A Cold St Louis March Slows Us Down

The Turf Plan
This is a winter that refuses to quit! Last year, March was 15 degrees above normal, but this year, we’re tracking about 4 degrees below normal, but we’ve been 5 to 9 degrees below normal if you start counting from mid-February. No matter how we slice it, it’s danged cold. Even “normal” would be better than this prolonged spell of cloudy, windy and cold weather! Where the hell is my pacifier?

Aren’t you tired of using that little-bitty green spreader? Face it, dude, those are so lame! Nothing says, “rookie” like a wimpy spreader. It’s time to upgrade to one of our Earthway® spreaders.

Topics Discussed:

1)  STEP 1 timing recommendation (update)

2)  Apply Milorganite® to repel deer

3)  Apply slow release nitrogen to the garden

4)  Apply 0-0-7 with Merit® to the garden


1) STEP 1 TIMING:  The question we’ve been asked dozens of times…with this cold weather, are we still on track for mid-March as the spreading date for Step 1?  It’s a GREAT question, folks!  Our answer…as long as you’ve cleaned up the turf, there’s nothing wrong with applying Step 1, despite the cold weather.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting a week or two, either.  But, even with a “late” STEP 1, your STEP 2 must still be spread on May 15th.

And for those of you that have already applied STEP 1, you need not worry about the heavy rain washing away the herbicide.

2) APPLY MILORGANITE TO REPEL DEER:  Deer and rabbits don’t like Milorganite, and it’ll give you 7 to 14 days of repellency, depending upon the rainfall and temperatures.  As the “delectable plants” come up in the garden, especially the hostas and daylilies, toss some Milorganite around the base of the plants you want to protect.  Milorganite only has 6% nitrogen and it’s organic, so you won’t burn plants with it.  Your plants will also benefit from the 4% phosphorous, along with a lot of iron.  One bag can covers 1,500 to 2,000 sq ft of garden.

3) APPLY SLOW RELEASE NITROGEN TO THE GARDEN:  The next 3 to 4 weeks are perfect for applying the methylene urea formulation of nitrogen, which will feed your garden plants for 3 to 4 months!  This is the same product as STEP 8 for the PLATINUM PLAN.  One bag of this 40% nitrogen product can easily feed 10,000 to 15,000 sq ft of landscape ornamentals.  Apply 1 cup of fertilizer for every 100 sq ft of landscape bed.  Re-read that…1 cup to 100 sq ft.  Apply it to the root zone of the plants you want to feed.

4)  APPLY 0-0-7 WITH MERIT TO THE GARDEN:  Just as with the slow release nitrogen discussed in #3 above, you should apply some potassium and Merit (imidacloprid), a systemic insecticide, to the garden.  Apply 1 cup of this product to 100 sq ft of garden.  Apply it to the root zone of all your landscape plants.

CAUTION!  When it comes to feeding the ornamental plants in your landscape beds, you can’t just throw handfuls of fertilizer over the top of tender vegetation.   Fertilizers are basically “salts”, and salts will burn foliage when spread with reckless abandon over the top of tender, green foliage.  You’ve got to take some extra time to sprinkle it in the root zone of plants.