April E-News from Viette's                                   Volume 9: No. 4

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                         April/2013

Having a beautiful lawn is easy if you give it proper care.
our Lawn is your  
pride and joy -
Get it off to a Great
Start this Spring!

Weeds, insect pests,
and disease can wreak
havoc on your lawn.
A healthy, vigorous lawn that is properly maintained is the best defense against problems.
Keep your grass adequately fed,
properly watered, and
mowed at the correct height.  
Quick Links
Plant of the Month
Monarch butterflies love butterfly bush flowers
Monarch butterflies love
butterfly bush flowers
Butterfly Bush - the butterfly magnet! 

The sweetly scented Buddleia is one of the most magnificent plants for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. The beautiful silvery-green foliage of this shrub combined with the lusciously fragrant flowers alive with the constant motion of brightly colored butterflies is a must for any sunny garden!  

Black Swallowtail butterfly on Buddleia
Black Swallowtail on
Buddleia 'Pink Delight'


A Fragrant Accent 

Buddleia davidii, very appropriately named the Butterfly Bush, makes a perfect focal point for a butterfly garden. Long panicles of fragrant blossoms appear in early July and continue to bloom until frost providing a constant supply of nectar for many different species of butterflies. Planted "en masse", they can provide a fence row full of color and fragrance from summer until fall offering privacy from neighbors. 


Beautiful Choices 

Butterfly bushes come in many lovely colors; from bright pinks to hues of lavender and purple, as well as some beautiful pure white cultivars. Depending on the variety, they will grow anywhere from 4 feet to 8 feet in height. These wonderful shrubs become superb attractions all season long - both for you and your butterfly visitors. And best of all - Buddleia are deer resistant and drought tolerant

Monarch butterfly on Buddleia 'White Profusion'
Monarch butterfly on
Buddleia 'White Profusion'
Easy Culture

This beautiful deciduous shrub takes very little care and is adaptable to most garden conditions that get about six hours of sun a day. When planting, prepare a large planting hole at least three times as wide but about as deep as the root ball. Amend the soil with some compost, Plant-tone, Rich Earth, Greensand, and rock phosphate. Mulch lightly each spring. Once they are established, they kind of take care of themselves and seldom even need supplemental watering.  


To get the best flowering with bigger and more abundant flowers through the season, your Buddleia should be cut back to 8"-12" each spring around mid April. Although they are cut back each spring, it doesn't take them long to reach their full height and fill out with great flowing branches full of gorgeous, colorful flower panicles.   

A tiger swallowtail on Buddleia 'Black Knight'
A tiger swallowtail on Buddleia 'Black Knight'


Deadheading the spent blossoms will ensure continual bloom throughout the fall. Buddleia can even be pruned back to half their height in the late summer if they become too tall to deadhead or if you simply want to reduce their size.


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April in the Garden
White grubs are one of the most common lawn pests in the US
White grubs are one of the most common lawn pests in the US
Don't let spring insects and disease ruin your lawn and gardens. Get a jump on them now to to prevent trouble later in the season.
Insect Control
Soon we will begin to see the sticky white webs of tent caterpillars forming in the trees. The best time to control these critters is when they are very small. These young caterpillars can be controlled safely (without harming beneficial insects) by spraying Bonide BT Thuricide. Read more about tent caterpillars ... 
April is a good time to spray hollies, euonymus, and other susceptible trees and shrubs with Bonide All Seasons Oil or Bonide Neem to control scale insects covering the branches.
Read more about scale ...
Scale on eunoymus
Scale on a Eunoymus stem
Control in lawns: White grubs are one of the most common lawn pests in the US and one of the most damaging to your lawn. They are the larval form of beetles, including the Japanese Beetle, another well-known pest! The best time to control these grubs is in the spring and fall when they are actively feeding close to the surface. Right now the grubs that overwintered deep under your lawn are beginning to move up closer to the surface and will be feeding on the grass roots for a short period of time. Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus can be applied in March-April to control these destructive lawn pests. Other grub control products such as Bonide Annual Grub Beater and Bayer Advanced Season Long Grub Control are more effective at controlling grubs later in the season and can be applied May-mid August. Always read and follow the label directions when applying any chemicals. Keep your lawn healthy. A good lawn care program of aerating, dethatching, fertilizing, and proper watering will keep your lawn healthy and better able to tolerate some grub munching.
Damaged turf peels back easily revealing the grubs.
Damaged turf peels back easily revealing the grubs.
Disease Control 
Botrytis is a fungal disease that causes blackened spots on buds, leaves, and stems of many perennials including peonies. If you noticed this disease on your peonies last year, spray with a fungicide like Bonide Mancozeb, Bonide Liquid Copper, or Daconil. 
Botrytis on a peony flower bud
Botrytis on a peony flower bud
Black spot on roses:
If you had black spot on your rose foliage last year, begin spraying with a fungicide such as Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care, Mancozeb, Liquid Copper, Daconil, or Bonide Sulfur Fungicide
Always read and follow the label directions when applying any pesticides!

Gardening Questions?
Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'  
Listen to Andre
on the radio every
Saturday morning from
8:00-11:00 on 
"In the Garden  
with Andre Viette"
Click for a station list or listen live from our flagship station WSVA.
Listen to podcasts.  


Tip of the Month
Early Spring Lawn Tips  
Weeds, insects, and disease can quickly turn a beautiful lawn into an eyesore. The best defense against these problems is to maintain a healthy, vigorous lawn by keeping your grass adequately fertilized, properly watered, and mowed at the correct height. Here are some tips to get your lawn off to a great start and to keep it that way ... 
A healthy lawn starts with a good fertilizing program. Feeding not only results in lovely, thick green grass but it also encourages the development of a dense root system that penetrates deep into the soil. Grass with deep roots is better able survive drought conditions because the long roots can tap into water that is available deeper below the soil surface.  
Organic vs. Synthetic Lawn Fertilizers
  • Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly over time and thus need to be applied less often than synthetic fertilizers. The nutrients, which are broken down and slowly released by soil organisms, remain in the root zone longer feeding the grass over a longer period of time. There is little risk that organic fertilizers will burn the roots or foliage.
  • Synthetic fertilizers are water soluble and release nutrients quickly. These quick-release nutrients often leach out of the soil before the plants have a chance to use them up. This can lead to groundwater pollution. Because the nutrients are released quickly, they must be reapplied more frequently than organic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers are more concentrated and must be applied carefully to avoid damage to growing plants.
  • Organic lawn fertilizers are usually applied two to four times a year in spring, summer, and fall.   
  • Synthetic lawn fertilizers are generally applied four to five times a year with the first application being made by the end of March for Zones 6 and 7. 
  • Synthetic lawn fertilizers are often formulated to include pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides for crabgrass and broadleaf weed control.  
  • Organic lawn fertilizers usually do not include herbicides or pesticides but may contain a natural pre-emergent like corn gluten meal.
  • Organic fertilizers add organic matter to the soil which helps improve the soil structure. 
  • Click here for more information on organic vs. chemical fertilizers. 
Espoma Organic Lawn Program
New in 2013, The Espoma Company has developed a simple annual organic lawn feeding program. This program involves four applications over the season, each one formulated specifically for the time of season it is put down; early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. Each step in the program puts down the nutrients that are required at that particular time. The nutrients are available in an all organic, slow release formulation that feeds slowly over time. And since they are not water soluble, they won't wash out during a rain storm or when you water. 
he new Espoma all organic lawn feeding program produces a beautiful, lush lawn that stays green longer with fewer fertilizer applications while also maintaining a healthy soil environment. The program includes Espoma's Bio-tone microbes which add all important mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria to the soil. 

To Lime or Not to Lime  
The ideal soil pH for turfgrass is around 6.5.  
In the Shenandoah Valley, our limestone based soils are naturally alkaline and may not require a yearly application of lime - in fact they may need to have the pH lowered!
Have your soil tested just to be sure. Your local extension office can help you with the soil test. 
The pH of your lawn soil should be adjusted when the grass is not in full active growth.

Irrigate your lawn - but do it properly
Improper watering can be as harmful as not watering at all! Proper watering technique involves irrigating slowly over an extended period of time so the water is able to seep in gradually and penetrate deeply into the soil. What you are trying to do is to imitate a gentle soaking rain. If you put down too much water too fast, it can't soak in and a lot of it runs off which doesn't do your grass any good and also wastes water. Slow, deep watering causes your grass to develop a deep root system and grass with deep roots is able to better survive periods or drought and heat stress. Here are some watering tips:
  • Healthy grass requires water every week especially during hot, dry periods. Unless you get a soaking rain, water your lawn once a week with a good quality sprinkler that delivers about 1�" of water slowly over a period of several hours.
  • If you have an automatic sprinkling system, be sure it is set to water long and deep and no more often that once a week. Frequent, short waterings result in grass with weak, shallow root systems that cannot compete with weeds and are prone to heat and drought stress.
  • If possible, water between the hours of 5am and 10am. At this time, the air is cooler and the wind is lighter so there is less evaporation and watering is more efficient.   
Henbit is a common lawn weed
Controlling lawn weeds  
Keeping your lawn healthy and mowed at the proper height is the best way to discourage lawn weeds. Mow high! Grass mowed to a height of 3" to 3�" will both shade out and crowd out most lawn weeds. However, sometimes you need a little help to control some of the more persistent weeds that invade your lawn.
  • Have trouble with crabgrass and other broadleaf weeds like dandelions? Apply a pre-emergent broadleaf herbicide before the petals on the forsythia drop to help control them.  
    • The first step in Espoma's new organic lawn program contains corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent and can be applied February through April. Read and follow label directions.
  • Wild onion and wild garlic come up from small bulbs.
    Wild onion and wild garlic come up from small bulbs.
    Have wild onion and other weeds like henbit, creeping charlie, or speedwell springing up everywhere? Apply a post-emergent weed killer when they are actively growing.  

Andre is on the Road this April  

Saturday, April 6th & Sunday, April 7th
The 27th Annual Daffodil Festival  
Main Street, Gloucester, Virginia 
       Andre Viette
Join Andre for an informative gardening talk on Saturday, 
April 6th at 1:00 pm
Andre will address questions posed to Gloucester Master Gardeners.
  • about growing tomatoes, boxwood, grapes, blueberries...
  • about combating flea beetles, tent caterpillars, bagworms...
  • Plus tips on pruning, weed control, soil prep... 
Click for more information about the Daffodil Festival 
Saturday, April 20 - 1:00pm
The Great Big Greenhouse - Richmond, VA 
Made Easy"


Simple solutions to have a picture perfect garden.

Andre will talk about some simple gardening practices that will help you grow beautiful flowers, delicious vegetables, lush lawns, and bountiful fruit crops. He will discuss ways to deal with different plant issues including how to control pesky insects and diseases in your flower beds, vegetable garden, orchard, lawn, or container garden. Andre will also provide tips on lawn care, including fertilizing, watering, and weed control.

Come armed with your plant problems - Andre can help with some simple, easy to understand solutions.

All attendees become eligible for a drawing
of 6 new Viette Hybrid Daylilies.
Great Big Greenhouse is located at: 
2051 Huguenot Road, Richmond, VA 23235   
Phone: (804) 320-1317


Andre's appearance brought to you by Bonide 

Monday, April 22 - 6:00-8:00pm 
Historic Monticello, Charlottesville, VA


   "Gardens: Tips for the Modern Gardener,
         Plants Jefferson Knew" 
Celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Garden Club of Virginia at an elegant garden party with horticulturist, author, and lecturer Andr� Viette on the West Lawn of Monticello from 6 to 8 p .m. Viette is a graduate of Cornell's School of Floriculture and a recipient of the Garden Club of America's Medal of Honor for his outstanding service to horticulture. He will speak about the changes in gardening from Jefferson's time to the present. Enjoy informal tours of Monticello and the gardens, fine Virginia wine, and heavy hors d'oeuvres. $65 per person. Click for more information

Saturday, April 27 - 1:30pm
Merrifield Garden Center - Gainesville, VA
"The Exciting World of Perennials"
Here's a great chance to hear Andre, an accomplished perennial grower, radio host, author, and lecturer. He'll inform and inspire you with great ideas to incorporate into your own garden.  Click for details
Garden Center, Gainesville is located at:

6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville, VA

Phone: (703) 368-1919


Andre's appearance brought to you by Bonide   

Timing is Everything
Speaking of Forsythia ... 
Forsythia blooms Late March and April bring forth the beautiful and most welcome blooms of Forsythia. Seeing these bright yellow flowers bursting into bloom is a true sign of spring.
... but did you know that you can use forsythia blooms as the basis for the timing of many spring garden chores? 
Pruning roses: 
  • Hybrid Tea Rose When the Forsythia are in full bloom, it is time to prune your hybrid tea roses, floribunda roses, and grandiflora roses.  
  • To prune these roses:  
    • Start by cutting out all but five of the healthiest stems. 
    • Then cut these stems back to 12" to 18" from the ground.  
    • Cut any winter-damaged stems back to healthy green wood.
Pruning other shrubs:
  •   Buddleia cut back in spring.When the Forsythia petals begin to drop:  
    • Cut your Buddleia (butterfly bushes) back to about 12"-18" from the ground. Watch Mark's video tip on pruning Buddleia
    • Use this same timing for cutting back your Caryopteris and Vitex.
Crabgrass control in your lawn:
  • Before the Forsythia petals drop, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to control crabgrass in your lawn. Always read and follow the label directions.
Getting ahead of the weeds: 
  • Swing-head hoe About the time the Forsythia begin to bloom, many weed seeds in your garden are beginning to germinate! This is a great time to get out and hoe in the garden to prevent these "babies" from becoming established in your beds. 
    • Consider investing in Andre's favorite weeding tool, the swing-head hoe, to quickly eliminate weeds without disturbing your mulch. Watch Mark's video tip on the swing-head hoe.
In the vegetable garden: 
  • Once the Forsythia are in bloom, the ground is warm enough to direct sow your cool-season crops in the vegetable garden. These include: spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, chard, beets, and radishes.
  • When the Forsythia have finished blooming, you can safely start to plant your potatoes.

On the Viette's Views Gardening Blog 

  03-25-2013 18:39:13 PM

Just when I've decided I'm done with snow and ready for spring - it snows again! Maybe that's the trick! I should wish really hard for spring in January and then maybe it would snow during WINTER and not after the first day of SPRING! I must say though, it is really beautiful outside right [...]...�

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When You're in the Area
Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club.
Got Clubs?

Visit our friends at Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club and enjoy a breathtaking round of golf after a visit to the beautiful gardens at Viettes.

Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club received a 5 Star Rating "Best Places To Play" by Golf Digest, 2008/2009.
This public 18-hole championship golf course is nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and features a challenging course with incredible views of the Appalachian Mountains and the valley below.

3067 Packsaddle Trail ~ Keezletown, VA 22832
Phone: 540-269-8188
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