We’re getting close to the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs in our gardens.
November is really the best bulb-planting month here in Louisiana, and we can plant bulbs as late as early December, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill.
Spring-flowering bulbs are those that generally bloom in our climate between February and April. They may be categorized as very early, early, midseason, late and very late. Choosing types that fall into different categories will help provide flowers over a longer season.
Many of the spring bulbs available locally or in catalogs will only bloom reliably for us their first year, Gill says. However, others like daffodils and narcissus will come return year after year.
Some of Gill’s favorites include tulips, grape hyacinth, crocus, hyacinth, ranunculus, anemone, scilla, freesia, ixia, sparaxis and ornithogalum.
“We don’t plant these bulbs as deeply as they do farther north,” Gill says.
Larger bulbs are generally planted only about 4 inches deep — usually about three times the height of the bulb. Plant smaller bulbs only about 2 inches deep.
But it’s not quite time to plant tulip and hyacinth bulbs, he says.
They need more cold than our winters are able to provide. So you want to wait to plant them in late December or early January after they’ve been properly chilled.
So now’s the time to put them in a vegetable bin of the refrigerator for about six to eight weeks and plant them in late December or early January when the soil has had a chance to get cold.
This year our St. Augustine grass has not been able to out-compete a weed. The weed is taking over and causing the St. Augustine to die back. This plant has very small red flowers. This has gotten out of hand, and I fear I will have to put new turf in the spring. – Kay
This is basketgrass. It’s a perennial grass fairly common in heavy shade in lawns and ornamental beds. The problem is the shade.
Basketgrass is more tolerant and more competitive in shade while St. Augustine has the competitive advantage in full sun or moderate shade.
Unfortunately, no herbicides selectively remove basketgrass in St. Augustine grass without injuring or killing the lawn.
If it’s practical, pruning branches to increase light in shady areas will help because basketgrass will usually die out fairly quickly under increased sunlight. — Ron Strahan, LSU AgCenter turfgrass specialist
Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.