Questions about English ivy control and shrub fertilization – Salisbury Post

The outlets are busy with customers who anticipate the opportunity to plant flowers and improve their lawns and landscapes. Many have questions about their gardening chores. Below are some questions that may relate to your current situation.

When can I mow the leaves of faded daffodils?

To respond: It is not a good idea to mow the leaves of this bulb. The leaves are necessary for the plant to develop flowers for the next season. They will eventually turn yellow and fall off. You can cut or mow them at this time. Bulbs should be fertilized and irrigated to maximize showy flower growth.

English ivy can be quite tolerant of common herbicides such as glyphosate.

What can I spray to kill control English ivy?

To respond: English ivy can be quite tolerant of common herbicides such as glyphosate. Studies at NC State University found that English ivy was controlled by glyphosate (Roundup) when applied in spring (now). The vines should be actively growing and have new growth with at least 2-4 new leaves sprouting. The best control will occur if you use a higher rate of glyphosate with a surfactant. It is very important to have full leaf coverage. Avoid applying herbicides at the point of runoff. It is important to spray now because the later the foliar application, the less effective the control. Studies have shown late summer and fall applications in North Carolina to be virtually ineffective. Go to for more detailed information on controlling English ivy and other hard-to-control weeds.

Is it the right time to fertilize my shrubs? I know lawns are fertilized in the spring, but when do you fertilize trees and shrubs?

To respond: Yes, now is a good time to fertilize your shrubs. Spring is the best time to fertilize because it avoids leaching during the winter. Avoid fertilizing in late summer (August) as it can stimulate late season growth that does not harden off before frost. Slow-release type fertilizers are becoming very popular because they provide consistent release of nutrients slowly all summer long for consistent feeding. Go to for detailed information on fertilizing trees and shrubs in the landscape.

I have four Redbud trees scattered across my landscape. Most have flowered this year; however, a few did not flower. Are there any male redbud trees that don’t have flowers?

To respond: Not really. There are a number of reasons why your trees did not bloom this spring. This can be due to a number of reasons such as over pruning, drought, poor soils, too much shade, etc. Redbuds are actually legumes that need lots of sun to produce abundant flowers. Redbuds also have a fairly short lifespan compared to other flowering trees.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticultural officer and director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at

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