Extension provides home horticulture updates


XENIA — This time of year, we often experience snowstorms of wet, heavy snow that can weight now the branches on trees and shrubs.

Many folks call the office asking if they should do something to remove the snow and how to accomplish this task. The first point to consider is the type and height of the plant. It is impossible to remove snow form already large evergreen and deciduous trees. These usually possess strong branching structures that can withstand the weight of the snow. These trees I recommend you let nature take its course and not worry about them. Some of your smaller trees and shrubs may need some help from you to make sure they don’t break and then become misshaped. To do this, go outside and gently push the snow off the shrub or small tree starting at the lower branches. You can use an old fashion kitchen broom for those higher up branches and to extend your reach. If possible, remove the snow before it becomes heavy enough to break branches.

This time of year, the mole mounds seem to be everywhere in our yards. There is good news. It is not yet mowing season, so they are not interfering with that activity. And this is a temporary situation. During the winter and spring, the water table is higher and the main food source of moles, the earthworm, moves closer to the surface and so do the moles. Once the heavy spring rains pass, the earthworms and moles will move lower into the ground and out of our sight until next year.

Master Gardner volunteers to meet

Each year, the OSU Master Gardener volunteers in Ohio hold a statewide conference to provide educational opportunities, networking, and to celebrate the individual county Master Gardener volunteer program accomplishments. This year, Greene County will be the host county and will have the opportunity to show off what Greene County has to offer. There are several educational sessions planned plus workshops. Participants get to see our beautiful county — they have planned bike tours to different locations within the county such as Yellow Springs and through the Xenia area, while planned bus tours include trips the Clifton Gorge, Caesar Creek winery, and Devil Wind brewery.

The Greene County Master Gardener volunteers are seeking sponsors to help offset the cost of speakers and buses. There will be space for vendors to offer products for sale to the attendees of the conference. For information on sponsorship and vendor space, contact Kim Hupman at [email protected].

Soil testing

Soil testing will determine the health of your soil, while pinpointing plant nutrition needs for maximizing productivity of lawns and vegetable gardens. A standard soil test will provide information on soil pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium status.

The local extension office offers soil testing kits that are sent to a local soil testing laboratory with results within two weeks. As a rule, the results will include suggestions for pH and nutrient correction.

More information may be found in the Ohioline fact sheet HYG-1132.

Kim Hupman is a horticulture program assistant for OSU Extension Greene County.

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