March Madness for Gardeners
March is a trying month in our part of the country. It can be warm one day then cold with snow the next. Sometimes it is hard to get any yard/garden chores accomplished. Yet March is an ideal month for several tasks (as weather permits):
Now is the time to prune! Pruning can be done anytime now up until the trees leaf out in April. It is best to prune your fruit trees when dormant so take advantage of any warm March days for this purpose. Please view my previous pruning article for details.
If you are attempting to grow peaches in our climate, spray your tree with Daconil fungicide late March (if weather permits) and then again 10 days later in early-mid April. Daconil will control the fungus that causes peach leaf curl. This fungus attacks the meristem as soon as the leaf bud opens, resulting in the development of disfigured leaves that are curled and blotched. Since Daconil only works as a preventative spray, it will not work after bud break. One or two sprays while trees are still dormant will give good control for the entire season.
Usually around mid-late March I uncover any non-hardy roses that I provided winter protection for. Rose cones, mounding, straw or other such measures used can now be removed. Pruning can be done now but I prefer to wait until early April when the buds are swelled or just opening.
This year at Johnson's Nursery we will have apple trees on dwarfing rootstocks (M7 and also MM106). So many people requested apple trees on a dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock that we have responded to your request. We will have Jonathan in #7 container (on MM106 rootstock) and both Haralson & Honeygold in #10 container (M7 rootstock). Since Jonathan is a naturally small tree we have taken the liberty of having it on a less dwarfing rootstock to compensate for this attribute as it can runt out on M7 rootstock. Our goal is to provide quality fruit trees that will work in the typical small city yard that many of our clients have.
Honeygold is a popular apple variety in western WI, Minnesota and areas farther west. It was introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1969 and is a cross of Golden Delicious x Haralson. It is considered the "golden delicious of the north" as it thrives in colder climates where Golden Delicious fails.
Paul Schwabe is a salesman in our Contractor Sales division. He holds a degree in horticulture and will be writing about some of his favorite and underused plants.