Horticulture Spring 2023 Newsletter

Horticulture Spring 2023 Newsletter

Horticulture Spring 2023 Newsletter

March 2023 Edition

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Spring 2023 Horticulture Newsletter
Around and About the Garden with Annette

· Continue to wait to see the extent of the damage caused by the December freeze to shrubs and trees. Before pruning, wait to see where the new growth (leaves) will appear. Then remove dead wood and over time, prune to shape the plant.

· Best to apply fertilizer to most trees and shrubs in the fall.  It is better to grow the roots first in the fall to sustain the new growth that will take place next spring.

· Crabgrass preventer should be applied now even though it seems early.  The temperatures have been warm enough in many areas for the crabgrass to germinate and grow.  The pre-emergence herbicide has to be present as the crabgrass seed begins to germinate.

· Fertilize the lawn in the fall for best results, not in the spring.

· Cool season vegetable crops such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, lettuce, and spinach can be planted now in the garden, raised beds, and containers.

March 21, 2023– ”What to Grow When” at Daviess County Public Library and through Facebook Live 2:00 p.m. 
April 13, 2023– Rain Barrel Workshop at Daviess County Extension Service Office  1:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
April 19, 2023– GRAEMGA public meeting at Daviess County Extension Service Office 12:00 p.m.  
April 22, 2023– Farmers’ Market Opening Day8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
April 29, 2023– Annual Plant Sale and Gardeners Market at Western Kentucky Botanical Garden 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
May 16, 2023- DIY Series: Insect and Disease Scouting at Daviess County Extension Service Office  1:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Sources:  Matt Dixon, UK Agricultural Meteorologist; National Weather Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ag Safety Database

It’s that time of year when we get more thunderstorms. Weather patterns are more active, and storms thrive with the moisture and rapidly rising warm air that is very common during the transition to warmer seasons.

Stormy conditions also increase the potential for lightning to strike people at work or play outdoors and, possibly, while they’re inside a building. Although thunderstorms are more common during the spring and summer, they can take place all year long and at all hours.

All thunderstorms produce lightning. Sometimes called “nature’s fireworks,” lightning is produced by the buildup and discharge of electrical energy between negatively and positively charged areas. An average lightning charge can provide enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning for more than three months.

Other dangers associated with thunderstorms are heavy rains that lead to flash floods, strong winds, hail, and tornadoes. These weather conditions can injure or kill people and pets, as well as cause billions of dollars in crop and property damage.

Thunder is the result of a shock wave caused by rapid heating and cooling of air near the lightning channel.

If you want to estimate the miles between yourself and a lightning flash, simply count seconds between lightning and thunder and divide this time by five. Sound travels about a mile every five seconds. So if you count 30 seconds between lightning and thunder, lightning has flashed within six miles of you. This puts you within lightning striking distance, according to scientific research.

The most important thunderstorm safety precaution is simply to be aware of an approaching thunderstorm and move to a safe shelter before the storm arrives in your area. If you see lightning, hear thunder, observe dark clouds, or your hair stands on end, immediately go inside a sturdy, completely enclosed building, home or a hard-top vehicle with closed windows. Avoid picnic shelters, sports dugouts, covered patios, carports and open garages. Small wooden, vinyl or metal sheds provide little to no protection.

Since metal conducts lightning, don’t touch metal inside or outdoors; drop metal backpacks; release golf clubs, tennis rackets, fishing gear and tools, and get off bicycles and motorcycles.

Lightning can strike water and travel a long distance in it. So standing in water, even in rubber boots, isn’t safe during a thunderstorm. It’s also unsafe to go swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving if lightning is present. If you’re in a small boat during a storm, crouch in the middle and stay away from metal items and surfaces.

Crouch down in an open, exposed area and stay away from tall objects, such as trees.  Remember to stay away from clotheslines, fences, exposed sheds and other elevated items that can conduct lightning.

If you’re indoors, remember lightning can enter buildings as a direct strike, through pipes and wires extending outside, or through the ground. Telephone use is a leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in America, because the charges can travel a long way in telephone and electrical wires, especially in rural areas.

Windows and doors provide a direct path for lightning to enter a building; so avoid them. During a thunderstorm, stay away from laundry appliances as they are connected to plumbing and electrical systems. Dryer vents offer a direct electrical pathway outdoors.

On the farm, ungrounded wire fences can put livestock at risk when lightning strikes. Surprisingly, lightning can travel almost two miles along an ungrounded fence. According to the National Ag Safety Database, you can ground wooden or steel posts that are set in concrete by driving ½-inch or ¾ inch steel rods or pipes next to fence posts at least 5 feet into the ground, at intervals of no more than 150 feet along the fence. You should securely fasten the grounding rods so that all the fence wires come into contact with them. You can also substitute galvanized steel fence posts for wooden posts at intervals of no more than 150 feet. You should not however, ground electric fences in this manner, because they have a direct path to the ground in their circuitry. More tips for lightning protection on the farm are available on the National Ag Safety Database website, http://nasdonline.org/1882/d001825/lightning-protection-for-farms.html.

Also remember pet safety. Lightning can easily strike animals chained to a tree or wire runner. Doghouses generally aren’t protected against lightning strikes.

By:  Julie Beale, Plant Disease Diagnostician, and Sara Long, Plant Diagnostic Assistant Source:  Kentucky Pest News, February 7

The UK Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (PDDL) has received many broadleaf and needled evergreen samples with discolored foliage recently.  Despite relatively mild weather during much of the winter thus far, extremely low temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds during the third week of December 2022 resulted in a range of winter injury symptoms in landscape plants.  Furthermore, other environmental and cultural stress factors preceded the severe weather in many cases and have contributed to the extent of damage visible now.

Since the beginning of January, most of the samples with winter injury that have arrived in the PDDL have shown symptoms of winter drying.  On broadleaf evergreens (boxwood, cherrylaurel, holly, magnolia, rhododendron, etc.) symptoms typically include marginal leaf scorch, irregular spotting, complete browning of the leaves, and occasionally extensive leaf drop.  Conifer (arborvitae, Leyland cypress, Cryptomeria, juniper, etc.) symptoms include pale, bronze or brown needles or needle tips, particularly on the exterior foliage and branch tips.  Symptoms are often more noticeable on the wind-exposed side of affected plants. 

Causes of Winter Injury 
Unlike their deciduous counterparts, “evergreen” plants retain foliage year-round. Even during winter months when active growth is not occurring, water is still lost through the leaves and needles of these plant species via transpiration, although more slowly than during times of active growth.

Environmental and cultural factors that affect overall moisture availability in plants increase the likelihood of winter drying symptoms, including: 

· Areas where soil is frozen, limiting, or preventing water uptake by roots.

· Low moisture retained in leaves/needles due to drought (i.e., late summer and fall 2022)

· Sunny winter days with wind and low humidity which increase transpiration rates.

· Inadequate root systems from recent transplanting (within 3-4 years), a restricted root zone (due to nearby sidewalk, driveway, or building) or mechanical injury to roots. 

· Plants or sections of plants in a protected area (i.e., along a warm brick wall) that have not completely hardened off.

Management of Winter Injury Symptoms
Resisting the urge to promptly remove the damaged plant material may be difficult, but for the next several weeks, patience is key. Often the foliage is damaged, but the stems and buds are still viable and will produce new healthy growth in spring. A “wait and see” approach is often best when dealing with winter-injured plants.  When new growth begins to emerge in spring, it will be clear which symptoms are “cosmetic” and which symptoms indicate significant plant damage.

To help reduce the risk of winter drying in the future, good general plant care practices, such as watering during periods of drought and applying mulch, are beneficial. Supply adequate irrigation to broadleaf evergreen and conifer plants, especially late in the growing season so that plants have sufficient moisture during the winter months. Fertilizer is not typically recommended as this can encourage succulent top growth that is easily damaged in winter. If fertilizer must be applied, a fall application is best, since spring fertilization may promote more new growth than roots can support during summer droughts.  Locate sensitive plants in sheltered locations.  If severe cold and wind is predicted, protect plants that are prone to winter drying and located in exposed sites with temporary fencing to block the wind or a light covering of burlap or fabric (e.g., old bed sheets).  Wetting the fabric before windy weather will allow the covering to freeze, increasing wind protection.   

By:  Derrick Snyder– National Weather Service Paducah, Kentucky

March is when the traditional springtime thunderstorm season begins to ramp up in the Commonwealth. As we all know, some of these storms can be real doozies, and it's important we're prepared to weather them. Here's a few tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

1. Stay informed: Make sure you've got a weather radio or follow a trusted news station to stay on top of what's brewing. Your local National Weather Service offices offer free storm spotter training classes during this time of year, and these courses are excellent ways to learn about how severe thunderstorms form and how to stay safe around them. Call your local office to find out more information about a spotter training near you.

2. Have a plan: Make sure you and your family have a designated place to take shelter and a plan for how to stay in touch with one another during a storm. Write it down and keep it handy, just in case. Don’t forget to practice your plan too!

3. Stock up: Keep a well-stocked pantry with enough non-perishable food and water to last a few days, in case of power outages or other emergencies. Other items to keep on hand in case of an emergency include extra clothes, medications, cash, and a first aid kit. See the list below for additional supplies.

Secure your property: Make sure any loose items around your property are secured to prevent them from becoming dangerous projectiles during high winds. Consider moving livestock to a safe place and securing any loose roof shingles to prevent damage to your home, farm buildings, or workshops.

Don't forget, there's plenty of resources out there to help you get prepared for severe weather. The National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and your local emergency management office can all provide you with valuable information on what to do before, during, and after a thunderstorm. Learn more about making an emergency plan at www.ready.gov/plan.

So, don't wait until it's too late! Take a little time now to get ready for springtime hunderstorms in the Bluegrass State, and you'll be ready to weather whatever comes your way.

:  6 servings
1 pound of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon honey mustard
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley


  1. Place the asparagus and zucchini in a steamer basket.
  2. Place in a saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, seasoned salt and honey mustard. Pour over asparagus mixture; toss to coat.
  4. Toss in tomatoes and green onions. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and parsley.

Nutritional Analysis
110 Calories
7 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
5 mg cholesterol
35 mg sodium
5 g carbohydrate
2 g fiber
3 g sugar
4 g protein

Cornus mas
Common Name: Cornelian cherry dogwood
Type: Tree
Family: Cornacae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15 to 25 feet
Spread: 15 to 20 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil

Source:  Missouri Botanical Garden

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