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Don Kinzler, Published March 21 2014

Fielding Questions: Granules prevent weed seeds from spreading

Q. My neighbor and I plant two large gardens. We install a three-wire electric fence after planting to keep animals out. The problem is keeping weeds from growing under the lowest wire and shorting it out.

We don’t want to spray because another neighbor has honeybees within 100 feet. Any suggestions on keeping weeds away?

– James Giedt, Glyndon, Minn.

A. I’ve had great results using the granular product Preen, which is sold in garden centers and labeled for use around gardens.

It is a weed preventer, meaning that when the granules are spread on cleanly cultivated soil, it prevents weed seeds from sprouting. It does not kill weeds that are already growing or perennial weeds that arise from roots in the ground like quackgrass.

If Preen is applied in a 12- to 18-inch band along the fence, weeds should be greatly reduced. As always, follow label directions. Or you could lay black plastic mulch or landscape fabric weighted down in a band under the fence line.

Q. I’m forwarding information about an upcoming series of new garden programs that may be of interest to your readers. It’s called the Spring Fever Garden Forum presented by North Dakota State University.

– Todd Weinmann, Cass County Extension horticulturist, Fargo

A. Thanks, Todd, for telling us about a great program.

NDSU is launching a new series of garden workshops this spring that can be viewed live from our home computer. The Spring Fever Garden Forum will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and April 1 and 3.

A team of 12 university researchers will provide the latest information on caring for yards and gardens. Topics include selecting landscape trees, gardening in containers, selecting superior flower and vegetable varieties, improving soil, preventing diseases, growing hardy fruits, and more. Specialists will give short presentations and then answer questions.

Presentations will be broadcast live from NDSU in Fargo. But best of all, gardeners can attend these meetings via the internet without leaving the comfort of their home. All gardeners are welcome to participate and everything is free.

For more information, go to www.ag.ndsu.edu/springfever for a complete description of the program series, and to register in advance for online viewing.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.