Extension News

Ask the ISU Extension Experts

Note to media editors: Got gardening questions? Contact the Iowa State University Extension Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu.


It hasn’t rained since I planted my tulips and daffodils.  Should I water them? 
It would be a good idea to water the tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs. Spring-flowering bulbs need moisture to develop a good root system before the onset of winter. Two or three good soakings before winter should be sufficient if the dry weather persists. 

Should I wrap the trunks of newly planted trees? 
Wrapping protective materials around the trunks of newly planted trees is usually not necessary. There appears to be little or no benefit to tree wraps. If you do decide to use a tree wrap, place it around trees in fall (November) and promptly remove it the following spring. 

I planted some fountain grass in the garden this spring.  Will it survive the winter? 
There are several species of fountain grass. Perennial fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is a perennial grass. It is hardy in much of Iowa. Annual fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a widely grown annual grass. The most popular varieties are those with reddish purple foliage, such as ‘Rubrum.’ Annual fountain grass will not survive the winter. 

We just finished a major addition to our house.  Is it possible to lay sod in November? 
Sod can be successfully installed in November in Iowa. However, the site must be properly prepared before the sod is installed. After the lawn is established, very little can be done to correct problems at the site. The first step is to remove all construction debris from the site. The next step is to cultivate the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. This helps to alleviate soil compaction that occurs during construction. After the sod is installed, periodically water the sod until the ground freezes. The roots of the turfgrass plants will continue to grow until the soil freezes.  Iowa’s fall weather is quite variable. If the weather is favorable, it is possible to lay sod until late November/early December in Iowa. 


Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu