area away from the tree.

If you are not able to relocate the raised bed you might need to trim branches off the tree over the garden. Also, over the years you will have to cut away tree roots that have grown into the soil of the raised bed. I have a similar situation in the raised beds of my vegetable garden and because I use a rototiller to cultivate the soil I need to regularly cut away tree roots that have grown into the raised beds.

Click here to submit gardening questions for Pernell Gerver's online Q & A column.

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