Q. When is the best time to plant summer-flowering clematis and daylilies?
A. These plants are not particular about when they are planted in the garden, but don't wait until the end of the growing season: With the daylilies especially, you want the root system to develop before winter rains soak the soil and increase the risk of tuber rot.
It will take a year or two for both daylilies and clematis to reach their full blooming potential, so use this growing season for establishment. Before planting, prepare your soil deeply, add organic matter, and plant sometime before the end of the summer to get them established before cold weather arrives. If the weather is dry, water them once a week.
Q. What is your recommendation for eradicating creeping charlie? That little plant is trying to stake its claim to our yard.
A. Whether you call it creeping charlie, gill-over-the-ground or simply ground ivy, Glechoma hederacea is one of the hardest weeds to control in the lawn. I speak from experience, because I have battled ground ivy in my own lawn for several years. It thrives in conditions of low soil pH, moisture and shade.
I used a three-pronged attack. I treated the lawn with an herbicide containing 2,4-D to get rid of it, limed and fertilized the lawn according to the results of a soil test and resolved to prevent its spread from the neighboring property.
(Herbicides that contain a combination of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP are reported to do a better job of killing ground ivy than 2,4-D alone, but I am wary of using dicamba because it also kills the roots of trees and shrubs.)
Borax is also reported to be effective in killing ground ivy. A solution made by dissolving 20 ounces, by weight, of powdered borax in a cup of hot water and diluting the resulting concentrate to a volume of five gallons will treat 2,000 square feet of lawn. Results with borax have been mixed -- a researcher in Iowa reported good control while another in Wisconsin had less-than-encouraging results.
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