Stillwater News Press

March 31, 2012

The Botanic Garden at OSU 04-01-12

By Laura Payne Special to the NewsPress
Stillwater NewsPress

— Most of our daffodils, hyacinths and crocus have finished blooming for another season.

It’s important to leave the foliage on these plants until it dies back on its own. These plants use energy stored in the bulb to bloom. If you leave the foliage in place until it dies, the plant is able to restore energy back into the bulb or corm and bloom for you again next year.

With this warm weather, we are getting excited about planting. Nurseries and garden centers are receiving their stock of annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees and shrubs.

As eager as you may be to start planting, it’s a good idea to take a soil sample first. As each planting season passes, the soil’s nutrients can change. This change can come from the different plant materials we choose for our landscape, the slope of the land or the amount and type of fertilizers we have used in the past.

The most common soil nutrient deficiencies are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus (N,P,K). However, if you fertilize each year with a bagged fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, you many have too much of certain nutrients in your soil. Too much or too little of a nutrient in your soils can tie up other nutrients that your plants need. Also, excessive fertilization contributes to water pollution.

Taking a soil sample is very simple task. Your local county extension office can give you step by step instructions on taking a soil sample and supply you with soil sample bags. The extension office will then mail your samples to the OSU Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory for analysis. Your extension office also can assist you in interpreting your soil test results.

For more information about soil samples, see OSU Fact Sheet PSS-2207.

Laura Payne is volunteer/education coordinator for The Botanic Garden at OSU.